Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Secret History: Fire In the Sky (Flash Fic)


When a man fell from the sky in Idaho County that night in 1935, it changed things.  Not just any man, but one who was on fire.  Idaho County is older than even Idaho state.  They named the state after the county.  Even way back in 1935, some things were always the same way.  

Nothing could challenge that.  I couldn't.  Or I thought I couldn't.

That man fell.  While ablaze.  Burning hot flames.  Like a falling star.

As he fell, I stood on our front porch.  My father had gotten drunk that night.  I should've repressed these memories.  But they still stick inside me.

"You think you can just come in here like this?"  He stood over them.

The brown-skinned men and women looked up at him in fear.  I didn't know how, but my father had managed to chain the lot of them together.  His shotgun waved back and forth.  We hated them.

They spoke Spanish in fright at my father.  My father didn't listen, beating one of the men with the stock of his shotgun.  My brothers and cousins stood out there with them.

I didn't know why we hated them.  Just that we did.  That we were going to lose our home.  They'd come, and now our home was going to go next.  We had nothing.

But I watched the sky above us.  The flaming object materialized.  It became a man on fire, not just some shooting star.

My father didn't see it.  He kept going.  His rant made no sense.  The Mexicans cowered.  They knew they were going to die, and some sort of fiery thing just dropped from the sky on top of that.

The man on fire landed.  He didn't crash.  He didn't hit the ground.

Like the swoop of a raptor, he hit the ground.  The memory of that stuck in my mind.  Years after, no one else seemed to remember the same thing I saw.  They claimed he jumped from the roof.  Or that he had wandered in from the road somehow.

The man wore a helmet.  Nothing covered his face.  The metal of the helmet didn't look shiny.  It looked twisted.  Like it had been wrought and beaten into jagged metal.  Shining false flames.  In the gaslight, it looked like metal fire covered his brow.  He wore regular clothes.  A dark, gray beard on a scarred face, his eyes pierce with a color I'd never seen on a person before.  His red irises seemed to glow.  They matched the brown leather coat he wore.  Symbols of all kinds covered it in red, markings that looked like some insane misinterpretation of the alphabet.

"Hello."  The fiery man tilted his head.  "Any reason you're waving that gun around like that?"

My father, my brothers, Mexicans, everyone turned to stare at him.  Maybe curiosity had set in.  Maybe we were too stupid to think of some way to respond to him.

The fiery man walked over to my father.  His eyes studied the chains on the Mexicans.  The wounds my father and brothers had inflicted dragging them here.

"This is justice.  Mind your own business, stranger."

"I don't care whose business is whose."  The fiery man stated.  "But are you an officer of the law?"

"Excuse me?"

"You are following the law in this?"

"The law don't give a fuck about me-"

Before my father could finish, the fiery man stepped up him.  It happened so fast, my father never finished speaking.  Fire wrapped his hands.  He grabbed the shotgun.  Flame congealed around it, bathing the metal.  My father screamed in pain as the shotgun melted, then in his arms, exploded its charge.

"You do not have just cause for this then."

My father fell to the ground.  My brothers moved at the fiery man.  But he became covered in fire.  They couldn't come any closer.  The heat kept them back.  It grew so intense, the grass nearby caught fire.  The chains holding the Mexicans melted.

"The fire has decided not to take your lives this night."  The fiery man said.  "Count yourselves lucky that a Son of Ra isn't so weak he needs a gun to make his bread."