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Burning bright, fire gives us power — to create, to destroy. Flames follow us through time and life, giving us memories of camping trips and ancient moments witnessed by the moon. We dance to fire and we let it burn within us from our sickbed.
Writers wrote flames that readers will seek like moths. Stories that will linger.
The following are based on the April 4, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about fire.
PART I (10-minute read)
Condemned by H.R.R. Gorman
I feel like a traitor.
There had been a military tribunal, and the officer acting as judge declared guilty. Death by firing squad.
I take a deep breath while the soldiers line up. What a way to die. Every soldier was given a gun with a bullet, some blank while others are deadly. But someone has the gun which will kill.
“Aim!” an officer shouts.
I struggle to keep my eyes open.
I pull my trigger, and the man drops.
Was it my gun that held the bullet that killed him?
Did the judge know he’d condemned me?
Flame by Anita Dawes
Prometheus stole fire to give to mankind.
For this the great Titan was punished by Zeus
tied to a rock so an eagle would eat his liver
which would heal overnight
to be eaten again the next day.
Until a hero comes. Hercules to the rescue.
I have thought of Prometheus as my hero
his punishment did not fit the crime.
Now he is mostly forgotten,
we sit on the beach, toast our marshmallows
the fire taken for granted.
Fire can take a forest, leaving burnt ash
yet it will grow again like Prometheus liver,
magic in the flame…
The Haunted Seas by Saifun Hassam
Tormented turbulent seas flung “Aurora” onto the promontory’s rocky shores. Lightning split the skies like a needle-thin tree with myriad fine and delicate branches. The clouds shifted into terrifying monstrous shapes as they raced across the sky driven by gale force winds.
At dawn the sky and seas were gray, and fog shrouded the shores. Beacons of fire were lit along the promontory where the lighthouse had sunk into an underground cave. A deep sense of loss and mourning filled the hearts of the seafaring community. The “Aurora” was listing over the rocks. There seemed to be no survivors.
Testimony and Sacrifice by Liz Husebye Hartmann
A moment, all I remember:
Her face, cupped by the flickering glow of a night fire shared against a greater darkness.
Her hands, rolling thin-shaved bark around crumbles of tobacco, mushroom, moss, bone-white shards… something I couldn’t identify, even as she tossed it into the edge of the roiling embers.
Her voice, raised only slightly “And thus we vanquish you, Darkness” as she stepped, barefoot, into the circle of stones.
An exploding funk of flesh and forest as I’m thrown back, onto the ground.
Moon’s cold eye staring down on me.
She is gone, but the darkness? Defeated.
Prodigy by Sherri Matthews
What kind of Firestarter? A crazy, twisted one, that’s right. Hair horns and piercings mother would not approve – get them and you’re out, got it? My house, my rules. Yeah…one day… YouTube takes me down that tunnel night after night. Never too loud, thank God for earphones. Mother’s not here but the nurses are, so I crank up the music and it blasts my eardrums and I wonder what it was like to be a teenager in the 90’s. My generation now, sick but I’ll mend. Keith Flint’s gone but his flame still burns, that brilliant unleashed Firestarter.
Soul Dance by Di @ pensitivity101
She watched the flames dance within the stone circle.
Sparkles shot skywards, like prayers to the gods in times past.
She closed her eyes, and let the memories wash over her.
Hugging herself, she thought of another night like this.
Here, dreams were realised, emotions explored, passions spent.
Innocence surrendered, lives changed forever and a new life begun.
She wouldn’t change any of it. She called for him.
Footsteps approached, a hand reached down to caress her neck.
Eager lips nuzzled and nibbled.
They were young, together again, as one.
The fire died, leaving just embers of a memory.
Internal Inferno? by JulesPaige
When playing with matches one can get burnt or burn things to powder ash.
Sometimes a child is lucky, they only burn down a kitchen curtain.
What though would make a child want to get attention by flamboyant flame?
Is it a crime to want to be in the limelight, to have some, any attention?
Elder sibling gathering no dust; displays intelligent conversation.
Baby in nappies still, needs and wants blend; screams at fevered pitches
a burning desire
pulses in a shadowed soul
can laughter be found?
phoenix can rise up from flame
but they must be consumed first
As the Flames Fling High by Papershots
In the smoky gray courtyard, the firing squad is lined up, awaiting those to be shot. The former smoke while the latter lit candles in the night on their windowsills. But a section of the confiscated buildings is on fire and firefighters are trying to tame the ever-spreading flames – those who live in the area are out firing questions at officers ill-equipped at this fired-up injustice. The morning sun rises firing the tops of burned-out trees. “Fire! Fire!” a second of hesitation too many, “Fire, fire!” And all, at present, is gone up in tiny little bits of smoke.
Fire Mage by The Dark Netizen
We were never promised a glorious battle nor death worthy of remembrance.
All we understood was that if we did not fight our hardest, the dark king would slay our loved ones, and ravage our lands.
The Dark King’s minions were summoned from the blackest depths of earth, where no men wander.
