Lately I’ve been feeling…uninspired. My creativity hasn’t been flowing freely and my novel has become the casualty. I hate feeling not creative because it’s what I love to do, more than almost anything else in the world. And without it, I really don’t know what to do with myself. That’s probably a problem, but it’s a problem for another day.
I have multiple writerly posts sitting in my drafts box, waiting to be completed. And because I don’t feel inspired, I’m not gonna force myself to pound them out into something that’s polished and ready to go for tomorrow (I’m writing this on Friday afternoon). So, instead I’m gonna write a short story. I found some cool aesthetics and prompts on Pinterest and because I’m feeling lazy, this story will only go through minimal edits, so it’ll pretty much be posted in all its messy glory.
So, without any further ado, I present to you this little short story that I wrote completely spontaneously.
The burning consumes me.
It crawls from my core, spreading like a secluded wild fire. The cold, scalding sear rips across my torso, stretching toward my arms and legs. I scream, knowing that nobody will hear my cry.
As the flames dance past my fingertips, I recall how familiar burning is. When it devours you, year after year, it loses its ability to attract fear. The first time it happened, my mother left me on the beach, alone, because two attracts attention, prying eyes. The heat intensifies, bursting from my chest and I clench my fists, knuckles melting into liquid gold.
“As the legend goes,” my mother had said, brushing out my then pixie red hair. “Only after the phoenix rises from her ashes does she become even more beautiful than she was before.”
Her words echo in my head as the finality of my life slips away.
Something startles me and my eyelids fly open. I’m in the same forest, but the leaves have all but vanished. Thin, barren trees surround me and when I reach out to touch one, the icy frost shocks my fingers. A shiver runs through me as I look around, trying not to panic.
My mother had warned me that the burning was not an exact science, allowing room for errors. But in all my years of experience, never before have I awoken to find that months have passed. Sometimes weeks, but never months.
Something is wrong.
I search my brain for any solution that could explain the altered time length, but I come up empty handed. Another shiver reminds me that I’m human again and glancing up, I find a pair of eyes staring back at me.
“Who are you and what do you want?” I call, checking to make sure I’m fully clothed. A sigh escapes me when I see that I’m in my white nightgown.
The mysterious figure squints and I hear the sickening crunch of leaves as he steps closer.
“Who are you?” I ask again in a low growl.
He takes another step directly into the moonlight and I gasp. What little of his face that I can see is severely scarred from what I know to be a knife and he carries a long sword.
One that he currently has pointed at me.
“Are you Eira, the fire shifter?”
I roll my eyes, ignoring the fact that his blade is pressed against my throat. “The one and only. Now, what do you say you put that sword away so we can talk like civilized adults?”
He cocks his head, but does pull the sword back. I gesture for him to put it away and, reluctantly, he sheathes it.
“Excellent!” I clap my hands together. “Isn’t that better?”
The man grunts and I take it as my cue to continue.
“Why are you hunting me?” I ask him, point blank.
He reaches up and pulls his scarf down, revealing even more scars. “Sweetheart, I ain’t hunting you. I’m hunting Catina, the very first fire shifter.”
I stare at him incredulously. “You mean THE Catina? Wow, you must be some hunter.”
“I do have quite the reputation…” The man trails off, smiling smugly.
I stand up and trail my fingers along his neck as I circle him. “Only the finest hunters have tried to take on Catina. Are you sure you can handle her?”
He shivers as my fingers leave behind an icy sensation. “I think I can handle a little phoenix.”
“Oh, but didn’t anyone tell you?” I lower my voice, putting my lips right up against his ear. “Catina hates shifting in the winter.”
I step in front of him and blow into my open hand, revealing a small, dancing flame. The man gasps, but it’s too late. I toss the fire over my shoulder and walk away, ignoring his agonized cries.
When I can no longer hear him, I stop and lean my aching body against one of the trees. My eyes catch a glimpse of an orange, reddish creature flying through the air, but it quickly disappears behind a snowbank. I breathe into my icy hands and when I look up again, I see those familiar, sterling blue eyes staring into mine.
Catina strides over to me and takes my hands in hers. “Well done, my daughter.”
A thousand questions run through my mind, but before I can ask them, Catina’s walking through the forest, still holding my hand.
“Come, Eira,” she says. “I’m afraid your questions must wait. There is much to be done before dawn.”
So much for my peaceful beginning.
What do you think of my spur-of-the-moment short story? Do you like the way it ended, or should I write a sequel? Would you want me to write and post more short stories in the future? Tell me all your thoughts and we’ll chat. ❤