Saturday, 27 August 2016

Fire Starter

Chuck gave this great link to a wonderful and weird site of odd idioms gone nuts. Well, we got to pick one out of many, many great ones. I picked out 'Great Minds Can Start A Great Fire'. And boy! Did I start a great fire!!! 


With her hands out hovering over the kindling, Steph opened her mind, “This has to work!” she shivered as the night’s cold air chilled through her clothes, “Come on!”
Her hands shook as a glow emitted from them – but it wasn’t enough to make the fire ignite; and she swore as the tiniest puff of smoke filtered between the twigs and vanished with the next breeze, “Oh, fuck it!” she pulled out a box of matches from her pocket and struck the side of the box, grumbling, “I used to be able to do this fuckin’ shit.”
“Hey Steph… how’s tricks?” Owen sat next to her as she blew on the small flame and added to it until she had a nice fire going.
Pocketing the matches, she sniffed, “I still can’t get the damned thing going without matches… I used to do this with my hands and my mind.”
“I know.” He reached out to sooth her shoulder with his hand, but thought better of it. She could still give out a fairly solid jolt to anyone standing nearby without touching them if she was pissed off enough – but lighting a fire? – that was something completely different, “Wish I could help you with that… but like the Professor said, it’ll happen you least expect it.”
She looked over her shoulder at him, “He also said to keep practicing, but no matter what happens, no matter how much I do, I find that I just can’t get in and light a basic camp fire.” Holding out her right hand, she made a gesture at the flames as though she was grabbing a handful of it, and some of it separated from the blaze itself and moved – crackling – into the palm of her hand, “This? This I can do without thinking.”
Owen’s eyes widened, “Woah! That’s too cool! Freaky as shit, but too cool!” he hesitated, “Wait…” he shuffled around to her side, holding his hands around the flames and – before her eyes – turned the flames, as they were licking the air, into a solid sculpture of ice, “How’s that for fun!” taking it from her possession, he held it in his hands; knowing she’d never touch it.
“Good show, Owen.” The Professor’s voice said behind him, “Great signs of control and Stephanie, you’ve worked well with Owen for once. But don’t worry about your inability to start a fire with your mind – it’ll come. You’re not the first student in my care to stumble; nor will you be the last.” He smiled, “Now, it’s time to come in, it’s almost curfew.”

Weeks passed by and all the students studied hard, worked on their special skills and Steph still found lighting a fire difficult. She wished she could figure out why it was so hard for her; and yet so easy for everyone else.

Even Owen was adapting to his abilities and she barely saw him anymore.

She walked into her room one afternoon and found she had a new room-mate looking through her things. Slamming the door closed, she watched with glee as the new person turned, starting at the noise, “Hi. So nice to know that I can trust another strange weirdo to go through my things.”
“I’m sorry, I thought to figure out who you were before you came back… I find it easier.” The young girl said; she couldn’t have been ten years old.
“Put my things down.” She fumed.
The girl dropped a book she was holding as though it burned her, it was smoking as it hit the floor. With tears filling her eyes, the pushed past Steph, “I’m sorry… I won’t do it again.”
Steph barely heard her as she knelt down and picked up the cooling book, opened it and found all the pages had turned to ashes, “I did it… I started a fire… but not quite.”

A week later, Steph went back out into her private place where she liked to be alone in the woods and tried to light another fire. She took the new roommate with her, “Okay, I found that when you handled my things, I became very angry with you… but I think it’s because we both think alike. I also like to go through people’s things to find out more about them… but I didn’t realise this until I looked at the book and found that it wasn’t my book.”
“Who’s book was it?” her companion asked.
She looked down at the girl, “Owen’s. He didn’t even know I took it until I told him yesterday. He was so mad at me that it burst into flames; and he normally freezes things.”
“Was it a personal book?”
“Yes, it was his journal, he thought he’d lost it.” Steph laughed, “I only took it because he’d come to me to see if I’d seen it.”
The little girl smiled, “Funny.”
“It is…”
“Stephanie?” the Professor’s voice said behind her, “Who are you talking to?”
She turned, “My new roommate…”
“You don’t have a roommate.” He walked up to her, “You were placed alone because your mind can join with another – you did that with Owen, but he had to leave.”
She smiled, “You connect other minds.”
“Many other minds…” she looked at him, “But you never connect with mine.”
“Why is that Professor?” she walked to him as he took a step backwards, “Why not connect with me – so we can connect with other great minds like ours – and we can…”
“No, please, don’t…”
“…start a great fire.”
She took his hand and … 

...the fire started in the surrounding forest...

…then it spread.


  1. Although I'm not completely familiar with the X-men fandom and can't prove the resemblance to the fandom in this story, I have to refute Anonymous's claim and say that the challenge by Wendig says to write a "story," not necessarily requiring it be an original work. With that, I will say the following my critique.

    I liked how the story started with Steph's concrete problem of wanting to start a fire outside of her own palm. But I was confused as to why she wanted to do this, and what made connecting with the Professor's mind so powerful for her. She definitely goes to a school or academy of some kind, but I'm wondering why she goes there, and how long she's been struggling with this problem that she has.

    But overall, I'm very intrigued by that explosive ending and am looking forward to more from you.

    1. Once in a while my stories meld with other X-men and Thor style storylines. So, if I piss people off, well that's just the way it goes - after all the part and parcel of being a writer is that little problem of stepping on people's toes at some point in time.

      I don't always know where my stories are going... and this one took on a life of its own (as most of mine do.).

    2. And besides, it 'Anonymous' really wanted to take me on, he/she/it would put their name down and not hide behind that 'Anonymous' bio... how gutless can somebody be?