Writing Rammy Winner, 15-17 age group
The Arsonist's Euphoria by Kate O'Growney, age 16
He found in his early years that no, he was not like the average man. He looked like one, he spoke like one, he drank like one, but he did not think like one. How many average men wanted to turn everything their fingers touched to ashes? Few. Perhaps one in seventeen. Yes, he knew well enough that many went through fazes of carnage - a deep urge inside them to revolt with a lighter as their lieutenant.
He had been one of them, but where the others had stopped their dangerous thoughts and had become a more civilised version of themselves, he fell deeper and deeper and deeper until he couldn't explain why he saw embers wherever he went - embers just wishing, waiting, to be nurtured. He thought himself a nurturer of nightmares; one who created and helped them through his own desperate desire for...death? Well, maybe. After all, flames led to death.
The image of hell in many a mind whispered of flames reaching the ceiling. That was not hell for him; Hell was waking up every morning and pretending he met society's criteria. Hell was at his parent's dinner table every Friday night and acting like he didn't resent every pore in their skin, every bone in their body. As a child, their door locks and grand pillars has morphed into chains and metal bars. Hell was going to mass every Sunday and coming out, claiming he'd been cleansed only to return to his darkest desires the following day. He didn't light up on God's day - he wasn't completely evil.
He was a murderer. Not always of people of ideas, memories, wishes and dreams. Sometimes of people, but not always; they got in the way when they weren't supposed to and that wasn't his fault.
He had once written down somewhere that he preferred to obliterate other people's dreams and wishes because he hadn't been allowed them. Dreaming was for the gullible, and to survive in this world you had to be the predator of your own dreams, not the prey. He wasn't just the predator of his dreams, but the predator of other's dreams as well.
He was a powerful human being. He felt powerful when he had a matchstick between his fingertips and a matchbox in his other palm. Some people looked to different forms of release - each to their own. His release prepared itself when he was bouncing on the balls of his feet, anticipation fluttering around in his stomach, his breath quickening and his heart pounding in his chest; threatening to act like his stomach, grow wings and leave it's cage. He could feel it building up in his body, his bloodstream being set alight with an invisible fire of ecstasy that threatened to consume him.
And then, it struck.
His release made a path through his bones, shaking him to his core as heat fanned his skin and the flames in front of his warmed his cells. It was something akin to euphoria, weightlessness as he heaved in a gulp of the sweet smell of burning wood. His eyes were attached to the bellowing curls of smoke rising before him.
And for one moment, a moment he would recreate often, he felt alive.