Vicious and vile to the core, their only weakness was the blaze of holy fire.
As a senior mage of our kingdom, the responsibility of supporting our troops had been shifted to my shoulders.
I wasn’t the type to shun responsibility, besides I loved playing with fire…
Attack! by Joanne Fisher
The sentries were taken out silently. Aalen and Ashalla moved quickly into the camp. In the center was a fire-pit still burning. While Ashalla took care of the drunken stragglers Aalen spied the largest tent and silently went inside.
She roused their leader awake. He look confused.
“I thought we had killed you all.” he said.
“Why destroy my village?”
“I was only acting under orders. We wanted your forest for timber but we knew your people wouldn’t like that. So we decided to get rid of you. The Baron sent us.”
Aalen stuck her knife in his throat.
Blazing Pen by Reena Saxena
He has experienced gut-wrenching hunger in his early years.
Later, he found that fighting hunger is easier than fighting evil which suppresses independent thought.
He is a writer who dares to present things in a different manner, and superimposes his vision on existing or non-existent objects. The vision may contradict known logic.
The fire in his belly refuses to die, as does his metaphoric pen blitzing across a literary canvas. The hunger for his share of the pie continues to drive him. He changes the code of subservient minds. He unleashes control of a different kind – hypnotism with words.
Fire on the Moorland, Fire in the Writer’s Head by Anne Goodwin
Beneath the surface calm, she smoulders. Quiet now, change is on its way. The fuel’s deep, it only takes a spark to ignite it and, when it does, it sets her whole world alight.
There, a glowing flicker! There, another, crackling the bracken. The fire jumps from one hummock to the next. Connect, connect to horseshoe around her. Should she stay inside the circle or race to safety through the gap?
Peat burns and engulfs the moor, like ideas in a writer’s head. Should we douse the flames to save the landscape, or fan them into a new story?
Fire by Sally Cronin
The firelight flickered across the walls of the cave and the healer stared into the flames.
Fire was a precious gift that had been passed down by their ancestors, but for some it brought a great burden. Those with healing skills saw visions within the heart of the burning mass.
It would not happen in her lifetime, but as the healer sat transfixed by the prophetic images, tears rolled down her wrinkled face. Her time was nearly over, but she hoped, that in the future, one of her descendants would be strong enough to put out the coming conflagration.
Olympic Achievement by Chelsea Owens
Panting, moving; legs dance; running? Slow he moves, yet forward goes.
Yelling, waving; crowds smile; cheering! Quick their hands and banners flow.
Road goes under, step by stepping; even’ning sunshine asphalt raised.
Signs flash by, their message flapping; glinting sun and wind-blown praise.
Turn now, hero, enter warmly; enter ‘neath the crowds and flares.
Swift and surely, climb the mountain; climb your metal, switchback stairs.
Raise your head now, torch-lit runner
Lift your eyes from up and under
Hear now, see now raised-face crowd sight
Bring your arm: the dimmer torch light–
To zenith goal; now, flame -IGNITE!
The Torch Relay by Miriam Hurdle
“Did you see the torch?”
“No, the torch carried by the runner yesterday.”
“The tick with fire burning at the end?”
“Yes, the runners were on their way to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.”
“There’re 337 competitors from my country Britain.”
“Yes, 522 from the United States. The Torch Relay began in New York City and ended in Los Angeles, traversing 33 states. There were 3,636 runners passing on, carried the torch on foot for over 9,320 miles. Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics for the third time in 2028, 44 years from now.”
“I’ll be here.”
Fire by Geoff Le Pard
‘Why the long face, Morgan?’
‘Really? Is she ill?’
‘She’s planning her funeral.’
‘Some people do. Was she miserable?’
‘Not at all. Quite energised.’
‘What did she say?’
‘She wants to choose her music. Three songs. Two were easy, cabaret stuff, but the third caused the difficulty.’
‘She couldn’t decide if she wanted to be cremated or buried. If cremated she wanted Arthur Brown’s Fire…’
‘Going Underground by the Jam.’
‘What’s bad about that?’
‘I can’t have a mother who’s a punk fan. That’s just wrong on so many levels.’
Sebastian’s Bird by Nancy Brady
Sebastian didn’t know where it came from, nor where it disappeared to every so often, but he loved that bird. It appeared most often when he was upset, angry, or needed help, or at least, that was the way it seemed. That is, until his bird became lethargic and his red-gold feathers began to droop. He fed his bird a special diet to bring him back to health, but nothing he did for his bird seemed to work. In fact, the bird burst into flames, and died. From the ashes of the fire, the phoenix arose to new life.
