Lemme tell you something…

Posts tagged “fire

CAT WATCH

catCAT WATCH
Copyright 2016 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

I don’t believe in magic, so what happened to us after the fire I can only chalk up to a reality I’ve never experienced, that can be rationally explained by science beyond my understanding.

The night before the fire our little house was rumbled by thunderstorms – lightening storms to be accurate I guess. It was all more electric than rain. Living in a farm house about 30 miles from our nearest neighbor and around 100 from the nearest town, we thought it was safest to stay indoors and not attempt driving to a safer place.

The next day we awoke to smoke.

Connie bounced off of the bed, her feet already moving, in air, before she touched floor. She ran to the window, throwing the curtains aside.

“Our farm’s on fire!”

Fearing the worst, we got on the roof. Everywhere we looked our fields of sorghum were ablaze. We were surrounded by fire.

Thinking fast I ran to the tractor to hitch the furrow while Connie got to the water pump and brought it to full pressure.

The fire closed the circle around us, but at a risky, yet not fool-hardy distance, I followed along the closing circumference of the ring, digging a shallow trench of dry moat around our house. Connie tossed the water hoses into the ditch. Then, all we could do was wait as the water slowly filled the moat.

Our house was the axis pin of the approaching fire, our livestock were getting fidgety, and I didn’t want them running into the fire to escape. it. Animals make weird choices in a panic so, except for the chickens, we tied all the livestock to the posts closest to the house.

Firebug embers floated overhead.

“We should have watered down the house,” Connie said.
“I know,” I answered. “One thing at a time.”

I ran to the wheelhouse where we kept all of our fire extinguisher canisters. Though a fire this large was unheard of, crop fire isn’t an unknown quantity on the farm.

The heat created a smoke typhoon, choking us, so back inside the house we went. Either the moat was going to work or it wasn’t. Whatever was going to happen now was out of our hands.

We opened our front door and the cat ran out.

I should correct myself.

At that time in our lives, “a” cat ran out, as we didn’t own a cat.

She ran out of our house, tail in the air like a question, and toward the moat and fire. Not knowing what was going on, but instinctive to me as a man born and raised on a farm, I immediately ran after it to bring her back to the relative safety of the house. You gotta save the livestock.

She ran through a still dry part of the moat and right to the fire’s edge. Where she approached – and this is what knocked me for a loop so hard I could only stop dead and stand there, jaw agape – the fire stopped, then retreated.

She slowed to a walk and instead of running toward one part of it, she walked along the edge of the ring. The fire backed away, the circle began widening. She walked the large ring around our house and the fire not only retreated, it shrank. That part makes sense to me. It already consumed the fuel of our fields behind it. It had nowhere else to go.

In an hour the approaching fire was out. In two hours the smoke stopped. In the distance, we could make out the rest of the fireline still burning as it moved outward in the opposite direction away from us and into adjacent farms. The circle widened as far as the eye could see. We became an oasis.

The cat that saved us, now our cat, sat on her haunches near one side of the burnt rim. And there she stays to this day.

She never moves away from that rim, even when it rains. And when it does rain, there’s no more lightning.

Year after year, little by little, our crop circle grows, extending further out into the char, and they grow well. That’s good because, for whatever reason, neither Connie or I can step beyond the circle of plant life and into the burnt area. It’s not like we bump against a wall. More like we try to move into the burnt ash and our bodies just won’t obey.

It’s the same with our livestock. Nothing that can walk or fly moves into the ash. Hopefully in time, the ring of plants will extend enough that the burnt circle isn’t there any more. Connie and I would love to see our friends and family again.

In the meantime, at least we’re alive.

Electricity works, but not the phones, the Internet, no communication at all. I’m glad we have so many books.

Another weird thing is our kitchen. All of our food in the cupboard never runs out. Not the flour, the rice, the coffee, nothing. It’s always full.

As for the cat, she never seems to eat. If I go out to her, she appreciates a kindly pet on the head or scratching her back a bit. She purrs, but remains at her post. She stays there at the edge of the circle, staring at the charred rim as if defying whatever is on the burnt side to confront her.

