The Fiction File: Red Tentacles

I remember the wall of smoke surrounding us.

I struggled to inhale as the hot air filled my lungs.

“Will it hurt us?” I asked.

“No, we’re perfectly safe by the truck,” my dad said, staring at the red sky.

On either side of us was a huge forest fire. Everywhere I looked there was fire. We were sitting in the back of our friend’s pickup truck, just outside of Watson Lake with my dad and my brother.

My brother, my mum and I had been driving down to Vancouver when our truck broke down and we were stranded in Watson Lake.

It was the hottest summer yet, so of course that means forest fires.

My dad had got a call about a forest fire just south of Watson Lake and had come down to check it out. It was around midnight and we were eating spaghetti in the middle of a raging forest fire.

My eyes watered from the smoke and my lungs felt like deflated balloons. It was completely terrifying, but so amazing at the same time. Spruce trees were falling over every second.

The huge flames were tearing up the spruce trees so fast it was hard to watch. The trees caught fire, burned for a while, passed the fire on and then crashed to the ground.

“The fire is so pretty!” my brother yelled above the cackling, laughter of the fire.

“Pretty; but dangerous for the town,” I said through a mouth full of delicious spaghetti.

We watched for a while as the fire advanced and our vision became worse. Eventually we could barely see three feet in front of us. I was so tired, but I didn’t want to fall asleep and miss anything.

I forced myself to keep my eyes open as the whole forest lit up with an eerie orange glow. If one didn’t look too closely, it was like a sunrise, until you smelt the smoke and realized it was blazing fire on the horizon.

“Time to go,” my dad said, pulling me out of my light doze.

I hopped out of the back of the truck.

“Shotgun!” I yelled, claiming the front seat from my brother. I grabbed the handle; it was almost hot from the smoke.

“Okay, let’s go,” I said; I had had enough fire for a lifetime.

“Gotcha, captain!” my dad said with a laugh.

I looked back and through the dirty back window I saw the fire dancing in the wind. I hoped the fire crew would get it under control before it got too big.

Slowly, we pulled away from the fiery debris. The fire almost seemed to be waving good-bye with it long red tentacles that swept up to the clouds that were now a soft orange in the approaching light of dawn.

What’s Up Yukon accepts submissions of short works of fiction (up to 800 words). Email to [email protected], with the subject line The Fiction File.

Cayley Sparks is a Whitehorse student and aspiring writer who just completed Grade 7.

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