tagSci-Fi & FantasyWhere There's Smoke...

Where There's Smoke...

byTE999©

Hello and welcome to my readers. Thanks for your votes, PM's and e-mails on my stories. Legends have sprung up over the centuries regarding the origins of the elements and physical phenomena that surround us. They recount tales of mythical beings as being the sources of and controlling these forces. Zack Pearson discovers that these myths may in fact be reality.

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Threading his way through the charred ruins, Zack stumbled over a body.

What the...? I thought everyone was rescued...

He jumped back as the body sat up, sneezed and opened it's eyes. He found himself gazing into red and pink orbs that seemed to glow from within. The soot begrimed face was that of a woman, who grinned at him showing perfect white teeth.

"You sure know how to awaken someone," she purred in mock irritation, giving Zack an exaggerated wink. "Are you a man or a fish?"

Zack shut his gaping mouth.

"How did you...uh...ahh..." he sputtered as the woman stood up in one lithe movement, soot and ashes falling from her body. She appeared to be young with a shapely figure, hair a reddish-yellow waterfall over her shoulders and clad in a tunic the color of drifting smoke.

"Oh my, a conversationalist too," she quipped. He would have sworn her voice sounded like crackling flames. "I stopped by to take a nap. I didn't expect company. I'm sorry the place is such a mess."

"Who are you? How did you survive the fire? We couldn't get near enough to fight it effectively. The paint and solvents burned at over 800 degrees. The foam could barely..."

He stopped suddenly, realizing he was babbling while she looked at him; her head cocked to one side and an amused grin on her face.

"Would you like to see how it started?" she asked playfully.

"Uh...yeah...sure."

"Follow me. No, wait a moment..."

A smoldering roof truss groaned and came crashing down before them in a blizzard of sparks. Zack flipped his facemask down as cinders peppered him. The woman stood calmly in the swirling cloud, unscathed.

"Now, it's right over here," she continued, stepping easily over the debris. Zack glanced down. Her feet were bare! Yet she walked through the glowing embers as easily as a cool green lawn. He shook his head and followed her, boots crunching, feeling heat through the thick soles.

"Here we are," she said, stopping before a wall of electrical panels. With a screech of torn metal, she effortlessly lifted one and pointed to a small skeleton.

"It was a rat gathering wires to make a nest. Completed a circuit, shorted the panel out and the whole place went up. I felt it from where I was and decided it was time for a nap. I love sleeping in a roaring fire, don't you?"

Zack lifted his facemask, stared at the skeleton, then at the woman, then at the jagged panel.

She pulled that panel apart as if she was turning the page of a book. What is she anyway?

The woman smiled at him again.

"I like you. You're cute. You needn't be afraid of me," she glanced at his name stripe, "Zack Pearson."

He felt sweat rolling down his spine.

"Who are you? What are you? I never..."

"My name is Mandy. I'm a Fire Elemental."

"A fire what?"

"A Fire Elemental, remember the four elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water? I'm Fire, but I'm different from the other Elementals. I'm half human. My mother is a Sorceress, my father a Vulcanus...they fell in love and here I am."

"I do not believe this," Zack muttered. "I must have hit my head or something. I'm dreaming."

Mandy reached out and pinched Zack's nose. He cried out in pain. The touch of her fingers was like burning coals.

She pinched him again, and the pain was gone. He gingerly touched his nose it was unharmed.

"Okay, you're an Elemental...you play with...I mean you're fire. What are you doing here, besides taking a nap?"

"I played one too many pranks on the Lava Imps. They hate water balloons. The Supreme One banished me to this plane of existence until I learn to behave myself. I get my sense of humor from my mother, she's always doing mischief. Father shrugs and tends to his volcanoes."

Zack sighed; this was too much to comprehend. She wasn't lying, that was certain.

"Now that you've done my job for me, I guess I'll be going. Can I drive you somewhere Miss...um...Mandy?"

"You're cute. I like you a lot. Can I go home with you?"

Zack hesitated, he spent little time in his apartment, usually taking his meals and sleeping at the firehouse. When his wife Sheila had left him five years ago to 'find herself', he continued the lease hoping she would return, but knowing deep down she would not.

In spite of his desire to be alone with his memories, there was something about this...this elemental...that intrigued him. She was happy and smiling, two things he seldom was or did. Why not, she's beautiful...and she likes me.

"Sure. C'mon, I have to stop by the station for a minute then we'll go to my apartment."

