A Helping Hand

Summer 2005 was very hot and dry, and the forest fires raged across southern Europe. In Portugal over 180,000 hectares of woodland were destroyed.

I was getting pretty alarmed at one point as the flames spread down the hill towards the two houses above the village, one of which was mine. But the wind began to change, and it looked as though we might be spared. I was willing the fire to at least reach the house of the man whose land was above mine. I hated that bastard.

Much to my displeasure and my neighbour’s good fortune, though he wasn’t at home to witness it, the fire petered out, merely blackening the far wall of his house.

It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss so, armed with a can of petrol and a box of matches, I finished what nature had started.

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Written for a Flash Fiction (150 word limit) challenge with the theme Hot

I paint watercolours and write short stories.

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  • Corinne Pouzet
    Corinne Pouzetover 4 years ago

    Gee, I would hate to be in bad terms with you, Ian : you are so quick to put your your word into action !!

  • Don’t worry Corinne, you’re quite safe!!

    – ian osborne

  • Tuliptree
    Tuliptreeover 4 years ago

    …and blamed it all on nature! I like your thinking, Mr Osborne!
    Very satisfying in spite of its brevity.

  • Thanks Charlotte. Thought i’d have a go at this Flash Fiction challenge. Yeah I might rethink the last line. Nature might have helped spread it, but man started the fire. Hmm…..how about intended as the last word!

    – ian osborne

  • Tuliptree
    Tuliptreeover 4 years ago

    Making “Intended” the last word would (slightly) vindicate the man in the story. “Started” packs less punch, plus I’m remembering what the Flash Fiction group overview says about making every word count!

  • I think I’ll go with ‘intended’ or maybe have a rethink. After all if that’s what nature had intended then the wind wouldn’t have changed…..Thanks for the input!

    – ian osborne

  • Lacrimosa
    Lacrimosaover 4 years ago

    Yikes, the narrator seems to have a lot of sympathy for everyone but his neighbor.

    I want to know more about him but I suppose that is the point of flash fiction.

    Good story :) thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you Jasmine.

    – ian osborne

  • Lawford
    Lawfordover 4 years ago

    Note to self. When I borrow a lawn mower from Ian I WILL RETURN IT.

  • Good one Lawford. Yeah, I can be real nice.

    – ian osborne

  • Natella2020
    Natella2020over 4 years ago

    Hahaha….very nice. I loved the irony of your title.

  • Thanks Natella. I’ve just discovered that you are the writer of ‘Glass Houses’. I don’t think my story is as strong as yours. I’m racking my brains to come up with another!!

    – ian osborne

  • Natella2020
    Natella2020over 4 years ago

    I really liked this, so I won’t say no to another!

  • Still thinking……

    – ian osborne

  • Posted it!!

    – ian osborne

  • Arcadia Tempest
    Arcadia Tempestover 4 years ago

    Hi Ian
    Well a man has just gotta sometimes strike when the fire cannot it seems…
    A rather neighborly flash…. ;o) Ahh irony is so sweet, good fire flash

  • Hello….thanks for reading. Bad neighbours have to be dealt with somehow.

    – ian osborne

  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 4 years ago

    Great write and brilliantly wicked twist!!

  • Thanks Alison. Glad you enjoyed it.

    – ian osborne

  • Mardra
    Mardraover 4 years ago

    Love this – great story,

  • Thanks Mardra.

    – ian osborne

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