He’s been here a while, now, the old shed sheltering him from prying eyes. Whispers scurry across the walls, words and meaning captured by the wood. By the light of a candle, Jacob’s hands weave an intricate shape in front of his chest. His whispers fall silent, and he waits.
The flame stretches, teases its way higher, tasting the air. A stuttering shimmer, a muted whoosh, and Jacob’s creation is revealed in fire.
Jacob shifts backwards, away from the sudden heat. Did I do it right? Can I control it?
A pressure builds, air contracting, pressing against him. The expanding symbol rides the wave, spreading like wildfire to the corners of the shed. All shadows dissolve, and the room is bright and hot.
Colour drains from Jacob’s face. It’s not working! The whole place will burn!
He races to the door, throws himself on the old bicycle, begins to push away from the shed.
Then he pauses. The building is filled with light, yet there is silence. Motionless, he sits and watches as the fire’s light shifts from warm reds and oranges to the cooler tones of turquoise. It’s transforming . . . it’s working.

The light blinks out, the air ripples, and it is done. The virus, fatal and brutal, captured and contained, is gone. Jacob rejoices, alone. He can tell no-one of this. They wouldn’t understand.

Copyright Joanna Gawn 2012