One more thing I should write down here is, we never named her. To us she’s The Cat. The Cat who came into our lives at just the right moment. Considering the circumstances, we feel we belong to her as much as she belongs to us.

Fact of the matter is, she’s the one who chose to come into our lives and she’ll be the one who chooses when to leave.

END

Story by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Art & Artist: Unknown. If you can prove you are the artist, please contact me and I’ll credit you.


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Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself as well as Ray Bradbury, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, and many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.

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THINGS THE FIRE LEFT US

DragonSkullThe forest fire of the past week flooded to within mere yards of my backyard. I’d used a foot pump to siphon water from my pool and keep the treeline at the edge of my yard wet. It worked.

What most people don’t know about fires is, some plants endure it amazingly well. Many types of pine tree need fire as part of their breeding process.

A few days after the conflagration, I took my new girlfriend, Hope, through the smoky ruins of the forest behind my house.

Everything was damaged to some degree, though I knew by now which plants were killed and which ones would merely heal, adapt, and regrow.

We walked through the smoking, eerie aftermath of Hell.

“My God!” Hope suddenly exclaimed, and I looked to where her fear sharpened eyes were staring.

To her it must have looked like the burnt, thorny stalks of a rose bush. Except where the rose bud would be, there was miniature human skull, it’s delicate fleshy covering now burned away to bone.

Terror galloped through her voice, pulling a hayride of Horror behind it. “WHAT kind of a plant is THAT? Hope gasped.

I shrugged, “A face plant.”

RimShot

END

Photograph – I searched extensively around the Internet, but though I found many websites with this photo (Bored Panda, Pulptastic), none had – or knew – the proper credit. If you are the photographer and can prove it, I’ll link your name here.


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WILLOW BLUE.
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!

Want more? Buy

PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!

Crave still more?

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as  John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late  Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.


VARMINTS: WASP

ECEvery morning that it didn’t rain The Night Before (and it does at least once a week here), I go out and lightly water the yard and plants by hand with my garden hose.

I do it when the dawn breaks, never in the dark, so I don’t wind up standing on a brand new fire ant bed built The Night Before.

This is Texas, we’re in a drought. We have to conserve water, yet at the same time, surrounded by so much green growing life, we can’t let our surroundings, trees, grasslands, everything, turn into dried out fire traps. So we water when it doesn’t rain.

This is Houston, so outside there are cockroaches the size of my thumb. I have the thumbs of a 6.2 tall man. I’ve no problem with cockroaches outside of my house. I see one on its back, I use the hose to flip them over so they can go about their business.

I love all manner of varmints. Even wasps: they never bother me. Sometimes one will land on my shoulder or arm. I just blow them off, and they float away on their way.

For the past two weeks though, as I take about 15 minutes to slowly spray in the back yard, there is this one wasp that, as soon as I spray up in a way that the water glitters in the sunshine, it comes out of nowhere and flies through the mist just beneath the main force of the water. Then it lands on the ground beneath the arc, and lets the water wet it. I never spray directly at the wasp, it catches the falling mist part of the spray.

When I move the spray away, it flies up and toward it again, to be under the arc. If I move the spray very slowly, it walks, bobbling along the many blades of grass, staying under the spray. It only does this in the backyard. It never follows me to the front.

Two weeks of this.

Today I looked online to see what the lifespan of a wasp is. It varies by species but the general lifespan of a worker wasp is about 40 days.

Out of all the various wasps and other insects around here, this particular one; reveals its own identity by coming around a certain time of the day, to a certain part of the yard, because it has come to expect an enjoyable light shower of water.

In about two or three weeks, this wasp with his or her special personality, will be dead.

I’m a bit bummed by that. I’m going to miss this wasp.


SUMMONING THE DEMON

PumpkinBehold ye frail, mortal children! You have summoned my Terrible Wrath from the Dark Abyss!

