Life, Burning Away

She watched the flames crawl downward from the top of the paper in her hand. Its life burned away so fast, flickering upward into the ether, it had to struggle downward for sustenance. Something about that felt profound. She placed it on the bottom of the structure she'd built from paper, kindling, and logs in her small home's lovingly-restored fireplace.

The flame flickered. Smoke drifted up the outside of the woodpile. She nudged the paper farther under until its smoke, its heat, its life had to rise through the tinder she'd set down before it could escape to the heavens. This also seemed profound: Life, burning away, put to work before being permitted to finally depart.

With a cough, the rest of the tinder took flame. She watched as the flame licked, gnawed, and finally inhabited the kindling, then the logs. The fire purred. Its heat caressed her on its way up into the skies.

She didn't look away. Not even as the bright, antiseptic lights flooded her home. Not when the agents burst in moments later, come to take her away for the crime of producing heat so wastefully. She went peacefully. She knew what her life burned for.