By Channing 11th Grade
Alexander sat beside his campfire satisfied. Fire had always intrigued and comforted him. It was unlike virtually everything else in his life. It was an absolute; always black and white, never a tedious grey area to navigate. Despite its black or white nature, Alexander still found fire to be quite diverse in that he could always find something relatable about it no matter his mental state. When he was angered, it was, too. When he was happy, the flames would dance about gleefully on the logs. Smaller fires also seemed to mimic sorrow because the flames never leapt very high, as though it was keeping it’s head down.
The fire began to crackle as some of the smaller sticks and twigs began to light. Alexander reflected on his day which included a failed test run of the AntiClock. He chuckled at the silliness of the name of the machine that — if successful — would be the most significant invention in all of human history up to that point. Joseph, his assistant, was the man responsible for the cheesy name. Alexander had actually began to grow fond of Joseph, which he found odd as the only other person he had ever had any feelings toward, sweet or bitter, was his wife, Mary.
Smoke started to blow towards Alexander which meant the start of his futile attempts to stay out its way. It always seemed to follow him. This annoyed him, but he put up with it so he could stay close to the fire. It wasn’t even cold out, but he still found it’s warmth comforting. He valued comfort — a luxury he was rubbed of as a child — and the only places he could find the aforementioned luxury was from the warmth of fire and his bride’s touch.
The smoke continued to follow Alexander as the fire grew. His thoughts shifted from his frustrating day at work to his wife, Mary, and “their” two kids, Ivan and Irma. Alexander couldn’t have any biological children of his own. It is NSPA law that enlisted men can’t have children as they might be a distraction and decrease the performance of the soldier. At least, this is the reason the soldiers are given. The real reason is so that the civilian men never out number those in the military, to insure compliance and virtually eliminate the threat of an uprising. Nonetheless, Alexander, having gone through the required procedure, could not have kids of his own.
As Alexander climbed the ranks of the NSPA military, he was slowly granted more and more freedoms, until he was eventually allowed to have children. The only issue was that the procedure cannot be reversed. The only way he could have children is by adopting out of the Komplett Program. This program grew babies that were considered perfect in laboratories as specimens. The goal was to eventually grow an entire perfect race.
So Mary, an at-that-time young woman who had always dreamed of being a mother, convinced Alexander to adopt a boy and a girl out of the Komplett Program. The boy and the girl, Ivan and Irma, were now fourteen. Alexander resented his adopted children as they stole Mary’s time and affection away from him. So, he began to neglect the three of them and spend all of his time away from work with fire. Fire never treated anyone else as more important than him. Fire always had time for him. Fire always provided comfort.