Prompt Day #82: A creature emerges from the incinerator at a crematorium. Describe the physical appearance. Give it one supernatural power. And a motive.
The Remains of Hate
“Just burn him for all I care” Bartholomew Hudson’s wife shoved the casket catalog back to the funeral director. “Whatever is cheapest. Burn him, and dump his ashes somewhere. I wasted twenty-five years of my life with that man, I’m finally free.”
A good funeral director knows when to shut up, and Kyle Rutledge nodded quietly. He knew Mr. Hudson’s reputation. He owned the town’s potato chip factory and employed the majority of the population. This, as far as he was concerned, meant he owned the town as well. Rumor had it, he treated his family as employees too. Bartholomew Hudson expected complete and total obedience without question. He was a tyrant and Kyle assumed by his wife’s reaction that the rumors were true.
“We’ll have his body taken to the crematorium immediately, Mrs. Hudson. But by law, we cannot dispose of his remains. Those become your property. All we can do is keep them in storage until you pick them up. Of course what you choose to do with them after that, is purely your decision.”
“That’s fine. I’ll come get them and then I’ll flush them down the toilet.” she said. She stood up and held her hand out to Kyle. “Thank you. I’m sure you’ll call me when his ashes are ready.”
The body of Bartholomew Hudson was set on the cremation tray and slid into the incinerator. Two thousand degrees of heat wrapped around it. As the remains began to burn, a column of black ash grew out of its chest cavity like a black snake firework. The column grew, rising into the chimney and bursting forth from the roof. The ashes took a humanoid form from which wings sprouted. It stretched its long thin arms the claws at the end of those arms flexed. Freed from the soul in which it was trapped, the beast flew into the air.
The earthly remains of Bartholomew Hudson sat on a tray, awaiting to be crushed. The remains of his hatred and prejudice looked down over the town that had already forgotten him. It neared the potato chip factory, its middle glowing red hot. Alighting on the roof, it kissed the plant with fire and it was engulfed. The ash creature inhaled the smoke of revenge, it tasted the bitter indifference of the loss of its founder mixed with the sweet flavor of karma. It rose and flew on.
The newspaper office sat dark and quiet. The creature found it easily. The paper that printed an obituary written by an ungrateful wife while his money had purchased the press it was printed on. The embers spread into the arms of the beast. It laid them on the wall of the building and it too went up in flames. It swallowed the flames of indignation and grew larger.
Bartholomew Hudson’s bones and bits, now cooled went into the crusher as his emotional cinders made its rounds. His mansion, his home, sat on the hill overlooking the town. The winged personification of a mans isolation and pain, now smoldering red from head to foot flew circles around the more than adequate home. Sparks fell, landing on the roof, the doors and windows, balconies and decks. Soon the place was a roaring bon fire. Those inside, his widow and her boyfriend of many years were trapped. They shouted and screamed for mercy until the carbon monoxide replaced the oxygen in their blood and they fell into a deadly sleep.
The ash creature continued its whirlwind flight around and around, losing itself in the frenzy until it too became lost amidst the flames and smoke. Its job complete.
The cooled and pulverized remains of a man who built and sustained both a city and a family now rested in peace in a small plastic lined container which sat on a shelf in the storage room of one of the few businesses that survived the massive fire that overwhelmed a town that forgot to mourn the loss of its founder.