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Plastic Fire

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  • Plastic Fire

    My eyes scanned the night sky, straining to see beyond the grimy, near opaque glass. There was little of interest there. A dark expanse cloaked for the most part in smoke and dust. My eyes came down, looking past the dismal treeline at the roundabout ahead. Vehicles whizzed past, fading from my frame of view almost as quickly as they appeared. Busy men and women with lives to live and ambitions to fulfil. And suddenly I saw a dancing speck of orange from the corner of my eye. It was a sickly, unhealthy shade of orange and it seemed to be originating from the park beside my house.

    I rubbed at the glass with my hands, trying to clear up some of the grime. It didn't help much. My hand crawled up along the cold glass, fingers twisting over the metal bolt as I braced myself for the cold that was going to hit me. It slid down after a few jerks, a biting gust of wind cutting across my frame. Visibility improved yet I strained to observe the flame from that cumbersome angle. It was almost parallel to my window and the park fence and bushline barred my view to a considerable extent. I could make out a form huddled beside the orange fire, stirring it with a stick occasionally.

    I stared at it for many minutes, oblivious to the rest of the world, fascinated by the sight. My eyes drifted to the warm interior of my room, resting upon the two thick warm blankets spread over my bed. With a shiver I closed the window and climbed down the window sill. I creeped across the hallway to my mother's bedroom, ducking down to avoid the wind-chime that hung just above the door. Even the slight brush of cloth against wall seemed to me like a deafening roar, sure to wake the entire city. I crept into her room as noiselessly as possible and groped along the wall for the keystand. Fingers finally came in contact with cold stainless steel which was quickly pocketed.

    I was outside the house soon enough, a blanket clutched tightly under one arm. The night was still, sparse moonlight filtering through a barrier of clouds. I could make out dogs padding along the road, thrusting their faces into the piles of garbage lining the street. Clad in a threadbare shirt and pyjamas, I could feel the cold striking me with full force, permeating to my bones. I began shivering, both out of fear and cold. I've always been afraid of dogs even at the best of times.

    All was darkness in the park except for the little flame which was my destination. As I got closer I could make out the man's features. His eyes remained fixed upon me from the moment I entered the park and they were brimming with suspicion. I suppose a man in his position has every right to be suspicious. His face was extremely gaunt, as if deep pits had been dug in his cheeks. His eyes were sunken and listless. He remained huddled beside the fire, bony arms wrapped around his lean frame, dirty, almost formless clothes hanging loosely from it. Wordlessly I walked to the fire and placed the blanket on the ground, keeping the fire between him and me. Dirty black smoke was rising from the fire, the air heavy with the stench of burning plastic. I turned around and walked back, pausing once to look at the man. The blanket was clutched in his hands now, fingers wrapping it around himself in a hurried frenzy. His head rose and our eyes met. Gratitude shone in them almost as gold in the firelight.

    There were no fires in the park for the next two days. And one evening, as I went for a walk, I saw the man. Huddled at that same place, another stinking plastic fire to warm his bones. His eyes met mine and instantly they turned away. Hastily he tried to hide a dirty plastic bottle filled with a dark orange liquid in the folds of his clothes. There was no blanket to be found nearby. With a glance at the bottle I went on my way.

    There were many more sleepless nights spent on the windowsill that winter. And that tiny speck of orange would always be at the corner of my eye. But the whizzing vehicles with their headlights on blinding highbeam seemed infinitely more fascinating now.
    Devils are the bagel's favourite breakfast food!

  • #2
    Good stuff, Thoric. I particularly liked the shift at the end. It was handled very subtly, but was impactful nonetheless. I think the story perhaps menadered a little too much in the beginning, but I realize the importance of setting up the surroundings as well. Besides, you weren't necessarily asking for commentary, just posting. It's a refreshing change to see some writing on these writing forums, so thank you.
    Last edited by Vesnic; 11-15-2011, 08:07 PM.
    My sanity, my soul, or my life.


    • #3
      *Wipes tear from eye*
      Beautiful man. Just beautiful. You have inspired me to get back to writing "Eternal Sphere"
      OH FUDGE!


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