He'd been traveling through an unpopulated stretch of rural highway and hadn't seen a residence or a sign of human activity for many miles when his car broke down.
The temperature had dropped to a degree that frightened him. He was sure it was below freezing.
He was moving. The good-byes had taken longer than anticipated, but the process was necessary. There needed to be closure on both sides before he left. Not that there were no loose ends. They had done the best they could. Difficult as it was, he had not yet regretted the decision, even as his feet began to hurt from the cold.
Nothing had been shipped. The car and everything in it was all he owned.
The decision to burn was not one he took lightly. Some things would simply be too messy to burn. Others would likely put off toxic fumes, yet he ignited them anyway, creating some protection from inhaling them by covering his mouth with a t-shirt dampened by the bottle of water he had been nursing on the drive.
The books, though. The decision to burn the books had been the most difficult. He had never burned a book in his life, and honestly, they were the most logical choice for kindling and should have gone first.
Considered the metaphor -- igniting them literally the way they had ignited him figuratively -- he set them ablaze, exchanging knowledge for life.
Was he really, though? He could buy more books.
And burning everything, right here, he could end one life. One world would come to an end. Another would take its place.