Prologue I-3

“...We’ll take him to the Council and see what they say,” the sergeant rubbed his temples. “Raymond, you stay back and keep the kid safe. We’re going to make sure this damn place burns after all these years.” The toddler cooed inquisitively when the rest of the group left for the large tree in the center of the clearing, staggered around it in a circular formation.

“I don’t think you want to watch this, kid…” Raymond hesitantly put a hand over the toddler’s big brown eyes, who pawed at the fireman’s calloused hands and giggled. He couldn’t help but think that the baby was a very pleasant little guy. Perhaps it would work in his favor when they took the boy to the Council tomorrow.

There was a sudden burst of sound and light, and the intricately curling tree with a diameter wider than three of the firemen, gear and all, was aflame. The sound was piercing and immediately, as if the boy knew what was happening, he began to cry. Raymond tried his best to bounce the kid and shield him from the horrid sights and sounds, but it was for naught. Mucus dribbled out of the toddler’s nose as he wailed and cried, covering his ears.

The tree finally disappeared with a screeching swansong akin to breaking glass.  When the firemen turned to face Raymond, the surrounding forest was gone and burned down. Barring a few burned husks of trees, and ash floating through the fog, there was nothing left of the forest but the firemen and the little boy, who by at that point had cried himself to sleep. Raymond couldn’t help but stare in wonder at what their actions had done. The forest that seemed to go on for miles when they entered it had really only covered a couple acres at best. The group was standing less than thirty yards from the nearest house of the suburb where most of them lived.

With a heave of finality, Raymond followed his comrades home.

The End

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