The Bonfire – Haiku-Style Poem by Susan Zutautas
Firewood is gathered
Firepit is made, wood is placed
Kindling set throughout
A match is stricken
Holding the flame to the twigs
Seconds pass quickly
Twigs caught, setting wood a fire
Bonfire has begun
Flickering flames hypnotize
Heat is powerful
People gather round
Rubbing their hands together
Over the fire’s glow
Someone starts a song
Everyone joins in singing
Party has started
Guitars are brought out
Strumming and picking is heard
Hands clap out a beat
Cold lagers are abundant
People having fun
The moon is shining
Fire is blazing overhead
Autumn Camping Joys by tracey
Achingly blue skies
Trees full of red and yellow leaves
Crunching leaves underfoot
Legs pleasantly aching after a long hike
Sizzling hot dogs over the fire
Laughter as yet another marshmallow bursts into flame
Smoke scented air drifting up
Hands stretched toward the warmth
Ghosts stories making you glance over your shoulder
Steaming mugs of tea and cocoa
That drying leaves smell
Bursts of flames from pinecones
Snuggles under a fleece throw
The hooting of an owl
Feeling the joy of togetherness under a vast sky
Hard to Take a Break (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Fire spun a halo in the night sky. Danni’s stomach churned. Nothing more she could do tonight. She leaned against her Forest Service truck, away from the camp chatter. Some recruits buzzed from the adrenaline, fighting wildland fires for the first time. Nearby, the Canadian Bombardier pilot regaled his earlier flight to the crew of Australians newly arrived. Danni scanned the distant flames, feeling impatient. In 1910 they didn’t luxuriate in rest and strategy in shifts. Is this what Ike felt before he left –restless while others fought a war he had to watch burn from the sidelines?
Making Notification by Susan Sleggs
The Army officer stopped the fleet car in front of the brick house at 217 Maple Avenue. As they looked at the house, he said to the Chaplain sitting with him, “I hate doing these notifications. All the family has to do is see us walking up the sidewalk and they know what they’re going to hear.”
“True, but these days they can hold on to the fact their child volunteered and had wanted to serve their country.”
“Doesn’t make losing one any easier, especially when I have to admit friendly fire was the cause. And they always ask.”
PART II (10-minute read)
Nope! by Nobbinmaug
I thought she was cute the first time I saw her.
The more I talked to her, the more I thought about her.
The more I saw her, the more she smiled at me, the more I realized she wasn’t just cute, she was beautiful.
The more I got to know her, the more I saw how sweet and kind she was.
It wasn’t until it was too late that I realized, she lit a fire in my soul. The likes of which I’ve never known. It might just burn me alive.
Love Spell by Kelley Farrell
My love for you burns brighter than a thousand suns. I would walk through fire for you. You would never wonder where my heart lies. Please Ana, be mine.
Ana rolled her eyes. This was the third one this week.
All she wanted was a trip to the mall. Her ever pious mother refused and took her to antiques roadshow instead. She bought her an old rusty teapot.
It was better than expected, but when she told the genie she wanted love spell to wear she meant the perfume.
Don’t write again.”
Streetlights in Winter By Erica Schaef
There was something I wanted. The glow of home, or the bittersweet ache of fulfillment. Something not tangible.
Looking at street lights in winter gave me a sort of peace. Here you belong, they said. Here, you may rest. I sipped my coffee, having long since abandoned my attempt to join in the conversation at the table. The restaurant was crowded, too loud, too bright. I sat by the window, watching flurries dance around white glowing orbs outside.
A man appeared under one, lit a cigarette. Its flame intrigued me, illuminating broad shoulders and full lips. I wanted him.
Machine Man by calmkate
machines were his passion, they really lit his fire
collected one of each kind, had a burning desire
had the skills to maintain them all
loved the variety, it was his call
but they don’t come cheap
long hard work just to keep
yet his infatuation ran deep
they haunted his dream sleep
when using any he would visibly ignite
his eyes lit up, the flame burnt bright
his well trained wife accepted his flame
she enjoyed his childlike delight as it came
his kind heart helped those he met
if using a machine it was a sure bet!
The Heart of a Teacher by Norah Colvin
“It’s storytime, children.”
They gathered at her feet, bright-eyed, transfixed.
Jane read, instructed and encouraged. They never tired.
Later, all snuggled up in bed, Mum asked, “What will you be when you grow up?”
They gathered at her feet, bright-eyed, hearts open, minds buzzing.
Miss Jane read. They hung on every word, contemplating obstacles and possible resolutions, following the heroes’ journey into the cave and out.
“No time for stories. It’s test time.”
They slumped at desks, eyes glazed, minds dulled, hearts heavy.
The cave was cold and dark. Were they ever coming out?
Friendship by Joanne Fisher
“Who’s there?” The Anointed One called out frightened. She had woken to see a shadow in the doorway. She was barely twenty summers old but had been chosen to be the Keeper of the Sacred Flame and brought to this temple against her will then burnt by the Fire.
“It’s me Kali!” A familiar voice replied. It was her best friend Ananya.
“How did you get here?” Kali asked.
“I followed the soldiers and priestesses after they took you. Then I sneaked in.” Ananya replied jumping onto her bed. They hugged. “I’m going to get you out of here.”
