He sang, he performed for the crowd. The cheers assailed him yet he did not heed them.
The plan was set, it was unchangeable. He had only a few confidences, but those he had were, if hesitantly, sworn to the plan. They knew it was unfortunate, yet expected.
The song. The final song. He sang it as it was his last, and the show was a success. Partially for effect, partially for the plan, he had been locked inside a cage as he sang about the chains of life holding him back. It had been secretly locked by one of the confidences.
He stopped at the end. Took a bow. And spoke.
“Ladies and gentlemen. I thank you for your support of this and all else. And now. This has been my final act.”
As he said this, he struck a match on the side of the cage.
The onlookers looked on, transfixed at what they imagined was a final trick of the show.
He looked up, through the crowd, sadly emotionless.
He dropped the match onto clothes that had been assumed as dampened by sweat, though they were not.
A plume of flame rose up from him. Pain may have been present, it may have not.
It rose higher and higher, and his body contorted; again, possibly at physical pain, possibly elsewise.
Some determined the truth. Some rushed forward, some screamed.
As some came towards the cage, a quiet moan came from the man.
“No, do not come. Do not save me. It would not serve its purpose. It would just do the opposite.”
The living flame rose up, a weight lifted from its shoulders.
A laugh, not spiteful, not a cackle, came from him; a relieved laugh of true joy.
“My final act is done.”
The flame was extinguished as he fell to the ground.