Her heart whispered, then there was a small glow until, until it became something she could hardly explain and then like an elastic it snapped.
‘It’s in there Masrick.’
‘You didn’t try hard enough,’ he said back to her pressing his palm into the fire. It began, it crackled and spark mockingly like it hadn’t for her, but it should have.
The tattoo on his wrist glowed and burned golden like the first light of the sun when it’s so vibrant it looks like it could drip caramel. When it had been her turn to try, she felt like she might be swallowed up. For him it happened just as he had said it would, it ignited something, something from deep within.
An otter, that was his mark, it lifted from a measly tattoo and swam amongst the flames, diving into the hottest depths and springing up where the flame licked at the tips.
‘You must try or-‘
‘Or I’ll erase who I am,’ she said.
‘No, or you’ll never see who you could be,’ he said putting out the fire, his otter stilled back against his skin.
Her dreams that night were coloured with the pain of getting it wrong, of being different, alone. All alone. She couldn’t help it, or could she? Where would it end, the flames-
The floorboards creaked and she awoke to black smoke. She could hardly see and breathing, she gasped as if just noticing how it filled her lungs and she coughed as she slinked off her bed and onto the ground.
Wooden beams flung down and she dove through gaps like they were just fringes of a forest. Out from behind, Masrick hauled her forwards, out a door, she thinks. When she did get air she gasped it in all too quickly, it scraped ferociously down her throat like a nail had gotten stuck and was trying to wedge its way out.
‘We knew they might find us,’ he said.
‘Enough,’ she said.
‘I’ve had enough of them, this time we’re leaving and we’re doing it my way.’
‘We’ll go together,’ she said looking at his shoulders stiffen and his eyes, there was something-
‘It makes the most sense, it fits-‘
‘Perfectly. I see it,’ he said looking into her eyes but also nodding towards her shoulder. She hadn’t noticed her tattoo emerge.
She left the house in flames and noticed her wolf glow and sit sternly on her shoulder. She wouldn’t need the fire to light her path, she was inflamed.
~Written by Stephanie Kentepozidis