Of Flame and Light(4)

By: Cecy Robson

Celia’s and Emme’s attention drifts my way. Shayna rises, fear crinkling her brow.

“I’m tired,” I say dismissively, feeling my pulse start to race. I push my chair out. “I should head back to bed. I didn’t sleep much―”

All at once, and without warning, pain burns its way across my affected limb, curling me forward in agony. My arm whips out, sending the table and all its contents soaring with freakish speed. Plates shatter on the floor as the table imbeds with a loud bang into the wall, directly above where Celia sat seconds before.

I lift my head as the burn recedes, searching for her, panicked I harmed her. Tears of relief and residual pain slide down my face when I see Aric lower her to floor and far away from me. She and our sisters stare back at me stunned. But Aric? Holy shit, he’s pissed.

“Taran, what are you doing?” he growls.

I shake my head, knowing he’s angry I almost hurt Celia. “I’m not doing anything . . .”

The burn returns and so does its torment. This time, I can’t bite back my screams. I stumble forward. Aric races to me. I don’t see him. I only feel his body and hear the crunch of bone when my arm flails and connects with his jaw.

He crashes against the granite counter with a grunt as my arm jerks wildly and the burn increases tenfold.

My vision fades in and out and my body thrashes, the erratic movements of my limb throwing me against the wall. I collapse, my arm still beating itself against the floor with enough force to splinter and punch through the wood. I’m not thinking. I can’t. Everything hurts.

No. Everything burns.

“Cut it off!” I scream.

Shayna reaches for a knife, elongating it with her power and manipulating it into a deadly sword. She lifts the blade above my spastic arm, her expression torn. By now I’m sobbing, and all but clawing at my face.

“Please,” I beg her. “Cut it off!”

“I can’t,” Shayna chokes out. “I can’t do this.”

“Pin it,” Celia yells. “Pin it to the floor!”

With a flick of her wrists Shayna changes the sword’s position and brings the point down toward my raging hand. I barely feel the prick before the room erupts in a ghostly light and Shayna goes flying.

Emme screams as Shayna collides into the far wall. Aric and Celia are scrambling forward, but all thoughts are lost in my torture. I’m retching with how hard I’m crying and from the anguish crawling from my arm and into my chest.

Just as the burn reaches my heart and I begin to lose consciousness, a pale yellow light surrounds me. Slowly, very slowly, the heat charring my insides is replaced with a soothing chill I welcome like a draw of fresh air.

My body shudders as the coolness spreads like a cascade of water from a gentle spring. My pain eases and my cries dwindle. It takes a long time for the ache to lessen, and even longer for my vision to clear. But eventually it does.

Not that I like what I see.

Blood cakes the side of Shayna’s face. She winces as the bone along her eye socket pops out and the cut above her eyebrow knits close. Bile churns my gut. If Koda hadn’t passed her a portion of his werewolf essence, I would have killed her. There’s no doubt based on the amount of blood coating her skin, and what her body had to do to heal her indented skull.

I cover my mouth. “Oh, my God,” I gasp.

“It’s okay, T,” she says, as if I can’t see the pain tightening her small pixie face. “It’s okay.”

No. Not at all, sweetie.

Aric leans forward. Being a werewolf, and that of pure blood, his inner beast had healed him faster than Shayna. That didn’t mean I hadn’t made rubble out of his jaw or that hadn’t hurt him.

Or that I won’t do it again.

I had no control over my arm. None. Nor do I believe I have it now.

Aric realizes as much. I don’t miss how he keeps Celia behind him, appearing to shield her and their child from whatever I’ll unleash next.

“What happened?” he asks, his voice riddled with anger, and maybe something more.

“I don’t know,” I respond, my voice trembling and my body strangely weak. “I felt pain and it-it went wild.”

“Your arm?” It’s a question, but he’s not really asking.

I nod as Emme’s healing light recedes and her hands withdraw from my shoulders. Her face is unusually pale. She swallows hard, struggling to speak. “It’s her fire,” she says, barely above a whisper. She looks at Aric. “It’s eating her alive . . .

Chapter Two

After a few phone calls (by Aric), lots of growls (collectively from the wolves), and plenty of swears (from me), I go from lying drenched in sweat on the kitchen floor, to drenched in sweat as I’m escorted out of the house and toward Koda’s ride.