Tag Archives: fire

2746. Cat food

It was her own fault when Mrs Rutterkin’s house burned to the ground. That might sound harsh, but Mrs Rutterkin was one of those horrible witches like in fairy stories. She would grab children on Dukesbury Avenue where she lived, put them in a huge pot over the fire place, and boil them down for cat food. This is if she wasn’t using the cauldron for making some sort of malevolent potion. There wasn’t a lizard’s tail within miles of where she lived. Nor a frog’s tongue.

Clearly the house had caught on fire when one of the children leapt out of the cauldron and chased Mrs Rutterkin with a blazing log. The child tripped and the rest is history. But that’s not the end of this strange tale. Fortunately the child was saved, as indeed was Mrs Rutterkin. Unfortunately the child’s parents were held responsible for the conflagration. They had to pay Mrs Rutterkin huge amounts of money in compensation and the child was taken away and put in responsible foster care.

The witch has rebuilt her house. She still nabs children off the street for cat food, but her open fireplace has gone. Her hearth is now closed in – more like a pizza oven. There’s very little likelihood that a destructive fire could start. It’s also unlikely that a child would escape. The new arrangement is eco-friendly; in fact, the city council are using Mrs Rutterkin’s modernizing experience as a promotion.

“She’s straight off the news on television,” said Mrs Martin from 14 Dukesbury Avenue.

“Truth is indeed stranger than fiction,” said Mr Martin from the same address.

2734. Swings and roundabouts

After Anika had murdered her husband and his mistress she had no idea how to hide such a trail of blood. She had taken the sickle from the shed and whished it about aimlessly in the bedroom. In the dark. She had no idea what she was hitting, but hit her husband and his mistress she did. All was revealed when the light was turned on. Anika was surprised. Her husband’s mistress was her brother-in-law’s cousin.

But what a mess! Anika first dragged the brother-in-law’s cousin’s corpse out to the car and stuffed it in the back seat. She them dragged her husband’s body out to the car and dumped it on top of the other corpse. She then drove off in pursuit of some isolated patch of forest where no one ever went.

She was heading in the vague direction of the countryside when she was stopped by a cop. Did she know that one of her headlights wasn’t going? He issued a warning and didn’t even bother to notice the two bloody bodies dumped on the back seat. Anika continued her journey.

Eventually she entered a lonely forest lane. She stopped. It took her over an hour but she managed to drag the two bodies into a hollow and cover them with leaves and branches. She returned home and cleaned up the mess. Two days later Anika briefly returned to the forest.

A little while after this a terrible happening came on the radio. A fire was destroying a large section of forest. Two bodies had been found. Anika went to the police and said she thought one of them could perhaps be her missing husband. Dental records proved that to be the case. These days Anika is happily married to her brother-in-law’s cousin’s widower.

2503. Better to light a candle

Sharon was an absolute stickler for “waste not, want not”. All her children had been brought up thus. Not a single one of the four would consider squandering the planet.

After her four fledglings had flown the nest, Sharon decided to further help the world out. She would take in a boarder; not an ordinary boarder but one who might need a little more care which they couldn’t receive without the kindnesses of the likes of Sharon. Bump was such a person, although his real name was Christian. Everyone knew him as Bump. His wife had died and he’d sold the grandfather clock to make ends meet, and a few other things as well. Of course money doesn’t last forever and now that the money had been spent he was clockless, penniless, and homeless. Sharon’s kindness prevailed.

One thing Sharon insisted on was what she called “quality of life”. They didn’t simply eat an evening meal at the table, they had napkins and lovely table settings and a couple of candles.

“Waste not, want not” declared Sharon to Bump. “You must learn to light both candles with the one match. It’s wasteful to strike a match, light a candle, blow out the match, strike another match and light a second candle. The box of matches will last twice as long. If everyone in the world took such care we could save a forest or two.”

Bump complied, but the first time he tried he burnt his fingers. In panic he tossed the match in the air.

The curtains caught fire. The carpet caught fire. The house burned down.

2219. Keeping warm

Anita’s husband, Creswell, had said it was probably best not to light the fire until they got the chimney cleaned. It would be a tragedy if the house caught on fire.

“Use the gas heater. It’ll take the chill out even if it smells the house out a bit.”

Anita and Creswell had budget worries. Groceries, electricity, and running the car were priorities. Getting a chimney cleaner was a little too expensive at present, even though Creswell worked. Anita didn’t have a job, and in the current economic climate two jobs had become necessary to pay for day to day living.

So off to work Creswell went! Anita lit the fire. It will be out by the time Creswell gets back from work, and then she can turn the heater on like it had been going all day.

She was lucky to get out of the house alive.

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1844. Boarding the train

Here I am quietly awaiting the arrival of my train and minding my own business. People keep getting too close to me. Don’t they understand that we have been asked to distance ourselves for several meters away from each person? Some people have no regard for public safety or the well-being of others. It’s typical of the modern society in which we live.

