He played the fool and tried to set the Hollow ablaze.
The first time Eamon Parke put match to wood, the Hollow put it out in a matter of moments. The second time, Eamon thought the effort through.
He brought several gallons of kerosene and doused a fair size of the Hollow with it. Satisfied with his effort, Eamon tried again. The flames leapt up and fairly chased him out of the Hollow, a sight which I enjoyed immensely.
I was sitting on the other side of North Road, smoking my pipe and enjoying the man’s frustration. A frustration which became even more evident when a sharp wind sprang up from all points of the compass and snuffed out the flames.
Eamon Parke, a man who was neither particularly smart nor kind, turned around and stomped back into the Hollow. He swore at the stonewall as he climbed over it, at the branches hanging low to the ground, and to the world in general for the failure of the Hollow to stay lit.
Eamon Parke didn’t have long to enjoy his anger.
The Hollow had had quite enough of him.
As Eamon Parke stood in the center of what had been his attempted conflagration, his hat off as he scratched his head, the flames returned.
They were not the weak, short, flickering tongues of fire he had birthed, but blue and violent.
They shredded the flesh from his bones, great, curling strips that filled the air with the stench of death. His screams shook birds from the trees, and the fire kept him alive even as it devoured him.
It took him almost an hour to die, and I watched the entire time. The tobacco from my pipe did little to mask the smell, but I stayed nonetheless.
Some things we must bear witness to, whether we wish to or not.