The Fire of the Gods

My submission for Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge.


The heat came with such swiftness, it caught her off guard. Kay was shocked, and secretly relieved, by the intensity of the warmth between her loosely clasped palms. She had looked forward to this moment for months; anticipated how it would feel and what it would be like. Not once did she admit out loud that she worried it might not work for her; that somehow she wouldn’t be able to do it. The worry was a manifestation of her errant ego, and it annoyed her that she let that vehicle of self-doubt niggle.

“Namaste, Kayson.”

It was rare for Kay to hear her full name spoken by anyone other than her mother, who reserved it for those occasions when a strong point was being made – usually accompanied by her antiquated middle name. Kay opened her eyes and stood, as she and her classmates had been directed.  She smiled at the serenely benevolent woman before her, bowed slightly, and returned the salutation.

“Namaste, Melinda. Thank you so much.”

She was enveloped in a fierce, welcoming hug, and then reminded to return to her seat by the fireplace and meditate. Reseated near the empty fireplace, Kay brought her hands back together, and closed her eyes as she took a deep breath and slowly released it.

Now, in addition to the heat emanating from her palms, which indicated to her the attunement had worked, and that she would be able to practice Reiki, there was an explosion of color behind Kay’s closed lids. She likened the effect to a lava lamp, as the changeable color moved with hypnotic fluidity.

What started as a brilliant Kelly green morphed into a glowing violet… something. She had no idea what to call what she was seeing, and was transfixed by its motion and changeability. The more she watched, the more she saw.

The violet orb, for lack of a better word, was set against a pitch black backdrop that gave the illusion of depth, if it was an illusion; she wasn’t certain. At one point, Kay felt sure she could dive into the orb and find herself traveling through a velvet tunnel to... to what, she didn’t know. Another time? Another dimension? The more she watched, the more she wondered, and the more she was filled with wonder.

“How is everyone doing?” Melinda’s question caused Kay to open her eyes.  She was startled to see all her classmates, and Melinda, looking at her. How long had they been sitting there, watching her?

“I’m good,” Kay offered, thinking how lame those two words sounded considering what had just transpired. She went on to describe what she’d been seeing as she sat with her eyes closed, and the heat she could feel from her hands, which were still in a prayer position. Suddenly self-conscious, she let them fall to her lap, palms up and fingers slightly curled.

“That’s the Violet Flame,” Melinda said. “Also, your third eye has opened more than it already was.”

“My third eye has opened—” Kay began, but was interrupted.

“I didn’t see that,” said Hope. “Shouldn’t I have seen that,too? The Violet Flame, I mean?”

Throughout the class, she had taken copious notes and asked many good, albeit sometimes repetitive, questions. Whereas Kay had been worried about her ability to be a Reiki practitioner before the class and the attunement, Hope worried about getting everything – the class, the attunement, and life, in general –right. As a result, she often got hung up comparing herself to others, and fearing she was coming up short, or plain missing out.

Melinda shook her head. “Everyone’s experience is different; there can be no true comparison. That will be true for your clients, too. No two clients will share the same experience, because there are no two people who are completely alike. It’s important to remember and honor that, and to reassure them if that is a concern they express.”

While Hope busily scribbled Melinda’s thoughts into her notebook, Lindsey, Hope’s sister, spoke up. “I saw a woman in a white robe with flowing black hair. She was holding a crystal in her hands, and she seemed to be offering it to me.”

Lindsey was a person around whom you involuntarily relaxed. She had such a gentle ease about her, it was nearly anesthetic.

“She may be one of your spirit guides,” Melinda told her.

“Why didn’t I see my spirit guide?” Hope’s anxiety had risen at her sister’s words. She looked at Kay, eyes narrowed slightly. “Did you see your spirit guide?”

“No,” Kay replied, fascinated by what Lindsey had shared. She had never even heard of spirit guides.

“Remember, everyone’s experience is different,” Lindsey parroted Melinda’s statement in a vaguely superior way to Hope, who resumed her transcribing.

“I didn’t see anything.” Chloe was sitting in an antique rocking chair, swaying with its movement, eyes closed even though she was listening attentively. “I feel really peaceful, though. I could take a nap.”

She was in her early eighties, and it was late afternoon. She had come to the class with her daughters – Hope and Lindsey– and was used to their dynamics, but still found they could be exhausting.

Kay caught Melinda’s eye and found they were both suppressing amused smiles. Kay opened her mouth to ask about the Violet Flame, but Melinda beat her to it.

“The Violet Flame is where Reiki comes from; it’s its source. Some people call it the Fire of the Gods. You are now keepers of the Violet Flame.” Her wise gaze lit on each of them in turn, as though to punctuate the importance of her words.

Kay closed her eyes for a moment, seeking, and was almost immediately rewarded with the undulating violet orb. The Violet Flame: the Fire of the Gods. She smiled to herself. She’d gotten way more than she bargained for when she signed up for this class. It looked as though being a Reiki practitioner was going to be an adventure.

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