Sentinel Flame Book One
By Adam Freestone
Alaskan Writer of Imaginative Creativity
“Your request is denied!”
“Denied?” Keller said, his expression turning to a scowl. His request had seemed relatively straightforward and easily carried out. He wasn’t expecting any resistance toward it. He had thought many would be relieved by it. He had believed safety would be of much greater concern.
“Yes, we see no evidence at this time for such actions,” the ministry official said from the other side of their desk.
Keller stared in disbelief at the man. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How could there be no evidence for his proposed actions?
“No evidence! I should think the mere presence of such a creature near civilians should be reason enough.”
The man interlaced his fingers, giving Keller a look of mild irritation. “We have been closely monitoring the creature for any signs of danger, and it has yet to manifest anything of concern.”
Keller shook his head. “And what of the report where the creature injured a boy? Surely that should qualify as a danger.”
The man repressed a laugh. “Injured is hardly the term I would use for that incident. All the boy came away with was a bloody nose and a black eye. No lasting harm came to him. And the situation was swiftly dealt with, and nothing has occurred like that since.”
“No lasting harm came to the boy this time, but how do you know it won’t be worse for the next person that sets it off? How do we know that boy didn’t just get lucky?”
The man shook his head dismissively. “You make it sound as if we are dealing with Feygratha himself? It seems doubtful after only a single mild disturbance the creature’s ferocity would increase to such a level without us recognizing the signs first.”
“I thought it was our duty and that of The Ministry to ensure the darkness of such creatures is never allowed to harm others, no matter how small of a possibility that may be?”
“Your examinations of both Marcus and the creature failed to reveal any evidence either possessed any traces of witchcraft. I may agree that the creature’s appearance is baffling considering that, but as I already indicated, I am certain it does not pose a danger to the students at the school. And if it’ll put your mind at ease, the new headmaster has been apprised of the situation and will be on the lookout for such dangers should the creature begin showing any troublesome behaviors. The students will be safe under his vigil.”
“Safe?” Keller scoffed, a sharpness seeping into his voice. How could this man possibly believe such preposterous things? “No one at that school has been safe since that fool Marcus decided to bring such an aberration there.”
The man’s expression turned stormy. He spoke with a biting tone. “I would watch what you say about Marcus in my presence, Keller. Have you forgotten how much of his work we still utilize? He knew more about the darkness of witchcraft than both of us combined. Yes, I agree his decisions regarding the creature were unusual, but if anyone knew how to handle that creature, it was he. And if I understand correctly, under his guidance, the creature had even begun providing a service to the school. If such a creature could be made to lighten the burden of others, I must agree with his judgment.
“That should then make clear to you why your proposal is denied.” The man’s expression darkened further. “And I would warn you against anything that could be construed as an attempt to sully the reputation of a good man or harassment upon his remaining family during this time of mourning.” Glowering, Keller nodded. “Good. You are dismissed.”
Keller rose to his feet, gave a respectful bow to the man, and left the room. The other man’s thoughts were absurd, but unless he wished to risk his position and his ability to deal with threats directed at innocents successfully, he had to obey his superiors. It would not be on his head when the Hyroc creature inevitably showed its true dark nature. And when it did, he would finally remove its threat once and for all.