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Chronicles of Fire


“Chronicles of Fire” by Wilhelm de Beer.
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Moments later, the sound of that last convulsion caught up with him and pummeled his
eardrums with a final crisp staccato riff of breaking glass and squealing metal.
“I guess that does it then,” he told the Appaloosa. “…No sense in moseying on
down there, is there?”
The appaloosa endorsed his sentiments with a swift swish of the tail at an offending
fly, followed by the release of a pair of moist khaki-green dung dollops from the pouting
orifice between its but-cheeks. They thudded to the ground and lay still- motionless like
the wreck.
“Phew boy, was that really necessary? A nod or a whiney would have sufficed, but
I get your point.”
The cowhand’s comment was lost on the pinto. It was already muzzling an itch in
the flank.
Hundreds of yards below, sandwiched by metal in the jaws of death, a man’s life
flashed by before his tired eyes. Resigned to his fate, he waited on the sun to abandon
him. He watched as the first coyote came trotting cautiously with piqued ears from
beyond the mesquite.
“Soon hunger will make it bold and compel it to throw caution to the wind…..”
That thought was so disturbing that his bewildered mind scrambled for refuge
among some rambling recollections of his arrival in America days earlier. As life ebbed
from his crushed legs and spine, it took with it the sharp edge of the pain, and the panic.
It left him to ponder the irony of his predicament, his mind as clear as a droplet of
condensed mist suspended from the tip of a newly unfurled leaf, as becalmed as the
surface of the pond it was about to drop into and become one with.
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