Know Thyself


Part nine of Misplaced Fire

Nesrin snapped the bracelet onto her wrist, aiming the stone so it wouldn’t touch her. “Fine. Lesson number one: how well did you know your bodies before this happened?”

Jason’s face looked as if he were trying to solve advanced algebraic equations without a calculator. “Know our bodies? You mean like biology?”

Isabelle loudly rolled her eyes at her brother. “I know mine.”

“Not anymore. Now you don’t know anything about it. This is going to be the equivalent of starting completely over from your first steps.”

Jason asked, “If we’re already turnin’ to fire, didn’t we already take our first steps?”

Nesrin grit her teeth. She didn’t let herself speak until they unclenched. “In a way, I suppose so, but would you be able to explain how the event occurred and repeat the process?”

Jason held his arms out and closed his eyes. When nothing happened he looked at his body, and tried again.

Nesrin watched with a smirk on her face.

Aravis said, “Think about the process you use for moving your arms and legs.”

Jason blurted, “We don’t just think it?”

Isabelle made a noise that meant ‘kind of’. “It’s a different kind of thinking, though. There’s just imagining your arm moving and then there’s deliberately commanding the muscles to move.”

“Right.” Aravis clapped a couple times. “But your brain doesn’t know where to send the commands yet. You’re only turning to fire because your jinn cells can act independently in a way your human cells can’t, which also means the brain has to be more intentional about putting a bridle over them like a rancher does a horse, but now we’re getting a little far ahead. First visualize your DNA catching fire from the inside out, then visualize that fire spreading through the rest of your body until it comes out of your skin. Don’t try to do it yet, just picture it happening.”

Isabelle nodded and closed her eyes.

Aravis counted off forty seconds. “Okay, now make up your mind it’s going to happen. Command the DNA to light.”

She let them try it for a minute.

“Try to put your brain back where it was when you were a baby. You’re not remembering steps, you’re not noticing when you fail, there’s just raw determination.”

Nesrin let a scoff escape. “You know we’re gonna be here forever and a day.”

Aravis looked at her aunt, but addressed Isabelle and Jason. “You should expect it to take awhile; the commands have to go through parts the brain doesn’t usually use, so it’ll need to learn how to tap those.”

Dinah reappeared in time to catch the last part of Aravis’ instructions. She quickly processed the sight of Jason and Isabelle standing still with their eyes closed. “Wouldn’t make more sense to do this in your apartment?”

Nesrin and Aravis looked around them and laughed. Nesrin grabbed Isabelle and Jason and the five of them went the apartment. She stood them in the living room and went to sit at the dinner table with Aravis and Dinah to watch.

Dinah used telepathy to speak to Nesrin and Aravis, to avoid breaking Isabelle and Jason’s concentration. “Occurs to me that till we know how the bracelet got in my storehouse we don’t know whose essence they’ve got.”

Aravis shifted in her seat. “I’d hate to be whoever it is.”

Nesrin took the item in question off and put it in the middle of the table. “It looks like one of Mother’s.” She turned it so she could she the inside. There was an engraving of a jar of olive oil with a flame floating above it. “It is.”

They let the realization defuse in the air.

Nesrin took the bracelet. “I’m finding Ceylan. You two watch them.”


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