This is a piece of writing I put together for a writing class I am currently attending at The Hub in my local area of Lochend. It’s a bit rough, but is something that I didn’t think was too shoddy.
He stood at the other side of the hedge, looking into the field and the flames as they slowly consumed the brightly coloured framework of the caravan. He moved his feet impatiently but couldn’t get any closer to the crowd of people gathered around the rapidly burning wood. Their attention was caught up with the dancing, flickering tongues of orange and red, and for the first time in his life he felt alone and abandoned.
The sounds of voices murmuring condolences mixed with others that held humour as they reminisced about old times travelled on the smoky air. Coupled with the sound of someone playing a plaintive air on a violin, accompanied by the regular beating of a bodhran . Old Jimmy would have loved it, if he could have heard it. He liked to think that even now that he was dead the music would take him to his rest.
Jimmy’s caravan started to fold in on itself as the heat spiralled upwards, forcing the crowd to step back a little. One or two braved the furious billows of smoke, and threw keepsakes into the now fierce inferno.
He looked longingly across the field now, his own memories stirring, and he tried to get through the thicket ahead of him with no success. He wanted to stop it all now, to quench the flames and to bring the old man back to life. To hear his laugh, to hear his songs once more. He stopped his struggle against the hedge and was quieted.
Holding his head steady he could hear in the distance the sound of sirens getting closer. He saw it in a moment, the red of the fire truck making its way along the nearby road. Soon it was making its way through the farm gateway and on towards the fire now beginning to wane.
A heavy uniformed figure ran towards the crowd, whilst a group of others readied the hose. As he moved quickly the newcomer shouted out.
“What the fuck do you think you’re playing at. You know you can’t do this”.
A slim tired looking woman stood in his way, a fierce determination held in her emerald eyes as she looked back at the burning caravan. The tears flowed gently down her cheeks as she turned angrily on the fireman in front of her.
“It was his wish. It was his life and his tradition” she said in her sing song voice. “There is nothing you can do to him now. He is gone, and all he ever owned has gone with him”
“But you know you can’t do this. You can’t go around setting fire to things all over the place. It’s just not done.”
She sighed heavily and putting a hand on his arm, lead him closer towards the fire. His team were now busy making their preparations to extinguish the flames.
“No, she shouted. Not til it is done. He must be taken by the flames so that he can be returned to those who love him.”
The lead fireman glared at her, anger in his face as he tried to push past, to help his colleagues.
“You mean to say he’s in there. In the bloody caravan…right now”
“No…only his shell, and he has no use for that as he no longer has use for the blessed vehicle he has lived in all these years.”
There was little they could do now that the fire had done its work, and I pawed the ground beneath me, turning and pulling at the cord around my neck. I tugged harder and the rope started to tighten, til suddenly the small wooden post I had been anchored with gave way. I ran across the field I was in, and with a gallop turned and approached the hedge.
With a mighty effort I soared across the greenery, feeling the air brushing against my black coat. Landing with little effort I ran to her, and nuzzled myself up against her. I felt her fingers run through my mane and was comforted as she patted me gently.
“There there Blackie. He has finally gone home”