SS: Prologue/ interest short for The New Merlin (#octoprompt smoke)

Where’s there’s smoke there is fire. And that has me think of the prologue scene for The New Merlin I ever wrote. It may have never been written without this prompt.

This is a first draft of a prologue. I don’t have a name for the short yet. Maybe “The Fire” or “Their Deaths” or “Orphan” or “I Did It”. I’ll know of a good title for the short after working on it another time.

[Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [#Octoprompt] [About Cat Hartliebe]

Prologue/short interest story for The New Merlin

I never meant to do it. I stare in horror as smoke billows out of the windows. I stand in the street with my neighbor as someone yells. They want to know if anyone’s still inside. Fire truck will arrive shortly. It will. It has to.

How did I do it?

I close my eyes recalling the yelling. Mom and Dad… Never really wanted to be together. I was trying to study for my upcoming SATs. Most sophomores take it just to see what’s it like and have a base line for college. It’s normal. I was doing nothing strange.

I’ll take it over the summer and…

I stare at the house.

Something cracks causing a cave in. The fire has eaten itself through walls.

I did it.

I set the house on fire.

I know it was me.

The sirens has me gasp and back further away. My neighbor offers me a grimace while half guarding me. “Is your brother inside?”

I shake my head. “He’s at baseball practice.”


I tighten my jaw. How could anyone not hear their yelling before I did it?

I stare at the place as the fire trucks set up to keep the fire contained. The house will be ash soon. And inside… I grunt thinking of the moment. All my anger and frustration. I just let it build and explode.

Into fire. I caused fire to erupt from my hands and burn the house down from the inside.

Will they notice? Will they know?

I exhale and hug myself. “All my school work.”

“We’ll call the school. You’ll have some extra time before exams if you need them.” The neighbor pats my back. It’s meant to be soothing. “You can stay with me while things settle. Okay?” I nod sniffling. I never meant to do anything.

Somehow… I set my house on fire. Without match, lighter, or anything.

A police and ambulance arrives shortly after. Bodies were found in the soot and ash before I am given freedom.

Someone got my brother. He walks over to me holding my hand as we listen. Not talk.

A leak. A spark and a gas leak and the house is gone.

“Cynthia?” My little brother tugs my hand. “Are you okay?”

I whisper between tears, “They’ll never hurt us again.”

“Positives.” Wilhelm nods squeezing my hand. “Something doesn’t add up though.”

“I’ll explain another time. How was practice?”

I manage classes without much change. It’s the normal. Then as the funeral processes I find myself without a direction.

The family has been fighting to not take us in. As if we’d just be trouble. It has me wanting to cry further. If only there was someone we could lean on in our times of need.

“Hello.” The short middle age man… Medically a dwarf short. I look down at him and his soft smile. The beard is well kept. It’s as if he likes being considered a dwarf. “I am your uncle, Luificer. It seems you’ll be joining me in my home for a while.” He offers a smile to my brother as well. “It will be a pleasant addition to my life.”

Uncle. He’s our uncle? We look nothing alike. But no one else wants us. So we pack what little we have and follow the strange short man into an adventure that lasts a lifetime. Into a world where setting things on fire with your mind isn’t fantasy.

Where magic exists and I am someone who can use it.

Where people call me the New Merlin because I am expected to become someone great. There’s no way someone who burns down their house with their parents inside is great. I’ll never be great. They have the wrong person. I’m nothing like Merlin.

[Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [#Octoprompt] [About Cat Hartliebe]

More about this series can be found: [WIP: The New Merlin] [WIP: The New Merlin (Opening)]

The New Merlin was my first nano story. The New Mage is book 2 in the series. The New Morganna has a level of plotting finished. It will be next written in the series.

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