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The Fire

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Walking along the long electric fence that runs along my family’s 7.89 acres of dry fields, I spot a foot long garter snake racing for the cover of the nearby hemlock tree’s roots. The snake is black with a brilliant green “racing” stripe running down his, or her, side. The snake is fast, but as always, I’m faster.
I grab the snake by the tail and start to gently pull it back out of the roots. He turns around to bite me, but I keep his mouth closed by gently pinning his head between my fore finger and thumb. I stand up with pride in my heart. I am the best snake catcher ever! But the victory is short lived, for I smell a familiar scent wafting into my nose, a scent like camping. “What is that smell?” I ask myself, and then it clicks. Smoke. Five letters no farmer ever wants to say, or smell, for smoke is sure to be around his more powerful four-lettered brother. Fire.
I look around and there at the far end of our property, I see smoke seeping out of a jungle of giant blackberry bushes. Without thinking, I drop my prize and watch as he disappears under the roots. I take off running to the blackberry jungle, my former hideout when my brother and I were younger; we used to hide from the aliens that had come to take us away. Vespa, my dog, was still in her cage in those very bushes that is now sneezing that horrible yet some how pleasant black bringer of death and warmth. I struggle to keep from fainting as I start to think about what might happen to Vespa if I don’t get there in time. “Well if you don’t start running faster, that might soon become a reality.” I told myself.
I reach the jungle and I, being in my emotionally stupid mind, plunge right into that castle of thorns. The thorns seem to be working for their master fire for they clutch at my clothes and try to hold me back, as if to slow my rescue to my beloved Vespa. I let out an inhuman roar and charge forward, no more caring at the sharp claws that slice my face, hands and clothes. I can see the fire now; it’s about twenty feet away from where I am. I look, but I can’t see Vespa’s cage anywhere. I hear a whimper and look at the fire again. There on the other side of the fire, I see the familiar big pink metal bow on top of Vespa’s cage.
I charge through the bushes and slowly edge my way to the other side of the fire. Vespa is in the far right corner of her cage, the farthest corner away from the almost living hell slowly advancing towards her. I try to get close enough to her to unlatch the cage, but the heat is unbearable. I look everywhere for something to reach the latch, which is about five feet away from where I am standing. I find a stick about as thick as my thumb and about as long as my leg. It wasn’t quite long enough, but it would have to do.
I start to edge closer to the roaring fire when the fire pops and flames come at me. I scrambled back so fast I didn’t see the stump behind my right foot, I fall backwards, but as I do I snatch a low hanging blackberry bush vine. The vine stopped me from falling, but it took its toll on my hand. I didn’t bother to pull out the thorns; I just took a deep breath and walked to the edge of the fire. I stuck the stick in and found I could reach the cage’s latch, not wasting anymore time, I jerked upward and flipped the latch. Vespa ran out of her cage and towards the house, I was in trouble. I had to find a new way to get out of that circle of hell, for my old way was consumed by the destruction causing flames.
I still had the stick in my hand, so I started to beat the blackberry bushes behind me trying to clear a way for me to escape. I looked back at the fire and saw some bottles sitting, nicely stacked up in a triangle shape. One of the bottles was turned towards me and I could read its label, Muriatic acid, a highly flammable industrial concrete cleaner that is also highly acidic. The flames reached the bottle, instantly setting it in flames. The bottle blew up in a brilliant flash of orange and yellow heat. The flames lanced out in all directions, catching the remaining blackberry bushes in flames. I ran through the flaming blackberry bushes, no longer caring about injuries, just wanting to see my family again. By the time the fire department got there, over 267ft of land was burned to a crisp. The fire department determined that the fire wasn’t a natural cause; it was a case of arson to try to get rid of illegal items, like the muriatic acid. They never caught the person who did it but ever since then, I have never liked cages, fires, or blackberry bushes. Also it taught a variant of that age old saying, “You never know what you got ‘till it’s almost gone.”





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