Ruth Long’s Picture Choice:
Title: The True Blue Flame
You’re on fire. You’re hot stuff. You’re burning up.
I’ve heard it all. Being a teenage superhero isn’t as fun as it sounds.
I can hardly keep my algebra grade out of the toilet, let alone manage raging hormones.
Add unreliable superpowers and I’m a powder keg of chaos with zero stability.
Seriously. What kind of lousy power is fire anyway? I can’t do anything cool with it.
I either destroy things by accident, like that tree-house when I was seven, or on purpose, like when the cops needed me to burn out a den of methheads.
Mostly, I end up being the butt of jokes.
We’re all out of lighter fluid, kid. Can you start the bbq?
Why don’t you come out to the bonfire Friday night?
We could use someone to keep the fire roaring.
Hey there, flame boy. Is that a fire in your pants or are you just happy to see me?
I’m learning to handle the ridicule and I’ve gotten better at controlling the flames. That is, until I see her. Red hair. Freckled cheeks. Smile like a sunbeam. The moment she comes into sight, my palms itch and the scent of sulfur curls around me.
Worst of it is, I don’t know which part of me truly wants her: the hormones, the superpower or the tiny part of myself that is truly me. There is a part of me that’s just me. Right? I mean, it’s not like I signed up for this. I’d have picked flying or strength. But no, I got stuck with flaming palms.
If I didn’t think I’d turn her to ashes, or singe my tux, I’d ask her to prom. But the way her blue eyes peek at me through those long lashes, and the way she says my name, ‘Tyson’, with that first syllable lingering on her tongue like cherry soda, well, she’s just too awesome to risk it.
Oh, god. It’s her. Don’t turn around.
“Do you have a moment?”
Breathe. But not too quickly or the heat will ignite and then –
“I was wondering if … if you would be my date for the -”
I turn around to stop those fateful words from coming out of her mouth, and when I do, I fall into those big blue eyes and … and it’s so cool and soothing. No hint of sulfur. My palms don’t even twitch.
Embarrassment spreads across her cheeks like wildfire as the silence stretches between us.
The words tumble out of my mouth. “Anna, may I take you to the prom?”
She doesn’t answer with words, just slips her hand into mine, and the sparks that skitter over my skin at the contact are directly related to the flame in my heart, not the oddly subdued heat in my palms.
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A reader by birth, paper-pusher by trade and novelist by design, story-telling in my passion. If you enjoyed reading today's story, please consider checking out my blog bullishink.com, joining my creative community sweetbananaink.com or participating in the madcap twitter fun @bullishink.