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.

Author: Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a full-time writer. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother. He lived in six states and attended eight different schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. Before writing full-time, he worked as a US Army officer for 10-years, religious educator for 18-years, and as an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He is a widower. He lives in North Texas with his cat Lacey.

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