Chapter 2- Playing with Fire
Twilight had just fallen upon the town of Burgess. Snow covered almost the entire ground, frost scattering every window. A young girl walked through the streets, her hands shoved into the depths of her pockets. She kept her head down, her black and red streaked hair sheltering her face from the cold winds. The jacket she wore was burnt, and had had its sleeves torn off. A ring of ash dappled her shoulder blades. Her pants were dark grey, torn in many areas, and frayed at the ends. A tattered belt was wrapped tightly around her slender waist, partially covered by the bottom of her jacket. Attached to the belt was a leather receptacle, holding a dagger.
The girl lifted her head slightly, her attention being drawn to two children playing in the snow a few paces away. Her amber eyes narrowed as she watched them. One of the children, a boy with brown hair, threw a snowball. It flew through the air, hitting the girl in the side of the face. She wore a white cap over the top of her short reddish-brown hair, as well as green sweater and scarf. The impact of the snowball made her stumble. She pulled herself back up, shivering.
“Jamie!” she yelled. “That was cold!” The boy who threw it, now known as Jamie, simply laughed.
“It’s snow, Pippa. Of course it’s cold” he called back, forming another white ball in his hands. The girl named Pippa managed to dodge this time, throwing one back at her friend. It collided into his chest.
“Got you!” she shouted excitedly. Jamie brushed the snow off his clothing.
“Lucky shot—” He was cut off as another snowball hit him, knocking him over. Pippa, who was tossing a third ball into the air and catching it, smirked at him.
“I don’t think so.” Jamie struggled to his feet.
“Ok, ok. You win.” He put his hands up defensively as Pippa aimed her ammo at him. Pippa dropped the ball, wiping her hands clean of the snow.
“So, can you stay out tonight?” Jamie asked her.
Pippa shook her head. “Nah, I wish. Dad said I have to help with the fireplace.”
The girl, who had been watching them, widened her eyes in sudden interest. She leapt into the air, soaring over, landing on the base of a statue. She could hear their conversation much better now.
Jamie cocked his head to the side. “You mean he finally finished building it?”
He remembered Pippa telling him her dad’s plans to construct a proper fireplace in their living room. That was over three months ago.
Pippa sighed softly. “Yeah. Well, sorta. He thinks he has but I’m worried that he’ll burn the whole house down” There was a light humour in her voice. Jamie smiled.
“Probably a good thing you’ll be there to supervise him then” he joked. Pippa giggled. “Yeah, I suppose so.”
She waved her farewell to Jamie, walking back through the streets towards her home. The girl watched her leave, her eyes flickering between her and Jamie. She decided to follow her. If this ‘Pippa’ was going to help her dad with a fireplace, then she’d need a hand from an expert.
The wind carried her body easily, allowing her to fly through the air, trailing the girl. When she reached a house, Pippa opened it and went in. The black-haired girl behind her, made her way over to a window, peering inside. She noticed Pippa, walking up to a man who was crouched down beside what looked to be a fireplace.
“Pippa, can you hand me those matches?” the man asked, pointing behind him to a small box that lay on a table on the other side of the room. The girl outside rolled her eyes at the sight of them.
“Cheat” she hissed under her breath.
Pippa did as told, grabbing the matches and handing them to her father.
“Here dad” she said, kneeling down beside him. She looked on anxiously as he lit one of them, setting the collected wood alight. She let out a sigh of relief when she saw that the fire was contained.
“I’ll be back in a second. Watch the fire for me?” her dad asked. Pippa nodded, watching as he left the room.
Once he was gone, the girl outside pushed the window open, creeping inside. She leant up against the fireplace, feeling content by its warm atmosphere.
Pippa turned her attention back to the blaze. The warmth released by the fire felt comforting against her skin. She pulled her sweater up over her head, throwing it to the side of the room. She was wearing a white quarter-sleeve shirt underneath. She took hold of an iron poker, starting to jab at the flaming pieces of wood.
“Pippa!” She stopped what she was doing, looking up at her father. He ran over to her, snatching the poker from her hands. Pippa looked disappointed as he turned away, placing it back where she found it.
“Don’t play with fire” he warned her. “You don’t want to feel Jaz Flame’s wrath, do you?” The dagger wielding girl’s head shot up immediately at the sound of her name. Pippa stared at her father, confusion staining her face.
“Jaz Flame?” she questioned. Her dad merely laughed, turning back around. “It’s just an expression kiddo.” He said, tousling her covered hair, causing her cap to fall over her eyes. She smiled, pulling her cap back up.
Jaz, who was still leaning against the fireplace, felt a familiar emptiness overwhelm her. The smile faded from her face. Her sudden emotion made the fire start to burn out at an alarming rate. Pippa’s father walked to the other side of the room, oblivious that the fire had grown weak.
“Uh, dad?” Pippa called, noticing the strange activity of the flames. Her voice snapped Jaz out of her depressed state of mind, making her realize what she was doing to the flames. She sighed, unsheathing her dagger from its receptacle. She knelt down. Holding her free hand out in front of her lips, she closed her eyes and blew gently. A smooth stream of fire flowed from her hand onto the wood. She held out her blade and other hand, seeming to mould the fire with her hands.
Pippa watched in complete bewilderment as the fire suddenly grew, being shaped by some unknown force. She had never seen fire behave like that.
“What is it?” Pippa’s dad called back. Pippa didn’t know what to say.
“Um…never mind” she murmured, unsure of whether or not her father heard. Jaz stood up straight, returning her dagger to her belt.
“You’re welcome” she muttered, despite knowing that no-one would hear her. She made her way back to the window she entered through. With a final glance at the amazed Pippa, she summoned the wind and flew off into the night.
Jaz landed in a clearing in a nearby forest. She sighed, gazing up at the moon as its light poured in through the gaps of the trees. Its silence filled Jaz with sorrow and loneliness, something she had grown used to over the many hundred years she’d existed for. She leapt up into the tree, letting her leg dangle limply off the side of the branch. She pulled out her dagger. The blood red gemstone embedded between the handle and the blade glowed with a silver outline in the moonlight. Her hand made its way to it, almost touching it. She wanted to but there was some part of her that held her back. Instead, she started to twirl the knife between her fingers.
A cold chill suddenly blew past her. She stopped spinning her blade, gripping its handle tightly. She rose to her feet instantly, crouching on the branch defensively. There was something familiar about the wind that passed her. It wasn’t warm like the wind she flew by. It was ice cold. She could feel herself growing ever so slightly weaker by the sudden cold sensation. Her breath became visible in front of her; her chest felt heavy as every breath she took only heightened her uncertainties. Her eyes darted from side to side, trying to seek out the cause of this sudden change in the elements.
“Hello Jaz” a voice sounded from behind her. She lifted her head, pupils dilating. She spun around, drawing back the arm that held her dagger. She faced him, anger flooding her eyes. Jack stood on the branch, his staff held out towards her. Their weapons met.