Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Oct_Image03Smokin’ Jack
by Kim Richards

Another damned wildfire skirted across a California hillside. Dry grass, long dead from triple digit daytime temperatures and lack of rain, fueled its hunger. Winds whipped it into a blow torch of howling frenzy. That was at 3:30 a.m. The sun rose behind a wall of smoke which gave it an eerie, brilliant red glow. Ash flitted and swirled down like snowflakes.
Five members of a fire crew from Australia stomped along the charred remains of a farm. They were part of a team who answered the call for help on another fire just last week. This morning, their goal was to put out spot fires as they cropped up and disperse embers still glowing. The unspoken part of their job was to locate remains of the unlucky as they went along. They found plenty so far but nothing of the human variety…yet. They each knew, with the speed this Jack Fire sparked and grew in a few pre-dawn hours, there was a high probability someone didn’t evacuate in time.
“Well, look at this,” the tall red head called out. He pointed with the tip of his long fire hook. Although his gear muffled the sound, his voice came clear enough over the eerily quiet atmosphere.
The others joined him to gather near a pile of blackened logs.
“Huh,” said the heavy-set firefighter as he leaned on the handle of his heavy rake. “Do you suppose that’s why this is called the Jack Fire?”
All five men chuckled. They stared at a bright orange carved pumpkin, perched atop the burnt wooden remains of a front porch. The Jack-O-Lantern was unscathed by the fire. White smoke billowed from inside—escaping through its eye holes and between its jagged teeth. It grinned at them. “If it wasn’t before, it is now.” The youngest of them said. “Funny how a fire shows mercy to the strangest things.”
The Jack-O-Lantern coughed, sending a small plume of smoke skyward.
Each man looked to the others for confirmation. None of them were willing to be ‘that guy’.
Red head pursed his lips and poked at the ground with his hook.
Rake man turned aside. “I need water,” he said.
When the Jack-O-Lantern coughed again, the young one’s eyes bugged. “It’s…it’s laughing.”
All five firefighters backed up and faced the thing with their tools in hand. Then they all spoke at once.
“Damn smoke inhalation.”
“Only in America.”
“Something more toxic than usual burned.”
“I need a beer…no, whiskey.”
“It’s…it’s a DEMON!” The young firefighter screamed as the pumpkin’s surface rippled.
“Damn straight I am!” The smoking Jack-O-Lantern launched itself at the young man. It hit him in the head with a thud and sent him sprawling to the ground. Its smiling mouth widened and swallowed the man’s head.
Instantly the young man’s screams turned to high pitched shrieks. His body thrashed wildly upon the soot covered ground. The smoke spewing from the thing’s eye holes thickened.
The other men struck the pumpkin with their heavy rakes and fire hooks or kicked it with their boots. Every single hit bounced off as if it landed against a rubber surface.
“Oh, my God,” the red head exclaimed. From inside the Jack-O-Lantern’s eyes a bright flame erupted. Within seconds, it traveled the length of the man’s body and turned him into a flaming log. He stopped moving. There was no mercy this time. His body was momentarily consumed, leaving a grinning Jack-O-Lantern amidst his remains.
The other four men didn’t stick around to see more. They fled down the hillside, leaving their implements behind. When questioned later about what happened. The only one who spoke was the tall red head who said, “It was Smokin’ Jack.”
Fiction © Copyright Kim Richards
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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About Nina D'Arcangela

Nina D’Arcangela is a quirky horror writer who likes to spin soul rending snippets of despair. She reads anything from splatter matter to dark matter. She's an UrbEx adventurer who suffers from unquenchable wanderlust. She loves to photograph abandoned places, bits of decay and old grave yards. Nina is a co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, a co-founder of the horror writer's group 'Pen of the Damned', and if that isn't enough, put a check mark in the box next to owner and resident nut-job of Dark Angel Photography.
This entry was posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

  1. afstewart says:

    A terrific story.

  2. Marge Simon says:

    Good one! Like what you did with the prompt!!

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