Chapter 5: Up in Smoke
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
Spells. She knew hundreds of them. She’d been the best at memorizing them quickly, so why couldn’t she think of a single one? She needed fire. It needed to be contained. It wouldn’t do anyone a bit of good for her to burn down the entire forest. That girl, whoever she was, couldn’t see her use magic either.
A spell swelled in the back of her mind. Words came to her tongue. She tasted the magic rolling around in her mouth and smiled. One breath then two escaped from between her lips. Magic crackled beneath her skin. Her fingertips spread before her.
Karl shook himself free and darted away from the outstretched limbs of the creature. With surprising speed, he bounded beneath the trees.
Adette grinned and narrowed her eyes. Calm had returned to her finally. She felt the spell within her. It was tightly wound and pressing outwards like an expanding gas. Her eyes narrowed as she began to focus. Before she could release what was boiling inside of her, she needed to make sure it didn’t fly out of control.
Breathe in. Focus on one place. Breathe out. The world began to go fuzzy around the edges until she could only see the two protruding eye knots at the center of her vision. Slowly she drew air into her lungs until she felt like she was bursting with air and magic.
In a whoosh, she released both her breath and the magic boiling inside of her. It fluttered across the air between her and the creature. The creature’s head lifted as if it could sense it coming. It began to move away but it was too late. Adette was completely focused on the task before her.
Flames burst into life. First one then the other eye became engulfed in a pop of fire. The creature reared and clawed at its face with its thin root fingers. Adette allowed the tightly controlled flames to flicker out onto the root tendrils. The flames raced along every available surface until the entire creature was a single burning pyre at the center of the forest.
Sweat beaded across Adette’s forehead. The flames weren’t content to consume just the creature. They wanted more. Adette fought them off even though it cost her greatly. As the creature was consumed, the flames disappeared until only a small pile of ash remained on the forest floor. With a final pop, the last flame flickered out of existence.
Adette wobbled on her feet but didn’t fall. Karl padded up beside her and plopped his fluffy butt onto the forest floor.
“Is she still out?” he asked turning his snout up to look at Adette. She’d completely forgotten about the girl.
“We’d better make sure she’s ok.” The girl still lay where she’d been dropped, but she seemed to be stirring a little. Adette was grateful that a pile of dust was all that remained of the creature. The girl was highly unlikely to notice it in her dazed state.
“Hey,” Adette queried the stirring girl, “Are you alright?” A big pair of blue eyes flew open and took in the sight of Adette and Karl.
“Get away!” the girl shrieked. She scurried backwards in a flurry of pine needles and leaves. Her limbs bent awkwardly, sending her back into the dirt.
“Wait!” Adette threw her hand out. Her legs did a funny twist under her. She stumbled and then caught herself but the distance between them grew. “Karl, do something.”
Karl lifted his behind from the forest floor and began to trot jauntily after the girl. His tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth in a genuinely cute way that forced Adette to smirk. He easily worked his way around the frantic girl. As she noticed him, she slowed. Karl trotted a bit past her and plopped his behind in the pine needles.
“Are you alright?” Adette inquired. Karl sat panting pleasantly. The girl slowly bent down and reached a tentative hand out toward Karl’s head. He put on his best doggy smile. The girl began scratching behind his ears.
“Yes I think so,” she said dreamily. Adette looked from her to Karl and back. She closed the distance between the two of them. Her fingertips tingled as she began to recall a memory spell she’d learned long ago. When she reached the girl, she laid her hand against the girl’s shoulder.
Instantly, the girl slumped backwards into Adette. Adette just managed to catch her. She stumbled but kept hold of the girl.
“Well now what do I do?”