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Short Story - Fire

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  • Short Story - Fire

    Hey guys go easy on me!

    Hehe anyways I was talking to one of my friends about how I've always wanted to try my hand at writing but never really gone ahead and actually given it a shot. Today we were talking about it again and I thought I might as well go ahead and give it a shot. Spent the last 3 hours or so coming up with it and writing it.

    Anyways this is my first ever short story, I've never taken a single writing class besides regular english (which is more aimed towards essays than anything).

    This is all fiction, nothing is real. I just sort of came up with an idea when I thought up a phrase and then I developed a character to match it. I thought it would be an interesting approach to telling what would be a regular story if presented in a different light

    Here it is!


    Fire

    By David Rico

    Night

    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; dancing is one of them.

    With his hands he worked the machinery like a child would their favorite toy. Turning dials, flipping switches on and off, pumping liquid through the nozzle, it was all part of the elaborate dance he had become accustomed to throughout the years. Deftly juggling the containers with his unoccupied hand, the clear liquid inside sloshed and splashed rhythmically within its plastic prison. This was his favorite song.

    The fire danced with him.

    His toughened palms scorched with the heat of a thousand blazes, they felt neither warmth nor pain. Like a preternatural glove, his hand had adapted to his relationship with fire so that he could do his job with considerable more ease than he could years ago. He found it hard to believe he was the same man that inhabited his memories; Heart racing like a metronome, setting the beat to the song performed by his containers as he lifted and poured liquid out of them and into his tool. Face and body covered with sweat.

    Heat sweat.
    Fear sweat.

    No, that could not be him. Had he ever really been that inexperienced?

    Maybe. But now he was a new man. Fire cleanses all. Like a wave surging through his body, heat washes away his memories. Every night a phoenix reborn from the ashes and the rippling evening air, he wakes with a clean slate.

    When darkness falls duty awaits

    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; performing his duty is one of them.


    Day

    He loves summer mornings, they remind him of the early days as a child when he would sneak out of his house and play pretend with the boys in his block. They would play their games together until the sun went down. His friends would pretend to be cops and superheroes and astronauts but he always chose the same role, Fireman.

    Alex always got in trouble with his mother; she didn’t like it when he played with the boys. She said it was dangerous, that someone could get hurt.

    All they did was play, how could it be dangerous?

    He would spend hot summer afternoons staring out into the distance, shielding his young fragile eyes from the brilliant sunlight. He loved the sun; it was his favorite toy.

    His mother had gotten him a magnifying glass years ago. Every kid had one but his was special, he has specifically asked his mother for the biggest, thickest kind they had. She would often joke about how powerful it was by calling it his ‘Monoculars’ (“like binoculars except for one eye” she would say. Ha ha, get it?). Alex didn’t have a very good sense of humor, but he did love his magnifying glass.

    Every summer day was a chance to play god in his little kingdom. Their garden was completely invaded by ant piles each and every single summer. They were his humble followers.

    They would have done well not to incur his wrath for he was not a forgiving deity. After all, did he not control the fire from the heavens? (god’s monoculars)

    Yes, his flock would stray from the path often and it was his duty as their leader to straighten their course before it was too late.

    Alex laughed and shook his head at his naiveté, what a foolish youngster he had been!

    He turned on the TV screen as usual. He did not violate his daily routine, after all, what else did he get out of his job other than the satisfaction of seeing the results displayed on television the very next day?

    “…ouses burned down, no people injured. Despite the valiant efforts of local firemen, the households of the Johnson and the Jennings families lay in smoldering ruins today. Investigators on the scene say it may have been an electrical fire that spread from one house to the oth…”

    With a sigh, Alex turned off the set and recalled previous mornings. He had heard it all, electrical fires, chemical fires, arson, kitchen fires… heck, even forest fires. The result was always the same, a burnt out shell standing lonely within a circle of ash. God’s magnifying glass gleaming in the summer sky after a long night of shepherding (fire cleanses all).

    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; planning his day is one of them.





    It was hard picking the right place and the right time. He preferred working during nighttime because it gave him more time to enjoy the summer afternoon but sometimes duty called at the most inopportune of moments. His job was not very flexible, when the necessity presented itself he had to spring into action. His mind and body a gun permanently half-cocked and ready to fire at the quick tug of fate.

    After much deliberation he finally decided to go refill his containers and think about things along the way. It was easier to plan his evening when he was outside, observing people go about their daily lives. It helped give him perspective and kept the fire inside of him burning with a passion for his duty.

    He enjoyed watching people. Alex particularly liked the humble ones who went about their lives with their heads bowed and solemn. These were the people who knew how to live their lives, the people who knew how lucky they were for having what they owned. Their kind usually lived in simple houses where they parked their simple cars and led their simple lives. Always with their heads bowed low and their eyes fixed on the ground. Good people.

