CONFLAGRATION

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Inflation.

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Conflagration

by John Yeo

  It started as a tiny spark that jumped from the orange flames with a crack that made old Ben jump, as a gleaming ember settled on his hand.
Ben, well known as a worthless, no good, lazy member of the parish, was roasting a plump pheasant  in the embers of his campfire.
Ben cursed volubly and brushed the ember from his hand, causing a large area of his skin to be affected by the burn. Ben ate his meal and as his hand became painful, he made his way to the local surgery where it was cleaned and dressed by the Practice Nurse.
   ‘How did you manage to do this?’ Nurse Amelia enquired.

  Ben thought for a moment and said, ‘Oh! I discovered a fire in the woods and I noticed it was beginning to burn out of control heading for the village. I simply stopped it from spreading.’

Soon after, with a cacophony of sirens, six fire engines from several of the neighboring towns descended on the village. There was indeed a large fire burning out of control in the woods. It seemed to have rekindled itself somehow.

Later in the Pedlars Arms, Robin the landlord and some of his cronies were excitedly discussing the events of the day together.

   ‘I understand we have a local hero, Poacher Ben discovered a forest fire that was heading towards the village and he single-handedly doused it and saved the lives of us all. Sadly it started up again the emergency services were quick to respond.’

‘Wow! you mean that worthless wretch is a hero.’ said Roger, the local Draper.

‘Yes that’s right,’ continued Robin, ‘I understand Mrs. Peabody has telephoned the local rag and they are sending a reporter to interview him here. Sarah my wife is comforting him and cleaning him up right now to face the Press.’

Ben quickly became a celebrity as he described the fire that he had somehow managed to divert towards the river bank.

The local newspapers had banner headlines. ‘Local hero saves his community.’

A certain wise member of the village was heard to mumble.
‘If it takes just a spark to start a fire that becomes a raging conflagration.
It needs but a tiny pin to deflate the inflation of an ego that becomes hugely inflated.’

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved