Flames of Desire Chapter 5

Unbelievable is the only word that comes to mind when looking at the location that was selected to hold our game of craps. To think that, with my social standing, I am with these lowlifes, in a cow barn, gambling. What a heinous place to hold a game. From the looks of it, it is blatantly clear that they don’t clean it often. Looking around at the lunkheads who showed up, I have the feeling that my take of this evening’s game will be considerable. There is the police commissioner’s son, Jeremy, who I know for a fact was a horrible craps player, but he had deep pockets. I remember that the other two boneheads had been at a few games that I held, but I wasn’t exactly familiar with the tall blonde fellow who was standing by the barn door. He looks familiar, but I’m unable to place him. Perhaps it was at another game I was at and am too tanked up to remember. By the cut of his suit, he is well-to-do, and I plan to roll him before the night is over.

“Welcome gents, pass the hooch, plunk down your money, and let’s get this game started. It is an eagle buy in and 12-bit per game.” I commanded. I needed to weed out the ones with money and those who didn’t.

“Ah, James, those are pretty high stakes.” Jeremy whined.

“Come on, Jeremy, I know your pockets are heavy with your father’s money.”

“Hmm. All right, let’s play.” Jeremy groaned.

A few hours later, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Instead of winning, I was losing and losing big. The blonde fellow, who said his name was Jazz, was winning almost every game. He was an oddball, asking questions about my family and if I had a girl. I told him that I was to be betrothed to one Miss Alice Masen. The thoughts of Alice always made my thoughts drift to having a good grind with her.

I had no more money and the pot was one of largest I had seen in awhile. I knew if I could stay in, I could finally make some money. Reaching into my vest pocket, I pulled out my grandfather’s pocket watch. “This here, gentlemen, is a gold watch.” I said, placing it on the pile.

“That is not money. You wouldn’t be trying to hoodwink us, now would you?” Jazz asked, pushing the watch back to me.

“It is better that money. This watch is worth more than the bet.”

“I can’t use that.” Jazz barked.

“I don’t care; this is my bet. Roll the damn dice.”

Jazz picked up the dice; when they stopped rolling, I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had won yet again.

“You no good four flusher, you cheated!!” I yelled. That had to be the reason why he was winning so much.

“No, I did not, but if you want a chance to win it all, I have a proposition for you.” Jazz said.

Knowing that I needed some way to make the money back, and seeing I had nothing else to bet with, I was willing to do anything. “Sure, state your terms?”

“If you win, you get all my winnings. But, if I win, you break off your betrothal to Miss Alice Masen.”

“Why would you be concerned about my betrothal to Miss Masen?” I asked.

“It is none of your concern. Those are my terms; do we have a deal?”

A chance to win a load of money or chance to lose Alice. Well, she is only a woman and there will always be someone better that will come along. “Deal.” I said, holding out my hand. After a firm handshake, I was ready to win.

The dice was rolled; to my utter amazement, I lost again. In one roll of the dice, I had lost all my money, my grandfather’s pocket watch, and now Alice. My father is going to kill me. I went to get up, but my pant leg was caught on a nail under the table and, as I jerked to try to get it loose, the lantern overturned and landed on the hay. The flame of the lantern caught the hay on fire and in a matter of seconds the fire began to spread quickly. I was trapped and the flames were descending upon me. Looking up, I noticed that everyone was rushing out of the barn, leaving me to fend for myself. In their rush, they didn’t even pick up the money or my pocket watch. If I could get loose, I could still have the money. I yanked and pulled on my pant leg, but to no avail. The smoke and heat was becoming unbearable. My eyes were watering, I couldn’t stop coughing and my clothes were on fire. Blackness fell.

***********************************FD*****************************************

Edward’s main concern was to escort Isabella to safety.  After just a few minutes of seeing the fire, he knew it had already grown in size and was growing more quickly by the minute.

“Edward, I am worried about my parents.” Isabella cried.

“I know you are, my dear, but your mother is at the hospital, which is on the other side of the town and your father is an experienced firefighter.”

“I understand, but I am still worried.”

“Let me get you to a safe location.”

They began walking toward the east end of town and with every step the reddish orange glow of the flames grew brighter and brighter. The smoke was swirling around them, as the wind began to blow. The streets were filling with panicking people, who were fleeing their burning homes.

Edward knew he needed to get Isabella to safety, but couldn’t tell where that was in the chaos. They continued down Canal Street, but, as they neared, Edward noticed that all the buildings were on fire. He quickly pulled Isabella aside, and headed down Adams, but, it, too, was engulfed in flames.

Isabella began to cough from the smoke, so Edward pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. “Place it over your mouth and nose.” he implored.

“What (cough) about (cough) you?”

“I will be fine, I need to take care of you, my dear. Please allow me to do that.”

Placing the handkerchief to her mouth, she gave him a nod and gripped his arm even tighter. He stopped and looked around, trying to find the best way to get them out of the fire. Edward couldn’t believe his eyes; down the street it looked like a tornado, but it was engulfed in swirling flames, devouring everything in its path. It was blowing from one side of the street to the other, catching all the buildings on fire. Finally, Edward could see that down Adams Street it looked clear and he knew that it would lead toward the courthouse, where they could hopefully find safety. “Come, let’s go this way.”

