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Death witch and Detective Mallory Mors arrives at the scene of an out of control arson called by a victim who desperately wants to die. Using her powers, Mallory battles the strongest fire witch in town to help the woman cross over.
When she’s forced to work with the angry fire witch, she discovers their lives are linked in complicated ways. As all the other fire witches in the city mysteriously lose their powers, the heat is on to solve the case. Saddled with a vampire assault at the local supernatural brothel, a missing person who doesn’t want to be found, and a mess of vampire politics, Mallory struggles to put together the pieces before the city burns.
Page Count: 412
Word Count: 109225
The power drew me out of the car and into the crowd. A woman stood in front of the fire. Around us people wore layers of fire retardant clothes, black ash, and sweat. They panicked and burned. Together we were calm despite the flames or maybe because of them. I looked at her and saw flame-colored eyes staring back at me. The color swirled within them; the red, orange, and yellow marked her as a fire witch. I stared back knowing my own eyes had gone opal white, milky with glints of color.
Shouts for a medic came from behind us. They put a body between us, still screaming, flesh burned away until it was barely recognizable as a person. Death sang through me.
“I can heal her,” the fire witch said.
The body, perhaps it had been a woman, begged to die.
“No one can heal her.” The EMT shook his head at the lump of blackened skin and blood.
“She’s mine,” I replied to the other witch and ignored the man.
“My Goddess doesn’t think so.” Her face hinted at a smile, but my concentration stayed on the dying one.
“She’s wrong.” I summoned the power into my body, gathering it into my limbs.
“Not this one, death witch. This one Raya wants alive.”
I dropped to my knees beside the body. My hand found a spot in all those burns, a place more solid than the rest, and I poured the power down. I lost my five senses to concentrate on the sixth one, everything else became silent. My hearing went first, the sirens, the crackle of flame all gone to nothing. My vision narrowed to the body in front of me as my sixth sense, my death sense, took over.
The woman had been dying for a long time. She looked forward to death; she craved it as an end to pain. She prayed to God for it. Now I gave it to her, sharing the emotions as she passed between one world and the other—release, freedom from pain, and underneath, a hint of excitement. No two deaths felt the same. I was still new to what I was, but it hadn’t taken me long to learn that. The body shuddered one last time, and the world was suddenly loud again, smoke tasted acid in my throat. My head swam with the confusion of the normal world.
“She was mine.” The fire witch’s voice went hard as the flames beside us blossomed with anger.
“Sorry, she wanted me more.” I brushed the grass off my knees and walked away.
I made it back to the car before my legs started to shake.
“I need to eat.” I’d ended up in the hospital a few times when I’d done more magic than my body could handle. I didn’t want to end up there again.
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