Fire Heals All Wounds

When the wildfire leaps the dry river and sears through the east side of town no one will be bothered. People here left long ago, moving north in search of cooler weather and rain, away from the killing climate. The trees, as dead as the town, are ready-made kindling for the fire that came down out of the no-longer-Snowy Range and the flames will burn for days, stopping only when they run out of fuel near the Colorado border.

      This house, old, white paint and green trim peeling in long flakes like sunburned skin, has no more defense against the fire than the rest of the town. An errant spark carried on a wild wind leaps ahead of the rampaging army, touches a desiccated leaf, spirals down and sideways through an open window, and lands on a bed.

     The spark battens on the dry fabric and grows in a way that would make its parent proud. By the time the rest of the wildfire reaches this street the house is ablaze. The bedroom where the fire started is the first to go, walls collapsing in on themselves. Rising into the wind-whipped smoke go scraps of paper and bits of yarn and scorched books and frayed cloth and memories of love and loss.

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