Jack and Krystal Bradshaw with their beautiful daughter, Aubrey!
Consider control: the power to enhance or destroy. Control was a group of twigs, organized in a small pile inside a pit, which formed a blanket for the shredded newspapers, old class papers and sheets of graded assignments tucked beneath them. Teddy reached into the pit, rubbed two sticks together and tried to create friction. When that failed, he grabbed a lighter and ignited a piece of newspaper; smoke began to slowly stream skyward. A small red ember emerged from the pile and flickers of flames came to life. They flourished, ignited smiles around the circle. Eager anticipation burned in us as we scrambled for the package of marshmallows and chocolates. The flames traveled down the papers, shriveled them until they reached the twigs. I watched as an “A” paper withered into ashes, felt unaffected. Soon, the twigs were engulfed in flames; sent warmth to the shivering bodies around the pit. I stared into the flames, placed my feet against the edge of the pit and was enraptured by the tiny pricks as my feet became warm. Conversation was murmured and I lost myself in the breaths of the flames against the twigs; it took a breath and retreated beneath the twig, exhaled and engulfed the twig again. Crackled and popped; screamed as it begged for more sustenance. The fire continued to dance and I was entranced. I lifted my camera to my eye, adjusted the focus and click. This fleeting fire was captured, all I have left after it finally extinguished.
I lifted the camera to my eye again, felt the warmth from the flames slowly fade as I blocked its view. Click. I glanced at the image captured. I stood before a white house, burned black and gray; a strange family huddled together alongside their truck with tear stained faces; men fought the last of the flames that devoured their home. I watched the flames trail up the sides of the house toward the roof; gaping holes resided where the windows once were that poured oxygen into the charred room. Lack of control: a fickle flame flourished into the fire that thrived and pulsed with life; it grew and devoured everything in sight like a hungry teenager home on summer vacation. I watched the mesmerizing feat, clutched my camera and click. Guilt gushed into my veins like a snake’s venom, poisoned as it slithered through my body. It seeped into my mind, left goosebumps across my skin. The hairs on my arm rose like flowers in the early morning searching for the sun. I turned away from the house in search of the tiny cries behind me. I hated the flames I enjoyed a week ago when my eyes locked with the youngest child. She was wrapped around the legs of an older sibling, her face contorted in what some could easily mistake as laughing if it wasn’t for the stream of tears lead down her cheeks. When the firefighters brought the flames under control, the ashes settled; the smoke cleared.
Flakes of ash flutter in the streets,
Catching In your throat.
Leaving you sputtering, gasping for air
With the flames licking at the crumbling
Buildings, like eager children and lollipops.
Rake through the rubble for
Something from your past. The
Stale stench of urine stained mattresses
Greets your nose like an old foe.
Catapulting the breath from your lungs,
You stumble. Dazed and dizzy.
Bare bodies of the neighborhood kids
Bare bruises and gashes across their
Backs and chests.
Brandishing a billiard stick as your
Only defense. The cries and pleas
From the women dragged by their hair
Haunt what little sleep you manage.
Cross the cobblestone street in
Search of refuge and something to eat.
Nothing but smashed pumpkin brains
Sprawled across the way. They came
And conquered on All Hallow’s Eve.
A hot dog performed flips on a pedestal for a hot dog bun and cars full of adults, teenagers and children; two cups of soda danced with straw canes brandishing the “visit our refreshment stand” label along the bottom of the screen. The ticking of the film echoed in the lot but was soon lost in a sea of white noise along with the casual cricket and airplane looming above as the film finally began.
The cars that chose the best speakers were able to remain in their cars. A breeze drifted in from the window with the film’s audio and lingered leaving a slight chill raising the need for a throw blanket. Mosquitos buzzed in on the warmer evenings and children swatted them back out the window. Other families were huddled around the lesser functioning speakers armed with bug repellent while reclining in lawn chairs. The children’s bodies were often lost in blankets with only their eyes peeking through. Coolers became their seats and were used as foot rests for the parent’s feet.
I can kind of see it, lol. @knrizzle
I finally have a chance to wear my fox costume. We’re allowed to dress up on Halloween at work! :)
I’m so glad they let me take their baby announcement photos! :)
Congratulations Whitney, Keith and big brother Austin!
"Cutting the cake."
I like this better than the original.