Clean Burn

by Michelle Namovice

The bark on one side of the tree trunks curled and popped.  The heat was so intense, the tree sap was drying out and turning the once green and flourishing growth into tinder.  Austin could feel the heat intruding his heavy fire suit.  Trenches had to be dug, a fire break created.  Sweat rolled off his face in huge drops.  Rivulets traced down his back, and still he dug. 

The sun, where it could be glimpsed through the columns of smoke, still shone brightly.  There wasn't a fire warning for miles around.  The weather had been pleasant lately, warm and slightly humid.  Clouds that were not made of smoke traced high in the atmosphere.  True, the deadfall was heavy around here.  Some areas in the forest were like that.

 The whup-whup of a helicopter could be heard above the heavy breath of the fire.  The sound of the blades caused a few men to stop and look up.  Austin could hear it, had seen it before.  His spade kept right on digging the line.

There wouldn't be much to see once the flames were controlled.  Charred and blackened stumps, undergrowth swept clear.  Perfect fertilizer for new growth.  By next spring only the remains of the upright trees would be left, everything would be perfect again.  Remade in a sense. 

Austin paused for a moment, looking into the flames that were no more than 50 yards into the forest from him.  100 acres of unpopulated land, hardly anything compared to other fires.  Now gone, and with it one former love.  Consumed.  Purified by fire.  A flicker of a smile crossed his reddened, soot tracked face.  Sometimes, just like in the old days, fire was necessary.  

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Writers Bio

I am a creative person by night, and a "cube-dweller" by day.  I have always been a fan of creative fiction, and have often tried my own hand at it.  Of course it comes in fits and starts. 

Inspirational ImageHeat by Karen Turnbullby Karen Turnbull

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'Two Souls Entwined'
by Alexis Hunter

by Sen Lin

'Fire Demon'
by Sarena Ulibarri

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