Charred, skeletal trees point crazily upward. Underfoot, ash yields and shifts. Air chokes, grips the throat. Sounds seem distant, disconnected.
I note the stooped shoulders and dragging pace of my teammates, moving toward the fire-trucks. Drained faces, grey with fatigue, show relief – the old enemy is defeated. But I struggle for certainty, surveying my workmanship: this blackened mess.
I recall its beginning – when I touched the living spark to parched grass, and it crackled and caught, and glorious brightness raced through dry tinder then climbed into the leafy canopy above. The light and heat of it! The roar of it!
Thanks again to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers, where writers are challenged to produce a 100 word story in response to a picture. This story is my response to this week’s picture, ‘Campfire’, also courtesy of Rochelle.
Campfires are cosy places, and fire is a useful friend – but I’ve chosen to ponder its less friendly face with this story. The allure of a warming blaze holds a dangerous power for some among us.