The Burning Spirit




Arjun could smell the fumes from the turning point of the lane, even though the house was situated almost at the end. The top floor of the bunglow had caught fire and was sending out flames that threatened to touch the leaves of the tree situated beside the house. If the tree too caught fire, things would have a dire outcome.  Arjun got down from the truck and took stock of the situation. Before he could even process, he felt fingers gripping him urgently. He turned around and saw a guy, probably in his early thirties, somewhat the same age as Arjun. “My father is inside. Please save him.” The guy said breaking down into uncontrollable sobs. “I had gone out to buy some groceries and when I returned, this…”  Arjun felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu hit him hard. He gulped and patted the guy’s shoulder. “I will do my best. Please stay calm and collected. Your father will need your help when we bring him out.” The guy nodded and wiped his face. Arjun’s colleagues had already taken out the fire-hose and had started dousing the top of the house. He had barely time to inform one of the colleagues that he was entering the house when one side of the roof collapsed and fell inside the house. Arjun had no time to think. Donned in his fire-resistant suit, he went inside the house where sheer hell awaited him. The roof seemed to have collapsed inside the bedroom and a bed was already set on fire. Arjun watched with relief that the bed looked empty.  He heard the sounds of coughing coming from another part of the house and rushed in that direction. He found an aged man lying down on the staircase that led to the top of the house. Before Arjun’s eyes, the old man lost consciousness.   Another part of the roof collapsed and fell over the entrance, effectively blocking the entrance.   “Take some blankets from the wardrobe in that room and wrap them around the senior. Hurry before the flames gain momentum!”  Arjun turned around at the much familiar voice and stared at his father in wonder.  “Come on, son! You don’t have much time!”  Arjun covered the senior from head to toe in blankets and flung him over his shoulders. He went towards the exit where the flames had formed a barrier. With an inner strength that seemed to have fueled by his father, Arjun rushed through the flames to the safe outdoors.  The old man was immediately taken away by the paramedics. Arjun however stood near the entrance and gazed yearningly at his father’s spirit.  “I do not regret dying while trying to save you from the fire. I am proud of you. Let go of your guilt, son.” His father’s spirit said just as it faded. The tears not only cleansed the soot off Arjun’s face but also doused the guilt burning in his heart. His father had set him free.      Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!