The Phone Rang

Finalist in the 'Written in the Stars 2013' competition

Dad’s been gone for two weeks now. He is a Victorian fire fighter. He is in Tasmania at a place called Collins Cap. He was called over to replace the local fire crews who were exhausted after working tirelessly for days. I sit on my bed. I miss him. Mum walks in holding an envelope, it is from Dad. She hands it to me.
‘My dear Alison and David,’ the letter began, ‘as I sit writing this letter in our fire truck, fire is burning on both sides of Collins Cap Road. Nearby a big colonial house with a wrap-around veranda is under attack. Flames flicker around it scorching and peeling the paint. Over-head helicopters hover.
Flames rage and roar. Burnt leaves and embers are being buffeted about by the wind. Smoke in the air makes it difficult to breathe without our masks. Fire has reached the canopies of eucalyptus trees, turning Collins Cap Road into a tunnel of flame.
It has just come through on the radio that a helicopter has crashed in a paddock on Collins Cap. Luckily the pilot survived. I have been asked to join the remote area team fighting the fire that is burning out of control behind Collins Cap.
I will be coming home in about two weeks. I miss you and Mum a lot. I wish I was at home.’ The letter was signed, ‘lots of love from Dad.’
'I love you too, Dad', I thought to myself. I felt a little bit nervous when Dad got called into fight the fires, but I knew he had to do it. He misses me and Mum a lot but he is saving other peoples’ lives. I miss him a lot but it is nice to hear from him. I feel so proud of my Dad. He is very brave. Being a fire fighter is a big responsibility. Anything can happen.
The morning sun shone brightly through the window. The jug boils and the toast pops up. Across the table Mum is reading the paper. She starts to read an article out loud. Brave Fire Fighters Battle Blaze. Nervously she catches my eye. ‘Three days ago,’ she reads, ‘the Glendue Road Fire burning out of control behind Collins Cap, broke its containment lines. Yesterday members of a remote area team from Victoria, working to contain the blaze behind Collins Cap, were trapped. The wind changed direction trapping the team in the fiery inferno. Some of the team escaped the horror. Two brave men died. Two families lost fathers. Two wives lost husbands.’
Me and Mum sit waiting in the dining room for some news. We have been trying to get hold of Dad. We have tied ringing and emailing him but he just wouldn’t or couldn’t reply. I look at Mum. Mum looks at me. I can tell that Mum is sad by the look on her face.
Suddenly the phone rang.

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