I saw this post and I thought that I absolutely had to post this here. This is the first short story that I ever wrote and what inspired me to persevere with writing creatively. I hope you enjoy, and maybe I’ll add bits here and there like I am doing with the Metanoia story.
Daily Response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Burn
“Great men are forged in fire.
It is the privilege of lesser men
to light the flame.
Whatever the cost.”
– The War Doctor.
Coughing and spluttering, the last sounds Tess heard were the blaring sirens and the screech of tyres outside her door. Her head spinning from the smoke. Her hand on her belly, she could feel her unborn child calling out to her, telling her that the time is now, it was ready to be born. But the thought was too much for her to bear and
she collapsed, in a heap before the door as it splintered open, unleashing a wave of determined firefighters that swarm over her limp body.
Later, at the hospital.
“I’m sorry sir. There is nothing more we can do for her.”
“There has to be something! She can’t be gone! She needs to see her child!”
“Sir, there really is nothing more we can do. We managed to save her child and that alone is a miracle, it’s all we have.”
Fire-chief Alan Waterburn stormed off. Unable to handle this mess. Never before has he lost anyone to a fire. Now, three spontaneous combustions with flames of a never seen before intensity have pillaged his district and taken the life of his beloved sister. His only relative not yet purged by fire was gone. He knew that he had to be strong, to take care of his niece and not let the biological father gain custody of this bundle of innocence.
Tears rolling down his cheeks, he gazes out across the emptiness and towards Tess’ baby boy. Frank. That would be his name. He knew it would be what Tess wanted. Nonetheless, he couldn’t help but feel as if some superficial being had laden a curse upon him and at the same time, a blessing.
Twenty-four years later.
“And that, my friends, ends your tour here at your local Fire-station of Durban North.” said Frank joyfully. After some genuine “thank you’s” from his tour group he was able to break away from the madness to his own private area. Although highly sociable at times in his heart he was a very much his own man. His time alone is what he enjoyed most. he always wondered how and why he could enjoy both the life of a local celebrity who saved people from burning fires and be content with his own quiet private life. Smiling Brightly at some passers-by spreads the same joy he feels inside to those around him and enters his newly reconstructed Fire-station.
“Almost time for the grand re-opening,” he thought to himself. It always amazed frank how warm the folk or Durban were to his brigade. So much was against him and yet, somehow, he has achieved the Durbanite equivalent of a local celebrity. Maybe this was because his uncle did so much for the community and before the infernos started happening his firemen were dispatched and constantly amongst the community, helping out in every way that he could. His uncle was a man of such a great stature that he was called do a series of lectures on fire safety across the country.
“Frankie-boy! Your mothers here to see you.” called up Gary, a jolly, greasy man and Etekweni Fire’s technical expert.
“Oh..send her up please.” startled Frank hurried to neaten himself up. As he turns to clean his desk a cool calm overwhelms his whole body.
“He does know I’m not actually your mother, right?” her voice so smooth that it could make any bloodthirsty murderer come to a halt and see the light.
“Ha-ha, ahh Gary won’t ever let that one die down,” Frank replied, still slightly embarrassed, “but what brings the glorious Sasha Abbot to my humble abode where I slave away restlessly just to survive!”
“You are such a drama queen!” Sash cried out in hysterics, “You love your job and you told me that even if they paid you dirt you would not leave for anything.”
“ITS THE BEST JOB I COULD HAVE!” Frank screamed out. “A bit over eager?”
“Oh not at all,” she said rubbing her ears. “Has everything been prepared? Got the food, the drinks, the wine, the band, the decorations, and most importantly, your suit?”
Suddenly Frank’s smile turned to dust. “I’ll be right back!” and just like that, he was gone.