Coral & Bone by Tiffany Daune
Published: 19th June 2014
Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame.
Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past and can't help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.
"See who you are," the mermaid whispered.
Halen's eyes clouded over and when the smoke cleared she found herself standing in an open field. She was dressed in a cotton dress which fell around her ankles. Soft grass tickled her toes. She took a step forward and a flower sprung from the ground beside her. She leaned down to pick the red poppy. As she took another step a flower sprang up from between the blades of grass. Halen smiled. She walked a little farther and with each step a new poppy sprouted and bloomed. She ran faster and the field blossomed under her feet, and when she waved her hand, the entire valley filled with red poppies. She inhaled their sweet scent and when she exhaled, the birds glided in the breeze of her breath through an endless blue sky.
Halen laughed when the wind caught her skirt and swept the fabric up over her head, but when she pushed it down, dark clouds rolled overhead. She took one step forward and the grass beneath her feet sizzled to a crisp. Taking another step, the poppies burst into flames. The fire licked the hem of her skirt and she gathered it up over her knees. Scanning the field, she spotted a boulder; if she could make it there, remove her feet from the ground, she could save the rest of the field.
She ran in long strides, and with each step, she scorched the ground with her fiery feet. Suddenly, she tripped. Her hands touched down and the ground combusted with a brilliant light. The fire raced through the field, spreading to the trees. The flames reached up, lassoing the birds from the sky, dragging them to the ground. Halen crawled to the rock and hoisted herself up. She stared out to the barren land. "No, no. What have I done?" She clawed the air and the clouds rumbled with thunder. The fire burned hotter and hotter under her flesh. The only way to extinguish the flames was to release them. Tilting her head back, she opened her mouth wide and screamed. What birds had not been burned turned now to black beasts swirling in the torrid sky.
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-Ends 20th July 2014