Charli Mills is up behind Zion digging out a little Atlantis for our delight and prompting us thus
November 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is told around a campfire. It can be a bonfire, burning trash can, a fire pit, something flaming outdoors. It can be a prop, and you can tell the story of anything — ghosts, ancients, jokes. Who is gathered and listening? Note the extended date (Happy Thanksgiving to US writers; may turkey take our minds off the one about to enter the White House.)
It’s funny, looking back, to remember how unadventurous I was as a kid. I didn’t climb many trees, I avoid climbing rock faces, I jumped into no pools or rivers without being sure of the bottom. But I had numerous adventures, often in the shadow of the Archaeologist. We charged Maiden Castle in Dorset and recaptured it re-enacting something from before time began or TV was invented or something; we hunted for snakes under old sheets of rusty corrugated iron and found slow worms instead; we stared at fields of flint in the hope of finding ancient tools; we squelched across mudslides peering at anything that might conceivably be an ammonite or a shark’s tooth; and we chased so many butterflies across so many fields that we wore out many pairs of plimsoles.
As for camp fires, well there was always the odd Scout camp and my maternal grandmother would start a bonfire with a twist of hope and a spark of imagination. I remember sing-songs and charred food; hot faces and cold arses; tea that tasted like firework night and sparks that entranced the little boy in me.
These were my Minoan empires, my Atlantis, my Lost Cities, those places you go when your mind teeters on the brink of boredom but instead of a plunge into useless frustration, your creative side steps in and leads you by the hand to the land beyond the horizon where imagination lives. I’ve always found other worlds buried deep inside bonfires
As for Mary and her daughter, they’re in the garden
Come on baby, light my fire
Mary stoked the bonfire, sending smoke everywhere.
Penny wrinkled her face. ‘Yuk, mum. That stinks.’
‘Fusspot. I loved bonfires. We cooked potatoes and bananas and all sorts.’
‘I bet they tasted disgusting.’
‘Ok, I’ll show you.’
Thirty minutes later, they sat together with silver foil tubes balanced in their gloved hands. ‘Be careful. Just unroll it carefully.’
Penny did as she was instructed; the chocolate and butter melted with the brown sugar creating a sticky sauce for the hot banana. Penny tried a tentative spoonful.
‘Do you like it?’
‘Wow! This is sick.’
‘I’ll take that as a yes.’
To catch up with Mary North and her family, click here