At first only sparks, fragments of light that died and died again. Finally, despite her shuddering hands, a flicker, a glint of flame that swung wildly, spluttered then settled into something more.

‘Minuscule flame,’ she intoned , ‘stay alive, stay alive…’

A sound from beyond the night: familiar footsteps, the flood of stamping feet dislodging snow from the sole, and the door opened. Her body defended the flame but once the door shut she turned. He held a tight pyramid of dried logs in his arms. ‘It needs time to grow,’ she said, ‘before we can load one of those onto it.’ She pulled kindling toward her, fertilised the flame with it. Under her breath she repeated her prayer, ‘Stay alive, stay alive …’ this time with vigour, the energy of her words driving the flame into the farther corners of the hearth, into the frosted marrow of her bones.

They ate well that night; a small portion of the meat, some of the root vegetables. They slept warm before the hearth  while winds clawed at their door. He lay swaddled in their sleep, muttering through the dreams, ‘Stay alive, stay alive, stay alive …’

9 thoughts on “Sparks

    1. I really hope, next year, to see the hill of which you speak Anne. We’re heading to the UK in late May and a mysterious hill somewhere near to where my maternal grandparents lived, is high on the list of ‘must do.,


  1. Wow loved the piece Janet. It took me away to another world. A Scottish or Welsh country side. Or up in the Adelaide hills in the 19th century. I imagined the lady in light maroon muslin dress. Long brown waist length hair. The fellow, tall and lanky with woolly shoulder length hair and a long moustache. Yep keep writing pieces like this, very descriptive. Could even feel the warmth of the hearth.


    1. It’s one of the Flash Fiction (or in this case ‘Mictolit’!) pieces I like to write and enticing is what they aim for. I’m really enjoying writing little snippets that cold be more … or less … or a part of some thing else (down the track) or are just … themselves. :0


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