Chapter Three

Luke was flat-out flying towards the fire! Then suddenly a thought crossed his mind. He dug in his heels and stopped in his tracks. After turning around to face the town, he cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, “Help! Help!”, as loud as he could. Then Luke took off again at a mad speed, deciding on the way he should go to the pastor’s home first. They were probably all in bed with no clue as to what was happening. He arrived at their front door in less than a minute and reached for the handle. Luckily, before he touched it, it occurred to him that the handle might be hot. He also remembered to expect a lot of smoke. Then he pounded a closed fist on the door thrice.  He reached both hands behind his neck, untied the knot on his bandanna and used that on the door handle. In a flash, he swung open the door, jumped back and over to the side letting the smoke billow out. After a few seconds, Luke could see in through the doorway pretty well. Before he entered, he stopped and tied the bandanna over his nose and mouth.

Luke knew the whereabouts of the two bedrooms. He instantly decided to head toward the larger bedroom to awaken the pastor and his wife. The flames and smoke were obviously coming from the kitchen area. He might have thought its cause accidental, if not for the fact that the church went up in flames simultaneously. Luke absolutely knew he had no time to investigate, and continued his march towards the bedroom. The door was open. He entered and looked at the bed, seeing only the mother laying there immobile, flat on her back. Luke was sorely afraid that preacher man was over at the church. “Get up! Get up!” he yelled as he ran to her. He took hold of her shoulders and shook her, “Wake up! Wake up!”, but there was no response forthcoming. “The children, the children,” he thought, and let her be. As he was leaving the room he noticed the wad of sheets ruffled up at the end of the bed. Two blankets and one of the pillows lay innocently on the floor. The air was becoming more noxious by the minute. As he hurried through the doorway, he remembered hearing these words that once came from the voice of his father, “Stay calm. Stay calm.”

As he made his way to the children’s room, he distinctly heard the little girl cry out, “Mommy? Mommy?” He rushed in,”C’mon! C’mon! Get up! We gotta get outta here!” The girl was fine, but extremely frightened. She recognized Luke, even though he was wearing the bandanna, and allowed him to wrap her up in the quilt, and pick her up in his arms. He spun around to look in the boy’s direction, and the youngest was already coming towards him, coughing and carrying his blanket. Luke moved the girl to hold her in one arm, grabbed the boy’s hand, and began to walk them out, stooping down a ways into cleaner air as he went. He turned his head back towards the other boy who also lay there still as could be.  Luke let out a another quick,”Wake up! Wake up!”, but the boy wasn’t moving, so off he went, pulling the little one behind him. “Thank God, these two are okay, at least!” Luke thought to himself, instead of thanking the Lord directly.

The kitchen was all ablaze by this time. Crackling and loud popping sounds could be heard as the group exited through the front door, and on out into the fresh chilled air of the night. Luke didn’t see anyone else out there, and began to wonder if he was going to get any help at all from the neighbors. Ten seconds later, they were a safe distance away from the nasty smoke and scorching flames. As he sat the girl on the slightly wet grass, he bade the two sit down. “Stay here! I’ll be right back.” Shooting a glance over at the church, it looked to him like the entire front half of the structure was aflame. “Holy smokes is right!” came to his mind for the very first time in the truest sense.

Smoke was rolling out of the door by now, so he crouched down low to make his way back to the bedroom for the eldest. The boy still hadn’t moved. Luke grabbed his thigh and shook him, but gathered no response. “Damn, Lord! He was a good kid!” Luke pulled him off the bed, and slung him over his shoulder, staying low as he trudged his way back out. He’d never carried a dead child before, and it felt horrible. Simply horrible! He finally reached the other two and lay the boy beside them. Pleadingly, the girl asks, “Where’s Mommy?” Luke’s heart sunk to his stomach. Their mother had already given up the ghost. He was sure she’d taken her last breath some time ago. “I’m going to get her now, dear. Let your older brother be. He needs rest.” Luke had no qualms about telling this lie.

Catching what breath he could as he headed back in, he found himself angry from the turmoil, but all the while he felt his heart being broke in two. “Here we go again, Lord. Stay with me. What will I tell the children this time out?” But Luke didn’t have time to wait for an answer. He wondered, “Where is everybody? I wish my wife was here.” Again he blasted out to the town, “Help! Help!”


16 thoughts on “Chapter Three

  1. Why…thank you, Mark! I really do appreciate your support.
    It’s very encouraging. Immersion is keeping me spaced-out,
    and I’ll remain totally busy for a while yet,
    continuing with the work.
    How long? I do
    knot know.

  2. hey uncle, thank you for sharing your creativity with us, with me. the creative process is one of faith and determination.

    this is a perfect compliment to the other story you suggested, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, i’m about half way through. did people really talk like that back then?

    a winter storm just rolled in this morning. the grey skies and snow, hot coffee, perfect day for reading.

    patiently waiting for the next addition.

  3. That’s great, Derek! I’m determined to keep you welcome.

    I’ve had to give up visiting time for obvious reasons,
    so don’t write anything until I’m done here, okay?
    I’d hate to miss out on something spectacular from you.

    The creative process is rubbing off me and into the story.
    I can relate to the way Luke is feeling. In the morning, after rushing
    in words through fire, I rush around the house getting ready for work.
    Even if I’m not running behind, I still have a tendency to hurry.

    I don’t want to hurry this story along, but I don’t want to put out
    the fire of passion, either. It’s a conundrum. I’ve so much further
    to go, too. If I’m not halfway home, I’m close…to to telling a fib. Yo!

