Nonfiction: Smoke on the Horizon

From five miles away, the smoke rose nearly two thousand feet above the tall pine trees. It’s gray-blue plum acted as a beacon saying something is happening here.

What was happening? Exactly where was the smoke’s origin?

Was someone burning trash? No, the amount of smoke was too great.

Was it a raging forest fire? If so, it was only in an embryonic stage.

Was the smoke the signal of a controlled burn by one of the timber companies? Possibly, but the signs just did not look correct.

As I continued driving, a number of vehicles were assembling in the distance. The closer I got, the more recognizable the cars and trucks became. The wind changed and the smoke pushed its deadly midnight across the highway.

As I got nearer, I saw no flames. Murkiness gushed out the doors and windows of a small framed building. It was erupting in a lethal, black, thickness through the roof.

The Church in the Pines was dying from fire and smoke inhalation.

© 1990
Jimmie A. Kepler

Note: I wrote this back in 1990. I was driving from Beaumont, Texas to Jasper, Texas. I saw a plume of smoke in the distance. I wrote this later that day.

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