Pure Smoke

Pure Smoke

A Story by S.P. Johnson Jr.

Flash fiction. A man named Jackson reflects on a recent, unsettling assignment. wc - 250


 Why did that place matter so much? Everything about the little village seemed so insignificant. The people weren't particularly pleasant, but neither were they mean. They just were. And there couldn't have been more than fifty or sixty of them. The most that could be said was they went quietly. At least from where Jackson stood, he couldn't hear anything. And usually he did. Especially if there are the hills to carry the voices back. The mountains could carry that much panic and terror and anguish for hours. It almost made him wonder if he set the fires right. Maybe they all got out of there. That would have been embarrassing.

The smoke looked unusually clean. So maybe the souls were pure. Or something like that. Jackson stared at that smoke and watched it crawl up the trees and the sky. It didn't look like there was anything more to it than what he usually saw after an assignment. Yet somehow it didn't look like enough either.

As he continued to watch he couldn't decide what was worse " that they all might have escaped or that their pure souls somehow cleansed the smoke. He hunted hungrily for the smallest thread of black, foul soot to ride up the pillars of white. But... nothing. No screams, no sign of human oils burning rich and dark. Just pure white souls.

Who were those people? Jackson feared he now understood why they mattered.

© 2012 S.P. Johnson Jr.

Author's Note

S.P. Johnson Jr.
Inspired by a photograph of white smoke rising from heavily forested mountains.

My Review

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Fascinating. Your opening sentence hooked me. Chilling but great story. I would like to read more about them.

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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1 Review
Added on May 11, 2012
Last Updated on May 12, 2012
Tags: Flash, Short, Serious, Fiction