07 September 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Fireman

Response to a challenge by Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes.

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

The Fireman

The door swung open, and flames roared in. Stephanie shielded her squalling baby brother from the crackling heat as the Fireman entered. Her skin baked and her golden hair sizzled as the flaming creature turned its head, deepfire-blue pinpoint eyes apparently looking around.

The room was an oven with the Fireman inside. Jason bawled at the heat. The Fireman took a step toward them, sending a heatwave that made Stephanie gasp.

Is this how Joan of Arc felt? she wondered. But the ancient French heroine had been burned alive by normal fire, not these man-shaped flames that clawed their way out of volcanoes.

“She’s not here!” Stephanie’s lips cracked around the words. The Fireman paused.

The ground rumbled; the volcano that had been dormant for centuries growled frequently now. The Firemen spread out from them, always seeking humans, burning people alive at their very touch. And they always asked “Where is she?”

“She’s not here,” Stephanie repeated, swallowing hard to get some moisture. She hugged Jason tight. “She’s not here. So you should just go away.”

The figure’s eyelights pointed straight at her for a very long time. The Fireman turned and left. Stephanie fainted as the door swung shut.