Where The Embers Glow

Isaac doesn't seem too strange at first; brown hair, brown eyes, average height. He hasn't got a nice home, or many friends, but he still finds ways to make himself happy. As long as he's quiet enough not to wake up his drug addict of a father, that is. But when these two creeps show up at his door in suits, he gets a bad feeling. Not a "Something bad is going to happen" feeling, a "I think they're going to kill me" feeling. But who do these men work for, and how do they know about Isaac's pow

Isaac stood at the overgrown grassy corner as his bus drove away. Another day of school survived, he thought with no small amount of dislike. But he was happy that at least his dislike of school was something shared by others, something that connected him to them.

The cool wind blew a strand of his light brown hair in his face, along with some of the foul smelling fumes from the bus. A shiver ran down his spine as he started trudging home. He pulled his jacket a little tighter and wiped the hair from his eyes with the back of a pale hand.  He had been the only one to wear a jacket to school today, no one else even thought it was all that cold. Some kids had even shown up in short sleeves!

As he rounded the final curve and his front lawn came into view he started fishing around inside his pocket for the small silver key. He stalled when he came to the front door, and as much as he hated the cold, he wasn't thrilled about what could be waiting inside for him either.

His mother was an alcoholic, but his father... he wasn't even sure what his father did. All he knew was that he always seemed to be angry, and he would sleep for nearly the whole day some times. His mother supported them working two jobs, which took up all her spare time. Isaac suspected that was what led to her drinking problem in the first place.

As he crept in the front door, he saw his father passed out on the couch, the tv on with the volume down low. There was a horrible smell in the air he had come to associate with his father, though he didn't actually have a clue as to what he was smelling. Nothing pleasant at any rate.

He crept up the stairs silently, 14 years of being punished for making noise had taught him to be quiet as a shadow. He knew every creek of the stairs by heart, and learned if he pushed up as he opened his door it wouldn't groan.

Once he shut his bedroom door, he sighed and sat on his bed. Pulling off his backpack, then his jacket, he riffled through the various papers in his backpack before he found his homework.

He looked around his room. There really wasn't much to see. A few years ago, he used to have a larger bed and a big dresser and everything you could find in any other 10-year-old's room. But all this had burned when he accidentally set fire to his room with his... power.

He first noticed he could heat things with his thoughts when he was 6 years old. He got better at it as he aged and practiced, and eventually he got to the point where he could light things on fire at will.

One day when he had been yelled at and smacked by his father, one of the few times he had ever woken him, Isaac ran up to his room. He was furious, he could feel anger burning through his veins. And then, the fire consumed him.

The flames danced on his limbs, and yet he wasn't being burned. He didn't even feel any heat. He knew he wasn't thinking straight, but he didn't care, and he didn't stop it. And as he stood there smoldering, both mentally and physically, his room burned around him.

The fire inspector came up with something about electrical wiring, but his parents felt otherwise. They had almost entirely ignored him since then, birthdays and Christmas and all. The only furniture now in his room was his twin bed, a dresser not large enough for half of his clothes, and a plastic fold-up chair. And the chair he had brought in himself.

They also hired someone to come in and plaster this gray fire retardant material over his entire room. Even the windows, where once he'd seen the golden rays of the sun and the gently swaying leaves, had the gray foam plastered over their surface. It was like a prison cell.

He felt a deep warmth building in his gut, so he tried his best to forget that. Or at least, suppress the memory again. He plucked a pencil from his backpack and began work on his homework. Algebra. Ugh.

He threw himself into his work, and no matter how much he disliked it, it was still a way to escape what was happening. He wouldn't admit that though. Admitting he couldn't handle his own life was admitting defeat. Admitting he wasn't strong enough for life itself. And if he couldn't even handle living, how could he ever hope to be strong enough to have a normal life?

He triple checked everything, and yet even as he finished checking the last page it was only 5 O'clock. Dinner wasn't until 6, so he had over an hour to burn. No, not burn, spend. He scolded himself. NO! Not scolded. Just... ugh!

There was that burning feeling again. It would start near his heart and work its way to his fingertips, then his toes, and if he continued to let the heat go it would engulf him again. But it only took a quick mental shake, and the heat retreated back into his core, ready to pounce again whenever Isaac's will wavered.

He stuffed his papers into his backpack, then leaned back on the overly firm mattress. He daydreamed like this a lot, the gray offering no distractions to the fantasies his imagination generated as his thoughts churned.

But today they just weren't coming, and he did what he always did when his imagination left him; get on the computer.

He wasn't actually allowed on, for reasons Isaac could only guess at, but with his father out cold and his mother at work as they both always were, it was easy enough to get on.

So without a sound he opened his door and went down the stairs, only to hear a knock at the door. His father stirred ever so slightly, but it was enough for Isaac's heart to creep its way into his throat.

He already had a hand outstretched, gripping the handle, when he caught a glimpse of the two men outside. Both were in black, pin striped suits. One had close shaven brown hair that reminded Isaac instantly of the military, the other man had long blond dreadlocks past his shoulders. Yet both looked buff enough, he wouldn't be surprised if they could juggle two or three anvils over their heads.

He tried to step back from the door, but fear seemed to have rooted him to the spot. Again, they knocked. And Isaac, instinct telling him he was in a very bad place right now, ran.

The End

13 comments about this story Feed