    Just as there were people Alex liked there were people he didn’t like. He could easily distinguish them from the others because they held their heads up high, their gaze staring back fixedly into his eyes in cold arrogance. They were always dressed in the most expensive clothing and smelled of the most costly perfume. They irradiated him with waves of disgust and anger.

    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; dealing with people is one of them.

    When he looked down at his hands he found that he was carrying the containers and that they were now full once again. He must have lost track of time and unconsciously gone through the routine. He threw the containers inside the trunk of his car, a beat down red pickup truck with the paint scorched at its sides. Alex never bothered to scrape off the paint. “What would be the point of that?” He’d say to himself.

    Before walking over the side and getting into the car he decided to inspect his equipment. His job didn’t usually require much gear, an axe to tear down obstacles, his flame retardant suit and helmet, his plastic containers (now full) and finally, his fire hose. He bent over the side of the pickup truck and peered into its cargo bed, not caring if the truck’s paint scraped off and stuck to his clothing. His favorite tool was the fire hose, it was essential to his job and it was almost like an extra appendage to him these days. Carefully he picked it up, opened the lid at the very top of it and poured the contents of one of his containers inside. He closed the lid and put the container away.

    His fire hose was special; it was a sleek black color with chrome stripes running along its side. The shape of the fire hose itself closely resembled a Tommy gun; it was mostly made of tubing (heat resistant) and other fireproof materials with a trigger and a trigger guard directly in front of the handle. It featured a prominent red tip crafted into the shape of a nozzle with a small addition made to the end of it, a long thin tube that protruded from the hose’s gas clip and then bent upwards directly in front of the tip. The hose was capable of shooting across great distances due to the pressurized gas tanks that could be loaded below the handle.

    He looked at his tools with tender care one more time and then covered them all with the long white piece of cloth he kept in the back of his truck. He strolled past his car, went inside the building and paid the clerk.

    As he was coming out of the building he caught a glimpse of someone just about to enter through the clear glass doors. It was a tall man in his thirties, head held up high with a cold, unyielding stare that seemed to penetrate into Alex’s eyes, past his brain and into the back of his skull. He was dressed in what looked like an expensive Italian suit and a Rorschach stained tie. His hair was a dark black helmet combed and gelled straight back like one of those movie stars in the 20’s. His face not yet wizened by age, his cheeks were covered in light black stubble that either meant the man forgot to shave or did not care to at all.

    As Alex walked past the door and the man he had already planned out the rest of the day.

    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; observing people is one of them.



    Night


    Flames had once again engulfed his surroundings, dancing under the eternal glare of the moon and streaking past the light generated by the fire and the ephemeral shafts of moonlight he went from one end of the house to the other, spraying with his fire hose. One of the things he had come observe during his many years on the job was that fire did not move at random. It spread, it grew, and it wavered and slid with a natural rhythm. Dancing to the music he set, the fire would engage him in a deadly (cleansing) tango that threatened to end his life (purify) and fill him with wave after wave of heat (clean his slate).

    He deftly danced with the flames; stepping to the rhythm of the plastic containers that he sometimes used to refill his fire hose and often even emptied directly upon the house. He squeezed on the trigger and unleashed the liquid that seemed to come directly from within his veins. Each burst making the fire dance quicker, speeding up the metronome within his chest and filling him with adrenaline.

    It was then that he heard the blare of the long horn that signaled the end of his night. He uncoupled from his partner (his partner that cleanses all), exited the now charred house and bowed before the shepherding fire. He took a long look at the not-so-simple house where people had lived not-so-simple lives and driven not-so-simple cars into its not-so-simple garage and took a deep breath. His lungs filling with the smell of ashes and the hot evening air, he was once again reborn and his slate was clean.


    Day



    Alex turned on the TV screen as usual. He did not violate his daily routine, after all, what else did he get out of his job other than the satisfaction of seeing the results displayed on television the very next day? He quickly flipped through the channels as he searched for his reward.

    “…ther house burned down, once again no people were injured. Despite the valiant efforts of local firemen, the household of Raphael Williams was…”

    “…Burned down last night…”

    “…Investigators on the scene say it may be a case of arson…”

    “… A red pickup truck…”

    “…Seen fleeing the scene…”

    “…Firestarter…”

    “…Pyromaniac…”

    “…Weapon thought to be a homemade flamethrower…”

    With a sigh, Alex turned off the set and planned out the rest of his (shepherding) day.

    Yes, his flock strayed from the path often and it was his duty as their leader to straighten their course before it was too late.


    Alex Palmer is a man of many talents; setting fires is one of them.


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