Black. There was something distinctly wrong about the color black. Dark and absorbing, yet fully capable of discomfort. Too close of an association with death, no doubt. Foreboding and yet alluring, most probably because it was so foreboding. The shade of night was black, the one color a flower was not was black, the robes of the Grim Reaper were black, surely Cerberus perched before the gates of the underworld was black, even the ink with which he wrote these observations was black. And truly these observations, like the color they lived in, were black. Distinctly wrong. And very discomforting.

The pen shook, though his hand was steady, such was his passion. His inspiration maddening, though he possessed no fury. He was full of the dark stuff that genius is made of. The stuff that begins life beautiful, bright, and white hot but over time, through misunderstanding and consequently fear, through misdirection and lack of guidance, becomes warped and demented, bittersweet. And it burns with a fire thus unknown, a fire full of faith, the kind that holy men dream of, aspire to, kneel before in awe. And the fire is bright, but the fire is dark, and it burns with a steady desire, a thirst that can never truly be quenched. The Sisyphus legend revisited, and it bows before no one. An unshakeable faith that worships no god but is its own god. Defined blasphemous based on idolatry. Sinful based on law. Wicked based on reason. Brilliant based on opinion.

The ink was splattered and splotched and smeared, but his words were clear. Calm in the middle of a hurricane. He knew with every curving letter, every dot of a period, cross of a T, he was further damning himself. Now, it didn't even matter if his work was read or not. He had passed the point where that was necessary. He had become his own law now, his power limited only to himself. There comes a point in a pawn, a slave, a puppets life, when they are no longer the tool of society. There comes a point where they choose their own fate, cut their own cloth. The idea itself, simply allowing himself to consider the possibility, had been enough to cut a piece of cloth proper only for a death shroud. And with his ink, his parchment, with the scratch of his quill, he was deftly and knowingly forming a makeshift rope with his cloth and with each passing moment he was tightening the knot.

He could feel pressure on his larynx now, the acceptance of his fate was so tangible. But his hand did not veer from its course. Scratch, lift, dip, lift, scratch, lift, dip, lift, scratch. Always starting where he finished, never ending where he began. His mind a flurry of activity, an internal voice the motherly, soothing voice of reason, quelling his fears and the din of the words as they bounced, and fell to rise again in a cacophony of inspiration. A magnetic dance of the quiet drawing the loud but the loud refusing to be silenced. A symphony of suicide.

His conviction so immense and his hand flying with such a fury that as the pressure seemed to grow around his throat and his vision grew hazy, he would have sworn he was setting the very pages on fire. A heat that had previously seemed to burn in his heart now seemed to burn in his arm, his wrist, his hand, his fingertips, now warming his other hand calmly resting on his desk, now wrapping around this wrist, caressing this arm and embracing what he assumed was the starting point but was really the end. And it torched his very soul, as realization set in: His heart wasn't in his chest, his heart was in his hands. And as it burned, so did they. As they burned, so too, his words would burn.

The fire rising to an almost uncomfortable temperature, he lays his quill down, finished. Nearly complete and satiated. And he sits back, as the flames begin to wear him down. His strength fleeting now, he relaxes as the noose tightens. He does not mourn as the parchment crinkles and withers and turns to ash. But instead he rejoices as the fires spread to the walls, the floor, the chair he rests in. And he smiles as the fire burns. Wicked words, and a wicked deed, done by a wicked man. The colors fade as it all goes black, that distinctly wrong color, but the warmth never fades.

They find him in the morning, seated at his desk. Baffled by a mystery classified as murder, speculated as suicide. Strangulation by foreign hands, a hanging by familiar ones. The rope bears blood and possibly ash. Most baffling by far is the room itself. A contained fire. In each wall, each floor board, in the drawers of his desk, on the legs of his chair, words. Burned in a perfect, clear script. Done by a calm, steady hand. They cannot be covered. Bad things that cannot be made nice again. A genius, twisted. And it cannot be untwisted. A maddening inspiration of inspired madness. If it burns with a fire thus unknown, this fire burns wicked.