Fire and Air

an excerpt



Kicking at a pile of ash, Kenton wandered on through the charred remnants of what had once been a run-down warehouse. He bent over, closed his eyes and focused on the area. His ESP told him the fire was no accident. Several spots around the desolation still glowed red in his mind when he reached them.

There was something off in the power glows he found along with nothing that any ordinary arsonist would employ.

There wasn't any orange.

There's no joy. Although they've faded, I see red and black, purple and even a hint of grey. That's like a mix of fear, ambition and sadness. He sighed as he straightened up. Three fires, no material evidence of arson but definitely not accidental. Unfortunately, my ESP alone isn't proof enough. The court likes facts, not feelings. I need to find our firestarter.

He crouched down and fingered some of the ashes. He'd identified four points of power on the site, places where the fire was more devastating than others. The areas the firestarter targeted to set the place alight using their full powers. His training in fire investigation wasn't going to find any evidence of an arsonist using mechanical or chemical means. He was going to have to use his ESP, his own power, to somehow get a link to the firestarter.

They'll make sure I'm called out to the next big fire like this. Hopefully I'll get there fast enough to make a mental link. Kenton disliked the term "psychic detective." The majority of times when the term was used there was a derogatory overtone, but if he was close enough when the firestarter struck, he could pick up their power and their personal aura. For him that aura was as individual as fingerprints or DNA.

Standing up, he focused on the familiar tingling that Nathan called his "spider sense." The thought of Nathan made him smile. His long-time friend and business partner took care of the mundane aspects of their business. They'd been friends since childhood, and many people assumed they would eventually announce they were a couple.

As much as Kenton loved Nathan, he couldn't envisage ever being in love with him. He knew they gave off an old, married couple vibe, but they were practically siblings. Kenton did the footwork on the scenes and reported everything back to Nathan. In this instance, the police had called them in. A friend was leading the investigation, and his instincts were that the fires weren't accidental. Not much to report in here except--

He froze in midthought as the tingling changed. A definite pull, different than the previous impressions and feelings, one that started at his scalp and went all the way to the tips of his toes. Kenton shivered but not from cold. This was more akin to pleasure.

I've never felt anything like this before. Warmth flowed through him, deep and rich, and heated him in places that needed to behave in a public place. For a few seconds, he saw light red then red-orange. Absently he tugged down on the light sweater he wore, making sure it covered down to the tops of his thighs.

He opened the eyes that he'd not realized he closed. He hadn't been aware of moving either, but he was close to the huge, metal barriers that surrounded the long-disused warehouse that was just so much ash and cinders.

Across the road, too far away to see clearly, stood a tall, broad figure. Male, then. Kenton was certain that the stranger was staring at him every bit as intently as he stared back. He held his breath, the moment hanging as if on the verge of some momentous discovery.

Then the man turned and disappeared into the evening gloom before Kenton could recover his wits and call out.

Kenton gave a tsk of impatience.