    You have learned to have patience, I know. Enjoy Frankie, doodleman.

  4. The story is awesome Tree. I love that you are keeping the chapters coming. Cause Yes, so far they all leave me awaiting the next (wanting to know their plight, thinking of ways the story could twist, hoping the little ones will turn out OK)

  5. I’m not meaning to purposely keep everyone is suspense.
    Yes, Dusty, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties.
    Not so much with the story, as with this stupid dashboard.

    Regardless, there’ll be no stopping me now.
    I wish I had the day off, and tomorrow, too. Alas…

  6. i am still around tree
    and looking to see more of what will come.
    i am gonna note out what i see, please let me know if i should not or if that is not the place.

    this is it – “He saw that his pillow was also on the floor as he grabbed his thigh and shook him.” – was the pillow on the floor as he grabbed him or before. don’t think ‘also’ fit there too.
    maybe – as he grabbed his thigh and shook him he saw (noticed) that his pillow was (also – or other word) on the floor”. or if there is something coming up with the pillow later – maybe “his pillow too”

    well uncle, this is my 1 cent (sorry money situation don’t have more)
    it is just me, just now
    and what the hell do i know..

    looking forward to read the future


  7. It’s okay, Dhyan. Fire away at will. Bless you to the max!
    And, thanks for your help. Grammar, proper usage, etc., etc.,
    I’m sure you’ll find many a mistake. Novelists need editors.

    I was hoping it could wait until later, like…when I’m done.
    Being a novice at this, I’m not after perfection.
    That would constitute expecting a lot
    from myself. Writing the story
    is a tough enough
    task for me,
    the way
    it is.

  8. uncle, i be sure to say that at least once. better now.

    i am in awe and i am very jealous of you (and any one else) who can bring together more than 20 t0 50 words. be it total crap or be it genius. i enjoy your story and the development of it and so – i am jealous and happy to see it unfold (though i am a bit back behind the actual part of it)
    also the guy who writes 5 lines needs, or could use an editor, i tell you.

    taken all that in mind, i suggest what i see. it is merely things i have learned to become aware of in the last year and so, it is for me a practice too. and as it, if used (god i don’t even know if what i said is true or makes any sense), might change the tone and feeling, think it is better to say now. it is yours. do it now, later or not at all.

    keep your harvesting,
    keep your hand warty

  9. Thanks, Dhyan!

    Experiments are undertaken in order to get results.
    Experiences can be overtaken by pieces of our psyche

    that have torn themselves away from the main, and
    these in turn can take on a life of their own. They
    tend to throw wrenches in the works, just for fun.

    That’s sorta how I define my daemons/dark angels.
    This long story wasn’t necessarily my idea…or was it?
    Would I like to see this in print? As in: a real book?
    That was never my intention, either. Still…for the
    sake of my kids, and maybe my kid’s kids, maybe. 🙂

    As far as I can tell, or as far as I know, I have done
    nothing to deserve your help. You are a very charitable
    person, D! How will I ever pay you back for such favors?

    Except, I don’t like having warts on my hands. I have scars.
    Did you mean to say ‘wary’? Btw, what is a war party?

    Speak as you go, lest you forget. I can’t blame you for that.
    You should see all my scribbly noted pages. Full of numbers,
    arrows, asterisks, doodles, and yes, I had to draw a map, too.

    I have to go to work now. How a great day, my friend!

  10. You are a very charitable
    person, D! – understood

    of course you would like to see it in print. and more than that – surely it would like to see itself in print. (thought been read here might be close to it)

    a map?! – yes, adventures. i knew it. yeepe he

    no. i meant warty. forget ’bout it.

    war party? have i said it?


  11. No, you didn’t say war party. I noticed
    you said warty, and I stuck par in there
    because I thought it looked like a good fit.
    But, doesn’t the party come after the war?
    And only for the ‘winners’? You snooze, you lose?

    Don’t take this seriously, D. Just goofin’. Chow!

  12. Glad you think so, Stuart. Thanks! 🙂
    Except for spelling breath incorrectly, and an unnecessary complex expression or two, the A-B-C check found this one pretty much okay.

    About fires…this was a stretch for me to say the least. Never been
    in one, thank God! Never seen a house fire up-close and personal, either.
    The technical aspects, I guessed at, although I did research asphyxiation.
    I don’t know much about horses, but I wrote about them anyway. Guns?
    Never owned one. I don’t hunt. I have no personal experience with
    most of the things to which I refer. It’ll probably show here and there
    throughout the story. The Oregon Trail and the railroad, I did research.

    Blah, blah, blah…what am I saying? On to Chapter 4.

  13. My dad spent the better part of his and my early years training race horses. I’ll hunt and fish for food. As for guns…I like to tear them apart and put them back together again…although I am a good shot I care more about how they work. I own some pretty fancy ones though…an AR-15, three AK-47’s that I’m building, a long range deer rifle, a 1911 45 that I built and a few others. I have educated my kids well and I can trust them not to mess with them as toys …they take them very seriously. You should see the leather holsters my father-in-law makes for western style pistols they are something else!

  14. More ‘good to knows’. Alright! You horse know-how
    may come in handy. And if Sam steps out of line
    (or does something out of character) you might be
    able to notice, and tell me. You’re different than me
    in a lot of ways, and that will help in the long run.
    I don’t think your one of those ‘militants’, even if
    I think you’re probably a Republican. 🙂 Ole’?
    (I bet the holsters are very cool and crafty!)

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