Friday Fictioneers – Fire!

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Fire! 180718

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Fire!

The hazy sun told the story; bush fires were raging, driven towards Warrnambool by a blistering wind. The kids fidgeted in the car as Judy rushed out with photos and the cat. Bruce chucked the document strongbox into the trunk, then sprinted next door.

“Ain’t no good, I’m stayin’. Eighty’s too old to start again.”

A glowing ember struck the window.

“Goddamit, Sam, get in the wagon!”

Sam’s wife, Alice, was wheezing asthmatically in the choking atmosphere.

Bruce grabbed her and pushed her into the car. Sam followed, protesting.

As they roared away, the rear-view mirror was filled with flame.

78 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Fire!

  1. Dear Penny,

    I related to photographs and the cat. Those are things I would grab. Not to mention my flash drives that have all of my manuscripts saved to them. I could feel the tension mounting. Not the time to get into a family argument. Well-paced and splendidly written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. In my imagination Bruce and Judy had talked about what to do – and briefed the kids – the day before. They were prepared, insofar as that’s possible. I, too, relate to the cat…
      Shalom
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How odd! Just before I read this I was thinking of things I would grab in a fire: laptop, kindle, phone and memory stick with work files. Besides obvious things like family who I would have bundled into the car already. I feel like those objects of mine are the stem cells of my life, to rebuild the new one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fatima
      Thank you for reading and commenting. The choices that we would each make in such a dire emergency are very characteristic of who we are, aren’t they?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  3. Talk about cutting it close!

    Last time the forest fires got too close we had to pack and run. My dh took a box of photo negatives. I took a pile of manuscripts. Otherwise it was just kids and clothes. We could see the fire from our house, but it wasn’t racing towards us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well done, Penny. I could feel the tension build as it went on. One hopes that what one does want to grab is all in a little neat pile. Which it never is, is it? I’d be a flustered mess trying to assess what is grab-worthy besides kids and pets.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment. If you’ve saved kids and pets you’ve got what makes life worth living. If you’ve got credit card and phone as well, that’s a bonus. I must confess, I’d hate to lose my photos though!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Sascha
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you could feel the tension. I think Sam would have stayed if Bruce hadn’t dragged Alice to the car…
      As regards what to bring, I thought Neil’s comment that the story would be improved by somebody bringing something ‘less obviously worthy of survival’ was an excellent suggestion. How do you feel about that?
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Penny, I’ve thought about your question today since I read it this morning. And, yes, I could see where something less obvious might be a nice touch, and for some reason I thought of something like that leg lamp in A Christmas Story (if you’ve seen that movie) something that would leave a spouse slightly exasperated, but would have huge importance, sentimental, pride, whatever, for the other spouse. It would be that thing that would lend a touch of humor in a grim situation. The question, of course, is how do you communicate that significance and maintain the tension in 100 words?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Russell
      Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments. These flash fiction challenges are great for how they make you think about how to convey as much as possible with every word, aren’t they?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Penny,
    Very real and well done. We’ve never been that close to a fire but we get there around here most Summers and a few times people have lost homes. I had friends who were in that terrible fireball in Victoria a few years ago, which was hell on earth. I like the concern for the neighbours. We were hit by a hale storm a few years ago and it had peppered holes in the roof and the roain was pouring in and we needed to get everything out, especially the computers. Meanwhile, our son was concerned about the neighbours. I was a bit annoyed at the time, because we were in strife ourselves and I needed his help. However, in hindsight, I’m glad that he was also thinking about others. We ended up with two SES trucks here and volunteers putting up a tarp for us. So thankful. My husband was a t work.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rowena
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you found the story real. I’m also glad you had help from neighbours when the hailstorm caused such damage. It’s great the way people will pull together in the face of natural disaster, isn’t it?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Dawn
      Thank you for reading, and for your very helpful comment about the drama added by the old man. It’s always good to have confirmation that a particular way of writing has been effective.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Sarah Ann
    Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. I’m glad the tension and fear came across. Having to flee a bushfire must be terrifying. My intention when I wrote the story was that they would survive. It was the rear-view mirror that was filled with flame, implying that the fire was behind them, so if all goes well they’ll escape. But I don’t make that explicit, so, as the reader, you’re entitled to make up your own mind!
    With very best wishes
    Penny

    Like

  7. Beautifully tense and poignant. I feared a worse ending when Sam wouldn’t get in the car, and though the fire in the rear view mirror devastated, the ending was nearly as sad as it might have been. Nicely done!

    Like

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