A/N: Thank you lovelies for reading and reviewing! Thanks to my beta, Bublichka one last time.
The event talked about in here is a real event.
An artist named Gregory Alan Isakov inspired me while writing this chapter, made me cry while writing my last words.
Thank you again for coming on this journey with me.
They had to be on the road for their almost full day drive to the one place Bella had dreamed of going to.
The Burning Man Festival.
Bella had long given up her daily obsession of starting fires. Though the transition had started her junior year of high school, it soon became background noise and eventually silenced by the time she reached college. One contributing factor was the fact she had to live in an apartment and safety was a big concern; neighbors wouldn't like it so much if you were burning plastic and set off fire alarms. Also, her studies and thirty hour a week job took up a lot of time as well.
She still kept up to date on all things fire, but the desire to go outside and take a match to paper or random objects wasn't there anymore. She mourned it all a little bit, but was also thankful it didn't occupy her time as much as it used to. But, she wanted to celebrate her passing of her teens and entering her twenties, feeling it a new beginning of sorts. Bella decided to finally attend the event with Edward her junior year of college.
"What time are they getting in?" She asked, propping her feet on the dashboard of Edward's car.
She caught Edward eying her short clad legs. "Around six in the morning."
They were picking up Charlotte and Peter from Reno, before heading down to the makeshift city that would take over Black Rock Desert for a week.
Bella clapped her hands together, pre-event excitement ran through her veins. "I can't wait."
A comfortable silence passed over them. The blazing hot sun beat down on the dashboard, the air conditioner hummed along. Edward smiled crookedly at her. "I love you happy."
She felt his hand press to hers on top of her thigh. She gently held it as she leaned her forehead against the passenger window, watching the world pass by. Bella had lots to be happy about. She was going from one celebration to another.
Hours ago, Bella welcomed Sue, Leah, and Seth into her family.
She had watched Sue and Charlie exchange vows. While she was really fucking happy that they had found each other, she hoped their kiss was PG. Not that she expected Charlie to suddenly become a Casanova in front of the seventy five guests.
"You may now kiss the bride." The priest delivered the time old phrase to the couple in front of him. A series of cat calls, whistles and claps filled the Swan backyard as Charlie and Sue kissed chastely.
The reception tent was alive and kicking a few minutes later, as tables took up most of the space and a small dance floor sat in front of a stage area. The whole wedding was put together by Alice Cullen and appropriate for the random Forks weather. Happy wedding day, here's some good luck, but enjoy the mud and shit. Fucking Mother Nature.
The Shindigs played an upbeat wedding friendly song, as Bella looked at the guests dancing. Her new step sister Leah, was dancing with her long time boyfriend, Sam. Since Bella had moved out for college, Leah and Seth took over Bella and Emmett's rooms respectively.
Speaking of the devil, Bella watched Emmett dance with his new fiancée, Rosalie. He proposed to her after a game with big letters held by a section of the spectators in the stands. Bella thought he was a cheeseball for doing it that way. An unoriginal lug of a cheeseball.
She watched as people casually talked with one another. She noticed her new step brother Seth, Jacob and the boys from the fire department playing hacky sack on the lawn next to the tent, knowing that a fancy formal event was the last place any of them would rather be.
Bella caught Alice and Jasper standing near some tiki torches that kept the treacherous bugs away. She stood up to join them, needing to converse with them since she hadn't seen them often enough.
"So I told him 'What? Get out of town, I am not stitching that on your pants'" Alice's animated hand almost knocked Bella in the face, but she stopped before she met it. "Oh my Bella, I'm sorry I didn't see you there."
Bella smiled, standing between them completing a conversational triangle of sorts.
Bella listened to Alice finish her story involving a difficult male client and his high demands. Bella wished she saw Alice for more than a few days out of the year, but living out of state dampened any lengthy reunions.
"Babe, you really need to quit taking on people who you hate." Jasper gently chided Alice for her endless good nature. He placed a gentle kiss to her forehead.
Bella reflected on Jasper and something that happened a few months ago.
For the better part of three years, Bella had been studying at a university in northern California. She had only recently declared her major, Industrial Design, loving to mess around with concepts and ideas. Often times, she'd build things from scratch; molding, melting, cutting, hammering, even burning things that would eventually make their way, one way or another, into the consumer world.
