Writing Fiction posted October 17, 2015


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Bushfires, a part of life in Australia.

Wet Eventually.

by Aussie


Fear, the only way out is through. A careless motorist hurls a bottle at a tree; shattered glass awaits the sun to set the fire. Crackling of leaves, popping of seeds. Gary Chimes and family slept in their new-build house. Daughters, Britney and Melissa had lost their mother when her car exploded in flames a year ago.

Gary and his girls slept on. Smell of burning sheep woke the girls. Westerly winds had whipped the fire to a frenzy. Tongues of flame rose and fell. Giant steps toward the house. Bushfire! Gary was awake and on his feet. His greatest fear, losing his girls. He already lost his soul mate.

Fire dancing on the hills. Eucalypts exploding fuelling flames. Home owners in new estate gathering valuables. Children first, pets second. House paddock brown and burnt; fire eating bleating stock. Creeping towards stables and house, Gary's new, and most precious house.

Gathering the children, one under each arm, he headed for the river. Wet blankets cover the three fugitives. Their dog Skipper no where to be seen after repeated calls "guess he will find his way or get burnt to a crisp," thought Gary.

"Help me, dear God!" Gary whispers into his daughters' hair as he struggles with their weight.

The fear of being roasted alive was the fear that drove him on. Heart thumping, muscles pumping, choking smoke filled his lungs. Gary ran and fell, got up and stumbled again. Eyes stinging, children screaming. "Daddy! Daddy!" His fear drove him on. Fire-fighters fought to save other homes. Gary thought his was gone. Gobbled up in minutes.

Way back when he was a stockman, an aborigine told him to hide in the river. Under the river bank he held his girls. Flames seeking purchase, finding none.
Roar of fire, angry animal unable to find its prey, moved on.

The girls were shivering, water up to their necks. Gary heard the roar move away, only heavy, acrid smoke remained. His fear kept him in the water until dawn. The girls were exhausted and black with smoke. Still, they clung to their Father.

Mornings' light brought surcease. Gary placed each child upon the blackened earth. Standing up, they listened for human voices. Sitting down again, in the blackened soil, cold and exhausted, safe from the fire.
Thump, thump, thump, sound of helicopter blades overhead. Might gushes of water-bombing copters' putting fires out.

Gary's mind raced as he remembered his wife Mary-Anne, burnt to death in her car. His fear of fire was doubly bad after fighting in Afghanistan. The memory of flame-throwers still fresh today.

"Coo-ee!" A voice called from the blackened bush. Men and women of the SES were grid-searching. Looking for holocaust survivors.

"Over here!" Gary croaked.

Through the devastation, the group of orange-rescue suits walked. They were black with ash too.

"Oh, Gary," Jenny, his sister hugged him, the girls clung to her legs.
"Jen, I was so scared. The girls so good. We hid in the water until the fire passed. Now, we're homeless," he cried in her arms.

"No, no way are you homeless, the water-bomber got there before the fire engulfed your new home."

Loud barking was heard as a singed Skipper raced out of the blackened bush to lick Gary and the girls.

After being washed and fed at Jenny's house in town, Gary had decided not to live in the bush again. Instead, he would move closer to where it was safe. He sold the house and bought a river boat. The girls loved it, Skipper barked at the birds. Gary's fear was gone, they cruised the mighty Murray River ferrying tourists up and down, fishing for food and dropping in to the neighbours for odd jobs. He called his new tourist boat the Mary Anne.

His sister were an avid photographer with no real ties. She decided to join the trio, selling photographs to tourists.






Flash Fiction Writing Contest contest entry

Recognized


Contest Entry: Australia is a country of many moods. Fire, flood and famine. Fire was the single dad's enemy.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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