It had been twelve years since my mother had died. My father had taken over the business from her until I was able to learn the trade. I enjoyed watching the wicks dip into the bucket of hot wax and slowly build up. It was a time-consuming process, but it was fulfilling. In this new era, it was practically a lost art and we felt as though we were preserving the history of the old ways in Orinda. The world was all steam and electric now, being fueled fast in a mere decade.

I was sitting in bed, staring at my lit candle. For some reason it was more comforting than that of the glass light above my bed. Mother would always place one candle near me at bedtime and leave her gaze on me as she sung me to sleep with traditional Chalosian songs. Now I’d rather fall asleep to the gentle flicker of the candle, remembering my mother’s voice, than any static light which produces no heat and never crackles from moisture.

As my eyes started to drift off, I leaned over to snuff the flame with my finger. In doing so in my sleepy state, I missed the flame all together. Instead, my fingers flicked against each other and then my eyes got wide from what I saw. The flame was no longer without form, flickering back and forth with the air — it had transformed into something different.

That was when I first saw the firedancer. It would not be the last.