The warm light was receding, slowly pulling away from the tree tops, drowning the forest clearing in darkness. it was as if time was'nt moving at its right speed, the water was turning cold. Still she kept her legs submerged. She had gone through with this process so many times, yet each time hit her with waves of remorse. She knew of the pain that was to come. Tears were slowly streaming down her face, not for the pain but for how resigned and vulnerable she felt each time. She looked around the clearing, wondering if she would remember it. Trying to commit every feature to memory, hoping that its imprint would remain burned in her immortal mind. The forest had seen many things. The moments spent in this forest of the past 20 years of her life were playing around her as if on fast forward. She knew the time was near.

Slowly she got to her feet and started making her way into the pond. Even in the dusk, it shimmered like liquid gold, swirling around her. she was in till her torso but she kept on moving. In her eyes was the wisdom born of her past experiences, an elegance, a grace that came only by accepting your fate. She was almost completely submerged by now. She wondered if the supposed rewards she got were really worth what she faced. Now she realized that it was a curse rather than a gift. The gods' sadistic way of gifting her.

A sudden Blaze came up around her and she struggled to keep calm. Her heart beat wildly, her body on fire, she felt like her soul was being pulled away from her. She burnt for what felt like forever, her scream,bloodcurdling, piercing the winds. A wild music played in her ears, trying to soothe her. She struggled to keep consciousness, she knew she could not die but human instinct urged her to fight. Her past selves wept for her pain. Their tears, unknown to them,pierced her rather than being a source of consolation. She was delirious from the pain now. But she kept on bidding her time. She was turning to ash now, gold flecks rising around her, slowly disintegrating her. It kept on going, until she was no more, just part of the golden pond. Until she rose again. A phoenix rising from the ashes...