TAG’s blog series, FORTNIGHTLY TALES, continues. This week’s piece by Rémi Le Gallo – Le Manach was inspired by Little Inferno. It is a Halloween special from the crypt.
One day, in the living room, the big family portrait burnt.
Nobody knew how it happened. The father and the daughter were in the living room, playing on the couch. He was wearing a cap and was pretending to be a truck driver, while she had something she wanted him to deliver far away: Fred the teddy bear, who needed to go in the mountains. They were laughing and the truck was already on the road, when they noticed a peculiar smell. They stopped and checked everywhere around them; that’s when they discovered the burning photograph. The fire was spreading from the left, and progressed too quickly for them to do anything. The paper turned into ashes, and the fire stopped as fast as it had begun.
They couldn’t explain what just happened. It was as if the photograph had burnt all alone by itself, but was that possible? Of course not. Things don’t autoignite like that. They decided that something must have made a spark that had lit the fire, but they couldn’t tell what made it. So the father, the mother and the daughter went back to what they where doing. Fred the teddy bear finally arrived in the mountains.
Two or three days after the incident, everybody had forgotten about it. The mother was toasting some bread for her breakfast. She put some butter on her toasts and she brought them to the table. But when she put her hand on the chair to sit on it, the lamp on the ceiling caught on fire. She screamed, but was conscious enough to turn the light off. It didn’t stop the fire, which spread quickly until the entire lamp was burnt. The father rushed into the kitchen, but by that time it was all over.
“At least it’s just the lamp that burnt,” they said! It must have been the bulb that was too old, and exploded. Nothing else. And fortunately, the electric system was still ok. It was nothing much, really, just a small incident! Just a small incident, yes.
But it was the second one in only a few days… The daughter woke up at night, crying. She had had a nightmare and thought that all the house was going to ignite. The parents comforted her, it was just a dream, nothing more. How could this solid house burn down? Just go back to sleep, everything is going to be alright.
The next day, everyone was a bit nervous. They used the electricity as little as possible, they opened the shutters and lived in the sunlight. Just in case. The daughter played with wooden blocks and made cardboard figures of beetles, and the father watered the flowers in the garden.
At 8pm, they began to calm down a bit. They were relieved that nothing happened… That’s the moment the television chose to suddenly explode. As always, the fire consumed it very rapidly, without affecting the furnitures around it. The TV burnt, and the flames died. Then, the plant in the living room also burnt. This time, the fire spread and the couch began to blacken. Fred the teddy bear, who was on it, ignited at once and turned to ashes. The phone was melting. The daughter was screaming and crying, they were all panicked.
They went outside, only to see that the school bus was on fire, the bank’s windows were glowing red and a thick smoke was coming from the factory at the end of the village. Everything was burning, and nobody was able to explain anything, how all this was happening… A raccoon and a crocodile were running in the street, with flames on their tails. The wooden statues in the park were in the middle of a big fire, and seemed to be singing as they became blocks of coal. An old man was trying to extinguish his moustache, while robots, which had appeared out of nowhere, were exploding here and there. There was even a squared flame coming from some strange coloured glass panels…
That day was a terrible day. It was hot, the sky was red and you could almost imagine that the sun itself was burning, but not because it’s the sun ; it was as if a fire from an other dimension was consuming it. Truly a terrible day.