The Fire

Monday, April 1, 2019
Barry Revill

And they reached the back of the house, and the sun was getting a bit higher and the heat was coming up a bit and there was wind and some swirling around of the dust out in the paddocks and the galahs were taking a bit of a feed and he could see all this as they were walking along. The dust came up on to his boots and up on to her shoes too, and it kicked up as they walked, and the country looked dry all around, even up on the top of the hill where there were some sheep. And he saw all this as they walked.

They came towards the house, the sun had got a bit higher and the heat was coming up from the paddocks. He could see the dust rising in the top paddock where the wind had come down from the gully. They both knew it was going to be a rotten day and it could be a day for fires. The last time the fires had come through, even years later, the people were talking about the speed of it all. How it had come to the edge of the town and, strangely enough, had stayed there for a while. Then the wind changed,and with the change came the fear, and it was real fear because people knew this was it, there was nothing you could do to save yourself, or anything. And worse, you would have thought you could have done something to help someone else as well, like the bloke who lived in the caravan further up the gully.

But they saw him in the morning, and he waved, and he looked ok, and then they saw him again later in the morning when the fire was coming up the hill, and moving fast. They saw him wave, and then he waved again, and then again, and then the fire came upon him, and they heard the screams and it was not the sound you would want to hear again, not the sounds of a man being burnt to death. They found him later in the day when the fire had gone through. Though the heat was still in the air, you could breathe a little – but not much. They found him where the caravan had been, which was difficult to detect because this fire had been ferocious, but they found him anyway and you could see that when the fire caught him he was heading for the iron bark tree, where the remains of his rifle lay.

About Barry Revill

Barry Revill is an 83-year-old writer who is the first to admit, he was, for years, a talking writer. Since retiring some years ago he has gone on to have monologues performed, short stories published, ‘Muses’ published in ‘The Age’, and a book of collected stories on the way to, hopefully, publication.