She flashed him a dazzling smile and her eyes glowed.

"Oh goodie, do I get to ride in one of those automobile things?"

"Haven't you ever ridden in a car before?"

"No. The last time I was here, there were wagons and oxcarts."

"Huh? Just how old are you," he blurted, forgetting his manners.

She frowned.

"I'm not sure. Mother was a Grecian sorcerer when she conjured Father by mistake...I was born not too long afterward...I guess about a 1,000 human years or so. Time means nothing when you're in the Supreme One's Realm."

"A thousand years? That's impossible."

"Hee...Hee...you're doing that fish face again. Nothing is impossible in the Realm."

Zack sighed. This was all too much. A 1,000-year-old woman who could sleep in a roaring fire seemed impossible, but whatever she was, he couldn't just leave her here.

"Wait a minute while I take some photos, then we'll go."

While he was photographing where the fire started, Mandy amused herself by examining Zack's red sedan, the words 'Arson Investigation Division' emblazoned in gold leaf on the doors. She looked curiously at the vehicles hood, then shimmered and disappeared.

Zack came walking up to the car wondering where she had gone when she reappeared, wiping a smear of grease from her cheek.

"I was curious about what made this thing go. It's a series of rapid, constrained detonations. My father would be interested in this, being into explosions and all."

Zach shook his head. This is not happening.

"You went inside the motor?"

"I didn't touch anything, just looked around. Pretty dirty in there I'll have you know."

Zack pressed the lock fob and opened the door so Mandy could enter. She tripped delicately to the opening, peered inside and gracefully sat down. The hem of her tunic rode up revealing shapely thighs; Zack couldn't help but stare. She saw him and winked.

He hurriedly closed the door and walked back to the car's trunk, removing his helmet, fireproof suit and boots. His t-shirt and jeans were soaked with sweat, sticking to him like a second skin. Sliding behind the wheel, Zack started the engine and turned the air conditioning on full blast.

Mandy stared at the air conditioning vents, and then settled back in her seat, looking out the window. Putting the car in gear, Zack drove to Fire Station Number Seven where he parked, told Mandy he'd be a few minutes and left the car running.

When he returned, the car's interior smelled of scorched plastic. Mandy was sitting innocently in her seat. The acrid fumes made him cough.

"Mandy, what did you do?"

She lifted in her seat showing him the melted cushion, her tunic unmarked.

"I was cold, so I warmed up. I didn't mean to damage your car."

"I guess I had the air on too high, huh?"

"Well," she giggled, "Maybe just a little."

They drove to Zack's apartment complex with the windows open.

***

"What a nice home you have here," Mandy said as she walked about the living room.

Zack was still trying to figure how he was going to explain the ruined car seat to the maintenance crew at the city garage. He mumbled "thanks" as he locked the door. Shelia had decorated the apartment and it was as she left it; Zack hadn't changed a thing. One of the few women he'd dated had called it a 'shrine'.

Mandy was looking at the volumes in the bookcase when Zack said "If you'll excuse me for a few minutes, I need to shower."

"Sure, no problem," she replied and continued looking.

Throwing his sodden clothing into the wash hamper, he turned on the water and was soon luxuriating under the warm spray. The stall door opened abruptly and Mandy was standing there, her eyes softly glowing. She looked appraisingly at Zack's broad chest, narrow waist and muscled legs, then at the thick cock hanging between them.

"Want some company?"

Not waiting for an answer, she pulled the tunic over her head and joined him in the shower. Mandy had a classic figure, reproduced in thousands of sculptures throughout history. Her breasts were plump and rounded, topped by nipples large as a man's thumb and rosy pink. Her waist was thick; her hips ample, her legs long and shapely, buttocks round and firm, her skin like velvet and pleasantly warm.

Mandy began running her fingers through Zack's thick chest hair, his stiffening cock twitching against her thigh. Neither had spoken, no words were needed. In one deft motion, she curled her left leg around his waist, gripped his shoulders and impaled herself on his pillar of flesh. Zack hugged Mandy, kissing her deeply as their hips moved in an easy rhythm. She leaned back on the wet tiles to brace herself, lifting her pussy to better engulf his throbbing cock as he thrust into her.

The bathroom echoed to the slap of wet flesh, gasps and moans, little shrieks of delight and throaty growls. Zack felt Mandy's skin turn warmer, her lips hotter against his own, her pussy tightening on his cock in an ovening grip; yet he could no more stop fucking her than he could cease breathing.