It’ll be the same when the train arrives. Everyone will push and shove, and the carriage will be like a can of sardines with as many people as possible stuffed into a confined space. I’ve a good mind to scream out “FIRE! FIRE!” That should set the people running in all directions and I would get the whole train carriage to myself. In fact, I will.



Everyone just looked at me like I was a nut case. It didn’t have the slightest effect.

And now I’ve missed my train.

1635. A terrible fire

What a mess! Thank goodness for insurance. The whole house burned to the ground. All the contents have gone up in smoke. At least that saves trying to resurrect smoke-damaged furniture and the like. I’m going to get a hefty sum; and I mean hefty. It pays to insure everything carefully and right. It’s all in the planning.

It happened just over three weeks ago. Thank goodness no one was hurt. My wife had gone for the weekend to visit her mother. The three kids were staying with my parents. And I’d put the dog in the kennels for the weekend (goodness are those kennels expensive!) because I intended going on a weekend hike with other members of the Mountain and Stream Club that I belong to. When I came home the fire-fighters were still quenching the occasional ember that flared up. I’m pretty sure I went into shock.

Of course, the three kids continue to stay with my parents, and the wife with her mother. I’ve been booked into a motel with Mary-Sue. We hope to spend part of the insurance money getting married and building a new place and starting a new life. It was such a relief when the past was destroyed by fire. No more harrowing memories. And the soon-to-be-ex-wife should hopefully be locked up for quite some time for arson. She denies it of course.

1621. A week camping

There’s surely little more scrumptious than a sausage cooked on a camp fire, then wrapped in a buttered slice of bread with some chopped fried onion and tomato sauce. Follow this with a hot cup of tea or coffee made with water boiled in a tin hung over the hot embers. It’s summer! It’s evening! There are a few mosquitoes but the insect repellent keeps most at bay. All that’s needed now is a competent guitarist to complete the spell. A little sing-along and a bit of yarn telling and all is perfect.

Rufus and Trina with their two children had been camping for a week. Twice a man had come along and told them to move, but they hadn’t budged. Apparently they were not permitted to have a camp fire where they were, or to erect a tent. Rufus had used some choice words at the man, which had prompted Trina both times to say, “For goodness sake, Rufus, not in front of the children.” It made little difference; Rufus gave the man a piece of his mind in a way that only Rufus could.

It was nearing the time they would have to move. The camping food supply was getting low, as was wood for the fire. Camping on their driveway after the catastrophic earthquake was only a temporary measure. But where to go?

1597. A meditation on medication

I suppose Eoin’s death could be described as “sudden”. He’d had chronic heart disease for almost thirty years. Modern medication had kept him alive. He dutifully took all his pills every day and there’s no doubt those pills prolonged his life and gave him a reasonably seemingly carefree quality of living. But death came suddenly, as he had always suspected it would.

He was driving along the road, with his wife in the passenger seat. He was not driving fast for he was a most careful man. He quietly said “I’m going” and slumped over the steering wheel dead. His wife, a non-driver, calmly reached over and turned off the ignition key while putting her foot hard on the brake. The car skidded sideways into a service station, hitting three cars that were being refuelled. All four vehicles and the service station erupted into an unbelievable conflagration. It could be said that Eoin went out in a blaze of glory.

Strangely, of the eleven people burned, Eoin’s wife, although she suffered serious burns, was the only survivor. She was able to tell the police the sequence of events once she was well enough to do so.

Who would have thought that after years of faithful pill-taking and after a gentle “I’m going” that his death would cause such havoc? Of the eleven people burned to death, three were fathers of large families and one was a mother of two. One of the newly-created widows was soon after evicted from her house because she couldn’t pay the rent. The finance of one of the victims “did himself in”. Two children died and were mourned not only by their families but by their entire schools. Another victim was a famous novelist on the way to his publisher. He went up in smoke along with his computer and latest novel. It was a terrible loss for the world.

Once she had recovered, Queenie (for that was the wife’s name) was able to grieve and reflect. She couldn’t help but think that it may have been better if Eoin hadn’t taken his life-saving pills in the first place.

1584. On a wet evening

Usually we quite enjoy taking the dog for its daily walk. Being creatures of habit, we seem to cover the same trail, but there’s always a new flower in someone’s garden, or a dead hedgehog on the road that the dog must stay away from, or a bird that wasn’t singing on that branch yesterday, or a car parked in a silly place…

“You’d think they wouldn’t park on the grass verge, dear. People like us walk here with our dogs. Some people have no sense.”

Of course, if it’s raining the walk with the dog is another matter altogether.

“Would you mind taking the dog for a walk on your own today, dear? I’m halfway through preparing dinner.”

And later…

“While you’re wet, dear, would you mind going out to the woodshed in the rain and getting the firewood for this evening? It’s going to be a cold night and I’m half way through peeling the potatoes.”

And still later…

“Goodness! Five o’clock already! Could you pour me a little wine, dear, when you’ve finished lighting the fire? I’m halfway through stuffing the chicken.”

And round about dinner time…

“What a miserable night, dear, so wet and cold. Would you mind popping out? I thought we could get take-away.”