Tag Archives: fire

Flash Friday – Burning for the Bell

Rebekah Postupak hosts Flash Friday in which 140-150 words stories are created by us based on a picture prompt and a word.  The word to go along with the picture below is to “include a fire.”  Click >HERE< for the rest after reading mine below.  Enjoy!!!

Bell Tower of Guadalest, Costa Blanca, Spain. CC photo by Anguskirk.

Burning for the Bell

By Scott L Vannatter – 160 Words

Johannes made the trip up the long, wooded ladders the top of the Bell Tower overlooking the “Forest of Wonder.” He pulled his small, unpadded stool near the window having the broadest view of the green landscape below and took out his knife. He began peeling the potatoes, apple, and pear that, along with a small crust of bread, would be his afternoon meal. This was his second year as Keeper of the Watch. His job was simple: he was to look out for raiders and other enemies who might seek to overthrow nearby Kochordan by moving stealthily through the forest. This had never happened; the job had been easy.

Johannes began eating his apple. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement. He looked up and saw the cause: smoke was rising up from the center of the forest. He lost no time sounding the large alarm bell to warn of this attack from a different enemy.

_________________________

Namaste,

Scott

Accidents – Long Version (Part 1)

Some time ago, I wrote a story for FSF (Five Sentence Fiction) entitled “Accidents”.  It got good response and one reader, “Hugs,” felt it deserved to be a longer tale.  I agreed to do that someday and today is that time.  I don’t know how long the story will be, so I can’t tell you how many parts.  I can say that my last one was four parts.  I do better with short stories right now; my concentration level stays up for them.  So, we begin:

“Accidents”

By Scott L Vannatter

7/8/13

(Based on the short story “Accidents” written for “Five Sentence Fiction”)

“Tommy Renko” – He stood back and thought about it.  The name would certainly go down in history.  Sometimes, that was a good thing; often, it wasn’t.  Here, it wasn’t.  He knew that his names would be on everyone’s lips once they figured it all out.  Heck, he wasn’t going to deny it if asked.  Yeah, word would get out.

Tommy thought back.  This certainly wasn’t the first time he would be known for his “accidents”.  His mom would know for sure who did all this.  He could see her face, again, looking that way.

First time was when he was about ten.  He had figured out how to fly.  He had created his “Renko Flyer” and set it up in the barn.  The old gas-powered plow had been connected and the guide rope had been hung from end to end of the old wooden barn.  He had just known that a fifty-two-foot acceleration would get the device to fly for several minutes.  He had climbed aboard and pulled the cord with the plow running.  The initial jerk had thrown him into the loft while the flyer had run down the rope, hit the side of the barn and burst apart, throwing gasoline and plow parts everywhere.  One of the parts had been hot enough and the entire structure had gone up in minutes.  Tommy had made it out, but his rear-end had hurt almost longer than his pride.

The second incident had been in high school.  He had not made the swimming team, but had decided that he could treat the swimsuits in a chemical bath that would reduce water friction and warm up the swimmers so they could do better.  He probably should have tested it and he probably should have told someone beforehand that he had done it.  Come to think of it, he probably should not have done it at a swim meet that was covered by the local media.  But, 20/20 hindsight was always there.  As it happened, the chemicals reacted with the chlorine in the water and, well, they unraveled totally while everyone was warming up in the pool.  No one had pressed charges, though he had worked for 2 months at school to pay for the new suits, and no students on the swim team talked to him for months, at least, not until the term “booty sharks” had not been mentioned for weeks by the other school members.

__End Part 1__

Namaste,

Scott

Five Sentence Fiction Week of March 28, 2013

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This week:  Flame

Don’t confuse this with Friday Fictioneers!  That is 100 words from a photo prompt.  Go here for that.  For FSF click on the above pic.

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Keeper of the Flame

The muscular young man bent low over the small lantern, trying to get the fire brighter before the wind took it away.  He covered it with his hands and blew softly on the yellow light until it glowed bright and fierce.  Standing, he looked intently in all directions, shaking within from the awful consequences of what he was about to do.  He would not be forgiven and might, in fact, be exiled or enslaved if caught.

Prometheus ran.

Doll Story – Conclusion

Yep, this is it!  I did as I promised.  The story is done with this part.  I won’t stall or talk, just let you get to it.

___________________

There were hundreds of them.  She picked up one after another, thinking to herself how some were simply amazing in their appearance.  Her voice caught in her throat as she spied a fairly new looking doll lying on a shelf against the tent wall.  She picked up the porcelain figure and stared at it.  The face looked so much like Joey she nearly fainted.  The eyes were even the right color, colors in this case as Joey had one brown and one green eye.  The shape of the chin, the length of the hair, it was all correct.  She felt she should know.  After all, she had gotten into trouble twice for not paying attention to the teacher while she had been staring at Joey.

