When The Fire Came
Ruby Parr, Grade 11, Healesville High School -
It was hot. The heat from the flames was intense, burning with a passion. Even through all the protective gear I could still feel it biting at my face hidden under the mask. The ground danced with light, while the heavy smoke loomed over us, darkening the sky. The fire in front snapped and crackled like it was alive. The hose we held, that could soak a group of men in seconds, seemed to do nothing to the flames, they only roared and spat sparks in protest. The house black and charred, groaning as the fire licked up at it. Swallowed by the bewitched sea of reds and yellows and oranges. My partner turned to me, only a couple of feet in front, yet swallowed by the haze and bright glow. I could just make out his outline, set in a seemingly unmovable stance supporting the hose. Water from his gloved fingers dripped to the ground, seeming to sizzle to nothing in mid-air. He spoke to me, but I couldn’t hear, I was mesmerised by the burning glow reflected in his eyes. Mixed with a fierceness so bright it rivalled the very flames roaring in front, I wondered if my own looked the same. The fire in front grew larger and louder and brighter. The smoke started to creep under the mask, causing my breathing to labour, I could see my partner struggling too. An explosion, sudden and loud. A burst of light and heat. My arms shielded my face, the force threw me back to the ground. Darkness.
As I lower my arms, I’m met with eggshell white walls and cream coloured couches. I sit near the open window; the breeze is cool, and the sun is hot on my skin. But it doesn’t burn. I look down at my hands to see the scars, faint and pink, like paint splotches. I hear the scrapping of pen on paper, thoughts forming into the written word. I think back to the fire, the house. If it wasn’t so dangerous and cruel, I’d say it was beautiful.