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Flames of Passion

As dark clouds rolled accross the amber sky, Rida's bright green eyes grew wide with fear. Her dark brown hair blew gently around her pale face. Seventeen and standing at about 5' 5", she was easily the smallest in her class of thirteen.

Rida couldn't remember the last time she was this afraid. She feared for her friends and her home, but most of all, she feared for her mother. Thick ashes were now raining from the sky, proof of the devastation going on just ten miles west of where she now stood. Rida's grandmother was calling to her, telling her to get inside, but Rida's ears were closed. She couldn't take her eyes off of the sky. When she could see the sun, it was a flaming red, one that chilled her to the bone.

Rida jumped as she felt a touch on her shoulder. It was her grandfather.

"She's going to be alright," he said gently.

"But how do you know?" Rida asked tearfully. "How do you know that she's not trapped there? What if she's hurt?"

"She's on the north side of town, the firefighters won't let it reach that far. Now come inside, it's not good to breathe in all this ash and smoke."

Still worried, Rida let herself be led inside. She couldn't stop thinking about the fire though. What about the school? It was the closest thing to the fire...

That night Rida tossed and turned, unable to sleep. Finally, she gave up and tiptoed out to the living room. The power had gone out sometime around eight o' clock, but her grandfather had hooked up the generator to a select few things. The TV was one of them. Rida turned on the news, hoping to see something about the fire. She wasn't disappointed.

There had been several fires, fourteen to be exact. They had all been caused by dry lightening. Four hundred lightening strikes caused fourteen huge fires. In a state with little water and a lot of sagebrush-filled desert, that wasn't suprising.

As she watched more, she learned that there had been several car accidents due to the heavy smoke and fire. Rida silently prayed that her mother wasn't amongst them.

Rida's attention was drawn to outside, for the porch light had come on. She was already halfway across the room when she heard a sharp knock at the door.

She opened the door and nearly cried out. The woman standing there looked as though she'd been through hell, but she looked happy all the same.

"Mom!" Rida didn't hesitate to throw her arms around her mother in a hug that was both relief and happiness.

"Honey, what are you doing up? It's late, you should be in bed," her mother replied half-heartedly.

"I couldn't sleep. I was so worried about you!" Rida said through her fresh tears.

"You didn't need to worry about me, really." Her mom said with a half-smile.

"I'm just so glad you're okay."

"Honey," her mother sat down with her on the porch as she tried to tell her the news, "there's something you should know."

"What is it mom?" Rida replied warily.

"Tonight, a lot of houses have been burned. Some people didn't make it." She said gently.

Rida looked at her mom in confusion, this news didn't suprise her in the least. She knew something bad like this was bound to happen. And yet, her mother seemed to be trying to tell her something more.

"Do you know who?" Rida asked the question hesitantly.

Her mother nodded.

"Was it someone I know?" Rida swallowed hard as her mother nodded again.

"Was it-" Rida broke off as a thought to horrible for words formed itself in her mind.

"Rida," her mother was crying now, "they did all they could, he was trapped in the fire though. He breathed in too much smoke. Oh hun..."

Rida couldn't hear her mother's words of comfort. She couldn't hear anything. She also couldn't move, everything was spinning. A deep chill penetrated her and gave her goosebumps. She thought she might throw up. Instead, she simply fainted.
Union is strength
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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