Prologue

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The little girl fell out of the car door, twisted metal encircling her like protective arms. Dazed, blood dripping down her cheek, she staggered from the wreckage. Too confused to cry, glass crunching under shoeless feet, she paused, staring away from the carnage out at the darkness.

The night held its breath, silence echoing in the wake of massacre.

A spark flared from one of the ruined engines. Heat met the petroleum coated ground. Flame licked the liquid, coaxed to life.

The first wail of a siren wrenched the scene. The hungry flame caught. As the girl stared dumbly, making out shapes in the shadows, fire consumed the twisted bodies of car and human alike. Blue flame skipped along the gravel, a silent predator. Finding a petroleum-covered sock, it climbed up a small leg, reaching for a blood-crusted tutu.

Still the girl stared at the figures moving in the darkness. Human shaped creatures with eyes that caught and threw the light. Large, hulking frames. Silky, dangerous movements.

Heat seared her numb leg, her sensitivity cut off in shock.

“What are you doing?” one of the shapes seethed from deep within the inky shadows. He clutched at an arm, stopping forward movement.

“She’ll die.”

“She’s human. That’s what they do. Leave it.”

“She is but a child.”

“It isn’t our concern.”

The arm ripped free. “I will not allow a child to burn to death. Not after surviving the impossible. She was fated to live.”

“Then why must you save her?”

“Often Fate is struck down by dumb luck.”

A shadow charged forth, a black pool among flashing blue and red. The girl did not flinch, unafraid of the large figure rushing her.  Still unable to comprehend her danger. Or the death around her.

The tiny body was ripped away from the carnage, flame smothered in black leather.     

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