Flight of the Phoenix
by Sean L. McLane
copyright 1991

It isn't easy being a mythical beast. Trust me, I've learned this firsthand. I am the phoenix, also known as the firebird, or thunderbird. Long ago, I was feared, and sometimes even worshiped, but now I have automobiles named after me.

I don't have a name; no one has ever bothered naming me. I am remembered as a thing: an unintelligent beast of destruction that must be stopped at all costs. That is not true. I am a thinking, feeling being that simply wants to be respected, not feared.

I do not know how I was created, or if there have ever been any others like me. All I know is that I have existed for thousands of years, and that I am immortal. Immortality doesn't mean that I cannot die. It just means that I get better after dying.

Death is painful. Each time I die, I am destroyed by my own flames, and am aware throughout the entire experience. The fire consumes my feathers and sears my flesh, reducing me to ashes. After dying, I go into a hibernation that can last only six months, or can last for centuries.

Whenever I rise from my ashes, I am always insane. That's why some of history's greatest heroes have been sent to destroy me. My rampages usually last for only a week, but that is often long enough to attract attention to myself.

Not this time, though. I arose in a remote part of the world, and the destruction of my madness went largely unnoticed. Contrary to the legends, I am not a gigantic creature, having a wingspan of only 20 feet (heroes tend to exaggerate their victories), so I'm not likely to be noticed by human technology. Finally, I am for once of sound mind, and quite able to think about what I am doing.

I have risen in a time where one who wields power well can go very far. I ought to do well in this modern world, for I _AM_ power.