Friday, August 03, 2012

Look to your Legends

"This world was born in fire."

Diane stepped back from the waves of heat streaming from the other.

"And fire has purged it more than once. It belongs to us."

"We've shared this world for so long," Diane said, "but you've remained a secret. How've you managed that?"

The living flame before her spoke again.

"Look to your legends. The theft of fire; you know what happened to the thief. Or your visions of hell."

The flame deepened in color, growing colder for a moment. "You are ridiculously easy to manipulate."

"I've researched the legends," said Diane. "That's how I found you in the first place. But scary monsters and hellfire can't be the whole story. How have you kept yourselves hidden?"

The flame moved closer to the bank of computers Diane used for her research.

"All this," a flame licked out towards one of the computers, "will soon be no more than melted metal and plastic."

"That will do you no good," Diane answered. "I have everything backed up offsite."

"That will be taken care of, at the proper time."

"Why are you here?" Diane asked. "I haven't found any evidence of this kind of encounter. Hints, but nothing approaching proof."

The plastic casing of the computers began to melt in the heat.

"We are very careful how much information we allow survive." The flame moved closer to Diane. "Or who."

Diane moved, unhurriedly, behind her desk.

"You don't frighten me."

"You should be frightened," the flame countered. "People burn easily."

Diane smiled as she pulled a small breathing mask from her desk drawer.

"You have even more need of oxygen than we do," she said.

The flame increased to a blaze, shadows flickering across the walls. Diane slammed down the emergency release and the office was filled with a fire-suppressing, inert gas.

The flame roared and shot towards her. She backed up but a tiny tongue of fire singed the back of her hand before the flame guttered out.

Diane held the breathing mask to her face and, wincing from the pain of the burn, flushed the gas from the room.

She frowned. "That was easier than the research suggested." She shrugged. "Maybe it's just a question of today's technology."

She left her office, heading for her off-site backup.

Later she'd notice tiny flecks, flame-colored, in her irises. But, by then, her research would be gone.


  1. Well, I guess that settles the question of whether fire is alive. Nicely done.

    1. Thanks, Tim. Yep, it does settle it, doesn't it? :)

      Glad you liked it.

  2. Hee hee... You don't mess with the legends. They trump technology every time.

    1. Well, Diane now knows why she didn't find any records of such encounters. Too late, of course.

      Thanks for stopping by, Laura.

  3. We think we're so damned smart, but it's the simple, eternal things in life that wield the most power.

    1. Yes, Diane got a little ahead of herself. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Ah you could say she's going to feel the heat now yes? Nicely done.

    1. To misquote "House of Cards" - you could say that, Helen. I couldn't possibly comment. :D

  5. It was the most thoughtful fire I'd ever met, even if it was also more menacing and mean-spirited as well.

    1. And, apparently rather dangerous - certainly to computer equipment and records.

      Thanks for the comment, John.

  6. Ooooh, double twist - love it Kevin! You did a super job of conveying such a Large Lesson in a small space.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Deanna. Many thanks for your comment.