Friday, February 1, 2013

The Invisible Fire by Bridget Prestwick


            "I don't feel right about this. Isn't this some kind of violation of doctor-patient privacy or something?" That was just an excuse. What I really didn't like was the idea of my eight months pregnant wife walking right into a potential murder scene.

            "We're just bringing them some goodies and checking to see if they need a hand with anything. Maybe they'll return the favor once Michael is born." Grace gave her stomach a loving rub. "I think it's just about time to start setting up play dates."

            I swallowed a tennis ball sized lump in my throat and pressed the door bell, but no one answered. My stomach rumbled, but not with hunger. "We need to get out of here."  

            "Are you all right?" Grace asked.

            I shook my head. "Something's wrong. I feel it right here." I pointed to my gut.

             Grace left the doorstep and walked to the garage. "Their cars are both here. Of course, they could have just walked to the supermarket."

            I put my hand on the door knob. It was burning hot, so I pulled it away. Heat equaled fire. If it were a fire, the entire house would have to have been engulfed in flames.

            Not if it's a magic fire, Andrew. Dad's voice reminded me. There were spells that could be cast to kill an entire family without their neighbors even noticing. The house is burning from the inside out.

            I saw a chunk of something detach itself from the Johnston's roof and start to fall. With my wife standing beneath it. If Grace weren't pregnant, I'd just run over to her and push her out of harm's way. The little Being in her belly complicated things. I received a message shortly after Grace's pregnancy was revealed. I was to protect this baby with every fiber of my being.

            Even at the expense of my wife, if necessary.

            I used as much energy as I could summon to keep the chunk of burning house from falling on my wife. "Move!"

            "What are you doing?"

            "There's a piece of their house on the roof. It was about to fall on you. Their house is on fire, Grace. I need to figure out how to put it out."

            Grace turned around and looked. "I don't see anything, but the baby is kicking up a storm."

            "He's alarmed too. He's warning us." I said and took off my jacket. I slammed myself into the door to bust it open. If I had bad bruises later, I could use my glamour to hide them.

            At that moment, the most important thing was rescuing the family inside the house and protecting my own. I used my body as a battering ram to break down the door. My wife had another idea and bent over to pick up a small stone from the ground then she threw it at one of the windows.

            The invisibility spell that had been cast over the fire was broken and the flames appeared. My wife stared up in horror at the burning house. "Dark Magic?" She pointed.

            "Yes." I replied. "Stay here. I'm going in."

            "But you don't have any fire fighting equipment."

            I wriggled my way through the broken window. "It's a spell, Grace. I can reverse it."

            "How?"

            "This might be a little tricky. I don't use my water magic very often."

            "Please be careful."

            Once I got inside, I went to the first sink I found and turned the water on as I recited a spell to flood the entire house. As the water rose, it extinguished the flames. I turned off the faucet and ended the flooding spell. Then I cast another to clean the entire house before searching for the family members.

            The baby wasn't in her crib or anywhere to be found. Her parents' bodies were charred so badly, it was only from the sizes of the piles of remains I was able to distinguish the male from the female.

            I came outside. "The good news is that I didn't find the baby's remains. The bad news is I did find her parents' bodies." 

            Grace squeezed her eyes shut as the rest of her face followed her in mourning for our acquaintances.

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