They stumbled in from the cold, slamming the door to the storm outside.
The cabin was coated in cobwebs and dust. They choked a little on the stale air. But it was better than the piercing cold from which they’d come.
They found a box of candles, and lit the biggest one they could find, a beautiful work of black wax and ornate carvings.
To their surprise, the flame grew tall and blue.
‘Who summons me here?’ spoke the flame.
They swallowed their fear. ‘I’m not summoning anyone,’ they said. ‘I just wanted some light and warmth.’
The flame paused, flickering thoughtfully. ‘You are not the one who bound me.’
The flame flared, growing taller still, and poured aside like liquid until the candle snuffed and a man of blue fire stood beside it.
‘Light and warmth, I can do,’ he said. He held out a hand. ‘I will not burn you.’
And he did not. The pair waited out the storm together, telling stories and making jokes, until the visitor was warm outside and in.
When they left, they took the candle with them at the flame’s request.
And neither knew cold or loneliness again.