Charlotte sat in the middle of the fire, eyes closed and a small smile on her lips. She could feel the flames licking across her skin, moving through her body, chasing out the darkness and the evil that had infected her throughout the week. Below her the congregation chanted and prayed as they watched her, she could feel the power of their words, their faith, feeding the flames drawing them ever hotter and ever higher. The flames slipped through her nose and down to her lungs, Charlotte inhaled deeply, then exhaled, sending a geyser of flame into the air. The flames grew hotter and until they were burning blue, they rippled, a darkness travelling through them as it attempted to escape, the flames reached higher and higher until they vanished. Charlotte breathed out slowly, a thin wisp of flame flowing from her mouth and twisting in to the air, it shifted and moved like a snake, looking as though it was scanning the congregation. The flame ended, the remains flowed upwards until there was a small, floating ball of fire before winking out of existence. Charlotte could see that many of the parishioners were sweating heavily, despite the doors and windows being open and the summer breeze that blew through the building. Charlotte herself felt fresh and cool, she always did after a cleansing. She stood and held out her arms, two attendants moved forward and covered her nakedness with a robe, she smiled her thanks to them both, then stepped up to the pulpit.
“If you are pure and true the flames are your friend, they will cleanse your body of your sins, make you as innocent as a newborn babe, fresh from its mother. Fire is not from darkness, for how could it be when it brings light? Fire protects us, fire guides us, fire will free us.”
She paused and let her gaze travel over the people before her, already she could spot three who didn’t belong, more than usual. She smiled to herself, she wasn’t worried about them, they would be brought to justice soon enough.
As usual after her mass people came to her, asking her for blessings, for protection, for cleansing. She found the entire thing both tiring and invigorating. She always left mass with her body tired and her mind racing. For God was in the people themselves and only through understanding the people could she begin to understand God.
The three people had been gathered together in her rooms, they came willingly, they always did. Lured with promises of blessings and promotions within the church. They never realised they were in danger until it was too late. Charlotte didn’t toy with them, she found that tedious. She didn’t care who they were or what they were after. God would keep her safe, would keep them all safe. He watched through every fire, every flame, every light. He knew all and he would guide her to safety.
The burnt corpses were thrown onto the eternal fire, with every body it flared, the flames growing hotter, before dimming again, leaving nothing of the bodies but ash. The flames never rejected those who sought to bring it harm.
Charlotte had started the church only three years before, but they were growing steadily. She had been caught in a house fire, one that killed her abusive husband and their three children. But she had survived and as the flames licked and kissed her skin they brought with them visions, great flaming vistas, a great god, a task that only she could complete. Every day the church grew stronger with more and more coming from all around the world. She could feel it happening, they were reaching the tipping point, soon the entire world would know of her. Local stations had been trying to get interviews with her, but she had turned them down. Already bigger people were taking notice. Videos of her sermons were online, though many believed it was all special effects, those who could see the truth came to her.
Soon the world would hear her and Gods fight would truly begin.