The lightning struck and flowed down the rabbit hole.
There were no rabbit’s down this hole nor an endless tunnel. Instead, it landed in the camp of unformed fairy elementals.
When fairy elementals are born, they’re made of magic and air and very little else. Until they find the element that calls to them, they remain in their rawest, purest form.
The fire sparked and jumped into the closest of the elementals. As the power flowed through them, they began to glow with white hot light and electricity arced off their fingers. When some of their companions touched them, the lightning jumped to them, bowing their bodies with pain until they too filled with the white hot light.
Intrigued, the elementals flowed out of the rabbit hole, following the break between worlds caused by the lightning, and came out surrounded by fire.
Rain poured from the sky, sizzling in the flames that surrounded them. Fingers of flame reached out and pulled the closest elementals in, grabbing them as they flowed up behind their brethren who sought out the source of the lightning.
As they noticed the flames grabbing them, they huddled together and flew into the sky, only to be hit by the rain drops. Water flowed through them, giving their shapes form and they could see the others gathering in the trees, taking great delight in the flames that consumed the wood that supported them.
The new water elementals flowed into the clouds, increasing the rain that dropped onto the forest.
The only elementals left unchanged were the ones filled with the arcing, white light. When they touched the clouds, great bolts of lightning flew from their fingers. Some arced harmlessly through the clouds. Others went crashing through the trees, knocking down branches and setting ablaze to the underbrush.
While the fire and lightning elementals played in the forest, the water elementals rushed away from the heat. They overflowed rivers to bring relief to the land, the earth elementals calling out for help.
Then they say them.
Dressed in heavy material, they brought water to bear on the edge of the fire and the elementals joined them.
Pleading with their brothers to ease back, to not attack the humans, they made it possible for the humans to bring the flames under control.
Not everybody liked this, though.
Just as they were pushed back, the fire elementals who were losing their playthings to the humans water and machines leaped forward, catching them in their flames.
But the humans fought on, their heavy clothing protecting them long enough to get at the heart of the flames. The water elementals joined the humans, using their weapons to propel through the forest and soothe the burning trees.
The dryads caught them and shook the soot from their leaves, thanking the water elementals for the relief. The water elementals dripped through the trees and cuddled at the roots, taking shelter and giving aid after the cleansing fire.
One of the firefighters, exhausted from the fight, saw the faces in the trees and rubbed his eyes. They started to water and he felt a splash against his hand.
His own face looked up at him and smiled. It’s spindly arms reached up and pushed through the dirt and ash on his face.
“What are you, buddy? The start of heat stroke?”
The water shook its head and looked around. It saw the nearly empty water cannon and reached for it.
“You want inside?” the firefighter asked. The elemental nodded.
Other elementals came to watch as the water elemental shimmied itself into the tank and splashed around. It started to overflow and the firefighter had to dump some of the water out into the trees.
Water flowed down the firefighters hands, onto the ground and through the trees until the water hiding deep underground from the fire sprang up to join it.
The other firefighters saw the spring and came over to wipe their faces, the cool liquid welcome after the fire.
The water stopped flowing out of the cannon and the firefighter looked down. There was still a face in the tank and it waved happily at him.
“You’re coming home with me?” he asked, hoping the others didn’t notice him talking to his water cannon.
The water elemental nodded happily.
“Alright, but I have to put the cap on to keep from splashing, okay?”
With another nod, the elemental waved and the eyes blinked shut.
Shaking his head, the firefighter put the cap back on the tank to his water cannon.
Faces stared at him from the forest and he waved. “I promise to keep him safe if you promise not to let any more fires loose for a while, okay?”
The dryads nodded and the earth elementals waved.
Anybody else would have thought they were crazy but he knew what was happening. Knew there was more than most people saw.
With the water elemental in tow, Professor Alexander called out to the men that it was time to head back. His water cannons were a success, his lightning machine proven though in need of several improvements.
The mechanical horses pulling the fire wagon snorted steam and the sound of machinery echoed through the forest.
A wild spark had taken up residence in his eyes.
Yes, today had been an unqualified success.