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The man was exploding.

I was young, of course, and had not yet been informed he was an angel. Naturally, then, I saw him for what he was: a shredded mess of gore and bone, torn asunder by holy fire. Chunks of him shuddered and twisted through the air as they resisted the urge to move away, fragments of his skull quivering with kinetic energy, still just barely holding together in deference to his former face. His form was bisected roughly through the mess of his head, with his right side maintaining some semblance of shape and his left ripped open above and below the arm. The small amount of structural integrity he had was contorted limply; it was clear from his body's stance that it was barely supported, and the slightest provocation could have sent it dropping to the ground. He was a spectacle, a firework frozen moments before its burned and broken end. But that's not why I fell in love with him.

I fell in love with him because of the fire.

As he dragged his form through the halls, it poured out endlessly from every gash. It was a maelstrom of energy, a momentary atom bomb suspended and seen through a hazy lens of flesh. Orange-yellow curls around the edge were almost lazy, bending and distorting to avoid people and things nearby. Nearer his skin — his red-raw and blistered skin — it was white. Quite painful to look at. From certain angles, he was a walking silhouette, a macabre puppet show cast by the light inside him. I would sit and stare at him for hours, watching the flecks of blood and bone spin and dance, pulling out almost to reality before descending deep within his furnace. Small fangs of blue occasionally surfaced, if I looked carefully, and were always met with great delight. Spotting them became a kind of game.

And at the centre, an impossible colour. It is strange to me, now, that I never looked at it. I swear I was gripped by the curiosity, but maybe… maybe not. Maybe I understood, as a child, that I simply couldn't look at it. That it wasn't made for my eyes, and never could be. Without the stories in my head to tempt me in, maybe I saw the truth.

Or maybe I was just too stupid to realise what I had in front of me. It's hard to say. In any case, it doesn't matter much now — by the time I find an answer, I'll either know it already or I'll be dead.

I have a small cut on my neck, where shaving inattentiveness met a too-sharp razor. It's difficult to see, except in darkness, but there's a light that trickles out from it, wispy and indistinct. I have a challenge, now. I have a journey to undertake. I know where I will find him, and I know what I must do to get there. This note is for no-one but myself — it's highly likely that I'll lose my mind along the way. But that's okay. Two mysteries circle my head, keeping me anchored, grounded to reality. Two mysteries that I know will burn like fire in my mind even after every other shred of my psyche is lost.

I wonder what you did, Mother, when you first brought him to me that night.

And, when I finally find him again, I wonder if I'll find you there too.

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