Chapter 38: Grass Fire
Dawn took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She would have to open them again later, but she seemed to connect to the earth magic better when she wasn’t reacting to any other stimuli—and the sun glittering off the snow was certainly stimulating. Breathing slowly and steadily, she imagined roots growing down from her legs and into the ground. Quickly but gradually, she felt supported, stronger, more relaxed. It was working.
Then she extended her attention outward. At first there was nothing, but she’d learned to expect that. Then, all of a sudden, all the magic was there. She was surprised by the amount of power she could feel in the snow. She realized she’d subconsciously thought of it as dead, like fallen leaves, but there was magic there. Maybe each snowflake only had a miniscule amount, but all together it glowed with vibrancy.
She opened her eyes then to look down at her pile of tinder, keeping her attention carefully focused outward so she wouldn’t lose the connection to the magic. It was like keeping her mind out of focus, the way she would to look at a magic-eye picture. She chose a piece of grass, one near the middle of the pile and split at the end, to focus on.
Suddenly there was a shrill beeping sound coming from right next to her, completely breaking her concentration. She almost toppled over from surprise and the fact that she was no longer grounded. It took her a moment to get over her disorientation and realize it was her cell phone. She fumbled it out of her pocket. “Hello?”
“Hey, it’s me,” said Naomi. Her words were slow and a little slurred. “You called earlier, what did you want?”
“Oh.” Dawn sighed with relief. “Just to check on you. I expected you back last night.”
“Silly. I’m in the art building. Too much damn snow. I’ll come home ‘ventually.”
“Are you okay?”
“I am totally, totally…” There was a long pause. “High. Don’t tell anybody.”
Dawn couldn’t help laughing. “Okay, I won’t. Have fun and stay safe.”
“I’m always safe. You stay safe. Don’t start any storms.”
“I promise. See you later.” She hung up the phone and shook her head. Corrie and Edie were both looking at her curiously. “Just Naomi. She didn’t get back last night. But she’s fine.”
“Oh, I wondered where she was,” said Corrie. “Is she with Jerry?”
Dawn shrugged. “She’s in the art building. I don’t know who else is there, but I promised not to tell anyone what she is doing.” She mimed smoking and a slack-faced look. Edie giggled. “Okay,” Dawn said, shoving her phone back into her pocket, “I’m going to try this again.”
She breathed. She focused. She got the magic back, despite her slightly rattled nerves. Then she found her split-ended piece of dead grass and she set her will to it.
It caught almost immediately. First, there was just an ember at the end, glowing orange. Then there was a spark, then more, and in moments there was a tiny fire in front of her. She looked up at her friends, grinning. “I did it!”
“Awesome!” said Corrie, also grinning. “Wow, I didn’t think that grass would be dry enough…”
Dawn nodded, looking down at her little blaze, which was quickly burning itself out. “I think the magic helped it catch even though it’s wet. It must have dried out since you shoveled here, though, because otherwise it wouldn’t be burning so quickly.” It was already fizzling out as the fire burned down to the ground, leaving bits of charred grass behind it. She reached out with her hand, safely encased in a glove, to grab some snow and toss it onto the remnants. Better safe than sorry.
“Are you going to do any other magic?” Edie asked.
“I think so,” Dawn said, still looking down at her dead fire. “I guess I should try some water… I don’t know.” She shook her head and looked up at Corrie. “I don’t want to do anything that will get out of control, but I want to see if doing a lot of magic tires me out like it did yesterday.”
“Try doing more than on any other day, but less than yesterday,” Corrie suggested, crouching down and poking at the remains of the fire. “Create a little river or something. I mean, you don’t want to be as tired as you were yesterday, do you?”
“You should…” said Edie, then frowned and shook her head.
“What is it?” Dawn asked. “You might have a perspective we don’t, since you haven’t been officially taught magic.”
“I don’t know,” Edie said. “I thought I had an idea… but it’s gone now. I guess you should do whatever seems best to you.”
“I guess I will,” said Dawn. She took her glove off and pointed it at the snowbank.