Alice had called Bella to say that Jasper and her wanted to visit them for a few days. Alice said they also had a surprise announcement.
After spending a few hours with Edward whipping up a meal in their kitchen, Bella welcomed Alice and Jasper to their apartment. It felt like they had never left. They spent hours catching up, even though they talked on the phone every other night. There was something about sitting face to face with your friends that allowed more things to be said.
And in that moment, Alice and Jasper announced to Edward and Bella that they were engaged. Congratulatory hugs were exchanged. Bella knew that Alice would end up talking to her about all the wedding plans, even though Bella would rather not know about the million kinds of silk and taffeta there was. It's just clothes, what the fuck does that have to do with spending the rest of your life with someone? But, she did because she loved Alice.
Later, after the cleaning up and a round of charades, the four of them retired for the night. Bella had awoken in the middle of the night to hang out in the living room; finals had just completed and she couldn't get out of the all-nighter habit right away.
She was surprised to see Jasper up, sitting in an armchair by the second floor window. His face was lit up by the orange glow of a street lamp.
"Hey, what are you doing up?" Bella yawned loud and clear.
"Hey." Jasper sounded slightly panicked. "Just thinking."
Bella sat in the sofa across from Jasper, watching a million emotions play across his face. She knew that Jasper was never someone who let his internal thoughts display freely. She also had lots of practice from noticing the same thing from Charlie.
"What's going on?" Bella bent her leg, her chin resting on her knee.
"Well…" Jasper sounded unnerved; Bella knew the quiet Texan to be nothing short of calm and collected. It rattled her that there was something that could shake him up. "…its about Alice. She thinks she might be pregnant." He made no move to look at Bella.
"Is that the reason you guys are getting married?"
"No." Jasper denied right away. "I had been planning on this for a while, but Alice wanted her business to get up and started first."
Bella was saddened that Alice had not said anything at dinner. Was Jasper supposed to be telling her now? "Does she know you're telling me?"
"No. I wasn't sure how she would break the news to the both of you. I'm not sure what she's thinking and what she wants to do. She hasn't said anything much to me about it since we found out."
Bella had no clue how to handle any of this. What would she know about pregnancy? She barely had an ounce of fat on her body and she definitely knew nothing about taking care of a baby. She wasn't even sure she wanted one herself someday.
"Maybe you can talk to her? Couples tend to do that." She internally shrugged, stating the obvious; because Bella wondered why people couldn't just do that. She knew the truth hurt and when it came time to let it go, there was a sting but also relief.
"She doesn't seem like she wants to talk about it." He let go a heavy sigh.
"Well, you can't stay tight lipped with each other for long. Babies tend to do this thing called grow." Bella wasn't sure how she could help Jasper, other than telling him what he already knows.
"I know, but there is just…I mean, we want to start a family some day but there's…" Jasper took a deep breath, steeling himself for what he has to say next. "…no room in our lives right now for a baby."
Bella felt this pang in her chest for the unborn baby in Alice's womb. There wasn't anything more heartbreaking to her than hearing a story about a child who is unwanted or one who is born into an unfortunate situation.
It triggered her own memories of the time she heard about someone who had to be given up. Someone who never got to know his mother or to grow up in a loving environment. All she could envision was the baby being taken away because Alice and Jasper couldn't keep it. They were too young to handle a child, their lives still developing and becoming the people they would be.
And to handle Alice's family with the fallout that would happen? The Cullens would constantly coddle Alice and force her to do things if she had a child now. Alice had a thick skin when it came to herself, but with her family? There was barely a layer of it.
But who's to say that Alice was even pregnant. Those home pregnancy tests touted that they were accurate nine times out of ten, but in reality, they're probably just fucking plastic sticks with some sort of color changing voodoo that happens when you pee on it.
"Jasper…does Alice know this?" Bella felt an obligation to both of them, but she felt the need to protect Alice and her delicate state more. Maybe it was her femininity making a grand appearance.
"I think she is aware of it herself, but isn't telling me. God, I love that woman and her stubborn loyalty to everything."
Bella rolled her eyes. They were idiots who needed to fucking talk and stop dawdling. "Then why aren't you saying anything to her? Jasper, get to it. If you have an inkling when it comes to Alice, you're probably right."
"Maybe. You might be right."
