Firebeam is an alternative version to Firebolt. It forms part of th Beam Series and is a story always stuck in my head, like Moonbeam. Firebeam is mainly about the events that Firebolt opened with. Herbert and Elena fleeing, but we finally get to read Herbert's point of view of that night, and what would have happened if the dragon didn't kill him.
How would Elena's life had been. Would she have fallen for Lucian, claim Blake earlier, become the person she is destined to come with a different time frame.
Find out just how different everything would've been if Herbert Watkins made it.
Music blared through the speakers as I danced around the kitchen. “Just like the white-winged dove,” I sang along, out of tune. Three months. Ninety days. I had promised Elena this time would be different. I would try to make this our home. I’d protect her right here. Next year promised be hard on her. We were returning to Paegeia. I needed to try again—no excuses this time—to tell her about her hidden identity, where she came from, her roots, her destiny. I needed to take her to a restaurant, maybe, break it to her easy. Unlike last time. She was old enough to grasp it now. Sure, she’d be upset when she learned I was the one who got Tanya to erase her memory, but she would be okay. She needed to be okay. The memory of that day ten years ago felt like yesterday. She had bawled when I told her that the stories about the Rubicon and his princess were not fairy tales, that they were real, or were meant to become real. The fear in her eyes when I told her she was the princess, that one day the Rubicon would to need her to help him reject his evil side, the fear when I told her what I truly was. She became hysterical. Cried for days. I couldn’t bear it. I came to the conclusion that I’d popped the bubble too soon. I should’ve waited. And now I feared she would never accept the incredible reality I’d sheltered her from. The time had never felt right, and I never wanted to see that fear in her eyes again. “Dad?” Her voice came from the front door. “I’m home.” I looked at my watch. I hadn’t realized it was so late. “Kitchen,” I yelled over the loud music. She laughed, a sound I’d never stop loving. I grabbed the wooden spoon and lip-synched along with Stevie Nicks. Elena smiled, shaking her head at my pathetic attempt to lighten up her day. Dinner was almost ready. A crazy thought hit me. Maybe I should tell her the truth right now, over coq au vin. It was her favorite, or at least in her top ten. Flakes of old white paint tumbled to the counter as she opened the shabby cabinets. I winced. This house hadn’t been my best pick. Ignoring the plates and set the table as I waited for the ping of the oven timer. I handed her the pot of rice for the table. We did this in total silence. It was amazing how we rarely needed to verbalize things. But I sensed something on her mind. Was it the fear that we would need to flee again, or was this angst I detected something all typical teenagers went through? It worried me that she never got to be normal. Never got to feel like a normal kid, have friends, play outside. We were always on the run from the bad men, which was the story I told her when she was little. Even now I feared we weren’t safe. I still doubted trusting the unknown entity who’d warned me the last two times. I was afraid my source was evil, only playing games. Part of me didn’t want to trust the mysterious entity, but whoever it was had saved our butts. I sighed and took the coq au vin off the burner when the timer went off. It smelled divine. Rich aromas of chicken, reduced red wine—the alcohol long burned off—and vegetables, with notes of garlic, rosemary, and thyme. I placed the Dutch oven on the trivet she’d set in the center of the table. I grabbed her plate and dished up for her, then helped myself. Before claiming my usual chair opposite her, I spun the knob on the old sound system, dropping the volume from strident to chill. Elena broke our comfortable silence. “So, I take it that today was a good day?” “The best.” I cupped her oval face in my big hands. She looked so much like Albert, but all I saw right that second was Catherine. She was her mother through and through. “I, my little bear, just sold my uniflex idea to Google.” Her eyes grew wide. “For the love of blueberries, you’re kidding, right?” I laughed. She always said that. “That’s brilliant, Dad! I’m so proud of you.” I blushed at the role reversal—weren’t dads usually supposed to be the ones telling their little bears they were proud, not the other way around? But I knew she meant it. We were staying put. Even though my scales were vibrating deep within human skin. She needed at least one year of normal teenage life before plunging into the real destiny she’d been born to fulfill. “Since we don’t have to move,” she said excitedly, “can I ask you something?” “Does it involve a boy?” She blushed. “You could say that.” She gave a dreamy sigh. I didn’t like this. It’s only a year, Herbert. Whatever she wants. I joked, “Okay, who do I have to kill?” “Nobody.” She chuckled. “But there’s this dance on Friday, and I want to go.” Oh, no, not a dance. A grunt left my mouth. Calm down, Herbert. You can monitor her safety from a distance. “Will I at least meet this boy?” “Whatever, I guess” she mumbled. We ate quietly for a while. I brooded over how to handle this sudden dance, and she no doubt was simmering over my achingly slow response. I smiled as a riddle popped into my head. “You can go on one condition.” Around a forkful of chicken, Elena whined, “Please don’t make it a stupid riddle. I suck at those.” “It’s not a difficult one. C’mon.” “Fine. Let’s hear it.” I took a swig of my wine—the dregs from the bottle I’d used for cooking. “What weighs a ton when moving forward but not when you move it backward?” “What?” She gaped. “That doesn’t even make sense.” “It’s easy, Elena. It’s in the answer.” She set her fork on her plate, now empty save for a few grains of rice. “Do I have at least a couple of hours?” “Sure, but you know the rules. No Google, Bing, or Yahoo. I’ll know if you cheated.” “Fine.” Scowling, she got up and mumbled, “I might as well kiss this dance goodbye.” I chuckled as she stomped upstairs to her room. It’s just a dance, Herbert. She deserves this. She’ll be okay. You will be close by. Three months. It’s going to be okay.
Want to read Firebeam? It's given away as a free read when pre-ordering Playing with Fire Boxset. Only 99c.