(It should be noted that I did not post this on reddit, though I did read the prompt there)
August 3, 2015
The curtains caught on fire. Again.
The fire alarms burst into raucous life for the third time that morning and it wasn’t even 9 a.m.
Sandra clapped her hands and a small thundercloud appeared over the cheerfully burning drapes and a small downpour extinguished the flames. A wave of her hand sent the smoke out the window and tousled her hair, and electricity still crackled around her eyes as she stared at Maeve. The two-year-old was still screaming, waves of heat were rippling off of her.
“That was naughty!” she said. “You could get a boo-boo and you ruined your curtains.”
More screams. Sandra took a breath, and the air around her became cool, then cold and she scooped up the toddler, who buried her face in the crook of her shoulder and neck and sobbed. Maeve felt like the heart of a star.
“Shh,” said Sandra, trying to feel her own cool, but even though she could see her breath dance in front her eyes, evidence of the cold, all she could feel was the heat. She began to hum Maeve’s favorite lullaby and the heat began to ebb, slowly at first. Soon the only thing that remained of the toddler’s outburst was soggy singed curtains, matted sweaty hair and a tearstained face.
“Let’s get a snack, bug,” said Sandra, letting the girl down gently and taking her by her hand. The girl scrabbled up into her booster-seat, only threatening to fall out once – well, technically twice, but Sandra only saw the one time. The enchantment laid into the floor would allow for an uncomfortable, but safe, bounce on semi-rubber surface. The runes for rubberization were expensive but had prevented trips to the ER on more than one occasion – it had also saved her crystal punch bowl. Sandra had stepped on a wooden block barefoot and dropped it while clutching at the arch of her foot.
The doorbell rang. Sandra drew in her breath sharply and handed Maeve her bowl of banana and apple slices before peeking through the glass. A spike or irritation at not being called was mixed with the sheer joy of not being alone. She opened the door and smiled, absently touching her hair that was clumped into a loose and stringy ponytail.
“Hi, Mom,” said Sandra.
The smaller woman, silver hair popped primly in a bun, stepped forward and cupped Sandra’s face with the palm of her hand, she then smoothed it through her hair, and Sandra felt cleaner and more put together. It was wonderful. When she touched her hair, an intricate braid had woven itself in her hair.
“You look beautiful,” said Blanche.
“You’ll have to teach me that one,” said Sandra, and her mom smiled.
“Gammy!” hooted Maeve from her booster seat, and bananas splatted to the floor. But when Blanche bent down to kiss her granddaughter – the bits of fruit marched themselves over to the compost bin.
Blanche straightened and opened her mouth to say something when the earth shook beneath her feet and she steadied herself by holding on to the wall.
“My goodness, what on Earth was that?” she asked, her silvered eyebrows arching.
“Next door,” said Sandra with a sigh. “Candice’s daughter stayed out past curfew. Candi has gotten really good at her bindings – but I think Samantha is tinkering with her Wrath of God invocations.”
“You used to be amazing at those. Broke all the windows in the house when I grounded you for seeing that Connor boy,” she said.
Sandra rubbed her hand over her reddening face. “Don’t remind me – I can’t wait until this one starts up with that.”
“Oh, there’s plenty of time for that,” said Blanche, pulling Sandra in for a hug. “You’ll be fine.”