Burn

“I hate you!”

“You’ll learn one day, dear,” her mother said.

“You think you know everything, but you’re just a stupid, narrow-minded, old-fashioned hag!” the youngest sister screamed.

“Mind your tongue!” her mother scolded her. “Rules are rules. And as long as you live under my roof, you’ll follow them.”

“I was just hanging out with my friends!”

“And using your powers!”

“So what?!”

“What would the neighbors think if they saw you?”

“Let them think what they wanna think,” the youngest sister snapped. “I don’t care! What’s the big deal, anyway?”

“How many times must I tell you this: fire is demonic. It is the tool of the Devil.”

“No, it’s not!”

“Then why is he burning in Hell?”

“Then why do I have these powers?”

“Don’t raise your voice at me, young lady!”

The youngest sister crossed her arms and turned her back on her mother.

“You’ll do as I’ve told you all along,” her mother continued, knitting away in her rocking chair. “When you turn 18, you have two choices. You can work in the shop and sell diamonds with your father and I. It’s what your grandparents did and their grandparents before them. We sell diamonds. That is what we do. Besides, it will make you a better living than you would ever make throwing flames around.”

“Well, I don’t want diamonds,” the youngest sister spat.

Her mother looked up from her quilt. “Diamonds are a gift from God, dear, dropped from Heaven onto those who are obedient. But on those who are disobedient—like rebellious teenage daughters—he hurls down coals.”

“I’m pretty sure none of that is true.”

“You don’t know that.”

“And neither do you.”

“If you refuse to follow the life we’ve laid out for you, you can leave this house and attempt to live on your own…without my blessing.”

The youngest sister scoffed. “I can’t wait. You can stay here with your superstitions and your stupid diamonds. I’m gonna live my life.” And she stormed out and marched to her room.

Now the youngest sister had an older sister, hence why she was the youngest. There were, in fact, three of them. And all three of them were, as luck might have it, twins. Upon hearing another one of these regular quarrels between the youngest sister and their mother, the oldest sister entered the youngest sister’s room to speak with her.

“You shouldn’t say those things to her, you know,” she said.

“If you’re gonna preach to me, you can save your breath,” the youngest sister replied. “When we turn 18, I’m leaving. If you wanna stay and be her slave your whole life, be my guest. I’ve got better things to do.”

“Have you ever wondered why you have your powers?”

“It doesn’t matter. They’re fun. And mother won’t let us have any fun.”

“Could it be that they weren’t given to you for yourself?”

“Shut up,” the youngest sister snapped. “Before I burn you again.”

So the oldest sister left the room and went to the adjacent room where the middle sister was sitting at the edge of her bed. She noticed that the room was slightly colder than usual.

“You haven’t left your room in days,” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“Well, mother won’t let us use our powers, go out with friends, or do anything other than sell diamonds in this stupid shop so I’ve decided that I’m going to sit right here and do the only thing she allows us to do. Nothing!” She crossed her arms and pouted dramatically.

“That won’t solve anything,” the oldest sister informed her. “Mother may be strict, and at times even irrational, but there are still lessons we can learn from her.”

But the middle sister would have none of it and stared on at the wall with her arms crossed tight.

“You should get some Sun. It’s getting cold in here.”

Then the oldest sister went off. And that night, while her mother was asleep, and the youngest sister was sneaking off again and the middle sister was still shut up in her room, the oldest sister was in the basement of the house, tinkering with her powers in secret, learning more about how fire works and how to control it.

When their 18th birthdays finally came, the three sisters moved out of their home and traveled to neighboring villages to start their new lives.

The youngest sister moved as far away from home as possible to a village in the east. There she unleashed her powers to express her freedom and accidentally burned the village to the ground.

The middle sister had planned to move to a village in the south. But when the time came, the fire in her had frozen and her body had become a block of ice.

The oldest sister, however, moved to a village in the north where there were many cold winters. There, having learned to use her powers wisely, she provided fireplaces and candles to the people there. She even forged metals and sold forks, knives, daggers and swords. Not only that, but the power she introduced to this small village gave rise to factories and triggered an industrial revolution. But this was merely the tip of the iceberg of the oldest sister’s good fortune and she would soon become the wealthiest woman in all the villages. For the oldest sister, as you may have already guessed, discovered that fire creates diamonds.

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