The Boy Who Cried Fire

by Laura LeHew

His musty, roll-in-the hay scent lashes her into a wind whipped hunger. His innocence makes her howl. How she desires to plunge into his fine white woolen coat. Consume him. Never overt she pursues him from the shadows. His parents grow leery. Hire a sitter to keep watch over him. Keep him out of trouble.

But, the sitter grows bored. Begins looking for distraction. Yells “FIRE” for no real reason but to have the fire department show up. They retreat nodding their heads in sorrow for such a foolish and costly deed. The next day the sitter yells “FIRE” and a neighboring do-gooder calls 911. The police and the fire departments show up. The sitter is roundly chastised, promised a night in jail if he continues this discourse. 

Meanwhile her intended, driven by the sitter’s repulsive behavior, leaves the comfort of his home and ventures outside. So close she can almost feel him. She waits where she has waited night after night. Curled in the crook of an oak, silent as the lover who waits to be laid bare, for her darling to unearth her. She is nearly invisible in the twilight sky.

He senses her at first. Sniffs the air. Calls out bleakly “who is there.” She rises up on her haunches. Looms larger than life in an inopportune halogen moon. He tenses. Quivers. Screams “no.” She licks her lips. He is so juicy she can barely hold back. In the background she hears the sitter screeching “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE” but it is too late. No one is coming. He is ready to be culled. He longs for it. So she does.