Where There’s Smoke… by John Rieber
The restaurant was packed as usual. The busboy was frantic, maneuvering through the crowd with a large round platter on his shoulder, filled to the brim with half-full water glasses, dirty dishes, old napkins and candles. His head was turned so he hadn’t noticed that one of the napkins had caught on fire. If he saw flames, that platter was going airborne – what a disaster! Just then, a Waiter sauntered up and said: “hey man, you know you’re on fire?” He reached up, grabbed a water glass and put him out. The Busboy’s eyes widened. Dinner service was underway.
Scared as Hell by Susan Zutautas
Sitting by the pool I looked up to see smoke coming out from our apartment window.
Panic-struck, I yelled, “Oh my God”, I’d left candles burning in my bedroom unintentionally.
Panic turned to terror then into shock thinking my step-mother would kill me for setting fire to our home.
A neighbour saw how stressed I was, grabbed me and took me into her apartment where she made me get into a cold shower and drink a straight shot of whiskey hoping that this would calm me down.
Everything turned out okay. My step-mother was happy that I was alright.
Fire by Roberta Eaton
Jack woke up, coughing. Thick, choking smoke filled his room. Within moments he realised the house was on fire. Pulling his blanket over his head, he slipped out of his bedroom door and up the stairs.
“Fire! Wake up!” Turning back, Jack could see tongues of flame licking at the first wooden step. Tendrils of bright fire ran up along the banister.
Mr Farriner appeared with his daughter and the maid. “There’s no way down. We’ll have to climb out of the window and crawl along the guttering. We can climb in the window of the house next door.”
Tyranny Tango by Macy Brown
My eyes shot open.
What was it that had awoken me?
Then I heard it again… that ear shattering scream. I jumped out of bed and raced out into the hallway, but as soon as I opened my bedroom door my heart dropped. Bright orange and yellow flames danced in front of my face, engulfing the west side of my apartment.
I got down on the ground and crawled on my belly under the flames to my front door.
How could this happen to me? I asked myself. This was the kind of thing that only happened in movies.
Campfire by Kerry E.B. Black
While the other Girl Scouts gathered close to the campfire to sing traditional songs and roast marshmallows for s’mores, Lottie kept to the shadows. She studied the ground and regretted the trip.
Her friends regarded the fire as an exotic beauty shooting fairy sparks to dance with the starry sky, but Lottie could only recall its destructive power. Fire consumed without mercy, devoured with no discrimination.
She shrunk from its warmth. She hated the smoky stench. When the wood popped like gunshots, she squeezed her eyes tight. Flames flickered like an antique film, replaying her family house consumed.
Smouldering Fire by Ann Edall-Robson
After a month of loading hay bales and mucking out stalls, Hanna had become one of the depended upon employees at the ranch. She didn’t flaunt her ability to work shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the crew, and she volunteered when opportunity arose. She ignored the grumbling remarks when she was singled out to show a newcomer around. So when the request came to help Mrs. Johnson in the cookhouse, she automatically stepped forward.
“Not you, Hanna. Tal can go.”
The smouldering look of disgust directed towards Hanna could have started a fire anywhere Tal’s gaze lingered.
Fire by Deborah Lee
Again. AGAIN. She can’t do anything right. It’s the 50-50-90 rule: If she has a 50-50 chance of choosing the right thing, there’s a 90% chance she’ll choose wrong.
Anxiety rushes through her veins, ice water for blood. She sidles up to Greg’s desk, opens her mouth, knowing she’s hanging her desperation out for all to see.
On second thought, the whole floor heard the shouting anyway.
Fight or flight.
Barely keeping her voice steady, she asks, “Does Lesley ever fire anyone?”
Greg’s glance is sympathetic. “Sometimes,” he says. “But usually they get fed up and walk out first.”
Fire by Floridaborne
“Go away,” June said, slamming down the receiver. “Men!”
Her Persian cat, Fifi, purred at June, nuzzling against her leg.
She found men at an on-line dating service, and then used the “cat test.” They’d meet at a park, and if Fifi hissed at him, there were no second chances!
At 35, and still single, she wanted a child. Though she wasn’t showing yet, her last paramour had served his purpose.
“Men want to burn with desire instead of giving comfort and understanding.”
Fifi sniffed June’s stomach and hissed.
“Thanks, Fifi. Looks like I’ll be aborting this one, too.”
The Threat in His Eyes by M J Mallon
The fire raged, and a ring of flames circled the card, avoiding it as if it contained the deadly plague. The sand timer ran out. The fire burnt down leaving its mark on the card with black singed edges.
I felt a chill creep up my spine. When I searched Dad’s face for some clue to his strange behaviour, I reeled back, struck by the sight of a dull emptiness in his eyes. I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his face. I thought I spotted a weird reflection in his eyes, maybe a bug…
You’re Fired by Bill Engleson
I wake up in the middle of the night and hear the Donald.
He has a discordant voice, scratchy, like a nicked LP, a voice muffled from reason, as if someone, perhaps his late father, is still holding his head in a bulky, slightly used prophylactic.
