Chronicles of Fire
“Chronicles of Fire” by Wilhelm de Beer.
The fall reminded of a nightmare, of falling into a black hole. Superstitious souls
would have it that if impact occurred in the process, the dreamer would die. But this fall
was no dream, even though it felt like forever. No sooner had panicked senses become
calmer, convinced that it was in fact just another one of those nightmares, and impact
occurred. A great dust cloud erupted outward and upward from the floor of the canyon as
the tangled wrecks impaled themselves on the rocky fangs snarling skyward from the dry
riverbed. The ensuing silence was thunderous.
“No-one can survive a fall like that,” a lone cowhand across the canyon next to his
coffee-water fire told his piebald Appaloosa in wide-eyed shock. The startled animal
whinnied agreement back at him.
“As if you would know now, boy…”
The dust settled below, and he looked up at the sun to re-orientate himself. An
inquisitive eagle circled above in his line of sight like a tethered kite, but soon lost
interest and moved on, soaring on the back of a rising draft. An expectant silence lingered
in the canyon like a troubled conscience, imploring him to act. The cowhand cursed as he
emptied the contents of his Jimmy-can onto the fire and scraped some loose sand over the
steaming coals with the inside of his worn left boot. He mounted the pinto wearily and
headed off east to where civilization lay.
“It’s a long ride, but someone has to do it. In any case, there is precious little I can
do for those poor folk.”
To underscore the thought, in that instant, the wreck toppled over. It appeared to
have a life of its own as it shuddered and shook to its final resting position on its side.