She knew when people were hiding away things and masking them as something else. The covers certainly felt nice to wear, but they weren't protecting anything more than people's pride.
Jasper and Bella talked for a few more minutes before they said their good nights. She understood afterward that he just needed a pep talk.
A few months later at the wedding, Bella would see the happy couple knowing that Alice had terminated the pregnancy. It wasn't any less difficult, but the thought of 'what could've been' with a full grown human being versus a tiny bean, it was decided the latter was less painful.
"Bella loves taking on pains in the asses. Don't you?" Edward made his own sneak attack, wrapping his arms around Bella from behind.
"Yep. That's why I'm with you." She gently elbowed him in the ribs, but she knew that Edward didn't mind.
"Hey. How goes it Eddie?" Peter playfully asked as Charlotte and him stowed away their minimum luggage in Edward's vehicle. They hoisted two bikes on top of Edward's old SUV, tying them down tightly.
"Hey, I thought you mentioned bringing a tent with you?" Edward questioned, remembering the agreement the two couples had come to. Peter and Charlotte were to bring the shelter, while Edward and Bella bought the food. The four of them would bring their own bikes, as no cars were allowed to be driven around there.
"Silly, Eddie. Don't you know we're all about charity?" Charlotte slapped his shoulder, sitting behind Edward.
"What do you mean?" Bella glanced back at the couple through the rearview mirror. She had heard lots of stories from Edward about how both of them never possessed much and practically gave away all their money.
"We buy our things new and donate them when we're done."
Charlotte directed Edward to an outdoor store not that far from the airport. They picked out a tent big enough for four people, sleeping bags big enough for two people to fit in each, and every necessity for the nights they would spend outside.
The number one policy of the festival was to leave the place the same way you found it, so tons of trash bags were purchased.
Edward and Bella picked up a week's supply of food that could withstand the desert heat. The coolers they had taken with them was packed to the brim with refreshments and food for the next week. They brought a few bags of ice and were reassured by Charlotte and Peter that the event sold ice if they ran out.
Soon, they were on the road again to their destination. Thankfully, the two past participants in the car knew what time to get there so as not to arrive when the initial rush happened.
Bella eventually tuned out Peter and Charlotte as they talked about…something. Probably some sort of political crusade they could've gotten behind. The long drive through the desolate land and mountains left only so much room for sight seeing.
She gazed out her window again, pondering the first time Edward bought the SUV they were driving in. Edward's family asked him to move out at the end of junior year of high school. He went without a word, despite Alice's protests to let him stay until he graduated. But, Edward moved out in the summer, desperate to get away from there.
He placed his stuff in storage, whatever he had that was his. He bought the SUV with the intention of sleeping in it for his final year of school.
"Edward, you are not sleeping in a car. That's fucking ridiculous." Bella paced her living room, as Edward sat on her couch. Jasper and Alice were present for the conversation as well.
"It's not a big deal. It's not even for a year." Edward leaned his elbows on his knees, staring up at Bella.
"What if you stay here?" Bella stopped, liking this idea very much.
Alice laid the truth out there. "I think you'd have one dead Edward on your hands if Charlie found out."
"What if Edward stayed at my place?" Jasper looked around at the three of them.
It sounded like a good plan to Bella, other than her original one. Edward moved whatever possessions he had into storage and slept on an air mattress at Jasper's house. Other than that, senior year managed to remain drama free.
Both Bella and Edward applied to colleges together and it was obvious that, and widely known, they would go to the same school anyway.
It seemed the logical choice for Edward to major in photography. To be honest, Edward never cared too much about what he would spend his time majoring in, but that he was going somewhere alongside Bella. She loved Edward, but she wasn't about to have him trail her around all the time like a puppy dog. She made sure that they made friends.
Luckily there was a student-run art gallery not too far from the apartment they shared, where Edward put up various photo exhibits and Bella showed off her conceptual designs. Many different people visited the store front gallery and Edward and Bella ended up making friends with a couple, Kate and Garrett. Kate became a fantastic person for Bella to turn to; she was her California Alice. Garrett on the other hand, was like a second older brother to her.
Both of them studied hard and long to maintain the excellent grades needed to stay in the school. Long study sessions were definitely of the utmost important. It was lots of work with hardly any play.
Well, there was some play.
