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195 pages
2 hours
Jun 30, 2020


Meet the Elementals - a magical race that inhabits our world, embodying the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
Hope is what they call a "Perfect Impure," a forbidden combination of all four elements never seen before. Afi is the Firesinger sent to hunt her down. They must both battle the forces that surround them--forces that threaten to tear the world apart and reduce it to ashes.
Together they’ll learn that love is a burning thing, and the heat between them cannot be denied.

Jun 30, 2020

About the author

Britt DeLaney lives and writes near Philadelphia. In her spare time she watches too much Netflix, eats too many Pop-Tarts, and is currently writing her ass off.

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Firesinger - Britt DeLaney



THE WORLD HAD become undone



Scientists of many disciplines—meteorology, climatology, seismology, volcanology, oceanography—all of them collectively threw up their hands and agreed that none of them knew what the hell was going on.

The natural calamities had been escalating and many were completely without precedent. Places with no known fault lines were showing seismic activity. Mountainous regions that were usually spared any sort of elevated wind activity were experiencing tornadoes. Strange tides surged up river deltas, swamping inland areas. Torrential rain fell in the deserts. Florida got a foot of snow—in May.

Watching silently, sometimes from a distance, sometimes from the middle of the maelstrom, were the Elementals. These were powerful Originals causing the earth to buckle, sending the tides to rage at the shore, blasting the wind down from the sky, and melting the land in rivers of fiery, flowing lava. 

There were also Twixters watching from nearby, not as powerful as the Originals, due to the mix of their human blood. Some applauded. Some were indifferent. Some worried, for they had friends and family in the human world. 

They could feel it.

It was all moving, circling, building—to what, they did not know. Eventually, there would be an end. Whether that end would bring cataclysm or peace remained to be seen. 

The girl could feel it, too.

Unlike the Twixters, she had no human blood, but had once known a human family. Unlike the other Originals, her power did not pull from one element only. She was what they called a Perfect Impure—bearing all four elements of earth, air, water and fire. Her very existence was forbidden, yet her mother and father, already shunned themselves for their mixed Original blood, risked it all and brought her into existence. The price was their lives.

From the moment she drew her first breath, the forces within her worked to pull her apart. Carefully hidden among the humans, she learned to control those forces to a degree, until she reached her four-and-four, what the humans would call her sixteenth birthday. Sixteen revolutions of the planet, four by four to honor the four elements, and the date of her full maturity.

That morning, her human mother had made her breakfast. Pancakes. She still remembered how they smelled when they were cooking, the sticky sweet of the maple syrup as it dribbled off the fork and onto her lips. The sour tartness of the orange juice she drank to wash it down.

There were presents—clothing mostly. She felt enough like a teenage girl that clothing mattered to her. All of it had been discarded and forgotten over time, now hopelessly out of fashion anyway. The last present was the one she liked best: an intricately designed forged iron ring. Four different bands woven together, like the four powers that defined her life. The weave was tight enough as to allow for engraving on the inside of the band. Five simple words:

To Hope

I love you

She thought she felt that love then, and returned it. But the curling shadow of something danced across her eyelids when she closed her eyes, the hum of a familiar, yet unknown song built within her bones, and the pull could not be denied.

She packed her things that very day and knew it would be her last among this family. She held her little brother for a long time, fed him a piece of her birthday cake and told him he was special. That she loved him. And she felt like she meant it.

That next morning, her human mother clung to her, but did not ask her to stay. She had known this day would come, and they both knew it was dangerous for her to remain among them, fully matured. Still, her mother’s pain was difficult—more difficult than she thought it would be, mostly because her own pain added to it. She loved her, and her human mother loved her in return. At least, that’s how she remembered it. Can there really be love when someone makes you fear for your very life and the life of those around you?

It had been many years, and Hope had seen much of the world since then. She’d seen men and women in all of their ignorance and petty cruelties. She’d been assaulted and nearly killed more times than she could count. She’d watch the humans wreck their planet, wreck their countries, wreck each other. 

She’d also seen the goodness, the warmth, and love, but not enough of it. 

Love was not for one such as her, not anymore.

She was destined to be the world’s undoing.



AFI SUBMERGED HIMSELF in the roiling, burning deep. As the earth moved and flowed around him, he listened. The thrum of ancient forces surrounded him, resonated through him, singing to him.

He was ageless. Eons of time had moved before him and would move with him as he journeyed through. Time was his constant companion, as much as the rock and lava. The rock and the lava and time wove their melody, and he added his voice, deep and resonant and true.

Though he was never truly alone with all of this around him, none of the endless, ageless song could fill all of the dark areas within him. There were still hollow, echoing places deep within his chest, his belly. Places that felt like they would always be empty.

Curiously, he felt it most when he watched the humans.

Unlike the other Originals, his kind—those of the fire element—were not able to mate with humans. Other Originals, those of the air, the earth, the water, they dallied from time to time. Humans were endlessly amusing. Their impulsiveness, their foolish and often reckless behavior and their insistence that they were the pinnacle of life and civilization on the planet left many of his kind chuckling or finding great entertainment in ending them—individually and in large numbers—just for the sport of it.

An act of God, is what they called it whenever a natural disaster befell them. He supposed it wasn’t far off the mark. With the powers they possessed, they were as gods. 

Just now, he was trying his best to look like a man. 

