DANGER: Highly Flammable

This is the 3rd in the series starting with CAUTION: This is a Book, where Tevy Byrne falls through her bedroom floor into a crazy unexplainable world.

Idea : It just goes on. I wanted this one to have Scandinavian deities, bugs, and gypsies.

Process : Created goals, a (really really) rough outline, then drew on my list of stuff I wanted to use.

Edited? : No.

flammable book cover

cover created in Keynote

———————— Read some ! ————————

DANGER: Highly Flammable
I have observed shadows of water under sunlight.
A definition of beauty. A companion corps of ballerinas joining me in a dance where there is no air.
I find a peace here, dropping slowly as I am through veils of light and dark.
Perhaps this place is where I should finally end my frustrating struggle with this world, here, in this peace, in this light, in this darkness.
Thoughts like these are often caused by lack of air, don’t worry too much about it.

Just as there are good dogs, and there are the ones who chase you all the way to the bus, so there are good gods, and the ones who taunt you into falling into a river. Don’t ask me what the parallel is, I’m drowning. Again. I don’t appreciate it, Universe. Singe, you who are my Great One, I wish you had the power to keep me from getting waterlogged so often.

Ahh, the water is so pretty here.
My brain managed to click a few neurons together, enough to make the unimpressive realization that I was no longer in rushing water, but nearing the bottom of a clear pool, and I jerked my limbs into action… only to lose more of my air when my legs didn’t connect. I looked down again and got a bad sense of vertigo as the floor that should have been close suddenly appropriated itself in my vision to being very… very… very… far away.

Help came from above, an angel wrapped in sunlight, who grabbed my hair and pulled. I was too bemused to be indignant, and once I had ascertained which way was up I kicked my legs in a feeble attempt to help the helper. We broke the surface before the sparkles in my eyes harkened me to heaven (hell, who knows), and my rescuer dragged me to the bank where waiting hands passed me like a fire-bucket to level ground. I was placed on my back, too weak to object to someone administering astoundingly adequate CPR. My mind harkened back to a time when I took swimming lessons and was forbidden from continuing after the third time being revived when I’d tried to hold my breath as long as I could. I was a poor swimmer. No, that’s not the point — the point is why these people know the correct technique… never mind. I should stop asking why.
“Why?” demanded a booming demanding voice with a boom. Peace, great beast, give my ears a moment longer. I hacked out the last of the water from my lungs and took several deep breaths, head ringing, noting only it was really bright outside, and that I was being held by the god. Yeah, the one who left me to drown. Yeah, the one who is drop-dead gorgeously spine-tingling. I’d have thought the experience to feel much better than it did. “I’ll kill you.” The words came out in such a whisper I’m pretty sure he’s the only one who heard. He smiled at me and it was dazzling. “I saved your life.” I was forced to let him continue holding me, but I used my strength to look away and up at the towering bellower. “Pardon?” “Why did you step into the river so carelessly?” he repeated. “Me? Step? Never. I fell. It was stupid and I promise not to do it again.” My blithe manner did nothing to calm him. Tuomo Ereksson, king-chief of the Kinkans, turned his anger instead on his second daughter, Edune. “You were to accompany her at every moment.” The young not-yet-princess put a hand to her sword and stuck up her chin. “While some have the luxury of random walks by the river, some of us have other duties. It’s not my fault she slipped away while I was preparing for your dinner.” His eyebrows twitched. “You will curb your manner, child. The Fates were kind to send Reittea thus.” Feeling a little more perky, I sat up fully and glanced beyond the tree-king to his eldest daughter, who was wrapped in a blanket while an attendant attempted to dry her very long, very golden hair. “Is she the one who pulled me from the river?” I asked the chief. “At great risk to herself, yes.” From out of nowhere the chief’s wife strode in. “Reittea out-swims seals,” she said, then with a slight turn of her head, “I have ordered the men-folk away now the crisis is over.” He took this implied command rather well. “I will see to preparations for our departure tomorrow.” As he strode off, his strides heavier but no more assertive than his wife’s, Seiff turned her helmeted head to the god holding me. “You also, Blitze.” He set me on my feet, where I let myself be supported by Edune, and departed with a nod of his head. “You know him?” I asked, surprised. Actually I was surprised to see him around people. Previous gods appeared only when I was alone — except that once — and didn’t seem to follow the local expectations. And they certainly didn’t perform CPR. “He is brother to my husband.” I didn’t see that coming. “They don’t seem much alike,” I said mildly. Does that make Tuomo a god? “Different fathers.” I guess not. “He is particularly attentive to you.” “Like everyone, he wants something from me. I guess he’s on his brother’s side.” It would kind of suck if his requirement for sending me home was to pick a side in this power struggle. I don’t want to be that involved. I like Seiff better anyway. “You should be more careful,” she said. No kidding. Wait, is she talking about rivers or beautiful men? “If I were a careful person, I would not be here…” I sighed. I flipped the penny over my fingers. “…but I’ll try.” Seiff nodded to me and left. Edune and I followed Reittea into the tent erected by the women, where we two bedraggled dogs were stripped, dried, then put in a tub of steaming water while our hair was untangled, washed with oils, and dried. My talking fruit bat, Kokoa, dived in to the tent and rested up in a corner, where her wings scratched against the canvas. “Thank you for saving my life,” I said loudly to the princess. “Speed was in my feet,” she said, and Edune snorted from where she was wringing out my clothing. “Don’t snort on my clothing.” She snorted again, then put a hand over her face and chuckled. I’m glad I can make kids laugh anyway. Reittea wiped a non-existent strand of hair behind her pretty ears. “It was Synotra who noted your absence. We took a walk, and saw you fall.” “The princess ran like the wind,” said the woman scrubbing her shoulders. Reittea smiled and looked down. “I told you not to go anywhere without me,” said Edune, going a little hard on my innocent socks. Reittea’s attendant fixed the girl with a stern look. “You, young lady, should be grateful your sister rescued your charge.” “I should have been there to rescue her, Synotra! I’ll never forgive Papa. I am smarter and stronger than half his army, yet I was setting a table. There are lesser people for such chores.” Synotra smiled. “Forgive him in this moment, for you have a demon to scrub, where none else are qualified.” “She’s not a demon,” Edune grumbled, but she hung up the socks and came to scrub my back. I like having an attendant. It’s nice to be a princess. But I’d better get my story straight, and for that, I think I need to have me a chat with a god.

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