In a final flurry of thrusts, Zack could control himself no longer. He erupted inside Mandy with an anguished cry, his knees trembling. It was as if she had been waiting for him to come as she shrieked in orgasm, her body jerking in a spasm of release. Locked together, they slid to the floor and lay panting, water cascading over them.

They lay entangled for several minutes, staring groggily at each other, overwhelmed by the intensity of their lovemaking.

"Water's getting cold."

"I'll fix it."

The showerhead glowed and the water ran hot once more. Zack grinned and Mandy winked at him.

"I guess we better dry off."

"Okay."

Zack shut off the water, opened the stall door and handed Mandy a towel. She shook her head, motioned for him to step out and became enveloped in a cloud of steam, then said, "All dry" as she fluffed her long hair with her fingers.

***

"What would you like to eat?" Zack asked, rummaging in the refrigerator, "We can always order in."

"Let me think," Mandy replied. "The last meal I had, I shared a roasted ox with some nice men in green uniforms..."

"Sorry, fresh out of ox," Zack said as he closed the refrigerator door. "How about some barbecue?"

"Barbecue? Oh yes, Caribbean style cooking. That sounds good. I'll have roast pig."

"A pork platter? Sure, what do you want with it?"

"The pig will be fine."

"Wait. You want a whole pig?"

"Why yes. You can remove the head, I don't care for that."

"You can eat a whole pig by yourself?"

"Of course, but I'll share with you."

"I don't think a whole pig is on the menu, how about two jumbo pork plates?"

"I guess that would be all right."

Zack began phoning in the order when Mandy pressed herself against his back, nuzzled his neck and began playing with his cock. He could barely get the words out to complete the order, and then dropped the phone. He turned around and they began hugging and kissing, rubbing against each other. Mandy's skin was already growing warm with desire as he lifted her onto the kitchen table and entered her swiftly.

Moaning in pleasure, she crossed her legs around his waist and raised her hips to his matching thrust for thrust. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders as she begged him to go faster and harder. Zack pounded into her with all his strength, her moist pussy walls tight and warm against his stiff cock.

Mandy shrieked with pleasure as her orgasm racked her body, spraying Zack's cock and thighs with her creamy juices. He joined her cry with one of his own as he erupted deep within her, spurts of cum bursting from him. Still embraced, they slid to the cool tile floor and lay exhausted.

"I knew you were a mighty lover the minute I saw you," Mandy purred.

Zack could only groan in response. Then the doorbell rang.

"Oh goodie, the food's here," Mandy said excitedly. Before Zack could move she sprang to her feet, ran to the door and pulled it open, crushing the knob and tearing the latch and deadbolt from the door frame. An astonished delivery boy stood there, his eyes wide.

"Oh my, that smells good," Mandy said, smiling at the gaping young man. "Does everyone do that fish imitation around here?"

She plucked the bags from his grasp and carried them to the kitchen table. Zack said, "Wait a minute, I'll get my wallet."

"Oh...er...no problem," the boy replied. "Just stop by and pay us when you get a chance." He stared at Mandy's naked beauty once more and ran down the hall.

She was already devouring her plates of food when Zack sat down. She swallowed and said "This is very good, can we order some more?"

Zack nodded and grinned. She was an amazing...whatever she was.

***

"Zack, this is the fourth fire in a space of six weeks. Headquarters is convinced we've a serial arsonist running loose." Captain Cartwright ran his hand through his thinning brown hair as he paced back and forth. "Every investigator in the department is looking for this person and we don't have a single lead. There's no trace of flammable liquids or materials, but three factories have burned to the ground... then, of course, there's your rat, which makes four. How the heck did you discover that animal started the fire anyway?"

"I had some help..." Zack began, when a chorus of hoots and whistles erupted from outside the Captain's office.

"What the devil is going on?" Cartwright muttered. He strode to the door in time to see Mandy strutting towards him, a crowd of firefighters following her like hounds after a fox. Zack looked over the Captain's shoulder, smiled and said, "That's my cousin, Cap'n. I asked her to meet me here for lunch." Cartwright didn't answer, just stared.

Zack had shown Mandy the closet full of clothes his wife had left behind and told her to help herself to whatever she liked. One thing was sure; Shelia had never looked as sexy as Mandy did in her clothes.