This was not an easy thing. Originals could pass, but only for a brief time. The power and the forces were too great within them, and especially so with him. The offspring of their occasional couplings with the humans were known as Twixters—possessing some of the magical ability to control whatever element their parentage allied with them with. They could pass easily and often walked among the humans with nothing more than a curious glance at a slight manifestation of their power.

He envied them.

Humans were often amusing to his kind, and usually for the most basic reasons. Sexual release. Sadistic fulfilment. Or sometimes more mildly, just as a laugh at their general excessiveness, and focus on the inanities of their lives.

Perhaps it made him something of a voyeur, but just now, he watched the couple on the beach. Under the moonlight, the shadows kept him hidden here in the face of the cliff wall. That same moon illuminated the beach, leaving soft trails of white on the caps of the gently lapping waves, leaving the sand glowing beneath the feet of the oblivious man and woman.

Afi was reasonably sure that even if he were to step out under the moonlight and project his power fully in his true form, this particular couple still wouldn’t know he was there. They could be standing in a pool of lava, and their lips would still cling and move with each other, their bodies would still strain as though trying to climb inside each other, their breath would still be rough under the crushing weight of their desire.

He’d been watching them for nearly twenty minutes. They didn’t come down to the beach merely to couple with each other, or at least it didn’t seem that way. At first, they were throwing shells into the surf, making it a contest, doing their best to see who could throw furthest. The young man let out a hearty laugh at his woman’s shout of triumph when her rock sailed further than his did. This led to him chasing her down the beach, both of them laughing. When she stumbled, he was right there to catch her, swinging her up and holding her close in his arms.

She seemed to melt into him, letting out a sigh as she settled her head into the crook of his neck. The man didn’t immediately try to turn the embrace into an opportunity. No, he seemed content just to hold her, even went as far as to let her legs slide down his body and pulled her closer, but still—he only held her. The woman’s voice carried across the night air.

Thanks for bringing me here, she breathed. This was just what I needed."

I’m glad it helped, the man replied softly.

Today was really hard. It felt good to get away for a little while.

I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, the man told her. But it’ll get easier. Until it does, I’m here. Whatever you need.

She tilted her head back and her eyes slowly met his. I need you.

Her words had a visible effect on the man. Afi could see their power ripple through the man in the tensing of his muscles, the deep intake of breath as his body reacted in a very primal way. Still the man did not bear her down to the sand, did not pull off her clothes, did not pin her down and bury himself in her, surging toward the release he knew could be moments away.

The woman was willing. No obstacle there. Not that his kind considered human resistance any sort of obstacle. The man was larger, clearly more powerful. He could have her whether she wanted it or no.

Something in the man seemed to recognize that the woman was still fragile, somehow. Whatever emotional blow she was dealt this day was still carving its wound, leaving her bleeding, and this act, this need to touch and combine and combust was not about lust or power or release. 

He lowered her to the sand, spreading his shirt first as a barrier to the invasive sand. She reached for him, and for long moments, they only touched each other—slow, sure caresses, lingering fingertips, soft, slow kisses.

This mating was about comfort. It was about reaffirming how very alive they both were. How very alive they made each other feel. 

Afi tilted his head, watching them curiously as they moved on each other. He’d seen many couples in the throes of passion. One did not live centuries side-by-side with humans and not witness the act on hundreds of occasions with dozens of motivations. Seeing a couple that truly cared for each other, using this as an act of love, building until they were thrusting and bucking into each other, hands clasping and fingers intertwining as their cries sang of the feeling between them—that was always a sight to behold.

He’d always tamped down on such stirrings within himself. He’d seen human women from time to time that had attracted him, but the thought of taking one, doing to her what he observed these humans doing . . .he shuddered inwardly. Any act of that kind he would surely be doing to someone, rather than sharing with someone, as no human could come out of the encounter alive, much less find pleasure in being burned alive as he slaked his lust.

None of that would have stopped his father, of course, should he have desired. He considered the humans to be vermin, but that hadn’t stopped him from using them on occasion.

His father would have opened a crack in the earth just to watch these two humans fall in and burn, most especially if he’d witnessed his son’s fascination with them. Just a couple of humans rutting on a beach trying to procreate and preserve the species, since their lifespans were so briefly futile.

Afi wondered if that didn’t make them love more fiercely, hold to each other more tightly, grab and claw and pull at each shared moment because moments were all they had. Moments into days and months and years and decades, if they were lucky. Then nothing. In a few short generations, anyone who ever knew them would be gone. Very few would be remembered beyond their grandchildren.

Sometimes, he thought the world remembered them. Earthsingers could feel their spirits, buried in the dirt. Seasingers could hear their echoes in the watery deep. Windsingers could carry their song from their last breath and sing it onto the wind. There were no firesingers, or so it was believed. Too volatile. Too rooted in the very core of the world that defined them.

But he heard the songs. The early stirrings of life at its most primordial level, the crackling of liquid rock, the hum of the slow forces that moved beneath continents and oceans.

On nights like this, he felt the song, the aching sweetness of the vibration between the two mortals—a brief flicker in the endless eons of time.

It echoed through the earth, carrying the resonance of every soul that burned, every spirit that flamed brightly for years or decades, then flickered and dwindled—or was snuffed out—before they died.

These two humans glowed so brightly, so fiercely in their passing moment. 

They would be remembered, as

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