a short story, a description, a character


Flames

Flames. Flames, rising up the tree trunks, ripping through the undergrowth, I see flames.

Smoke. That awful, acrid smell. Coughing, coughing, I cover my mouth and nose.

Ash. Flying through the air, stinging me in the eyes. Ash fills the sky, leaving it a sooty mess, with the blazing sun shining through.

Screams. People, animals, birds. I hear their terror as the fire approaches. As they watch their homes burn, then crumble, crumble into dust.

I search for a way out, blindly stumbling to get away from this catastrophe. I catch my foot on a fallen branch and stumble. I stumble forward, I fly through the air, and I hit the ground with a thud. I cough once more, then roll over, and open my eyes.

 

 

The sky is blue. There is no smoke, no ash. The only sound I can hear is of birds chirping, cars zooming past, in the early morning light.

I sit up, and think about those who have suffered, those who have lost, lost everything.

Words and images roll through my mind.”181 dead, death toll rising.” “whole town destroyed, nothing left.” “heroes who have fought the flames and perished”

I see a blackened pile of rubble, with a sobbing couple standing at the front. A million trees, blackened and burnt and crumbling. People sleeping in parks, whole families forced to camp in the streets.

I see babies crying, children wheezing, adults sobbing, everyone dying.

 

 

I don’t want to think of this anymore. It hurts. I don’t want to imagine their lives, to imagine the pain, the terror.

I can’t sit here anymore in the blazing sun. I can’t help imagining the flames.

Standing up, I walk into the air conditioned house, leaving my thoughts of the bushfires out in the yard.

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