Every night, Lorraine Hemelshot dreams of Fire.
When her eyes close and her breathing stills, crimson and orange dance through her mind, a symphony of flames, the image of sunsets and sullen embers. The fire dreams are sensual - she can smell the crisp air giving way to smoke, feel the warmth on her skin, taste ashes upon her tongue.
Sometimes, the dreams are pleasant - the scent of woodsmoke, the comfortable blaze of a hearth to light a cheery home, low flickering candlelight casting shadows that reel and play along the walls. More often, however, her nighttime meanderings have a different tone lately. Sometimes, she dreams of roaring blazes, of huge towering infernos that claw at the sky. Columns of fat, black, oily smoke choking and gagging the horizon, brilliant flares of bonfires rising like a curtain to eclipse the moon.
Sometimes the flames show her things. A Phoenix rising from the ashes, children holding hands round a burning man of wicker, torches held high to bring illumination to crude cavern depths. Sometimes she smells things cooking in the flames, and they are not always pleasant nor appetizing.
Fire whispers to her, simmering murmurs, demands, pleas to be freed. To be unleashed. To burn and consume.
Every night, Lorraine Hemelshot dreams of fire. And every dawn, she prays.