2009 fiction: blue fire

Blue fire that catches his eye, no, that’s not fire. Standards rippling in the wind, the edges carved in trails and wisps, in forked tongues. A young woman breaks away from the procession with a gazelle’s leap, and she twirls and bends, windswept and leaf-like, edges frayed. In the main square, the procession halts, and a standard slams against the hard street giving way to another, loosing the floodgates of claps and slaps, the jangles of bell-sewn hems and pack straps. The dancer circles the pack, the blue of her scant clothing and autumn hair streaking behind her, the gold patterns scrawled on her stomach glinting.

Its hard for him to tell at first whether this is a documentary or a fantasy movie he’s not watching; the town could be in Tibet or in Middle Earth. Huh. Its funny when the lines cross like that, when reality and fantasy are only a matter of, oh, he’s seen this one before. It’s a fantasy movie and the dancer is some kind of priestess, she’s really the leader and the guys with the standards are her mind-slaves. Either way, the music is good enough to just let it run. He’ll turn down the volume once the battle scenes start, but while he’s just going through his routine, it’s easy enough tune in and out. First things first.

Coffee’s done. Olin must have set it up before he left for work. There’s a note taped over the machine that he doesn’t bother to read as he grabs the carafe, pouring into a mug that he’s just snatched from the cabinet. Oh, he liked that one. It’s the one the guys at the labs got him for his birthday, clear with gradients on the side like a measuring beaker. Then he rummages for cereal. There’s a moment of crisis where he doesn’t see any, but then he realizes he’s looking in the wrong cabinet and feels victorious as he spots gold- Cheerios.

He carries his quarry back to the couch, where the movie is progressing and his laptop’s warmed up. The hero, some straight-laced swordsman is arguing with his friends about following the dancer’s procession; he’s clearly missed a few things because the music’s changed from the tribal warmth to something much more orchestral and it doesn’t hold him in the same way. He’ll start watching when they stop talking so much. The coffee is nice and warm in his hand and he uses the other one to man the touchpad.

He goes about his day as usual, but out of the corner of his eye, he keeps seeing blue fire.