“Are you alright, young lady?”  The owner stared at her.

“Yes, Sir.  I was just noticing how much this doll looks like someone I know.”

“Is that right?”  He put his thumb and first finger to his chin, scratching and thinking.  He smiled and looked at her hard.  “I have several more in back if you like.  You see, I make some of the dolls myself.  Perhaps, I had seen your person last time I was here and his image came to mind.”  He started walking back to the back.

Janet thought about what he said.  It made sense.  She could not really think of anything else that would.  She turned and saw the policeman standing by the watches and knives table.  Feeling much safer, she followed the man to the back of the area.

Ducking under the door flap, she tried to adjust quickly to the darkness of the room.  There were other dolls lying around, as well as some cash on a table.  She turned to face the owner.  As she did, he brought his hand to his mouth and puffed.  Janet felt a small touch and, instinctively, looked down.  Her eye saw the small dart sticking in the doll’s side.  She looked back up.  The owner had recovered and was grabbing for her.  She panicked and did not cry out.  Instead, she threw the doll at his head.  He knocked it aside and grabbed her, putting one hand over her mouth.

“Shouldn’t have left it out.  Pride, I guess,” he said, more to himself than to her.  “Well, it will be okay, once I have taken care of you, I will pack up and move on.”  He noticed Janet’s eyes and the light change in them.  Looking over his shoulder he saw the flames start on the tablecloth where the candle had been knocked over by the thrown doll.

Forgetting Janet completely, he turned and ran for something in the back of the tent.  Janet saw that it was a doll sitting up on a throne.  She could not see well in the flickering light, but did think that the color of the hair and skin looked remarkably like the owner’s.  He grabbed the doll and turned toward her, his eyes blazing over the fire.  Janet found her mind again and turned to run.  As she did she saw the reflection in a mirror of the black man trying to get through the thick, building smoke.  His form falling to the floor was the last image she had before she tore through the flap and ran out of the tent.

When Janet’s parents arrived at the hospital, Janet was talking to an officer.  He walked off, leaving her alone.

“Janet!  Oh my God!”  Her mother wrapped her in her arms, covering the top of her head with kisses.  Her father put his hand on her back and tried hard to smile.

“I’m okay, Mother.”  She decided not to tell her mother of the doll owner who had tried to assault her and who had perished in the fire.  Her mother still had questions.

“Were you there when it all caught fire?”

“Yes, Mom.  Apparently, one of the flea market people was burning candles in the back area and it got out of control.”  Not a lie she thought, just not quite everything.

Her mother fussed and fumed over the whole incident for several hours.  When they got home, Janet was exhausted.  When her head hit the pillow, she was out like a light.  She did not ever realize until morning that she had dropped the Joey doll when she was leaving the tent.

* * *

The next day, Janet awoke, dressed, ate, and then signed onto her computer.  The local paper website had pictures of the fire.  Most of the tents and the contents were lost in the blaze.  Five people had died.  The owner of the doll table, a Mr. Rosen Barnem, had been labeled as the reason for the fire.  He had no family and had died at age 94.  94!  Janet’s mouth dropped open.  She had not thought him to have looked a day over 55.  She rethought her dinner plans, thinking that whole wheat and bran might just be in order.  Her mouth dropped again when she read that, of the other four bodies, only one had been local.  It seemed that Joey Destrum had been found lying next to one of the tables in the doll area.  He had died of smoke inhalation.  She stopped reading and cried for a moment.  Then, she was puzzled.  She had not remembered seeing him at the flea market at all.

Janet kept perusing and found several other local interest stories.  In the first, a local teenage girl had been found wandering out of the junkyard in the late evening hours.  She had been reported missing almost three days earlier, but could not remember anything about where she had been.  The second was a shorter story telling how another of the dead bodies in the tent fire had been that of a man from two states over who had been reported missing last month.

The third story was intriguing.  It seemed that a man had been found in a twelve-year-old girl’s room around nine o’clock on the same night as the fire.  The family had been to the flea market and had returned home and gotten ready for bed.  The father and mother had come running into their daughter’s room when she began screaming.  When they had gotten to the room, they saw a grown man sitting in the corner looking around as if crazy.  He had remained in the corner until the police had arrived to take him into custody.  He was reported as saying that he could not remember where he had been or how he had gotten into the little girl’s room.  The man gave his name and the police found that he had been reported missing nearly three months ago from a small town in Tennessee.

Janet stopped reading and stared at the ceiling in thought.

“It can’t be,” she said out loud.

Then, she began crying again, harder.  She realized that, if she were right, it was her fault that Joey had died.  Her body shook with the sobs she made for hours.

________________________

Namaste,

Scott

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Philosophy is all about being curious, asking basic questions. And it can be fun!

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