Young Donald, six-year-old Donnie, is frightened, terrorized, but I get confused. I see the squeaking child that he was, that he is, for I also see the Presidential poser, invested in his hollow trajectory.
His belly is not on fire.
Rather, it smoulders away, a residue of burnt bunkum it’s final, futile fuel.
Fired! by Anurag Bakhshi
Clyde had come to the city all fired-up, but the harsh reality of life had set fire to his dreams, till they had all burnt down to a cinder.
But now, the time had finally come for him to take-off.
Clyde straightened up as he heard footsteps approaching. He could not afford to get fired.
Breathless with anticipation, he willed all the noise from outside to disappear.
As the countdown clock in his head said ONE, Clyde shut his eyes…..and the last word that he heard before he went flying through the roof of the circus was- FIRE!
Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire by Ritu Bhathal
I sat at the bar, nursing my whiskey. Needed to be sensible. I couldn’t afford to be reckless with my drink again.
I hadn’t meant to leave the barbeque unattended, but after a few drinks with my guests, I forgot it, and turned to see the flames licking the sky.
Gina wasn’t planning on letting me back in the house. I had to keep my cool, give her a few hours, then I’d go back, and she’d forgive me.
But would she?
I threw the fiery liquid down my throat in a single gulp.
“Bartender, another one please.”
Fire by Pete Fanning
Mrs. Cobb screamed for us to get away from the fire. A ball of wrinkles and gums, she charged after us with a cane, demanding we stay out of her yard. Tab grabbed my wrist, gripping me with terror, her fascinated smirk leaking a squeal as we raced down to Grandma’s room.
Mom snapped her fingers harshly, pointed to a chair. “Hush.”
We hushed, trying not to giggle, keeping watch on the door as the nurses sped past. Mom tended to the lump in the bed. We swung our legs, still flushed, waiting for Mrs. Cobb and her fire.
Fire by Frank Hubeny
Despair defeats hope with fire.
Pete wondered what that was supposed to mean while reading the fortune to his wife. He felt enough despair for it to feel like the fires of hell.
“What does yours say?”
“Remember when I got ‘A fool at forty is a fool indeed’?”
She remembered, but her blank fortune worried her.
“Maybe I should ask for another one?”
“Does that count?”
They switched. She read these words, “The fire of hope defeats despair”, and gave it back.
“This one belongs to you.”
She asked for a new fortune cookie.
Flash Fire by D. Avery
“Whoa Kid. Where’s the fire?”
“All across the Ranch, Shorty! We better put ‘em out!”
“No, Kid, don’t. They’s flash fires. All the hands’ve been sparked ta write an’ now the Ranch is ablaze with inspired imagination. Jist enjoy all the warmth an’ light, Kid.”
“You started all this, didn’t ya, Shorty? What are ya, an arsonist?”
“Don’t you be an arse, Kid. D’ya think these fires should be contained? Lights kept under a barrel?”
“Shorty, this cain’t be safe, havin’ all these ranch hands playin’ with fire.”
“Yep, writin’s risky. But we’re safe at the Ranch.”
Net more information about Ranch safety at https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/how-dya-do-buckaroo/
Fires are Burning
We didn’t start the fire…no, wait, yes we did. We fired up the imagination and penned stories from around the campfire ring. Or about stories that ring us with fire. It’s a fired up subject for flash fiction.
Writers found ways to express stories through flame.
The following flash fiction are based on the November 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is told around a campfire.
Flameout by Bill Engelson
The next morning, Aggie paused on the outskirts of Union City.
The funeral pyre was still smoldering, pumping out rings of foul smoke, smelling of dead flesh and the horror of divine providence.
“We’ll bury Dobbs, Mrs. Runacre,” Hank Taylor had promised, “but for the others, even the flames won’t remove their stain.”
Astride General Grant, bidding farewell, bundled and provisioned for her long ride back to the mountains, she was almost tempted to cry.
“No, Mr. Dobbs. Clancy. I will not weep for you. You allowed me to see a good man do a noble deed. Farewell, friend.”
Kindling? by Jules Paige
Driftwood, perfect for a campfire on the shore. Make sure the
tide is going out. Build close to the dunes. Won’t even be able
to hear flames crackle or the guitar player due to the loud surf.
Pass the Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.
Wear a sweater. After the sun sets it gets a tad chilly. Bring
some blankets to sit or lay upon so you can gaze up to the
stars. Maybe see the Milky Way. Be careful of the sand flies
Tagalong siblings look away from the couples. Who make
a different kind of heat.
Around the Campfire by Norah Colvin
“Smile,” they said. “It could be worse.”
Than what: a compulsory “adventure”? navigating scrub lugging a loaded rucksack? avoiding plant and animal nasties? digging a toilet? erecting a recalcitrant tent? enduring inane chatter and laughter roaring as insanely as the campfire flames?
“You’ll learn something,” they’d said.
Darkness hung low like her spirits.
