It happened like this.
Sometime after summer, my dad set fire to a field.
He set fire to the field behind the barn. Then he argued with my mum while the men from the Bank hung labels on things but the fire got out of control and the barn caught fire and exploded. It just went up, like a fireball.
Still doesn’t seem real.
Some mornings when I can’t settle, I try and remember the details of the day.
My brother must have watched the men from the bank watching Dad walk to the top of the stubble field to set it alight. My brother was older than me, worked his summers on the farm. When the bank people arrived to hang labels on things and liquidate the assets, which even today still sounds odd, he was there, watching.
I remember the police turning up. I’d never really seen them much before and that day there was a van and a car at the house. Was that when the doorbell rang, when the policemen came into the house?
You forget what happened when, the order of things I mean.
When I try and get to sleep some nights, I remember Dad saying ‘You can’t put it out Lynn. You can’t stop it’ and the men from the Bank ran to move their cars and the fire engines came with the sirens and tyres squealing and the flames mauling the barn and the paint just kind of flaked and hissed and Mum shouting ‘There’s hay in there’ and Dad said ‘The bloody fuel’ and I knew it was bad when Mum started shrieking and Dad had to stop her running into the barn and he held her back, kept saying ‘You can’t stop it, you can’t stop it. He’s gone.’
Steven Moss lives in Manchester, UK. His work is published in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, To Carry Her Home and the NFFD Anthology 2017, Sleep Is A Beautiful Colour. He also appears online at places such as National Flash, 101 Words and Ad Hoc Fiction. Best Small Fictions 2016 Nominee. Web: stevenrmoss.co.uk Twitter: @steven_r_moss
Image: Zoltan Tasi