Friday, March 7, 2008

Fire: dance with me


This Week’s Theme: Start your entry with a fire.

The night came fast. It was another element of life beyond the gates that was discordant with his experience of life to date. One moment it was light and the next moment twilight was sliding into night. In the distance he could see a flicker of light and he had a reference to find his way back through the bush to Brigit and the Range Rover.

The acrid smoke, laced with sweet eucalyptus bought back a flood of memories. He was a small boy with his father at fire side. Behind was a small tent with sleeping bags, a back pack with a change of spare clothes … his fathers battered hiking boots unlaced at the flap of a door. He could feel the crusty outer of toasted marshmallows and the searing liquid centre in his mouth.

Lost in his memories he approached the fire distracted. A drum beat jerked him out of his reverie. Stripped to the waist Brigit walked around the fire. The fire licked the cooling air with great crimson tongues, fuelled by the oil in the gum leaves. In its adolescent fury the fire leapt as high as Brigit’s hips and from his vantage point off in the bush, it looked as though she danced through the flames with her drum.

Mesmerised by the dance of the flames, the fluid movement of her lithe body and the steady beat of the drum in her hands he walked a little closer, then sat quietly half behind a rock.

The beat of the drum picked up as the fire died down, and the embers appeared, glowing with red intensity. After a time, marked only by the number of stars in the sky above, Brigit put down the drum and picked up a long stick. A moment later both ends ignited.

With agility and grace Brigit began to twirl the fire stick. Firstly slowly in large rotations at the front of her body, with both hands holding and moving the stick. She then took the stick in her right hand and began to manipulate the stick between her fingers. The fiery ends blazed circles through the still night air. With awkwardness she moved the stick from her right hand and into her left hand, her upper arm still haphazardly bandaged from the previous night.

Adam remained transfixed. The fire made a swooping and hissing sound, as it cut through the air, with increasing speed. Despite her injury Brigit manoeuvred the stick and the fire into ever more intricate patterns and configurations in the dark. She swapped it from one hand to the other, passing it both infront and behind her. Her feet danced small steps to accommodate the twirling and her body seemed elastic in the glow of the fire. She was one with the fire. The serpent tattoo that enclosed her spine appeared alive and slithering upwards towards the base of her skull. He had caught only a fleeting glimpse of it that morning at his house as she had quickly donned her singlet and shirt. Now it seemed as alive as the fire at her feet and in her hands.

The fire swept closer and closer to her body, as she wove her body in and out of its grasp. Finally, after time eternal, one end spluttered and died, followed quickly by the other. Brigit dropped to one knee and he could hear her breathing coming hard and fast.

“You can come out now Adam,” she panted, rising back up onto two feet.


“Fire burns away the crap, the impurities. Fire is the beginning and the end,” she stated simply.

He could see the steam rising from her naked chest as he got closer.

“The Greeks believed that the element of fire belonged to the God Hades – it belonged in the under world.”
“The Christian concept of the fires of hell?” queried Adam.

Brigit shrugged her bare shoulders.
“When I dance with the fire I no longer have to be cautious, or show restraint – I can be impulsive, temperamental, impulsive and wilful. I forget that this is a 21st version of Hades.”

She bent down and pulled on an old V neck jumper.
“There are beings called salamanders – elementals beings of fire. They say that the faces you see in the fire are them. Salamanders are Will itself. When I dance I find my will again.”

She threw the stick to him. He caught it one handed, feeling her sweat and the heat of the fire still radiating from the metal.
“Your turn now.”

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7 comments:

keith hillman said...

What a wonderful piece. Your words brought the story to life - it was almost as if I was witnessing the scene.

Annie said...

deliciously descriptive - working just as well in prose as it would on film...the art of a great writer.. loved it.

Chris said...

What an incredible take on this prompt! I'm fascinated by these characters now. I want to know more about them. Why was she dancing? Why was he spying? What happened next? Great job, I really felt I was watching it all unfold.

Square1 said...

Ah... to be a firedancer. What more can I say than I have always wished to dance with the flames myself.

anthonynorth said...

You can see this as you read the words. You bring it to life. Raw - on fire.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Thanks everyone - I'm obviously my worst critic. I felt that it didn't live on the page as vividly as it would have on film ... but I guess I was mistaken. thanks for the vote of confidence.

And Square1 - dancing with a fire stick is awesome. I did it a few years back when Dylan was young and it gives you an amazing feeling of power, but of simple grace as well!

LaurenceMcBeth said...

I enjoyed reading this..evocative and sensuous...I almost wanted to be Adam...or even Brigit..! Aahh, and memories of marshmallows on sticks, toasted, carmelised sugar wrapping around melted lava within..yum!