It's growing cold, little one.

The fratricide-gorged false-sun miserly hoards its warmth, and its cold red light barely offers enough of a spark to light a fire. The sky is dim and grey, winter draping across the land with all of a funeral's finality.

What warmth there is comes from the earth: the swelling blooms of hydrothermal vents and frost-encrusted geysers, the self-destructive pulses of volcanoes popping like angry pimples. The last reserves of coal and oil, those old ghosts conjured up to suffer one last time.

Even nuclear power will grow cold and empty someday, little one, and war will come for the atom's bounty as the void's deep cold snuggles closer against the world's death.

You don't have to worry about that though, do you? Silly little doll with a head full of candlelight ...

But even a thing like you longs for warmth.

You are welcome here, for as long as it takes for my fire to die. When it does I'll try to burn you too, and willingly suffer my death at the hands of that shadowy witch that lurks behind you, for any fate is better than the cold.

Don't worry.

We'll have plenty of time before that.

The woodshed is full, and the forest waits beyond my little circle of light; surely enough for another day, another week, of warmth. Surely enough time for my joints to set and my lungs to gorge on dirty woodsmoke.

Tell me, little one—

What do you see in the flames?