The day turned to midnight at noon as bruised clouds stole the breath from the morning sky. Smoke rose in a plume that marked a trail of destruction and betrayed a nomadic locomotive. Tracks laid by the wind , it roared fierce through the terrain. Its naked boiler, ravenous for fuel, sucked bellowed air into a twirl of flame that danced and writhed, snakelike.
The plastic bag rustled with groceries that filled out its drab composure.
“Getting dark outside,” she said, as black lines sunk the name Rosie into her badge.
“Yeah, it won’t reach us though. I am sure they’ll stop it at the river.”
I drove. Emergency signals wooped, interrupting the sedate soundtrack of the local ABC broadcast.
“Take down curtains, fill gutters with water,” it advised.
The storm reached the outskirts of town with frightening speed. Now fuelled by needles of pine, it was a tiger that leapt through the canopy of stands, claws tearing away the cool shade of enchantment. The open and innocent eyes of windows peered from housefronts. Glazed, they stood transfixed in wonder. Silent witness, their reflection revealed the fire to itself. It stared blind. Eyes long since cauterized by glowing coals.
The boot was open. A sea of grey. Snowflake embers swirled into the air, driven by a blizzard. The light of sodium vapour haunted a noxious mist. Another shopping bag added. A flimsy plastic film, its skin curled and recoiled from each insult. A veil, stretched thin, to defend the relics of a lifetime’s memory.
© Anthony Wood 2011