Along with the dying flames, the mood quietened and, one by one, each told a story of horrors beyond her imaginings: of fleeing famine, war, abuse, hate …
Along with the sky, her heart softened with the light of a new day, and gratitude.
Carrot Ranch Flash by Joe Owens
“The last dry log,” Perkins declared, placing the piece of wood on the dimming fire.
“There is no more?” Alice questioned.
“None,” Perkins confirmed.
The six remaining survivors of Flight 169 shivered in the ever increasing snowstorm. Thin airline blankets were no match for single degree temperatures on Mount Raymond.
“We’re going to die,” Mandy said.
“Don’t say that!” Eric said pulling her closer.
“Why don’t they come for us?” Jerry asked.
“They don’t know where we are!” Kelly answered.
The wind howled as the conversation stopped while everyone watched the fire begin to consume the last dry log.
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
He said he was going to take her away for the weekend, saying it was a surprise and she’d love it.
She envisioned romantic candlelit dinners in a suite in a fancy hotel, soft music, and perhaps, just perhaps, he was going to propose.
The joke was on her though.
She had candlelight all right, but that was only because the batteries died in the torch.
Dinner had to be caught, gutted and cooked on an open fire.
Her suite was a sleeping bag in a battered tent.
As for the proposal….. she didn’t hang around to find out.
Crossing over upon The Looming Wherewithal by Elliott Lyngreen
In that sordid celerity you get but all connected via that fantastic crystal lattice, that similarity; feedback-diffusing-static; I answer this invite and go camping with mi primo. Never been… Turns out he needed my Cherokee. So, smooshed in a small group, counselors against the hatch; including two foreign types – empirically referred to as ‘Mike from Denmark’ and of course, “I am Frank,” drops the bulk of his arm to a surface, “the Anaconda.” – my first time; our first fire, right…? produces this gliding, smoothing, just coasting star slid so slow and so low tracing close the looming wherewithal…
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
The encampment swelled. Tents and tarps lined the sidewalk, shedding socks and gloves, wads of napkins along the curbs.
Pockets of comradery formed. The grass gave way to mud. Occasional laughter from figures huddled over glowing fires, shivering in the shadow of capitalism that seized the sun and cast a fluorescent chill over the lot. Some slept. Other discussed strategy.
At dawn, the fires smoldered. Knuckles cracked and smiles vanished as the mood grew tense. Morning inched over the lot. Commotion as the blue uniforms unlocked the doors.
“Attention Black Friday shoppers. Best Buy will open in five minutes.”
Memories Belonged to the Breeze by Ellen Best
Around the fire after an emotional day. The five of us together, Mum and us Sisters. We were at the river burning dad’s unwanted hoardings, his scraps and receipts from fifty five, long before any of his girls were alive. There were cards, from Fathers day’s past, faded barely distinguishable now. We read the ones we could, they were his hidden memories that belonged to the breeze. One from me to my dad, a picture of a cat we never had, a name, a smudge of a kiss greasy where my lips pressed that day long before he passed.
Looming Giants (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
“And then that German pinned me, my face to his backside. Without much thought, I bit through his pants and clenched until he cried for mercy! And that boys, is how I beat the German Giant from Kansas.” Cobb tipped his bitters bottle and the bonfire gathering cheered.
Sarah listened from the porch. The more Cobb drank, the louder he told stories. She wondered at these men, many converts from the British Isles, headed to Mormon Zion with handcarts and talk of multiple wives. The women sat in the shadows, exhausted, on guard to fighting giants of their own.
The Gem by Allison Maruska
I gaze over the flames, at the young faces offering their attention. “You see, the treasure the boys found wasn’t just valuable. It was enchanted.”
“Enchanted?” My granddaughter scowls. “How?”
“Well,” I lean forward, “anyone who held a piece of it experienced something strange – they could absorb someone else’s life force. Their youth.”
“Heh.” Jackson huffs. “Nice story, Grandpa.”
The teen stands and heads for the tent, followed by his sisters.
I reach into my pocket, running my fingers over the ancient gem. Then, I touch my weathered face.
It won’t be weathered much longer. I’ve waited long enough.
Transformation by Kerry E.B. Black
Fire’s magic transforms all it touches. Its gold infuses elegance into humble surroundings, and its heat warms human souls.
It dances across logs, graceful as a sprite. Its tongues send messages to heaven, wrapped in clouds of billowing gray smoke.
I squeeze my eyes shut. Blue-bright flames lit by hatred to creep up my skirts. Hair sizzles. skin bubbles. Pain sears as fragrant flesh pops from bone until all that remains is unrecognizable char.
My spirit clings to the spot of my assassination, but instead of damning my persecutors, I admire the flame’s artistry. Fire transforms all it touches.
Come on Baby, Light My Fire by Geoff Le Pard
Mary stoked the bonfire, sending smoke everywhere.
Penny wrinkled her face. ‘Yuk, mum. That stinks.’
