Prose Header

Fire Flight

by Matthew Laing

Charlie, good-ol’ pal, breathing heavy,
five more to go, I reckon. Over hills
and through wastes of nestled pine
and sporadic maple all ablaze.
Hell’s castration: the world wreathed in flame.

Charlie’s my boy; Charlie’s our boy, you see.
Wiry, matted hair, coarse, filthy, soot-covered, tangled,
brown- and white-spotted. A noble steed
and the last of his kind, a relic of our past.
He carries the last seeds for man, for us,
the only thing left unburned and unspoiled
by the atrocious hellfire.

Whilst the land burns, crackles of burnt lumber,
plumes of ashen smoke, infernos’ blaze
engulfing all in a firestorm with flames
licking and kissing all on the ground or in the air,
we have hope still for our race.
Two more to go, I’d bet.

Hope is near, close to our end;
forest turns to sand, trees to stones.
Charlie limps, legs cracking, hoof splintered,
tears coming from his eyes,
warm, almost evaporating.
Sulfur. Coal. Monstrosity of flames.

The boat awaits;
it’s metallic hull reflecting
the encroaching flames behind,
a great mass on ceramic-blue water.

Hell’s breath is on our backs.
All is scorched and withering
with no brush or trees escaping.
The animals are roasting,
and the birds fly, circling, unable to land.
All that remains is the water, the boat,
the Captain cheering, “Come on, Charlie, my boy!”
We are in the warm, aquamarine shallows.

Charlie faints, his legs shaking,
bent on coarse, crystallized sand,
snapping almost like wooden toothpicks.
His eyes are black but not yet blank.
He nods and I kiss him farewell.
I dismount and wade towards the boat
in the warm, almost steaming salty water.

We sail without him into the night,
with a sunset of flames left behind,
magnificent shades of an alien visage.
I moan in anguish as Charlie rests his head on the sand.

But now there is much to be done.
We traverse the narrow sea.
We search for our salvation.

Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Laing

Proceed to Challenge 636...

Home Page