Fire starter

A cloud of blue-grey ash hung around her, a dark aura of melancholy she carried with her everywhere. It was difficult to tell her age, her face hidden under layers of soot and grit.

Still, you were gripped by how clear her eyes were, as deep and cloudless as azure summer skies.

The villagers would give her scraps of food and small copper coins, and she would shovel out dead embers from their fire grates, laying out bundles of kindling and well seasoned logs. Her fires burned brighter, and hotter and longer, a skill that was both welcome and suspect. The flames tipped blue, flickering like dancing fairies, spreading light even into the darkest corners.

As a young girl, Celeste simply appeared one morning, trudging out of the woods, carrying a small satchel of belongings. She would only repeat her name, or what the villagers took to calling her. No one knew who she was or where she’d come from.

A search of the woods for her family was futile. The elders declared her an orphan and asked the Sisters of Mercy to accept her into their cloister. Her stay was short, the nuns uneasy over her fire building artistry. She went back into the woods, where no one knew, but she would still come into the village, working where she could as a fire starter.

Humming softly to herself, she laid a new fire. Her song, as sad and blue as she was, seemed to draw in the chilled air around her, feeding the fire as it consumed the dry wood.

When the sheriff’s deputies entered the village, called to investigate when the elders failed to answer a governor’s summons, they found it deserted, but white smoke billowing from each chimney. Riding back to the city, the officers discussed how to explain how fire could freeze, pale blue fingers of ice rising from carefully arranged hearths.

Trifecta, a weekly one-word prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Blue [adj. \bloo\] 3: a : low in spirits : melancholy b : marked by low spirits

15 thoughts on “Fire starter

  1. Your character reminded me somewhat of the mysterious newcomer in “The Spitfire Grill,” but that girl did not have a singular talent. This is moody, evocative – hints at the melancholy rather than coming right out with it, making it a great take on the prompt. And icy fingers? Eeeew, very eerie and wonderful imagery. First time here, found you at Trifecta. Peace, Amy, and here’s mine:


  2. You defintely have a great Twin Peaks esque, but with more depth, thing going on with this story. I LOVE the melancholy vibe. The first sentence is cash money. I was drawn in to whatever you had going on.

    You should expand this. She’s a hell of a character in need of thousands of words.

    Great piece


  3. Sounds like they should have been a little more suspicious of her. That’s some kind of scary at the end there. It turns the persecuted witch story on its head, making the suspicion justified and the lack of action deadly.


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