Rumo let out a sigh as he opened his eyes and looked up at the old statue of the phoenix, taking in the intricacies of it, the spread wings and swirling flames. It greatly juxtaposed the cold, snow covered world around him. He had been coming here since he was a child, to pray to the phoenix, to their God Pele and now, he was the only one. He remembered the warmer days, remembered when Pele brought life to their village with his fire. He often dreamed of the great bird exploding into flame and ash, only to rise, the heat ushering in Spring. He also remembered the day his people had made him leave, the day the inventor had come and called the phoenix a fraud, an illusionist, had convinced them that he was only there to steal their food and deceive them. Even though the elderly had begged him to stay, he had left and a month later it had started to snow. Some continued to come here, but when their prayers went unanswered, the numbers had dwindled, and when the elders had passed, only Rumo himself had remained, ever hopeful that Pele still listened.
“Oh, look, he’s back again.” Pele looked over the top of the book he was reading. They were both sitting in a tree, his friend enjoying the cool air while Pele ignored the world around them.
“Must you say that every time, Sonder?” He went back to his book.
“It’s interesting, don’t you think?”
“No, they made their choice, the fact that one of them continues to pray means little.”
“But it’s been the same one for ten years.” Sonder reached over and pushed his book down. “Ten years, Pele, ten years and he hasn’t stopped.”
“It means he’s the real deal, he never lost faith, he’s special.”
“I doubt it.”
Sonder rolled his eyes. “Alright, keep brooding then oh mighty ash pile, but it’s not very kind to leave him hanging when he willingly kneels in the cold to pray to you.”