This week’s Photo Prompt Challenge comes from Sue Vincent.
I was exiled from town when our neighbor, Chief Long Beard, saw me stand in front of a huge fire, too close for any ordinary person, with a baton in my hand.
Everyone ran to the fire with blankets and buckets and pots of water, anything they had, really, but the fire grew and grew. When the fire wouldn’t die, Chief Long Beard pointed at me and everyone chased me with those buckets and pots and everything else they had. I was seven.
Everyone I knew lived in that town. With no one to turn to, I became a beggar and thief to survive. I don’t know how much I’ve stolen, nor should I be forgiven for any of that. I should have gone to a house of worship for help. Though, they might not have accepted me, given that the three adjacent towns also suffered from the fire, and my name was infamous. I should have tried, nonetheless.
The blazing red sky was red for weeks. The once crisp air suffocated children and the elderly. Everyone kept to themselves.
I asked about my family whenever I felt safe to do so. My parents lost their jobs and no one would sell food to my family, and this was a time when people gave food to help one another.
When I was 22, I overheard a seer say that the huge fire was a balefire. There was an unusual occurrence where scourges of mosquitoes bit people. A day later, the person who was bit died but what emerged from their body was another scourge of mosquitoes. They multiplied exponentially. They were also particularly aggressive since they did not leave a spot on the body unbitten.
The mosquitoes were attracted to the anger emanating from the townspeople and charged to our town. The fire incinerated them. Only when the last mosquito disappeared did the balefire die on its own.
Because of this baton, I was chased out of town, forced to beg and steal, and live without my family for all of these years. I threw it in trashcans, rivers, and volcanoes, yet, this baton magically found its way back to my hand every time.
What other magical things can this baton do, you ask? That is a story for another time.
Thanks for reading.