Griffin’s Fire: Excerpt 1
Struggling up the snow covered slope, Griffin post-holed through another drift, his legs growing heavier with each step. Around him, the storm worsened into a blizzard. He cringed when a blast of wind bent a nearby aspen almost in half; with an explosive crack, it snapped off and crash to the ground.
He slowed when he reached a dark stand of pines, grateful for their shelter from the wind. After catching his breath, he lifted his head.
“Basil?” he shouted. “Where are you?” He paused to listen, then raised his hand and snapped his fingers; flames sprang from the tips like miniature torches. They danced and flickered in the gusts swirling through the grove. He lifted his arm higher, trying to catch a glimpse of his Mentor. For some reason, the gloom ate the light from his Fire. “Yeah, real useful, angel boy,” he muttered to himself. He gave up. Making a fist, he extinguished the flames and continued through the trees.
A shape loomed ahead in the dusk. He stopped and peered more closely. “Basil?”
A few yards away, the Mentor stood on a fallen log; his cropped, white hair ghostly in the fading light. He motioned for Griffin to hold his position.
“Wait there, lad,” Basil called, his words fading in and out as the tempest raged around them. “Wait and I will return for you.”
“What do you mean? Why can’t I come with you?” Griffin shouted back; he flinched when another gust blew snow into his eyes. He looked again. His Mentor was gone.
“Basil!” Griffin started forward, then tripped on a hidden rock. Flailing his arms, he fell sideways into a snow bank. He slid a few inches down the slope and sank into a warm softness.
For a moment, he laid there, trying to figure out why the warm softness felt like a quilt.
Griffin blinked awake.
Sitting up, he looked around his bedroom in confusion, his heart thundering against his ribs. He pushed his dark hair off his forehead as he licked his lips, tasting sweat. The dream teased at him.
Maybe, just maybe, he thought and held his hand up in front of his face. He hesitated. Don’t be such a wimp—just do it already. He swallowed and flicked the tip of his forefinger against his thumb.
Well, what did you expect? sneered a voice in his head. A freaking miracle?
“Shut up,” he mumbled to the voice. Or the Voice, as he referred to it. The Voice that was always with him. Constantly reminding him that every tragedy in his life was his own fault. That somehow, in some way, he always deserved it.
Griffin scrubbed at his face. He started to lie back down, then paused at the knock outside his room. “I’m fine, Basil,” he called hoarsely. Go away, Basil. Stop being such a mommy, Basil.
The door swung open with a creak. The Mentor stepped inside, still belting his robe around his tall frame. “Fin, are you all right?” He walked over and took a seat next to Griffin.
“Yeah. Why do you ask?”
“Well, could it be because I was just wrenched out a peaceful sleep by my Tiro shouting for me in the dead of night?” His amusement faded when Griffin muttered something. “I beg your pardon?”
“I said I’m not your apprentice. Not anymore.” The words spilled out of Griffin’s mouth before he could stop them.
Cold filled the room. Basil sat frozen for a moment, his face unreadable in the dark. “Right.” He stood up. “Well, good night, then.” Without another word, he walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.
As the sound of footsteps faded away, Griffin fell back with a groan and pulled the covers over his head.