Living on Fire

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Warning: This fic takes place in a psychiatric ward, and deals with a supernatural explanation for one person’s illness. Being a work of fiction, this is NOT an accurate reflection of actual mental illness in every day life. If you are having symptoms consistent with mental illness, please seek medical attention immediately.

Based on an anonymous request on Tumblr: “Reader is a pushover to everyone she knows, after meeting dark and having a few ‘intense therapy’ sessions with him she becomes more confident but greatly dependent upon him for mental ‘support’ and guidance. She let him in! The problem is, she can’t maintain her newfound confidence and instead of focusing it on the right things she has a mental break when Dark neglects her for a few days and comes back to find he has to make the decision to bring her under control or watch her spirit burn.“

Here you go, Nonnymouse! It kinda got away from me towards the end, but I hope you enjoy, nonetheless.

“Her room is down there,” you could hear the nurse saying. “Room seven, bed A.”

There was a low, distinctly masculine voice that responded… but you couldn’t hear precisely what was said, only the cadence of the words in a gentle, raspy rumble that seeped into your bones.

“Yessir.” The nurse’s voice was surprisingly meek, given that she was the type who could practically pass for Nurse Ratched herself. “I’ll make sure you’re undisturbed.”

You then heard footsteps down the hall, the distinct quiet click of a man’s Oxfords with a slight heel. The door – which had already been ajar – swung open. You instinctively clutched at your bedsheets, dreading yet another doctor examining you like a bug under a microscope.

You saw Him – tall, handsome and smartly dressed in a three-piece suit. His complexion was pale, and He had dark eyes that appeared deepset and hooded… as if they contained the most arcane secrets to the very workings of the universe. You didn’t know at that moment that you were looking at a God… but you wouldn’t have disagreed if someone had told you as much.

“I am told you have already received your medication,” He said, seating Himself at the edge of your bed. You immediately sat up to look Him in the eye, not wanting to be caught unawares. “More’s the pity. I was hoping to be able to see you without the effects of your medication, first.”

“Are You my new doctor?” you asked.

“Among other things,” He replied. “I know how you suffer, how you have been locked away because your pain is an inconvenience to others around you. I will do whatever is in My power to ease your suffering.”

You sigh. Others have promised you’d be better before and they’d failed, but He only promised that He’d try to help. His honesty was… refreshing, actually. Cold, but refreshing – like a glass of ice water on a hot summer day.

“Okay, Doctor…” and you trailed off, not knowing His name yet and not wanting to insult Him, however unintentionally.

“Dark,” He replied gently. “Just call me Dark.”

“Dark. Sir.”

He smiled at that, a gentle expression that softened His severe, angular features. He offered His hand to you, palm up, entreatingly. “If I am to help you, there must be no hesitation or concealment on your part. I must know everything. Will you let Me in?”

You nodded. Anything He had to offer would be better than what you had now. Shaking, you placed your hand in His; at the contact, His touch was cool and you could feel untold strength in His fingers. As if it took Him a great deal of care not to crush your fragile bones on accident.


You told Him everything, leaving nothing out, however brutal the revelation might be. You’d talk with Him for hours, and He would always listen patiently. His deep voice comforted you, and He never offered you the platitudes and niceties others had before. He told you the truth, never lied, and never made a promise He would not keep.

You’d leave every session with Him feeling emptied. As if your insides had been scrubbed clean of all the pain, the hurt leaving something astringent that stung but reminded you you’re still alive. The voices were gone. The only voice you heard now was His.

In the group art therapy sessions held by the hospital staff, you reclaimed your old passion for drawing and painting. Your works were an abstract mix of dark and light – the light being presented as harsh and unforgiving, and the dark as cool and welcoming shadows.

It had been weeks since you’d taken your medication – any medication at all. Weeks since a psychotic episode had flared up. You were not sorry not to be a walking chemistry experiment anymore.

You were no longer sorry for anything. He had delivered you from your private hell.

Mere days after being freed from your private hell, you found a new one.

He had not appeared at the usual time.

You spent the day wandering the halls of the psychiatric ward, hoping against hope He would appear. You asked the nurse, but she could only offer a shrug and a “He’ll be back when He’s back.”

Around nine p.m. your chest started to hurt, as if there were a roaring fire in it, blazing out of control. You huddled in your bed in a tight ball, arms thrown around your legs, weeping uncontrollably. You instinctively rocked back and forth in a vain attempt to soothe yourself.

The nurse realized the trouble and you were injected with a mild sedative. It left you feeling drowsy and more quiescent, but still too full within your mind. You longed for that blessed emptiness you now knew only He could provide.

“Please,” you wept, not knowing whether you were actually thinking it or speaking out loud. “Come back! I can’t live like this! It hurts!”

You felt the air grow a little colder around you, and the silence rung. You brushed the tears from your eyes and looked up. Your eyes widened in shock.

He was there! There, but… different, somehow. More foreboding, more intense… just more than what He had first seemed.

“Hello, My dear.” His voice echoed both in the room and within your own mind. “I am truly sorry for the pain you have been caused in My absence.”

“But it’s okay… right? I mean,” and you sniffled. “You’re here now, and that’s good. Right?”

“I’m afraid it is not that simple,” He replied. “You are a truly special creature, My dear. You dwell in this hospital not because of insanity, but because your soul burns so bright that its heat and flame cannot be fully understood by men. Yours is an affliction of the spirit, which is why medicine cannot heal you.

“It is a rare gift, this fire, but also a curse. You innately feel and perceive all the struggles of humanity… and you suffer so much because of that fire in you. I have been banking your inner fire so you could endure… but because of My absence, that fire is now threatening to consume you.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You have a gift, My dear. A true gift. The skeptics call it a mental illness and the credulous call it ESP. Neither truly understand the full import of it. It manifests as an affliction of the mind, because it is your mind that enables you to perceive beyond human perceptions.”

“I’m… I’m psychic? That’s why I hear the voices?”

“Yes. It is a powerful gift, a very useful one. But it is killing you by degrees now, because it has been denied for so long.”

“What’s going to happen now?”

“A choice must be made. Either you embrace this gift, and all the pain and responsibility that comes with it, and I will aid you in honing and controlling it. Or I can take it from you, leaving you content… but empty, and never reaching your full potential.” He gave a shrug of His broad shoulders, as He gazed at you unblinkingly. “The decision is yours alone.”

You considered it for a long moment. You had always known you were different, and this proved you were indeed special. You didn’t want the pain, but if it meant you could do some good…

“Help me,” you finally said. “Help me control it.”

He nodded and reached His hand out to you. You took it without hesitation now. “Then come with me, My dear. There are many worlds waiting for you.” 


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Mostly, I write stuff. And, like the Egyptians and the Internet, I put cat pictures on my walls. Also, I can read your Tarot.