Hypothermic, Sarah thought, half-slipping down onto the lab floor, trying not to crack either of their skulls as she dragged the teen over to a lab workstation. Shivering is a good sign. I hope. “Matt, get his shirt off.”
“But it’s cold in-”
“Wet clothes kill you faster.” Damn, she could hear Matt’s stifled sob, she wanted to say she didn’t mean it but there wasn’t time. It’d been a while since college chemistry but Sarah knew a Bunsen burner when she saw one; lousy heat source for a frozen kid, but right now it was what they had. Striker, come on, tell me one of these drawers has – got you!
Sarah pounced on the familiar flint-and-steel cup with its squeeze handles, making sure the knob was turned and the airslit at the bottom was closed before she tried to remember the exact scrape of the handles to make sparks. Come on, come on….
With a quiet whoomp, yellow flames burst up from the top of the barrel. Sarah almost dropped the striker on the black-slabbed bench, hand shaking as she opened the airslit to concentrate the gas into one roaring blue flame.
A blue flame that almost disappeared from her view, swarmed by red-touched rukh.
Red wings… the red ones are warm.
Alan seemed to be breathing easier as she got him up on a pair of chairs, as close to the heat thrumming out of the burner as possible. More of the red rukh seemed to flutter in with the warmth, circling cold skin as if drawn to the boy.
Each color is a kind of energy. Red is heat, Sarah realized. There’s got to be something I can do with that–