She had chosen the skimpiest of tops and shorts in bright red and yellow, sandals with high heels that emphasized her long shapely legs and round ass. She was not wearing a bra and her breasts bounced gently under the thin fabric. Mandy's reddish yellow hair floated down her back as she smiled and winked at the jostling crowd of men.

As she came near she said, "Hi Zack. Who's your friend?" She patted the stunned Captain's cheek, "You're cute."

Zack could barely keep from laughing as he said, "Captain, I'd like you to meet my Cousin Mandy from New Zealand. She's here for a visit. Mandy, this is my boss, Captain Cartwright."

Mandy hugged the astonished man and kissed him. "Oh hello, it's nice to meet you."

Cartwright's face turned bright red as the men made appreciative noises.

"Ah...ahem...a pleasure to meet you Miss..." He stammered.

Zack eased past him saying, "I'll check on those factory sites after lunch, Cap'n."

They drove away, leaving a fire station in turmoil.

***

"I really liked those taco things," Mandy said. "There are so many interesting foods to try. What will we have for dinner?"

"Dinner? You ate two dozen tacos and you want dinner?" Zack replied incredulously.

"I have an extremely active metabolism," Mandy replied primly. "That's what that nice man in the laboratory told me."

"Man? What man? When was this?"

"Let me see now, I'm not sure, it's been so long...ummm...Louis...something. I forget. Anyway, I need a lot of food when I'm in this plane of existence. I'm thinking beef for dinner..."

"There's the first warehouse that burned," Zack interrupted. "Let's check it out."

***

"We're the third team to investigate this fire and we haven't found a trace of how it started," Zack said disgustedly.

Mandy smiled at the word 'team', but said nothing.

"Zack, look at this. What an odd burn mark."

She knelt next to a scorched area on the concrete floor, roughly circular in shape.

"I saw that before. What's odd about it?"

"Whatever burned here was at a much lower temperature than the surrounding area. I'm sure this is where the fire started..."

"Hello Zack," a voice boomed, "Are you looking this place over again?"

They turned to see a heavy set, balding man lumbering toward them through the debris.

"Keith Warner," Zack said in an undertone. "Chief Arson Investigator. Wonder what brought him here?"

"I don't like him," Mandy replied, a frown on her face.

"Cap'n Cartwright asked me to look things over, Keith. See if we missed anything."

"We've been over this place with a microscope, Zack. There's nothing to be found here."

Warner mopped his brow with a handkerchief, sweating profusely despite the mild temperature.

"I don't think I've met the young lady."

Mandy extended her hand politely, "Mandy Pearson, Zack's cousin, from New Zealand."

She grimaced as Warner's sweaty palm met hers, but he was looking at her breasts and didn't notice.

"A pleasure young lady," he wheezed. "Did you find anything new Zack?"

"Nope, not a thing," he replied, winking at Mandy. "We were just leaving."

"Showing your cousin how we do our jobs, huh?"

"That's right, see you later Keith."

They walked to the car and drove away, Warner watching them quizzically.

"How the devil did he know we were re-investigating the factory fires," Zack muttered. "I just spoke to the Cap'n not two hours ago."

"That burn mark on the floor reminded me of something, I wish I could remember what," Mandy said, brow furrowed in thought. "Are we going to look at the other fire sites?"

"Darn right. I wonder if Keith will show up there too."

"I don't like him," Mandy said. "His eyes are sneaky."

***

"Three fires, two of those odd burn marks. I'll bet there was one at the furniture factory too, except the ceiling fell in and must have covered it."

Mandy nodded. "I find it interesting that all the factories were manufacturing highly flammable products; plastics, furniture, canvas, very coincidental."

Zack pushed the remnants of their fast food meal aside and opened his laptop.

"Let's see if anyone else saw those marks."

Mandy went to the counter for another hamburger. When she returned, Zack had finished scrolling through the reports.

"No one else saw them, yet you spotted them right away, I wonder...Hey, here's something interesting. Guess who reported and then supervised the investigations of all three fires?"

Mandy grinned, "Keith Warner."

"You are one smart woman. That's some coincidence I'd say."

She wrinkled her nose, "He smells funny."

***

Zack dried himself from the shower, toweling his hair vigorously. He and Mandy continued to investigate the mysterious fires, but were no closer to determining how they started. Voices and music emanated from the living room, punctuated by Mandy's infectious laugh; she delighted in watching television. Game shows were her favorites, as she liked watching the contestant's antics.

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