There were nights when they wanted nothing more than to hold each other close as annoying and stubborn professors and deadlines hit them over the head. Then there were times when they needed each other. Sometimes it was a simple kiss on the cheek with arms lovingly circling each other as they cooked dinner. More often than not, there was a strong pull to have the comfort of their bodies against each other.
Bella lived a content life for once and she couldn't believe how lucky she was to have it. There were those who struggled their whole lives to finally feel the way she felt.
The four of them waited at the gate of Black Rock City for a half hour, before their car was searched, checked to make sure their supplies were adequate and they were granted access.
Charlotte and Peter directed Edward to drive to the spot where they would set up camp and park their car. Bella watched the slow building of the city around her, rows of tents hoisted up until late in the day. The four of them pitched their own tent that would be their temporary home for the week. Everyone unloaded armfuls of food, beverages and materials to keep them busy and things the four of them wanted to display.
She witnessed people displaying their artwork. A lady was hoisting up a huge wooden structure of a naked female, who only wore mittens and socks. A car drove past her that was a moving art piece; it was shaped look like a skull, the interior a blood red and the outside lit up in white lights.
Black Rock City's sandy floor burned hot against their shoes. Most people were either building their artwork or walking around to view it. People met their neighbors and prepared for the harsh conditions of the desert. Bella watched a small group of people light up some marijuana; many of the attendees enjoyed the chance to openly smoke the drugs they bought. Peter and Charlotte offered Bella and Edward some of the organic mushrooms they bought from a friend of theirs at the festival, but they declined.
Once all was said and done, Bella stepped outside her tent, taking in the many sights around her. People were biking around the vastly open desert. Late arrivers finally finishing setting up camp, people strumming on guitars as others sang along. Some children played a game of tag.
She couldn't help but feel a sense of community.
Attendees already started burning things, out in the open just like that. The city was governed about some things, but freedom of expression was the big credo; No restrictions or walls holding them back.
Bella smiled to herself; she was in the middle of nowhere but she felt like she was somewhere.
"Hey." Edward wrapped his arms around Bella's waist, burying his nose near her neck.
"It's so beautiful here." She whispered, not wanting to disturb the night. "Not just the quiet, but the freedom of it all."
Bella always loved how Edward agreed with her, but never felt the need to express it with words. His touch was enough.
Eventually, the sun set on the first day of the event and the relentless cold night of the desert took hold of them all. Peter and Charlotte, wired and far from ready for bed, walked around the site all night, while Edward and Bella were quite tired from the long drive they endured and wanted to sleep.
Even though the make shift city was active all the time with noise and traffic, Bella and Edward tuned it all out as they drifted off to sleep.
The sun was brutal as Bella went to work on her art project. She worked under an umbrella, but the high noon heat burned right through. The sweat on her skin stuck in place, the smell of sunscreen she had applied earlier stinging her nostrils. Edward came out of the tent with a bottle of water for her, as she slaved over her creation.
Edward rubbed a few ice cubes up and down the back of her neck, wetting the back of her tank top a little bit. Fuck that feels good. Like being bathed in heavenly cold excellence.
"Oh my God. I didn't know this place would be like a fucking oven." Bella swiped the back of her hand against her dripping forehead. "It's a desert, but enough already!"
"You could remove your tank top." Edward shrugged.
That comment would seem rude under any other circumstance, but it was common place for both men and women to go topless, even braless in the community. Charlotte even did it herself throughout the first couple days of the event.
"You would love that." Bella rolled her eyes, knowing Edward was concerned about her discomfort, but fully aware he would love the sight of her with as little clothing as possible. Nope, these bits are staying in their case.
"Yes. Yes I would." Edward eagerly played and twisted the hem of her tank top. Bella sighed at the feeling of his fingers on her bare skin underneath.
"Save whatever plans you have in your head for a rainy day." Bella turned around in his arms, planting a kiss to his nose.
Edward smirked and returned to his spot inside the tent.
Bella worked on her structure; hammering wood here and tying wire there. She wasn't sure what she wanted to design for her piece, but decided to go with what she was feeling at the moment. The vibe of the place was what she was thinking about at the moment. Lots of peace, love and that fucking heat. So, she constructed a wire heart, peace sign, and sun. The chicken wire encompassed the wood symbols to give it shape. A few other supplementary items would be used to help put it together and she'd be set.
Bella spent the better part of the afternoon and evening finishing up her artwork, stopping only for water and bathroom breaks.
