Lit Mag Short Fiction

Griffin in Flames

I was alone when the storm hit. All I could think was survival. I had become a rancid animal within a lightning strike. 

I grasped onto the soaked sails- mustering any energy. I slipped into the cold waves-  stomach sloshing. Flashes of my pearly sailboat washed over me as I pummeled through the ocean. Shoot.

The shadows of the deep water slowly grew dark- enclosing me, pushing against me. A ripple of tension shot through my spine. I was vulnerable, quiet.  I closed my eyes and let my body loose. My panicked thoughts slowed to a halt.

I looked around. Seaforest kelp swayed gently, the briny salt was all I could smell. I watched as little fish scuttled in the sand, pushing and pulling, almost like a hypnotic game. For a moment it was, for lack of a better term- like a breath of fresh air. 

I stared up above me. An entire world was up there, raging. And here I was, at the bottom of it.

Was it nice to be by myself down here? I thought. As I had reached serenity, I of course had to wonder and mess up everything. The dark demons were inching closer. I was losing air. 

That’s when a single flame twirled from my fingertips.

In a rush, I bolted up to the surface, gasping. My heart thundered. My lungs were soothed but raspy. Rain and cracked white lighting was everywhere- and all I could do was smile. 

I hovered in the sea for a moment, contemplating what had just happened. A spiral of fire had seriously come from my body! It was confusing and strange and definitely traumatic- but in I very much had to do it again. How is this possible? The world doesn’t function on Super Mario physics!… I didn’t question it and took in another breath…


And then got smashed by a thirteen foot wave. 


All I could see was darkness. Darkness, darkness, inky black and memories. Voices. Every pounding wave became a whisper. The water was so cold, thrashing at my legs and throat like a knife. 

You’re not enough, Griffin.

You can never do it, Griffin.

You’re such an awkward kid.

Everyone hates you.


The demons encircled me. But this time, I was armed. In the nothingness, I managed to find a spark.. None of that is true, Griff. I commanded. You can light the way.

Instantly, hope had ignited within. I glanced up at my target, my goal, an ounce of light filtering through the waves. I am ready now.

A stream of orange fire escaped from my hands, large and turbulent and blazing. It was wild and free and beautiful- the crimson mane of a seahorse. Joy, rambunctious energy, and a hint of confidence flowed through me, a searing revolt.

I got into position and glided up, the fire comforting me, its heat making me buoyant. I pushed through the waves, the storm, the darkness, the memories- all with the power of a griffin, a mythical beast. My namesake, bit by bit.

I surged past the surface and burst into the crisp storm air like a streak of melted gold and radiant orange feathers.

I paddled towards my lost sailboat, which was rocking capsized fifteen feet north. All that was messed up were the main sheet and the boom. I hopped along and proudly cruised through the storm, away from my demons and away from my thoughts. I was glowing warmly, gripping the salt flecked rope.


In this moment, I found my wings.


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