now, my older brother, he was allowed fire, but only when he was out of town on bussiness. he'd fill up his lamp with coals & go out wandering through-out the darkness, setting blobs of hydrogen akindle. dad didn't like this, but he tolerated it in the grumpy sort of fashion any parent who disaproves of their offspring's profession tolerates it. my younger brother, with his hem always in the blood river that ran through our back yard, had long ago dirtied all his clothes with ashes from those ancient primordial fires, but other than that seemed pretty indiffrent to the whole situation. so it was left to me, under the tyranny of my father, to set up the classic rebellion didactic.
so one cold mornings (where we lived it was always cold, but we liked it that way), i pulled on my coat & my rubber galoshes, & set off wading out into the lake that lay out our front door. i waded out for a few good minutes, until i figured i had probably shaken the scent off the water so my father couldn't follow with his hounds. i really, really hated my father's dogs growing up; they were big, vicious things with no regard for any creature but him. ugly, bristle haired things, they would strain at their leashes every time one of us boys would walk past where they were chained up. having tried to mask my scent in the lake, i started off at a perpendicular pace, trying to put some distance between the house & myself. after a while, i came across a pretty big sandbar & i follwed that up out of the water onto the shore.
i had come to the remnents of this broken place. i learned latter that it was one of the hollow worlds my father would create in his dark moods, & then shatter, but at the time i didn't have the first clue. but i saw the jagged lip of a cavern &, being a boy naturally inclined towards fearlessness & curiosity, i dangled me feet over the edge & lept down, carefully as to avoid the shards that stuck out farther than others. i must have fallen for days, but eventually i came to the floor of the cave as gentle as a feather. everywhere there was an eerie sort of corpse-candle glow, as though the foul vapors drifting about the place where licking the walls with light. floating through it was a bluish-green puffball of hate that i nemed dem. he became my first pet & in a lot of ways, my best friend.
dem & i explored around the qliphah a little while, but we soon decided that i wasn't going to find any fire here. there were weird things that lurked in the deepest places & made sounds like stranglings, half-gurgled screams, but from what i could tell they were basically all pretty stupid. i wrung my hands & would have given up, but i decided that on my way home, i would stop by & see my little cousins, who adored me, & see if i could enlist them into helping me in my mission. they were my father's children too, but my cousins at the same time, & i couldn't really figure out how this could be, but with the casual indiffrence of childhood, i payed it no mind & set off from the ruined world back towards civilization. when i started getting closer to where my (mine!) cousins were staying, i realized i had to do someting with dem. he was bobbing about, a little wisp of malice, & drawing all sorts of attention to us. so i called him over & bound him up in a tea pot, corked the spout with wax, & kept on my merry way.