As she put her supplies away, the wind started to pick up and sent sand flying. Warnings from the temporary radio station let attendees know that a sand storm was heading their way.
Bella quickly secured her project and retreated to her tent, where Edward was reading a book. The particles of sand scraped against the tent, the wind that propelled it jostled the fabric a little.
"Did you get to finish?" Edward earmarked his book, before closing it.
"I did." Bella dug through a duffle bag, searching for a clean shirt to change into. She slipped out of her tank top, putting on another one.
Edward came up behind her. "Help me, Bella. I'm scared." Edward might've pulled off how frightened he was of the storm outside if he hadn't sniggered throughout his declaration.
Bella chuckled. "Don't worry, I'll save you."
Edward turned her around, their lips meeting in a slow, intense kiss. Their hands roamed along hidden skin, still damp and dirty from the few days spent in the desert. Edward let Bella's hair down, as Bella's hands lifted Edward's tank top over his head.
They tucked themselves into each other inside their sleeping bag, using that rainy day card instead on a sand stormy night.
The next day Bella and Edward woke up tangled with each other, feeling the hot sun and its blazing heat already beaming on them. The warmth of their bedding was perfect only for the frigid evenings, but when they rise in the morning with it around them, it was way too constricting.
Luckily, they were naked and they didn't have to worry about sticky clothing.
Bella looked up at Edward, who was staring at her half sleepy state. Bella yawned, her eyes watering from the action. Edward rolled his eyes, pinching his nose with his thumb and forefinger. She playfully slapped his chest, his responding chuckle vibrating their bedding.
She pushed him onto his back, straddling him. Their eyes met, daring each other. Bella leaned over kissing his neck, his hands gripping her butt. They moved along each other, groans building in their chests.
Peter and Charlotte however, interrupted whatever they were about to start. "Hey you two, get up. It's wicked outside." Charlotte tried to sell them the idea of traveling during a storm; the sand storm that had started last night was slowly dissipating. Both wore goggles, their mouths covered in handkerchiefs to stave off the whirling sand.
Bella scrambled off of Edward to hide further under their sleeping bag, aware that she was naked in front of other people. "Thanks, but no thanks."
"Did you really pay money to lie around the tent this whole time? Get up; you're here to see shit." Peter shook off some of the sand from his shirt, as Charlotte and he grabbed some bottles of water.
Edward and Bella had a silent conversation. Edward was asking what Bella wanted to do. She looked around their living area; there really wasn't much they could do inside of it. And Peter did have a point; get up and live a little. Bella nodded, letting Edward know they should in fact get their asses up.
"Give us a few minutes." Edward told them, as they were left to their privacy.
All four of them hopped on their bikes to check out the man made city they had access to. The sand pelted Bella's face, only dulled by the gear she wore.
Charlotte and Peter led the way as they made stops at several different camps throughout the small city. They glanced around a flamingo themed camp with different faded pink birds gawking in every direction. They watched some boys' roller skate and skateboard at a California themed camp, complete with a punk rock band playing on a small stage.
Peter and Charlotte took Bella and Edward to a friend of theirs that had a camp called Motherly Devotion, where mothers served cookies and lemonade and dished out advice to some of the younger attendees.
Finally, the four of them made their way to the Center Camp Café. Bella soaked in the sight of the acre wide tent. There were thousands of people hanging out on couches and benches, seeking refuge from the blazing sun.
There were two small stages for performances; one was occupied at the moment by a spoken word poet who was finishing up their set.
Charlotte and Peter promised to meet up with Bella and Edward later on, as they walked in the direction of the stage.
"Are they going up to perform?" Bella asked Edward.
"I guess so. I didn't know they sang." Edward quirked an eyebrow.
Curious to find out, Edward and Bella sat in one of the empty sofas near the stage.
Charlotte and Peter took the stage and sure enough, started their own set. Peter played a ukulele, while Charlotte sang. She had a soft, lilting voice that spoke of romances she had yet to experience and ones she wished to hold onto. Peter provided ambient background vocals when they were needed.
The tail end of the sand storm infiltrated the cafe, but that didn't damper anyone's spirits inside. People participated in free style dancing, swayed along to the music that vibrated from the stage, and people still chatted away with perfect strangers.