‘Fusspot. I loved bonfires. We cooked potatoes and bananas and all sorts.’
‘I bet they tasted disgusting.’
‘Ok, I’ll show you.’
Thirty minutes later, they sat together with silver foil tubes balanced in their gloved hands. ‘Be careful. Just unroll it carefully.’
Penny did as she was instructed; the chocolate and butter melted with the brown sugar creating a sticky sauce for the hot banana. Penny tried a tentative spoonful.
‘Do you like it?’
‘Wow! This is sick.’
‘I’ll take that as a yes.’
Ring of Fire by Sherri Matthews
“What’s that?” whispered Sam, turning towards the bushes behind him.
Flames licked up into the darkness, a warming glow for the campers. Apart from the spits and crackles of the firewood, Mona didn’t hear anything.
“Nothing…sit down and poke the fire before it goes out!”
Another loud snap and Sam shot back on his feet. “That’s it, I’m going to take a look. Hand me the torch, quick.”
“A little jumpy aren’t you?” sniggered Mona.
Mona heard a howl and smiled up at the full moon, dreaming only of the Caribbean retreat Sam’s life insurance would soon pay for.
Home Fire by Sarah Brentyn
Fingertips touching, never leaving, they dance.
Round the circle ringed with stones, embers glowing, wind blowing, they move.
Hair whipping, voices crackling, they sing.
Calling for the flames to grow, fire curling, stars fading, they twirl.
Towering bonfire casting shadows…shifting…
Faces alight, flickering rust and gold…features rearranging…
They are ancient. Forgotten. Lifeless.
They are born. Pulsing. Alive.
On the damp beach, atop the cliff, in the forest, the desert, the mountains, marshes, plains, valleys…
They are everywhere and nowhere. They are here.
To this place. Our home.
Fingertips touching. Dancing on our bones. Frolicking through the ruins.
Campfire Mule by Ann Edall-Robson
“He’s a mule. Don’t tell me he understood people?”
“I tell ya, it’s true,my grandpa was there!”
“Old Jake mule thought he was human. He’d sidle in to where everyone was sitting yacking around the campfire. Stick his head in-between the people talking. One guy would talk. Jake would look at him. When the guy beside him talked, Jake looked at him. The nights it rained, Jake’d stick his head through the fly on the tent so he could keep just his head dry.”
“It’s true. Grandpa talks about that old mule all the time.”
Reading Miracles (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Campfire wasn’t light enough to read by. Danni shined her flashlight across the inky scrawl of penmanship no one today would have. She read aloud,
“The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden.”
“Sounds biblical,” said Ike.
“It’s from the letters Max found in a cigar box. He said his father’s Mormon grandparents left Zion for a miracle in Idaho.”
“Oh, Ike. It’s just a story. It can reveal facts about pioneer migrations.”
By firelight, Ike grinned. Danni refused his miracles. Facts mattered.
Make a Wish (Jane Doe Flash Fiction and a Bit About Rocks) by Deborah Lee
Off to her left, a low bonfire, in the homeless camp near the stadium. Jane edges forward as her mind travels back.
Back, to childhood fires in stone rings and fireplaces. Her grandfather always let her set the first match. Sometimes he had magic powder she could cast, turning the flames azure, emerald, amethyst.
“Look with soft eyes, see without seeing,” he would say. “See them, in the flames? Fire faeries. See them dancing?” She on his lap, they’d watch together.
She edges closer now, afraid of these strangers but aching for fire faeries, to make a special wish.
Flash Fiction by Michael
It had been an exhausting day, a lot of trekking, we were tired and thankfully the tour leader organised dinner. We sat and ate in stupefied silence as the night settled round us. My three other trekkers wanted to sleep. Seemed a reasonable request until we heard a roar like none we’d heard before. It was just off to our left. We huddled unconsciously closer together. The next roar seemed just beyond the circle of light from the fire. No one spoke. We looked into the dark. Thoughts of rest slipped from our minds. There was a collective gulp.
Long Drop Toilet by Anne Goodwin
Nature, she’d always thought, was best observed from the window of a passing vehicle. But she couldn’t bear to disappoint the kids. And really, it wasn’t anything like as gruesome as she’d expected. The tents were roomy and the long drop toilet even had a seat.
It was cosy in the evening sitting around the campfire, picking out constellations in the sky. But she was puzzled. Why, with all that wood around the campsite, were they using gas?
“Haven’t you heard of biogas, Mother? Why chop down trees when our bodies can make fuel for free?”
A Campfire Yarn by Irene Waters
They sang kookaburra sits in the old gum tree followed by Kumbaya then waited, the flickering flames illuminating their fresh, expectant faces. ‘Bunyips’ll be out tonight’ Hank said. ‘I saw it crawl out of the swamp. Part emu and crocodile with a platypus bill which ended with a thing like a chainsaw. Huge claws. It picked Veronica, sat next to her. We relaxed whilst the bunyip hugged the breath from her.’ As if on cue a blood curdling scream came from the bush, drowned out by the children’s screams. “Mythical am I?’ The Bunyip slithered toward them.
