This Write on Edge prompt continues the story from The Five and the Graduation. Read it first if you want the whole story.
* * *
The hungry flames tasted the redhead. Its tongues lapped at her skin, licking her, testing her.
The Five watched, hands linked around the unnatural blue blaze meeting the sky, continuing the chant, “Through death comes rebirth. Receive our blessing.”
The storm raged, attacking the fire with its tears, refusing to believe it could not win.
The Five didn’t notice, their skin still dry, their long hair untouched by the gusts exhaled across the ocean.
The flames lifted the girl off the ground, her green eyes remaining open. The terror dancing behind them had vanished once the blue curtain had surrounded her. Awe replaced it, followed by rapture.
Serena the First held back her joy, focusing on the chant. Ginger was her choice, even though Zane the Second objected. The last Chosen One had been his, a boy. The fires had taken one taste of the boy and spat him out, skin ablaze. They’d broken the circle and scattered as the boy tried to run to the ocean, only to collapse feet away into a charred heap. The smell of burnt flesh still haunted her. It had taken a year before she was certain they had found the right candidate.
One flicker escaped from the mass, reaching out to Serena. It transformed from a vibrant blue to a deep purple as it wrapped itself around her wrist. Another followed, and another, each one surrounding another wrist of The Five until ten tendrils tethered them.
It burned, branding them, a test. Serena and the others held fast, knowing failure was worse.
Time stretched. It could have been minutes or hours.
The flames brightened and twisted, encasing Ginger from view. The tethers joined the mass and released The Five. The tower continued to twist until it resembled a giant beanstalk, no thicker than an arm.
The ground beneath it shook and opened, inhaling the fiery stalk.
The Five walked toward each other and tightened the circle, hands still linked, to the small pile of ash left behind.
Amy the Fifth broke their silence. “Shouldn’t we—”
Serena cut her off. “She must rise on her own.” Her heart pounded, anxious to see what form The Sixth would take.
The ash turned to mush, then washed away in streams, coating The Five’s bare feet even as they remained dry.
Pale, white patches of skin appeared, revealing the form beneath like a puzzle.
Instead of another teenaged body, this one was small, that of a child. Scarlet hair wrapped the body.
It stirred. Like a switch, the storm stopped, the angry clouds drifting away as it rose.
Serena swallowed as the girl looked at her, green eyes still aflame.
The girl spoke, her voice too old for her body. “I am Phoenix, the Queen.”
A force dropped The Five to their knees and Serena shuddered.
Now they were the puppets.
* * *
I’m over word count by about 35 words, but will try to cut them down later. Concrit is welcome as always.
This was dusting the cobwebs off after a summer off of writing, but I still want to know what worked and what didn’t.
If you want to see how it all began, you can read The Five and the Graduation.
* * * The Prompt* * *
Angela spoke on Monday about an idea coalescing, rising figuratively from the flames of a weekend campfire. In that spirit, this week I challenged you to be inspired by the phoenix in 450 words or less.
(in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.