The first thing Otta could remember seeing was firelight. At the time she was too young to know it was fire. All she understood was that heat danced between darkness and scarlet. Later, when she was a little older and could walk outside, she discovered a golden source of heat high in the blue sky above her head. Her mother, Luella, called it the sun. In the kitchen she would watch her mother create a spark from two stones to light the hearth fire that cooked their food. And when Otta was about five years old she discovered how to make fire herself.
Her mother was heavily pregnant and very ill. One morning Luella was so unwell she could not descend the wooden stairs that connected the sleeping lofts to the large, flagstone kitchen. Alvar had shouted at Otta to keep her twin brother Erl out of the way and the two children sat in the cold, dark room. When Erl was shivering, Otta peered at the ash-filled hearth remembering how her mother kindled red fire every morning without fail. Otta raked out the white ash, concentrating on the task, blocking out the dreadful cries above. Erl fetched kindling for her and Otta carefully built a small wigwam of sticks. With Erl’s help she found the firestones on the shelf beside the hearth and struck them together. A small, pale flame blossomed and she held it to the thin sticks of wood. The flame sinuously twisted around the dry kindling, emitting a crackling sound. The stick erupted into flame, generating fierce heat.
I’m looking for feedback on these opening paragraphs… Do you want to read more? If you were to buy the book, what format would you purchase? What do you think happens in the story?
© Freya Pickard 2016