While thumbing through a message on his cell phone, David Cameron bit into his freshly toasted bagel. The crisp edge gave way to warm chewy dough. It was the cream cheese melting in his mouth that almost took the bite out of the message. It was his boss alerting him to a crisis. He groaned, “not a pre-coffee crisis.” David licked a bit of cream cheese from the corner of his mouth. He glanced at the clock on the stove and wondered how bad traffic was going to be. Still in sweats from his run on the treadmill and needing to shower, he decided to dump the coffee he had just poured. He set his bagel down and turned to let his barking dog in. “Curly, what are you bark… WHAT THE?!” The morning sky, a brand new blue, promising a clear sunny day just twenty minutes ago, was now black. Billowing charcoal plumes filled the air. The vast cornfield that bordered his yard was now angry flames licking his lawn like the red sea pounding on the shoreline. Curly, his two-year-old labradoodle, was barking furiously at the blaze for encroaching on his property. David was out the back door and across the lawn so fast his feet barely touched the grass. He had Curly scooped up and was heading, top speed, between the houses for the street. By the time he hit the sidewalk, he could hear sirens in the distance. His sock feet, soaking wet from the dew, leaked out into puddles around his feet as he looked down the row of houses to his right. The Bradley’s house, just six lots down, was on fire and the whole family looked on in horror from the curb. David put Curly in his car and scuttled across the grass to the Kane’s house next door. He pounded madly on the door with one hand while ringing the bell with the other, but before it was answered he was off to the next house; the Murphy’s. Everyone else was outside already, but Able Kane and the Murphys were all members of a coveted sect of society, who could sleep as long as they wanted; the retired. As he reached the Murphy’s door, the scream of the sirens neared. David was banging and ringing as Able Kane stepped out on the stoop of the house that David had just finished accosting. He looked over while holding his housecoat together with one hand and trying to tame what was left of his thinning hair with the other. “What in tarnation?” was all he muttered before running back inside. Andy Murphy swung open his door abruptly and presented David with a look of indignation. The open door allowed a wave of sight and sound to wash over him as emergency vehicles ripped past. The look of realization on his neighbor’s face was all David needed; he was off and running back to grab his pooch.
Any thoughts he had of running in to grab a few things were dashed by the fire’s progression. The red sea had now crashed over the shoreline and was washing against the back of his house. To read more visit http://hotpepperpublishing.weebly.com (it’s free)