Thursday, September 17, 2009

Burnt Offerings - #FridayFlash

Squaring shoulders grown wide from Special Ops training, Dan approached his task with some trepidation. Smoke curled in a graceful arc before drifting outward on the breeze. He wrinkled his nose against the acrid smell before bending to his unenviable task. At times like this, he wished he wasn’t so qualified, but the others counted on his expertise. Best to get on with the job.

People shuffled nearer as the flames spat and hissed, curiosity drawing them at the same rate as the flies that now hovered. Dan looked over his shoulder and spotted Linda hanging back at the edge of the milling crowd. She raised one eyebrow, a mute question he’d learned long ago to interpret as a countdown.

He nodded his head in silent reply, going back to his observations. The fire licked at the charred flesh, hungry tongues of flame dancing in the late afternoon heat. Someone handed him a drink that he downed in one gulp, grateful for the cool shot to expunge the grit from the back of his throat.

“I don’t know how you keep track of so many. I know I never could.”

The speaker watched the flames with a gleam in her eye that Dan tried his best to ignore. Her avid attention reminded him of a hunter, stalking her prey. The thought made his stomach churn.

Linda diverted his thoughts by arriving at his side after elbowing through the crowd to reach him. She deposited her armload of items on the makeshift table beside him and kissed him on the cheek.

“I know this is an unpleasant task for you, being a vegetarian, but no one can barbeque steaks as well as you.”

©2009 Laura Eno