A/N: It took me forever to complete this, and I'm not sure of the outcome, so reviews would be very much appreciated. Of course, they'd be appreciated anyway. Enjoy...

Pyromaniac

The flame flickered, and he smiled faintly, eyes shining. He studied it, that small orange-yellow-red dancing glow, relishing in the heat as he held it up to his face, his mind singing with the awesome power; this destructive, undiscriminating, beautiful element that was under his control with just a tiny flick of his thumb.

Another flicker and it was out, its shining brilliance suddenly missing from the world. His heart momentarily cried out at the loss, his soul craving the light it showed, the heat it burned, the sheer pleasure it brought him.

His thumb went through the motions easily; time slowed down as he eagerly awaited its arrival. The swift flick of his thumb as it grated over the little wheel - that tiny scratching noise that was music to his ears - then pressed down on the catch, the burst of gas that his heightened, fervent senses could hear and smell, then the sudden, flaring glare that made his heart beat faster with excitement before the flame soothed it and he healed completely for those few seconds before it burnt out.

He never would have guessed that such a tiny thing could make everything go away.

Once again the flame went out, and once again his thumb flicked through the motions. The little glow illuminated his face, and cast shadows over his peeling walls. The red dinosaur clock beside him glinted in the light; 1.30 pm.

Down below his parents screamed at each other as his life line went out again. It was frustrating really, how the one thing that calmed his tears only lasted in short bursts. He longed for a larger fire, something that burned and crackled indefinitely.

A fire that would spread, seizing his heart and making it soar, a fire that would last, a fire that he could sink into, forever blissful.

The sickening sound of flesh hitting flesh reached his ears, and he winced, his eyes blurring. Wrenched out of his fantasy, his thumb moved desperately, trying to ignite his escape, but the lighter only sparked in his hands.

His breath coming faster, his mind screaming, he felt himself slipping away, the cries of pain and fury engulfing his thoughts. Why couldn't they just shut up!

With a cry of frustration, barely masked by the sound of smashing glass, he flung the useless lighter away from his bed and reached for the matches he kept under his pillow. His hot hands grasped the cool, reassuring box, and he was momentarily calmed.

Another yell pushed its way into his ears, and he fumbled, pulling the match out of the box, his fingers shaky with desperation. Pausing for a moment he relished in the feel that always came before he struck a match, that sudden peacefulness and the knowledge that in just one moment he was going to create something so powerful it could destroy everything around him.

Once again his finely tuned senses picked up everything. He could hear in perfect detail the scrape of the match head against the rough surface and the cacophony of sudden, crackling, burning wood. He could smell the woody, fragrant smoke almost before it appeared, and his face lit up with the sudden flare before it burned down into a steady flame.

Crouching over it, his eyes seemed to dance, his entire being focused on the fire that moved before him. Once again his parent's yells faded into nothing and he felt himself sigh in relief.

Slowly the match burned down, and he followed it greedily, so immersed in the flickering fire that he didn't notice it had almost reached his fingers. Finally noticing the flame licking at his fingertips, he held on a moment longer. The tips of his fingers were hard and shiny from the amount of times he had burned them, doing exactly this.

Just as he was about to blow out the match, the sound of the door next to his being slammed, made him jump, and he dropped the flame. It hit his bed with a hiss, and in surprise, he watched his white sheet slowly turning brown... burning.

A small, almost buried part of his brain knew this was wrong, knew he had to snuff the match out before anything bad happened, but he wasn't listening. He couldn't listen, to engrossed in the beauty before him.

He watched in delight as a tiny fire flickered and fought for life, burning a hole in his sheet and scorching the mattress. He watched as the flame started to die down, horror taking over the delight in his eyes.

Jumping off the bed, his mind screamed in panic. He needed something, something to keep it alight. He couldn't think straight, but as his eyes wildly searched the room, they fell on a can of insect repellent.

He almost sobbed in relief as he grabbed it up and saw the picture of a little flame decorating the cold yellow metal. Flammable.

Fumbling with the cap he ran over to the bed, and, hardly realising what he was doing, he sprayed the almost dead flame, dousing the mattress around it in one, long squirt. The flame roared upwards, spreading faster as continued spraying.

Stepping closer and closer to the entrancing fire, he felt his skin begin to bubble, peel and crack but he couldn't stop. His entire bed was in flames, and he felt an overwhelming urge to lie down in it.

He needed to be in that fire, feeling the flames lick at his body as the flames soothed his troubles, and calmed his pain, finally permanent.

His mind was screaming a different panic now, as his skin started to turn black, and his hair singed, but it was too late. He was free.

*****

A/N: Hey. The next chapter is a sort of epilogue that tells you what happened; who died, what people thought had happened etc. Originally I put it all together, but then I decided - partly on the advice of my one reviewer - to put it in a chapter all of it's own.

It woulda annoyed the hell out of me if I didn't write it, but if you want to leave the story as it is, all dramatic ending and not knowing what happened bla bla bla, then don't read the next chapter, `kay? Bye.

*****