A series of flames gush and erupt in an operatic fanfare of applause, clapping and flapping their way up the chimney walls into the cool night air.
He scrapes the shovel sharply, and sweeps up shards of yesterday’s ash into the old cow bucket and throws them out the back door.
“Fling in some sticks later”
“Mind your fire”
“Keep it going”
“Yeah, Yeah yeah” We moan in unison.
The once golden orange cat, since turned strawberry blonde thanks to the long forgotten summer sun, hatches on the icy sill outside.
He longs for the amber ribbons to twist, wrap and warm its body, to be let inside.
“Will I put more sticks in?”
“NOOOO” A collective groan comes his way, each of us slumped down on whatever rickety chair,couch or broken bean bag that takes our fancy.
Yet, he swings the stove door open already with a log or two in hand, they crunch against the withered briquettes.
Sparks explode like confetti, while bits of ash tumble to the floor. Stamp, stamp, stamp, “Ah money is coming your way” We laugh, at the burned out joke.
The Late Late Show comes to a halt, they gradually abandon their awkward , yet comfortable seats, the lights dissolve, one by one.
“Right, pull back the clothes horse before you go down and plug out the television”
The fire is losing its rustic colour, orange and purple turn to a sickly grey, its heat is lukewarm, like a single breath. There’s only small raisins of light left flickering and bickering, fighting to survive.
I clutch my hot water bottle and switch off the light and glance at the holy water font pinned by the front door. I step forward, but step back.
I walk down the carpeted hall.
I do not know.