Bella leaned her head on Edward's shoulder, feeling entirely at ease. The music hit her hard, the crisp bright sound of the ukulele bringing tears to her eyes.
It wasn't just the sound of happy strings that made her cry, but the fact that her life felt like a joyous one for once. There were no unhappy times she could see coming. No things that could stand in her way or make her feel guilty about the things she liked. She could only think positive for once and it was so beautiful.
Edward heard her sniffle, looking down at her noticing the droplets streaming down her cheeks.
"What's the matter?" Edward softly asked.
Bella shook her head, looking into his eyes. "Nothing. I'm just really happy right now."
Edward brought his thumb to her cheek, clearing it of stray tears before placing a chaste kiss to her lips.
The rest of their time at the festival was filled with discovery and artistic freedom. Bella and Edward freely rode their bikes around the massive makeshift town. Bella chatted for hours with fellow fire loving enthusiasts, exchanging tips and burn stories. Edward admired his girl, smiling at how passionate she was when she talked of her hobby.
Edward carried his camera around with him to take photos of the events. He kept pointing it at Bella, as she shooed him away. I mean, why did he always have to take pictures of her?
"You're the most interesting thing here." He was unwavering in his declaration, as they walked hand in hand.
"But, there are people on stilts and dressed in the craziest shit here. That's something to scrapbook, not my dirt covered face."
"Well, I like my dirt covered girl. Not the man with his genitals painted pink."
Bella snorted, remembering the sight of the man and his sizable penis freely displayed. "You're right. Plus, I'd think you're weird for keeping a picture of a naked man dipped in paint."
"Now, if you were naked and dipped in paint..." Edward pulled Bella closer to him, placing his hand in her back pocket.
Bella stopped, looking up at her boyfriend. That idea wasn't exactly something Bella would be up for.
"Too weird?" Edward read her correctly. "I thought so. Alright, screw the paint. Just be naked."
Bella leaned into Edward's side as they continued their walk to the final event of the Burning Man Festival: the namesake. Thousands of people stood in a wide circle to watch the symbolic man burn tall and bright, the official ending to the annual ceremony.
The tall body loomed over the crowd, acting as a savior and release. Bella had heard stories about the power of the colossal sky scraping figure and how it inspires and infuses into your soul.
A collective murmur from the people filled the usually quiet abandoned desert as the festivity began. Bella and Edward found a spot in the middle of the crowd, a great view of the gigantic wooden man.
Once the music began, everyone quieted down. A parade only fitting for this type of event took place before the burning. Fireworks burned bright in the pitch black sky, as people huddled together in the brisk night. Bella loved the idea of fireworks, but she preferred something bigger and with more fire and less works. Those little bursts of sparkly color were nothing more than light strokes of paint in the sky, not flashy bright flames.
The fireworks died down as the attendees waited in baited breath for the highlight of the festival. Bella tugged on Edward's arm, trying to channel her excitement somewhere. She felt like it would be the greatest fucking moment of her life once that man caught fire.
Then, it happened. The man, his arms stretched above his head toward the sky, his legs in a steady stance, crackled under the fire. It caught on quickly, engulfed in the brightest of oranges, reds and yellows. Slick, smooth flames mimicked the straight and stiff position of the Burning Man as they touched the sky.
In that instant, a loud explosion came from the man. The Earth shook as a big plume of fire lifted higher and higher. It faded into the blackness, smoke mixing with the invisible clouds.
Bella quietly appreciated the sight before her, her heart racing at the thrill of the behemoth fire before her. She had never seen anything like it; nothing would ever come close to this free flying fire. She watched it from its birth, the flame traveling up to the greatest cloud of smoke she could ever think of witnessing ever.
She forgot that she was a human witnessing an act of nature for a while.
She remembered that she was here with the one she loved. To her right, she heard a small intake of breath. She looked up at him, his eyes transfixed on the freestanding form of man before them. A slow smile crept onto his face.
"What? What is it?" She tugged on his arm.
"It's…" He stopped to collect his words. Edward glanced down at her; she saw tears in his eyes. "I get it."
Bella's eyebrows came together. "Get what?"
Edward tilted his head toward the burning. "This. The fire. Why you love it so much. It's beautiful."
Bella smiled the biggest smile of her life. She stood on her tippy toes, planting a kiss to his lips.
The fire continued to burn and would for a long time.