Microfiction 150 words: Running with fire

 

Fire-Carrier was old and slow. The people waited for her in the safe place, anxiety squirming like sickness in their bellies. If she dropped the fire-seed, how would they make more fire?

Squirrel knew. She struck flints clean and sharp, not like the fumblings of Fire-Carrier, made sparks quick and kept them alive. Squirrel knew more than any of the people. That was why Chief hated and feared her. She had hair the colour of squirrel fur, long legs that could run, like the new people, like her father. She knew Chief was afraid enough to kill her. She knew his thoughts before he knew them himself.

She had found her own safe place and would go there, before the night-fear drove Chief to smash her head with a stone. She had her own flints, shaped sharp, and a glitter-stone. She would survive. Until she found her father’s people.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

22 thoughts on “Microfiction 150 words: Running with fire”

      1. I’m definitely guilty there. Or I’m not sure if it happened to me, someone told me about it, I read it in a book, I dreamed it, or I just totally imagined it.

      2. It’s when people post their ‘memories’ on social media as ‘proof’ of some outrageous incident that things get really (intentionally) ugly.

      3. Whenever I read an autobiography I’m wondering how they remember all those details. One I read recently made more sense–the author checked her memories with those of other people involved and noted how often they were completely different, how they truth is always individual and malleable.

      4. Exactly. I remember reading My family and other animals at school and wondering how on earth Gerald Durrell remembered long (and funny) conversations between his mother and his older brother and sister when he was a kid of about seven. He obviously didn’t, but I seemed to be the only one in the class who doubted it.

  1. I like how you make something we take for granted — fire — seem so magical in this context, because it would seem that way, I agree! And the people who understood how to make it and use it would be dangerous indeed. This has me rooting for Squirrel, I hope she finds her father’s people before jealousy and fear finds her.

    1. Thanks Joy, glad you thought it sounded possible. I find it fascinating to imagine the meeting of two groups of Homo Sapiens, knowing that one bunch is going to die out, and we can only speculate what part our successful ancestors played.

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