The Good Fire (short story)

Posted by on Sep 24 2006, in short story, zegarkus

This post was originally here: its a short story I wrote in 2004.

Sparks flew up into the midnight sky like lackadaisical meteors burning in the atmosphere before reaching the heavens. Ben rose and faded with them until his eyes caught a new spark that began its fateful journal skyward. A warm woolen blanket wrapped around him like a second skin. He felt polarized between the heat of this immense fire and the hostile cold of the Appalachian winter.

There was no one there but him, but he felt as if a universal audience was huddled around the blaze. He could feel all his hurt, all of his past transgressions rise up with the smoke. The old pine timbers burned briskly and fervently. Ben stared into the sky; the smoke distorted the firmament causing the stars to flicker and fade. Its warmth radiated unto his face and dried his eyes from any disease that might cause tears to flow. It was a good fire.

The timbers groaned and heaved for oxygen. Ben’s face was charred black. Only his incandescent corneas revealed that there was head situated on top of his body. The eyes mirrored the flames, recording every minutiae of the blaze. The core of him wanted to rewind, play and pause this moment forever.

The eastern wall of his house gave a concluding crack, howling like banshee amidst the ravenous flames. It toppled inward. My house will be ashes by morning, he briefly thought before being entranced by the flames again. It was just a house; it had ceased being a home a long time ago.

Ben gazed at the fire. He no longer felt the icy chill of February; he was now feeling the heat radiate from within. He watched the sparks float into the sky. He was the fire. He didn’t even hear the sirens wailing in the distance. The plastic petrol container began to warp before his boots. Sparks rose into to the sky like a meteor trying to return to the heavens.