So I saw the Write Now prompt for today, and even thought I generally want to keep other posts on days other than when chapters of Sky Islands post, I really wanted to respond to this prompt and post it today anyway.
Candles flickered in the silent room as he sat down to try to meditate for the first time. The small wavering flames from the forty-two candles that surrounded him were the only source of light in the room as Michael had cut the power to the room to eliminate any potential for an artificial light source.
He set an old battery powered boom box on the floor just outside the double ring of candles. He pressed a door on the top and a square shaped lid rose up to reveal a place to put a CD. Michael opened a clear purple jewel case and removed a freshly burned disc, placing it into the boom box with a snap as the CD was held securely by the spindle before he pushed the door closed, the old plastic teeth of the gears grinding as he shut it too quickly.
He slide a selector to the side, powering on the CD player of the boom box. A faint hiss of static seeped from the speakers as the CD whirred up to speed. Michael sat down in the center of the rings of candles and saw that one had burned out. He fished in his pocket, pulling out the scratched up zippo lighter that had been passed down from his grandfather a few years before after his death. He flicked the wheel a few times before a flame blossomed on the wick which he used to ignite the dead candle once again before replacing the lighter in his pocket and sitting back, legs crossed beneath him and his butt on a small pillow to help him keep his upright posture.
Michael reached behind him, pressing the play button on the boom box and the sound of a small creek added itself to the static. He lay his limp hands in his lap and closed his eyes as he took a deep breath in and then let it out a moment later through his nose. Michael reopened his eyes and focused on a single dancing flame in front of him. His breathing and heart rate both slowed as he continued to watch the tongue of flame swirl and dance before him.
The flame blurred in his vision as the creek sounds ended and the sound of a small fire hissing and popping took its place when the CD moved on to the next track a few minutes later. Michael blinked and shook his head, refocusing on the flame. For a moment he thought the flame had grown larger and changed to a cool blue, but when he looked at it again, the flame was still the warm reddish orange it had been since he started the meditation.
As he widened his focus, Michael was able to see five of the candles he had arrayed around the room. It looked like all of them were shifting from one color to the next. One second the flame would be green. Then it was blue shifting into yellow. Then a pure and bright white. Each of the flames was a different color at any given moment, and he noticed that the glow from the rest of the candles around him was shifting as well. Michael took another deep breath with his eyes closed, holding it in as long as he could before letting the air seep from his nostrils. Opening his eyes again, the flames were taller than they had been before and were shifting colors much faster, looking more like flashes of color than slow changes now.
The fire sounds faded away and became light wooden wind chimes clacking against each other in a faint breeze. Michael reached his hands behind him to stretch his back, his spine popping a satisfying four times. When he lifted his hands again to replace them in his lap, one of his knuckles bumped the CD player. The wind chimes were immediately replaced by driving distorted guitars and thundering drums that rumbled through the room. They were soon accompanied by a low guttural growl. The flames on the candles shrank on when the vocal part came into the music, barely more than a glow and throwing Michael into near darkness.
As the song continued, the flames grew slowly larger, and the colors became brighter, but tended to stay in the black, red, and grey range, venturing momentarily into blue, yellow, and green. Michael watched, wide eyed as the flames continued to grow, reaching four feet high, but staying no wider than the width of one of the candles.
A navy blue haze began to rise from the floor of the room, spreading up and stopping when it was about level with Michael’s shoulders. The guitars in the son swung into a ripping solo and the blue haze rushed in on itself until it was a very dense looking glowing blue ball floating directly in front of Michael’s face. The ball expanded, growing what looked to be arms and legs with wicked curved talons for its fingers and toes. A head and snout sprouted from the top of the ball, which had grown into a torso, and began growing a pair of curved horns from the top of its head.
The blue haze creature in front of wide-eyed Michael pantomimed a roar, which was perfectly in sync with a low note from the singer in the music. The head swung down and looked at Michael, a faint movement as if an eye were blinking right in front of his face. The head reared up again, jaws opened wide and dripping slobber made of the same blue haze as the candles all went out at the same moment.