The Spirit Candle


“C’mon. You know you want to.” Eric grinned at his older sister with a hint of sibling malice.

Heather sat at her desk and struggled to finish her math homework. A tendril of electricity extended from Eric’s forefinger, knocking the pen out of her fingers. He’d been teasing her all night. Heather tried to ignore him, hoping that he’d give up, but he must have sensed that she was close to losing it and kept going. A random snap knocked her chair. Minutes later, a blast of electricity knocked the picture of their grandfather. It fell to floor, glass shattering.

Eric knew that he’d gone too far. Heather’s back tensed and energy crackled through the room as they prepared for battle. She stood and raised her arms, collecting moisture in the air until two orbs of water floated in her hands. Across the room, Eric’s hands were over his head, a ball of lightning floating between them, the static electricity making his dark hair waver.

Their mother walked into the room and negated each of them with a flick of her wrist. As the power flowed into their mother, her eyes glowed while her skin became translucent. She was a human light bulb, powered by the strength of her own children. She returned to normal as she released the energy.

“You two need to stop bickering. We’re going to have my sister and her family over for a séance soon and I will not have this house torn apart before they get here.”

Heather had almost forgotten. The spirit candle was going to be lit tonight. It was the latest craze, using a candle to call the spirits of the people who had gone on. Heather wondered if maybe the spirits might just want to be left alone. And yet, there was a small part of her that glimmered with hope. Heather’s grandfather had died over a month ago and she missed him terribly. He understood when the rest of her family didn’t. They used to go fishing, each of them using their power with water to lure the biggest fish toward their boat.

Even though she missed him as much as anyone else, it felt wrong to call him back. She wanted to remember him alive, not as some spirit beckoned back to life by a fad.

Later, Heather sat at the dining room table, trying not to look at the crude device dominating the middle of their vision. It was white and looked like a candle. On the side was a small switch to turn it on and off.  Heather didn’t think this was going to work and was secretly relieved.

“What’s wrong Heather?” said the kitchen table.

It no longer surprised her when wooden items spoke to her. Her father had been doing that since she was little. Her friends were always startled and little freaked out though. She’d stop inviting people over a long time ago.

Just then, her mother turned off all of the lights and leaned over to turn on the candle. It roared to life with an eerie blue flame.

“Let’s close our eyes, join hands and think about Papi,” said her mother. They held onto one another and focused on Heather’s grandfather. The room was completely silent except for the brief flicker of the candle.

Heather felt an energy build up in the room. It was similar to the feeling she’d get right before Eric would zap her. She opened her eyes and looked around the room. Her family had their eyes closed and were all slumped awkwardly in their chairs. They were asleep. A wave of heaviness moved over her as well, as if a tremendous weight had been laid upon her body and the only escape would be in her dreams.

Something wasn’t right. In the middle of the table, the blue flame grew higher and higher as if it was feeding on an energy source she couldn’t see. As Heather felt herself grow weaker, she realized that they were the energy source. She had to do something, but she was so tired.

When she was little, her grandfather used to blow a puff of steam into her brother’s face. It would drive him crazy. If she could muster up enough water and power, maybe she could damage the candle. Heather blew into the candle. It faltered just enough so she could reach over and turn it off.

A couple of days later, the headlines read, “Recall on Spirit Candles.”

 Story written for YeahWrite Weekly Writing Challenge. Prompts were the word lighter and Magical Realism. To read other stories and vote for your favorites, click the link.


15 thoughts on “The Spirit Candle

  1. I really liked the balance between ordinary family dynamics and superpowers. I felt like there were a few spots where their powers were overexplained a little, but that’s partly because of how the story opened so naturally, with two siblings having an ordinary fight…with lighting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m all about fighting with my brothers using lightning. This opening scene is so engaging. I feel like there might have been one too many magical elements added for a 750 word story. Maybe tightening up on one or two of the fascinating elements might give you a little room to resolve the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally relate to younger brothers driving your crazy. There were some great story elements here. I wonder if this might have worked better as a longer story to include them all. I love the magical family premise and the conflict of whether to bring back grandpa. I think either could have carried a 750-word story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Electricity and water never mix well. Seems like my own kids must have those powers 🙂 I really loved the dynamic between the siblings and I rather expected there to be a nya-nya I saved the family moment at the end, but only because that was such a vivid part of the story. My favorite part was when the long suffering mother negated their shenanigans with a wrist-flick. 😀

    I think the set up went so well that you didn’t have to explain some things like the mother’s power because you showed it brilliantly (<– haha get it?)

    Oh this tripped me up: A random snap knocked her chair. Minutes later, a blast of electricity knocked the picture of their grandfather.

    Was it after a few minutes really or was it right after the chair knocked and grandpa went crash.

    Liked by 1 person

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