Thursday, July 15, 2010

Of Flames and Faith

Edited to include: The following is a work of fiction written for Magpie Tales.

Flames snapped and crackled, and sap sizzled from a tree too near the heat. The brilliance of the fire lit up the night sky for miles around. As the crowd gathered, people began to speculate as to what caused the old building to suddenly go up in flames. It had been abandoned for twenty years or so, ever since the mill closed. The owner had died shortly before, and when they closed the doors, many of the towns people were left with no income.  Lately, though, there were signs that someone had been living there. It was assumed to be a homeless family, and given the hard times, no one thought anything about it. Live and let live, they said.

The fire department was on the scene quickly, but the dry timbers burned out of control. “I hope there was no one in there” said the chief. “There’s no way they could have gotten out after the fire started”. Acrid smoke filled the air and stung the eyes and burned the throats of the fire fighters, and the intense heat pushed them back. All they could do now was to keep the fire from spreading.

Photo courtesy of Magpie Tales
After hours of raging, the fire burned itself out leaving smoldering chunks of wood and twisted metal of the machinery left behind. When it was deemed safe to investigate, officials walked through the ruins. Fortunately, they found no bodies, although no cause of ignition was determined.  What they did find startled them.  Among the ashes were the burned-out remnants of a family's makeshift home, and the only things to miraculously escape the searing flames were a well-worn Bible, a gold cross and an old fire extinguisher.

Written for Magpie Tales #23.


  1. Linda, I read this with genuine concern and it wasn't until I read the tagline about Magpie Tales that I realized it was fiction. So well done! So scary! And the ending was so great - I loved it!

  2. Wow, I was feeling apprehensive reading this - 'was anyone in the building' was in my mind. Great ending.

  3. great story-perfect ending-good Magpie!

  4. Well Played! I enjoyed it, I remember that fire.

  5. Talon- Thank you. I'm glad you liked it, and I'm sorry it was unclear that it was fiction.

    Marilyn- Thank you.

    kathew- Thank you.

    annell- Thank you. You remember a fire like this? Just for the record, this is completely a work of fiction.

  6. Lovely story, there are miracles everyday...Great Magpie....blessings..bkm

  7. A disclaimer at the top would be a good idea. I too thought this was real. Which just shows what a great writer you are.

  8. you leave me wondering why these three items....
    a mystery we will never solve

  9. A very interesting tale well told. Good Magpie.

    Thank you for visiting me.

  10. you describe so well in your litereature.
    You dont over do it.
    And i find that to be so important

  11. A beautiful story, amazing ending :)

  12. signedbkm- Thank you. Yes, there are miracles all around us.

    Jen- Thank you for the comment and compliment.

    Suz- Thank you.

    Friko- Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    artswebshow- Thank you.

    Sezaaay- Thank you.

  13. This was a page turning story, I loved it... well done.


  14. Great story, and I'd describe it as "screen scrolling" as opposed to "page-turning". :)

  15. Intriguing remnants. Was this a true story? Well told.

  16. whew...a very well told real...and love what was left behind...

  17. I was on the edge of my seat reading this. Extremely well done! Love the ending.

  18. You sure are a storyteller! I kept forgetting this is fiction.... :)

  19. Written in captivating form!

  20. You had me worried there until till the end, had me on the edge of my seat. great job and nicely written.

  21. Christine- Thank you! Glad you liked it.

    Margaret- Thank you! Screen-rolling. I like that!

    Willow- Thank you, and no it's purely fiction.

    Catalyst- Indeed!

    Brian Miller- Thank you, I liked the idea of those item escaping.

    Angie Muresan- Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

    RA- Thank you for your kind words.

    Lena- Thank you!

    Patience- Thank you!

  22. Tension rules this piece - wonderfully crafted!

  23. The only things to survive the fires of this life are the eternal ones. Nice story!

  24. Love the ending. The fire extinguisher survived the fire. Priceless.

  25. Tumblewords- Thank you!

    steviewren- Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    VetTech- Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

  26. Will the family return to retrieve their treasures? Well written!

  27. Somone was keeping an eye on things.
    Good Magpie.

  28. Linda,

    I loved reading through your comments. It goes to show how much your writing is blooming.

    I, too, questioned whether this was real or not while reading the story! It was as NGIP said, "screen scrolling." I like that term and the way you held me captive, watching the fire and hoping....

    This is a great Magpie Tale. Good for you:~)

  29. ~T~ Who knows, that's part of the mystery. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Sue J- Thanks.

    soundoffreedon- Thanks.

    Sara- Thank you! I am thrilled to have such a great response to my stories. "Screen-scrolling" is a good one. Margaret has a great blog!

    Jingle- Thank you!


Hi, thanks for visiting my humble abode. All comments are read and appreciated.


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