The Writing Prompt Project, part 1: KINDLING

I tend to have too much in my head to give writing prompts much thought. But I think that’s a little unfair. Writing prompts are a great exercise. They stretch your intellectual muscles and give you a quick mental break from your current obsession. They also give you a chance to play with point of views or writing styles you don’t generally use.

There are many fantastic, entertaining and insightful writing prompts out there that make me laugh or immediately bring a story to my mind. So, I figured I would start something a little different:

The Writing Prompt Project: Part 1

I was perusing my usual morning readings today, and I stumbled across one that stuck. I would love to hear your own interpretation of where the words take you. If you’re interested in taking part in a fun (and semi-regular, moving forward) exercise, please share what you have!

Disclaimer: I take no credit for any writing prompts I am using here or will use in the future. These are all ideas I’ve stumbled across (usually on Pinterest). That’s what makes the exercise fun.

Please enjoy my take on today’s prompt:

-written by Imgur.com, found on Pinterest

~

KINDLING

By Kimberley Imrie

Kira’s bodyguard pushed her against the wall, his rifle cracking the air. Two enemy soldiers fell. “Lady, we need to keep moving.”

Kira pulled herself straight, her hands trembling as she tugged her hood higher. “Did Farren make it across?”

The older man shook his head. She closed her eyes and nodded, swallowing back her grief. There was no time for tears.

It was supposed to be a simple operation. Her name was all through the intercepted reports. They found her. Now, she needed a new place to hide before the enemy moved on the intelligence.

They thought they acted in time. They didn’t.

Emric tapped her shoulder, moving ahead of her in the narrow alley. “Keep moving and we’ll make it to the rendezvous. Getting to the plane is all you need to think about right now. Understand?”

Kira squared her shoulders and huffed a resetting breath. “I’m okay.”

Emric nodded and led the way, his rifle readied.

One step at a time, right? Kira’s whole life had been lived one step at a time. Why would that change now?

Her family was powerful, had always been powerful. It was the luck of the draw, she supposed. Her great-great-grandfather happened to find his twin, and their kindling happened to be stronger than most. He and his twin also happened to be power hungry bastards who used their endowment to take over the country. Bad luck.

When he died, the revolution followed. Kira was born into war.

Progress was slow. Emric scouted ahead as they moved. But move they did. Kira’s legs were lead, her muscles aching from their constant tension. But they were close now. She might just survive, after all.

Emric crouched, peering over the edge of a dividing wall. “I think it’s clear. We’re about ten blocks from the field. Do you need to rest?”

“I’m okay. Let’s just keep moving. I’ll rest when we’re in the air.”

“Alright. I want to keep to the edges of the square. Safer than moving in the open. Keep dow-“

A muffled pop cut the air and Emric fell, blood leaking from a clean hole in his temple.

Kira clapped her hands to her mouth, scuttling backward as she tried to conceal her scream. Her hands muffled it a little. She dashed the other way, tears blurring her vision as she ducked into a narrow alley and ran with everything she had. For the first time in her life, she was alone.

She didn’t know the city, not really. Emric knew it. A sob burst from her throat as she edged down another side street. Emric had protected her since she was five. He was indominable. Wasn’t he?

The alley turned into a wall and Kira skidded to a stop, her heart pounding in her ears. “No no no…” She needed to orient herself within the maze. She turned, eyes widening and heart stopping as she stared into the barrel of a gun. It was too late.

A split second of hesitation, then a shot echoed across the walls. Kira squeezed her eyes shut, afraid to watch her death from the face of her killer.

It didn’t hurt. Her heart beat again, deafening in the silence. The sound of two people breathing filled the surrounding space. Shallow, urgent, afraid.

Kira opened her eyes. A man stood in front of her, his rifle sagging in his hands. He stared at her with wide eyes and an open mouth. She stared back.

She knew him. She’d never seen him in her life, but she knew him better than she knew herself. He made a distressed sound in his throat and squeezed the trigger again. This time she watched. His aim was true, but the bullet bounced harmlessly off her chest. He stumbled back a step.

She straightened, hands shaking. “…I know you.”