Only so long as this Summoning Circle remains unbroken, can you avoid the Terror of my Awesome Might!
(sniff)
I will grant each of you three wishes, so that you may visit my Hellish Power upon thine enemies!
(sniff?)
But know that using these wishes grants me the Damnable Torment of your Eternal Souls!
(sniff? sniff!)
Do I smell…? Wait! You summoned me through a …YOU SET THE SUMMONING CIRCLE ON FIRE?!?
WTF!?!
AAHHH!!!!!
YOU VILE LITTLE BASTA-A-A-ARDSSsssss…!!!

——————

Story Copyright 2013 by E.C. McMullen Jr.

Image by permission of Heather Gleason, from her upcoming Halloween Book filled with her art poems and Short Stories (but not this story), titled,
The Mysterious Spooky Stories Of My Eclectic Mind

Out this fall, 2013. Visit Heather at MyEclecticMind.com


The Last Damned Pirate

Noahs_Ark_Mariusz_LewandowskiTHE LAST DAMNED PIRATE
by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2013

It came before the  dawn in the early, eerie morning night. A leaning tower of smoke roiling high in the starry sky, and a burning ember on the horizon, advanced on the Caribbean island in a boiling sphere of light.

Even from its distance, you could hear the approaching sound of this false sun: it was screaming. Uncountable numbers of voices crying in terrified, endless, agony.

The sleepy coastal town was thick with traitorous sailors, still in slumber. Yet a few early risers, wakened by an inexplicable dread, peered through their spyglasses at the distant, blaze – then as one each held their breath.

The light was no natural phenomenon.

A mighty burning ironsides, fueled with the agonized souls of the damned, came plowing through the boiling waters, steady and true as a starving tiger, toward the seaside village.

It was a chest clutching sight, too terrible to look away from, too horrific to believe.

The infernal vessel didn’t sail under its own power. It was a derelict pulled along by a horseman who rode his beast upon the water, towing a ship of the damned from behind.

With that sight, the portent was unmistakable. All were warned that this prophesied day would come. The murderous, thieving, slavers: unmerciful pirates of the Spanish Main, had their fears as well. They whispered of the fearful legendary ship that made the drowning depths of Davey Jones’ locker seem a comfort by comparison. They knew, yet all were still unprepared for the consequence.

As such there was no escape. It was the end for the damned brigands of Pirate’s Cove. Death came for them on a pale horse, towing the devil’s own ship of unspeakable torment: El Horno de Infierno.

The only hope for flight was the vast mountains and deserts of other lands far and away: a fate these errant Sons of the Sea would have considered hell on other merits.

Not that the choice existed any more. For Pirate’s Cove was a coral reef island, and the very ocean boiled forth to deliver unmerciful punishment to her vilest of children.

Aftermath

Over the following decades, seafarers couldn’t explain the utter disappearance of Pirates Cove from the coral reef island.

Perhaps there had been a fire or storm, or maybe the storm caused the fire. Maybe the pirates themselves, fleeing the relentless pursuit of the Queen’s own Royal Navy and the John Company, abandoned their village and, being sailors, scuttled the village to bare rock.

Maybe the silent hand of the John Company swept the cove clean.

All we know is that the once infamous Pirates Cove, the original “Wretched hive of scum and villainy”, vanished without a trace and slipped into the fog of history.

END


The Art Inspires The Story –

That’s my story, now for the artist who inspired it.

The artist’s name is Mariusza Lewandowskiego aka Mariusz Lewandowski, and because I don’t speak or read Polish, I’ve no idea if this is a man or woman. But the artwork is stunning in a way I’ve rarely seen in modern art.

At first glance the paintings could be book covers, mere illustrations. But almost immediately one sees the fuller image expressed and realizes Mariusza’s artistic merit: There’s nothing bombastic or superhero here.

Check out more of this awesome work at http://www.mariuszlewandowski.pl.

As of this posting, this painting is also for sale.


Cruise into my book
pb300PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: True Love, Weird Sex, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback from Amazon and get the kindle free!

Burning for more?

Look for my second collection, WILLOW BLUE and Other Stories
Five critically acclaimed tales featuring my literary twist on Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem! $8.00 for the paperback, $1.99 for the kindle reader or app. As always, buy the paperback from Amazon and get the kindle free!

Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.

Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself as well as Ray Bradbury, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, and many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.