My Alien is Hard to Describe by Lady Lee Manila
He comes and goes when he pleases
And he keeps on changing faces
He can be from one of the tribes
My alien is hard to describe
Long chin, prominent teeth, curved lips
Comes with his broken spaceship
Creative as Shakespearean jibe
My alien is hard to describe
He speaks of words with no vowels
It darkened his face, his scowl
And he doesn’t need any bribe
My alien is hard to describe
When he’s crossed, some sparkles come out
Out of his mouth, tea in spout
Some cynics in the planet gibe
My alien is hard to describe*
July 1: Flash Fiction Challenge
Man, it’s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun
Well, I hear you whispering in the words, to melt everyone
But you stay so cool
My muñequita, my Spanish Harlem, Mona Lisa
You’re my reason for reason
The step in my groove.
~ Santana, “Smooth”
This ain’t Spanish Harlem and I’m nobody’s muñequita, but if it continues to be hot as Hades in northern Idaho I’m going to take off my clothes and bathe in the garden hose outside. I don’t care whose grandparents are driving by in air conditioned Winnebagos or if the logging truckers choke on their bottled pop. I told my neighbor of my plans and she responded, mortified and modest, that no one would want to see her if she did that, implying no one would want to see me. Well, granted, my husband would leer and most others jeer, but as I told her it’s not about how I look, it’s how I feel.
And right now I feel hot enough to hose off naked.
A record-breaking heat wave sizzles across the west and sucks the very moisture from the air like a dragon inhaling. I’m a whimp. I can’t take the heat. It makes me cranky as a range cow; watch out, I’ll kick if you come too close.
I know a computer puts off heat, but in this cooker-once-my-house I’m near to getting blisters on my fingertips from tapping at my keyboard. The thermometer on the porch picks up the afternoon direct sun and records 111 degrees Fahrenheit. What the blazes? This is the Pacific Northwest known for temperate summers. Even the clover has browned to a crisp and peat most is dry as bone dust!
Don’t get me started on trees and forest fires. Already one burns 200 miles southwest of us in Wenatchee, Washinton where people have lost homes. Only eight miles from where I grew up in Markleeville, California a huge fire has raged for almost two weeks and still remains 60 percent contained. This very place where I live was once ravaged by the 1910 forest fires. I hold my breath when the air turns hot, dry and deadly.
With the Hub and dogs, we take to the mountains and search for relief, escaping the heat. It’s not until the second day that we find access to the Moyie River not far from Canada.
The first day we find Grouse Creek crowded (as in all five camping spots and fishing turnouts occupied). We stop at an overhang and after much internal debate — do I dare, do I not dare — I jump off a ledge into the creek. I dared and I cooled off, though the Hub had to help me get back out.
The third day we grew brave and returned to the Pack River. I bobbed in the golden glow of sunset that reflected on the river’s surface. Yesterday, I officed in the air conditioning of Starbucks. Today, it is tolerable and I drink cold well water and Arnie Palmers.
While cooling off in the Moyie River we were among others seeking respite. Like a voyeur I watched a couple soak in a rocky river pool, smoking and drinking beer. She wore a bikini and they both were comfortable in each other’s presence. In a busy world, the hottest thing a couple can do is just “be” together. Just hang out, cool off, talk or enjoy silence in unity.
I watch the Hub cast and take careful steps on slippery rocks. The dogs tangle their leashes like a nest of vipers, but I’m not letting either one go run with the bears. My ankles are submerged in the cool flow and my bloodstream sooths. I film my fly-fisherman of 27 years and he flicks his line at me, ever the two-year-old in men’s clothing. I don’t mind. We’re together, I’m cool and that’s hot enough for me.
July 1, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase, “Man, it’s a hot one.” You can choose a gender neutral replacement for the slang, “man” or any other general address. The phrase can lead, end or show up in the middle of the story. If the prompt leads you to a creative idea to alter the phrase, do it! And stay cool this week!
Respond by July 7, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
Facing the Heat by Charli Mills
“Woo-doggies! It’s a hot one!” Carl’s voice crackled across the transmitter.
Lucy maneuvered the tribal fire-engine up the winding Forest Service Road toward thick clouds surging above a fresh lightning strike. The vehicle lumbered over backcountry rocks like a tank. It didn’t carry much water, but she could rig a pump to the lake.
“Lucy! You gonna evacuate those campers?”
“Roger that, Carl. Might bring you water, too.”
“Stealin’ your granny’s garden hose again?”
Lucy grinned. The radio crackled louder.
“Sounds like Canada Rail coming over the peak…”
Carl retreated beneath his bulldozer. He didn’t survive the sudden firestorm.
Author’s note: Firestorms are one of many dangers faced by wildland firefighters who are often summer workers or even volunteers from multiple agencies, some federal, some local. A firestorm creates its own violent drafts that sound like a freight train engine. They burn so hot so fast that nothing survives its heat.