SPOILER ALERT: This excerpt gives away a little something about my main character that you don’t know immediately in the book. Read at your own discretion.
A bit of background. My main character, Ellie, has the ability to control other people’s powers when she’s touching them. In this scene, Ramsey is a firestarter. They’re very rare because they can’t control their power and it ends up killing them eventually. She’s testing out his power to see if she can teach him how to control it, and therefore survive it.
Standing in the middle of the clearing, Ellie faced Ramsey. The solemn boy was nervous, although he was hiding it well. She gave him a reassuring smile. “This won’t hurt.”
She held out both hands for him to take. After a miniscule pause, he reached out and grasped her hands in his, and Ellie closed her eyes. The glow inside Ramsey was a deep red. She reached out with her mind and pulled it into herself.
With a gasp, Ellie felt the power surge through her wildly. She and Ramsey both literally went up in flames. But they weren’t harmed by the fire.
Ellie felt Griffin tense to use his shield. No,she thought at him. Give me a minute…,
He backed off.
Ellie relaxed into the power. She could immediately feel why firestarters had such a hard time. Volatile emotions of hate, anger, fury and rage threatened to consume her wholly, and Ellie concentrated on controlling her newly wild and foreign feelings. She felt her control slipping further and further away, and her fear deepened as her feelings grew more intense.
Suddenly, an overwhelming sense of serenity pulsed through her. It was almost like being washed in cool water on a scorching hot day. It was exhilarating and peaceful all at the same time. It was exactly what she’d needed to get a grip on the power and the emotions. Pulling those into her control, she started to get a feel for the actual power itself.
“Do you feel that?” she asked Ramsey.
“Yeah,” he breathed. “Are you doing that?”
Ellie shook her head. “It’s not me.”
A suspicion formed in Ellie’s mind about where that feeling of peace had come from, but she’d have to deal with that in a minute. Right now she needed to focus on mastering this power.
“Okay, Ramsey. I think I’ve got control at least,” she continued aloud. “Give me a little time to see what you can do.”
To the others who were watching from afar she appeared to simply stand, unmoving, eyes closed, and engulfed in flames. After about twenty minutes of working through things, Ellie smiled and opened her eyes. She also felt Ramsey starting to shake as his control started slipping.
“Okay, Ramsey, I’m going to take over completely now. You ready?”
At his nod, she pulled the glow completely into herself. The flames moved off of Ramsey and solely on to her. Not even the hands still linked with hers were touched by the fire.
As soon as she had full control, Ellie started playing. First she extinguished the fire completely. She heard Ramsey’s small intake of breath and felt him relax for the first time since they’d started.
“Don’t worry,” she assured him, “I’ll show you how after I’m done.”
Her face took on a mischievous look.
“Oh jeez,” Griffin muttered. Then he added louder, “Watch out. She’s about to get feisty with it.”
Ellie gave the onlookers a sassy wink. To Ramsey she asked, “You ready for this?”
“I guess,” was his less-than-enthusiastic response. Ellie grinned.
“Here we go!” Still holding one of Ramsey’s hands, Ellie let go with the other and extended her hand, palm up, where a small flame appeared. “Eventually, as you master the skill, you’ll have very specific control.” She shrunk the flame to a small ember. She then grew it so that it was about six inches high.
“You can pick what you are burning quite precisely.” She changed the color of the flame to green, then purple, then white, as she forced it to burn minute amounts of copper, potassium, and then magnesium from the air.
“I guess you actually paid attention in chemistry!” Griffin called across the field. She stuck her tongue out at her brother and then continued on unfazed.
“You’re also pretty unlimited in the size you can expand the fire to.” The flame shot up into the air about a hundred feet in a long skinny column of dancing color. “I’d go higher, but I’m afraid it would be seen.”
She brought the flame back down. “And you can control the shape and placement of it.” She shot the flame out to circle the clearing several times until it was a spiral around them. Then she pulled the spiral in so that it was within inches of the two of them.
She doused the flame in her hand.
“You can control it away from your body.”
A small tree about 30 feet away burst into flame, popping and crackling. Then, just as suddenly the flame was doused.
Ellie looked at Ramsey. “You’ll be able to do that for anything, any size, in about a hundred mile radius eventually.”
Ramsey’s face broke into a huge grin. “That is awesome! Can you teach me all of that?”
Ellie shook her head. “Not all of it immediately. You’ll still have to learn things at your own pace, but I can help you along. What I can teach you right now is how to control it so that it can’t overwhelm you or hurt anyone.”
“Show me,” Ramsey breathed, his wide eyes impressed.