Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Burning

The flames lit the night sky, spreading their dangerous orange glow toward heaven. He could hear the crackling wood as the boat was devoured in the heat. The boy scrambled across the deck, ducking and dodging the debris that rained from the rigging above. He pulled at the satchel caught on a fixture. He tugged and yanked but it still wouldn't give.
"Hurry. Just leave it," the girl cried. Her face flickered orange as the fire danced around her.
The boy wound himself back and yanked one more time, and then finally flicked the strap of his satchel free. He raked it toward him and rolled to one side as a sheet of flaming sail fell to the deck beside him. 

There was heat and rage in the fire. The boat was dead in the water and he knew it was only minutes before they also would die if he didn't get them to safety. He scrambled across the lit deck where the girl waited, pressed hard against the side of the boat. Without thinking, he slung the satchel over his shoulder and reached out to her. She pulled on his hand and dragged him toward her, their bodies a flailing mash of arms, legs and fear.  An almighty crack filled the air and they looked up to see the mast snapping, its top half meandering its way through the rigging toward them below. Their options were gone. They huddled together and   flipped themselves over the side and into the sea.

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