Thursday, February 16, 2012

TRIFECTA'S WRITING CHALLENGE: THE FIRE

The familiar whimper of the baby mixed with static from the monitor came like clockwork.  It was 3:33 a.m. The woman knew the vent must have shut again.  Her husband told her the bolts were loose on the wheel, but she knew better. She knew instinctively that her daughter was cold. She forced her own covers off in a huff, her bare feet the first to be assaulted by the cold air.  She moved half awake out of her room and stood in the baby's doorway, gathering her strength. The exhaustion and heaviness threatened to overtake her.  She was hesitant to enter and lingered with her hands tightly intertwined over her chest. 

"It's so cold," she murmured as if coming out of a trance.

He watched her as she stood there, as he had for many nights. The woman moved curtly past him, past the crib and over to the closed heat vent. She rolled the wheel under the ball of her foot as it turned to release the trapped air. Warmth rose up her body, removing the chill. Like a dance they had shared since his arrival, she moved cautiously toward the crib and stood beside him. She laid the thick blanket over her daughter. The baby gave a small residual whimper as she settled securely under the new found warmth.

The woman gazed with him, in unison, for several minutes. She made her way out of the room with a feeling of insecurity, of denial. He could feel it. He tried to talk with her, but she was not ready.  One day she would hear him and his presence would be bearable.  


"I was unable to save my own children from the heat. I will watch for the fire. I will keep the heat away from her skin. I promise."

He drifted over to the warm, open vent and with all his energy, forced it closed.

"She is safe," he whispered  "The heat will not touch her."


This post is in response to Trifecta's weekly writing challenge. Write a story using 33 to 333 words about the third definition of the chosen word. This week's word was: 

safe adj \ˈsāf\

1   free from harm or risk : unhurt

2   a: secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss
     b: successful at getting to a base in baseball without being put out

3   affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty

4   obsolete of mental or moral faculties : healthy, sound

20 comments:

  1. echoing suzannak - wow!

    There is much to this story. thanks for sharing it.

    p.s. I hope you get some rest (re your about statement) Motherhood is definitely tiring. :)

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    1. Thank you Barbara! I hope I get some sleep, too! :P It's coming...I can feel it. Hehe!

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  2. I want to know what she says to him when she hears him. :)

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    1. I'll have to write it out one of these weeks. :P

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  3. wow! great job, Mel! This is amazing!

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  4. Wow this is awesome! I would definitely say this is my favorite for the week! Oddly it is my last one to read too :) I hope you win! This piece is very powerful and I really want to know what happens when she finally lets herself hear him.

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    1. Awww. Thank you so much, Rachel! I am making the rounds this afternoon. Can't wait to read them all. Thank you for the kind words!

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  5. Oh no!! A misdirected ghost. I just love this exhausted mother who would probably be quite vexed with this fellow, even if she would certainly be sympathetic!

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  6. Oh my, chills down my spine! Nicely done.

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    1. That the response I was going for with the goosebumps! Thanks for the kind words!

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  8. Thanks for joining up. This is a fabulous piece and a clever response to the prompt. The writing is excellent but it's your story that really grabs me. I can't help but think there will be more to this over the next few weeks. And extra marks for making the time a Trifecta-inspired 3.33am! Hope you can join us for the weekend challenge.

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    1. Wow! Thank you for such a great review. I feel close to this piece, so I am glad people understood the emotions from both characters I was trying to get across. The 3:33 was my husband's idea as I was reading it to him. I thought it was a perfect touch! Thanks again!

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