(IP) Flight, Fight, or Fire

Flight, Fight, or Fire

She found herself floating over the disaster, the air already thick with smoke and ash. She blinked fiercely, but tears still streamed from her eyes, and she covered her mouth to stifle her coughing; she just couldn’t seem to get any air.

She frowned, holding her hands out in front of her. For a moment, she completely forgot about the inferno blazing in a rainbow of warm colors below her. How on earth had she managed to receive the power of flight? Had she died in the fire, freeing her spirit from the fragile shell that was her body? She felt ethereal, birdlike, and for a moment, she was tempted to let the wind have its way, let it carry her into whatever lie ahead next.

But the heat that was rising from the fire broke that brief dream into fragile pieces. What kind of person was she, trying to abandon a forest in flames? The screams of the dying animals seemed to be the only sound she could hear, and she clapped her hands over her ears, desperate to escape the chaos that comes with natural disasters. And that brought her to another thought, sharp and clear and cold in the midst of her panic.

How, exactly, had this fire started? Had some nefarious, malicious soul touched a flame to the underbrush, grinning as the lush green plants caught, sentencing trees, plants and animals to death? An acrid, black smoke coated the back of her throat, and she coughed, tears cutting through the soot that blackened her face. Her throat was threatening to close, and her eyes fluttered for a moment; even in this incorporeal form, she was beginning to fade.

If she was going to do something, she needed to hurry.

Frowning, she reached into a calm space in her mind and pushed, moving as though through water. She gasped when her body responded, and she was floating, flying above the flames without wings. Just how many times had she longed to experience flight? And here she was, hovering above a world of heat and flame, disconnected but not at the same time. Her limbs, invisible though they were, were heavy, and she yawned, wincing when the smoke hit her throat again. She shook her head to clear it; she had to do something, even if it took everything she had.

She turned in the air, as graceful as a dancer, and flew in the direction of town, though she didn’t quite know where she was, her mind clouded by the thick humidity, ash and smoke. She had to get help, even if it cost her everything. The forest seemed to go on forever, a hazy coalescing of green, red, gold, and orange, and she gritted her teeth, trying to resist the urge to scream. How was she supposed to get help if she was as invisible as a ghost?

Her energy flagging, at last, she saw some people on the outskirts of a tiny town, and she landed, right in front of them. She landed shakily on her feet, and she winced, crumpling to the ground. The world seemed to swim, and she coughed, hard, alarmed when the dirt turned scarlet with her blood. “Help… Forest on fire…”

One of the people she’d landed in front of, a tall boy with bright blue hair and dark tattoos winding down his neck and arms, caught her, frowning, looking down at her. “It’s going to be okay,” He said quietly, his wide eyes the only spots of light in her vision, and after that, the darkness snatched her up, allowing her no concessions.