Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Burning Up

Use the element of fire somewhere in your story. Maybe it is as simple as a reference to a candle. You might focus on a tragic event like a house fire or forest fire. Maybe it is a controlled flame like a bond fire or a fireplace or even the pilot light.   Perhaps you will write about the fire inside. Think about a flickering flame and see where it takes you.


  1. It’s Elemental (Part I)

    One day, a salamander, a sylph, a gnome and an undine met in a neutral middle-world cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites and big, tall columns. The meeting was somewhat clandestine, as each was on a diplomatic mission as a representative of his or her elemental clan. The term ‘diplomatic’, for purposes of this tale, is somewhat relative.

    The salamander, who spoke for fire, said, “We are the ‘spirits’ who should have control over the natural world. Our power is such that it can turn solids into liquids and liquids into gases. We are light and heat. We are one with the sun. Without us, no creature – human or magick – could survive.

    The sylph, who spoke for air, frowned. “O salamander – I fear I must disagree with you. After all, without air, you could not exist. Every fire must have oxygen or it will die. But air – what an amazing thing. We are a force to be reckoned with. We can whip up dust devils and yet we can be as gentle as a lilting breeze. Without us, no creature – human or magick – could survive.

    The undine, who spoke for water, sighed. “With all due respect, I beg to differ. You see, water can douse a fire. Water can form a cloud which floats and dances elegantly through the air. Water’s strength can be seen whenever one views a waterfall or observes the energy of the ocean’s waves. Water quenches thirst and helps the flowers to grow. Without us, no creature – human or magick – could survive.

    The gnome, who spoke for earth, growled, “You’re all wrong. Earth is minerals and metals. We work in concert with all of you to create something both grander and more important than just one single element. The problem is that alchemists want to take what each of us has – the best of what each of us has – and use it to further their own causes, for personal gain. We must unite. We must work together so that the alchemists cannot control who and what we are.”

    “Agreed!” said the other elemental beings. “We must band together to control the natural world.”

    Unfortunately, despite that one accord they reached, the elementals still continued arguing over who should be in control.

    Suddenly, a small boy holding a screw-top glass jar entered the cave. He bowed politely before the four elements, and said, “Excuse me, but I have to admit I overheard you all talking. And to be honest, I think you are right about some things, but wrong about other things.”

    “Such as?” asked the sylph.

    “Alchemists, for instance,” said the boy.

    “Ha!” said the salamander. “You are but a small boy. What do you know of the world? Alchemists may be our enemy, as the gnome so kindly pointed out, but at least they have studied. They are among the learned who walk the planet.”

    “And you think a boy cannot know anything?”

    “Prove it, if you are so clever then,” said the undine.

  2. It's Elemental (Part II)

    The little boy nodded, tacitly taking them up on their challenge. With that, he opened the jar and before the elementals could say, “Hey,” (or even ask him what he was doing,) he scooped up the salamander, the sylph, the undine and the gnome – and put them into the jar. Then, just as quickly, he fastened the lid. All four elementals stared out of the jar, wide-eyed.

    “You see,” said the boy, “I hold in my jar a bit of fire, air, water and earth. It didn’t take an alchemist to accomplish that feat, either. And as you can see, I now control all of you – and could make you do my bidding, if I so wished it.”

    “Let us out!” yelled the gnome.

    “What do you want?” asked the undine.

    The boy thought for a moment, and then answered her question. “I’d like for you to work together in peace, with none dominating the others.”

    The salamander winced. “I wish I could say, ‘your wish is granted’ young sire, but as you probably can guess, that is unlikely to happen.”

    The other elementals glared at the salamander.

    He shrugged. “I’m just being honest.”

    “I know that,” said the boy, “and I appreciate it.”

    “So we’re at an impasse?” asked the sylph.

    “Not exactly,” said the boy.

    The elementals all looked out of the jar expectantly.

    The boy continued. “I will let you out of the jar on one condition. You each must leave a tiny part of yourselves behind, inside the jar. After that, I will seal the jar up again and then hide it in a place where no one, human or magick, can ever find it. I wish you would all agree to work in concert, for the good of all, but at least, that tiny part of you which will stay in the jar can serve as a reminder that no one is ever wholly in control. At least, not for long.”

    And so it came to pass. Each elemental deposited a tiny part of his or her special attributes inside the jar. As soon as they were released, they flew out and dispersed back to the secret places from whence they came.

    But to this day, while the different forces of nature often do work together – sometimes for good and sometimes not – the jar has never been found.


    The days are getting warmer and with the time change, seem longer. Spring is just around the corner and Olivia couldn’t be happier. Winters are never that cold, but the consistent warmth of the sun is why she moved to Tucson three years ago. Yet, her favorite part of this time of year is the drop in mercury overnight…perfect for being wrapped in covers while breathing in the fresh air from open windows.

    Olivia never used to be a nighttime bather—in North Dakota, it was out of her clothes and into long-johns and into bed as fast as possible. However, the warmth of daytime in the desert leaves her with a need to shower, and she soon realized how good it felt to slide between the soft coolness of the sheets, along with the weight of the quilt, against her bare body.

    The whole experience flamed embers already burning within.

    Olivia had met Chad that first winter in Arizona. They had an attraction almost immediately. By spring, they were talking on the phone late into the evening whenever possible—including those nights when she was snuggling bare (without revealing her secret to him). When she would hang up the phone, Olivia would close her eyes and imagine what it would be like for Chad to slide in behind her, pressing his body against hers…to feel the warmth of his breath on her neck…his knees tucked up behind hers. Every night she drifted off to sleep while holding those thoughts closely to her heart.

    Now, three years later, she knows from experience what the desert heat can be like…even on cool late-winter evenings.


    “…so I lit a fire, isn’t it good Norwegian wood?” ~Lennon/McCartney

    Shannon Barnes was loud and overbearing. She was irritating and irascible. Many have equated her to a female dog, but even then, she gave bitches a bad name.
    Shannon had a need to control; manipulative beyond belief. And the strange thing was, men wanted to be with her.

    The macho guys walked past her, always thinking they could get better… or better yet, there were women out there who “deserved” to be with THEM. The guys a little less secure had this weird notion that connections should be an equal “partnership”, a mutual “give and give” arrangement. They wanted to nurture and be nurtured. Chris Henne fell into the final category. He was so insecure and desperate to be loved that he would submit to the harshness of a woman like Shannon. When Chris’ eyes met hers, he knew it would be love at first fight.

    To say Shannon was demanding, was to say that Mount Everest was a molehill.
    She had her rube and she needed not lift a finger, for her needs were constantly met. She had acquired the best of everything. Her “suitors” had provided her with fine crystal and finer jewelry. Her home was well maintained and groomed, and each room was its own palace. She sat in the lap of luxury, and all her men wished that she would sit in theirs.

    Henne was a little different than she had been used to. He seemed to hesitate at some of her commands, and this irritated Shannon further. But she had a way to punish her malcontents. The room she used as her “library” was well appointed with rich wooden panels. Henne was to polish the pieces from top to bottom. He had the bottom covered, but his fear of heights made Chris think twice about that arrangement. His derangement provided his solution. The resulting smoke did add to the pollution problem, but as the Fire Chief was heard to comment after a whiff of the aromatic billow, “Ah! Norwegian wood! Isn't it good?”