He twitched, shock frozen on his face. “Oh my god.”

Distant voices echoed a street away. Both their eyes snapped to the sound. The soldier shook himself, breaking from his reverie. “More men are coming. We need to go.”

He offered his hand, protected with armored gloves. He was an enemy. He would have shot her – twice. She should run. But…

Kira grabbed his hand.

He ducked around the corner, pulling her behind him. He knew the streets, and knew them well. Better than even Emric. He maneuvered the turns like he lived there his whole life. He probably did.

It didn’t take long for the voices behind them to fade. They didn’t talk, but they didn’t need to. It was crazy – Kira knew she was crazy – but she trusted him.

Finally, he climbed a creaking fire escape, helping her up. The moment stood still as his hands settled on her waist. It ended as soon as is began, and he pulled her into an old building, easing the door closed and sliding the latch in place. It looked like an old factory, high rafters obscuring the steel roof, nooks and crannies filled with dust and debris.

He led her to the center of the room and pulled off his helmet, turning to stare at her once more.

She’d never seen his face, but it was familiar. Sandy hair cropped in military standard. Expressive eyes watching her with awe. It was like a missing memory clicked into place.

Kira took a step toward him, her thoughts spinning. “Who are you?”

“I’m Theo. I know who you are, Kira Cassian.”

“Why did you help me?”

Theo’s brow creased with conflicted loyalty. “I don’t know. I shouldn’t have.”

“What happens now?”

“I don’t know.”

She looked around, swallowing. We can’t stay here. I have to get out of the city.”

“Where are your guards?”

She glanced at her feet. “Dead.”

He closed his eyes, scrubbing his hands across his face. “Shit.”

Kira paused, approaching him again, really looking him over. “Theo… something happened.”

He met her eyes, stiffening. “Yeah.”

“Do you think…?”

“I… don’t know.” Silence fell between them. He let out a long breath. “But I know how to find out.” He pulled off his heavy gloves, clenching and unclenching his hands.

Kira held her breath. Most people never met their twin. It was a peculiarity that rarely happened, but when it did, the world shook. If it was true, then their first physical contact should initiate their kindling.

Motes of dust hung in the air as they stared at each other. Stared into each other. They stood barely a foot apart. The distance to was too far, Kira’s skin tingling, yearning for Theo’s touch. But it was far too close at the same time, a foreign intimacy invading her senses.

Their hands met. Theo’s eyes fell closed, their fingers twining together. A deep shudder passed through him, his grip tightening on hers. Kira gasped, a current racing from their point of contact. It was life, like she had never drawn breath before that moment. Her pulse quickened, her heart pounding.

A curious heat rose between their palms, a ribbon of light bursting free and coiling around their hands and arms, surrounding them in a nimbus of light. Chunks of debris lifted from the ground, hovering around them on invisible strings, glowing from the birth of their endowment.

With a rush of power, the shimmering threads settled into their flesh, the glow fading into matching tattoos. Power thrummed beneath Kira’s skin, comfortable, visceral. Finally, she was awake, and she knew she could never be put to sleep again.

She opened her eyes. Grief tugged Theo’s features, his eyes closed and a tear running down his cheek. His hand tightened on hers, almost painfully.

Her brows knitted in confusion. What happened was wonderful- they found each other. Their endowment, whatever is was, would give them the power to fight their way to safety. Why was he in pain?

He drew a shaking breath, gritting his teeth. He looked into the hidden rafters and raised his voice. “It’s done.”

Kira frowned, trying to back away. Theo’s hand tightened on hers, holding her in the middle of the room. “W-what’s done?”

He wouldn’t meet her eyes. “I’m sorry, Kira. This war has gone on too long and too many people have died. I’m so sorry.”

“Theo? I don’t under-“

A gunshot rang from the rafters. The shot was perfect. Kira felt nothing as the bullet tore through her heart.

~

Blood… after all.

Well, there it is. Happy… um… valentine’s day? (I realized after writing when this would be posted.)

I hope you liked reading it as much as I liked writing it. Sort of gave me shivers, to be honest. Please let me know what you think, and I can’t wait to hear what kind of adventures your own ideas take.

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