Flash Fiction: Significant Challenge (346 words)

False starlight cracked through the window. Turning everything to shades of steel or ice, it scattered against the floor, cutting dark shadows from the chair legs and the footboard. Kitra glared at it, without meaning to, just trying not to open her eyes to the full force of it. Then she pushed herself up on one elbow and glanced outside at the too-bright street and it’s shadowed edges.

Slipping out of bed, she pulled the blanket with her, holding it around her shoulders. Her feet seemed silent against the floor, but she might have still be half-deaf from sleep, or the night might have swallowed the sound. The stairs didn’t creak. The front door didn’t squeal.

She stepped out onto the front porch, eyeing Jace with what would have been disbelief, if she had been conscious enough to summon it.

“Again?” she asked him, in not quite a whisper.

He dropped his hands to his sides with a shy smile. The blue-white flames running laps around his fingers slowed, and dimmed, and politely dripped away into smoke near his toes. The dark thickened, and he was just a shadow in the middle of the street.

“It worked last time,” he said, quieter than she had been.

Kitra took another couple of steps toward him, shaking her head.

“The sun is going to get jealous of you,” she told him.

“It’s the only way that doesn’t wake up the rest of the house too!” Jace protested.

“You’re just trying to start a fight with a celestial body,” Kitra said. “Don’t pretend.”

The dark started to clear as she blinked, and she saw him take a deep breath, saw his shoulders slump a little, and he nodded at her.

“You’re right,” he said. He held out an arm for her take. “I’m running out of adversaries down here.”

She looped both hands through his elbow, letting him tuck her cold fingers in against his warm ribs. “If it weren’t for me, you would have run out already,” she said.

“You do always pose a significant challenge,” he murmured.

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