How to know about a thing but to experience?
|“What is it?”
Cassandra smiled as she studied the wide, black eyes fixed on the glass bell jar beside her hand. “What do you think it is?” She put aside the fountain pen to massage her aching joints.
“It looks like fire.” He was related to her somehow; the details were vague. Now, he was simply Davis, the unicorn who loved to watch her work. “It moves like fire but the colors are wrong. It’s not getting any oxygen in the jar so it can’t be fire.”
“Very good,” Cassandra said and Davis squinted in pleasure at her praise. He really was more of a cat than a child. “What else?”
Davis studied the flickering substance in her jar. “There’s no fuel,” he whispered. “Is it an illusion?”
“Is it hot?”
Cassandra smiled. “Do you want to find out?”
Davis watched her expression warily. He had been burned by her before, quite literally. He knew she wouldn’t protect him from harm. “Yes,” he said. “Will the jar tell me if it’s hot or will I only find out about the glass?”
“So much you’ve learned, little sprite! Touching the glass only tells you how it influences the glass. The only way to know if it’s truly hot is to touch the object itself.”
Davis rested his chin on the edge of her desk and regarded the jar in silence. His finger itched; he rubbed it absently against the horn in the center of his forehead. He reached out and touched his fingertip to the glass, lightly at first and then with confidence when it didn’t burn him. “The glass is warm,” he said, “but it doesn’t hurt.”
“What does that tell you?”
“The jar doesn’t conduct heat from whatever’s inside.”
Cassandra kissed his forehead gently. “Good boy.”
Word count: 299
Winner of the 06/10 Prompt