Fire devours the metal

Lynlee Derrick

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Fire devours the metal

Trapped like a cornered ravenous rat, magma flows beneath the crust of the planet. Deafening cracks, sounds of screeching and shattering, and rocks carelessly colliding litter the tight space between each plate; the sounds of progress create a hymn of nature.

Bubbling beneath the crust, molten rocks cool with the gust of unknown passing through. Favorable conditions mixed with the correct dosage of elements nurture the formation of the metal.

Clumping and lumping together, the metal drives deep into the rocks around; with a warm embrace, the metal is greeted by its surroundings, and it remains there. Silently—hardly moving with the earth’s plates—it remains pacified beneath the feet walking miles and miles above.

A sunlight-bright shine gleams over the lump of metal; revealing itself as gold, the broken brown patches struggle to compose their daring dirt disguise.

With the appearance of that gleam, the earth loses its secret: a valuable is lodged deep down in unexplored crevices. Greed consumes the feet walking above, and they dig; they dig, and dig, and dig. They dig further and further into the unknown rock, enthralled by the sighting of such magnificent metal.

Blades separate the hug of rock—a hug the metal had cherished—into defeated fragments of safety. Gloved hands rip the metal out of its home and transport it to the surface.

A sea of blue skies floods the metal’s surroundings, different than the pointed and rough rocks from below. Wedged in the iron-tight grip of the gloved stranger, the metal’s disguise falls off with every rhythmic step that called upon a spiritual beat.

The slam of a door, creaks of wood boards, and distant chirps from monotonous robins outside signal the entrance to a new world. Heat creeps upon the gold’s lump; the feeling intensifies as a burning light manifests in a macabre fireplace.

Different than its origin of fire within the earth, the flames coming into view were not graceful; unlike the streams of magma that weaved through the rocks, these flames snap against the wall, demanding to be satiated.

Arid air replaces the cool gusts as the flames devour the room. The gold, situated in the hands, is brought before the fire as if it is emulating a religious offering. Carefully—attempting to appease the fire—the gold is placed inside a cylindrical object; then, fulfilling the fire’s appetite, it becomes the fire’s prisoner.

Behind metal bars of flame, the gold murmurs change through sizzles and pops. Walls of fire encircle the cylinder with the gold inside. A war between the gold’s will, its very core teachings, and the fire’s unbending need to dominate fills the arid air.

Pressure, laced and sprinkled with the sweltering, oppressive heat, overwhelms the small sampling of gold; the cylinder can only provide so much.

Curling begins to populate the gold’s edges as it bends. The fire grows larger, emboldened by the weakened gold.

As the tallest flame, reaching new heights in the fireplace, towers over the gold, the metal resigns from its battle lines and waves its metaphorical white flag.

An overpowering crack pierces through the air as the gold snaps while encapsulated by flames of pressure. The gold is supposed to be indestructible, glossy, and appealing; it is expected to be clever and useful. It is expected to do so much with so little.

Yet with the torturous toss into the fire—the pit of expectations and demands of who and what it should be—the gold has failed; it has been stamped underneath the pressure, snapped in half, crushing the soul of itself and all those who are watching.