Edward made sure that he had a secure hold of Isabella’s arm as they rushed down the street. A large puff of wind dislodged Edward’s hat; as he looked around, he saw it flying down the street towards the fire. He knew there was no way he was going after it. As he looked over at Isabella, he noticed her once beautiful green dress was now more black than green. Even the lace was covered in dirt and soot. He loved this dress, so he would take the first opportunity to replace it. The future Mrs. Masen would not want for a fine garment to wear. As they rushed, they passed Mr. Rodney’s shop. Edward stopped to look inside; he could see flames in the back of the shop.

“Isabella please wait here, I must check on a friend.”

“Edward, please be careful.” She cried.

“I promise, just remain here until I return.” He said, bringing her gloved cover hand to his mouth and kissing it sweetly. Edward tried to convey his love for her with his eyes. With one more kiss, he let go of her hand and was touched when she pulled it up to her chest. Quickly opening door to the shop, he was hit by a huge plume of smoke. He covered his mouth with his hand and proceeded into the shop. Looking around as best as he could for Mr. Rodney, hoping he was not here. Just as he was about to leave the shop, he saw a foot poking out from behind one of the chairs. He rushed over to discover Mr. Rodney lying unconscious on the floor. The fire was quickly moving closer and closer to them, and Edward knew he needed to get Mr. Rodney out of the shop. Grabbing him under his arms, Edward dragged him toward the front of the shop. Just as he neared the door the back wall collapsed onto the spot where he had been lying. Suddenly the door opened and Edward was able to drag him out and onto the sidewalk.

Isabella was immediately beside me. He said a silent prayer that he had gotten to him in time. Mr. Rodney’s face was black with soot, but Edward didn’t see any evidence of burns anywhere. He suddenly began to cough and take in deep breaths.

“What happened?” He whispered roughly.

“Mr. Rodney, the city is on fire, as is your shop. I am so sorry.”

“Mr. Edward, it is only wood; you got me out, and I will be always grateful for that. Thank you, son.”

“You are welcome, Mr. Rodney. We need to move quickly, the fire is growing.”

Mr. Rodney sat up and, when he did, he saw Isabella standing behind Edward. “Is this the young woman you are courting?” He asked as Edward and Isabella began to help Mr. Rodney stand. “Yes it is. Mr. Rodney this is Miss Isabella Swan. Miss Swan, this is Mr. Rodney, the best barber in the city.”

“Glad to meet you, Mr. Rodney; I believe my father comes to you.” Isabella said as she held onto Mr. Rodney’s arm.

I looked around and saw that we needed to proceed post haste. “We need to leave now. Mr. Rodney do you have anywhere to go?”

“Yes, my sister lives on the eastside. I will make my way to her house.”

“Are you sure you are able to walk?” Edward asked, worried about his health.

“I should be. Thank you again for rescuing me son.”

“It was my pleasure, please be careful.”

“I will try. Miss Swan, a pleasure.”

“Likewise.”

Edward offered his arm to Isabella and they hurriedly continued down the street toward the courthouse. Edward looked back over his shoulder to see the fire had grown so large. The weather had been so dry, that the fire was able to devour everything in its path. Edward became worried that they might not make it, but he didn’t want to share those suspicions and worry Isabella.

As they came upon the courthouse, Edward saw it was ablaze. Fire was bellowing out the windows and through the roof. A small brigade of firemen were trying to douse the fire, but Edward could see there was no chance in saving the building.

“Oh, Edward, the courthouse. What will I do now for a job?” Isabella cried.

“Don’t worry about that now.” Edward said, trying to comfort her. If he had his way, she would never have to work again.

Then, suddenly he heard his father’s voice. “You are a group of incompetent men. Put out this fire.” He bellowed in his uppity demanding tone.

Edward heard a loud cracking noise and looked up to see the courthouse bell that was positioned on the steeple of the courthouse begin to fall to the ground. The firemen ran for cover, but his father just stood there ranting and raving at the firemen. With a mighty crash, the bell fell on top of him.

Edward and Isabella stood there, momentarily in shock at what they had just witnessed. The firemen, who, moments ago, were being berated by father, were now running to his aid. They removed the bell from on top of him as they ran across the street to assist, but it was too late, his father was dead. Edward quickly turned Isabella’s face into his chest to protect her from the sight of his father’s dead body. All he could hear was her constant chant of, “I’m so sorry, Edward, I’m so sorry.”

“You kids need to get to safety.” One of the firemen shouted to us. We glanced towards the courthouse, which was now fully engulfed in flames. Edward quickly gathered Isabella, and, together, hurried further down Adams Street. But as they were leaving they heard someone yell out.

Edward turned and saw Emmett running towards them.

“Isabella, oh thank God you are okay. Edward, thank you for taking care of her.” Emmett said as he looked Isabella up and down, making sure she was truly okay.

“It is my pleasure. What is the news of the fire?”

“Not good, not good at all. The fire has jumped the river and we just found out the waterworks building is on fire. If we can’t put it out, we will be without water; if that happens, God help us all.”

“Have you heard anything from father?” Isabella cried.

“The last report was that he was with a large brigade fighting the fire on Dekone Street.” Emmett answered, with a worried look upon his brow.

“We are trying to get over to the hospital to check on Mrs. Swan and my mother as well.” Edward said.

“Please check on Miss Hale for me. When the alarm sounded, I had to leave her at the restaurant not far from the hospital. She was going to go to the hospital to see if she could help.”

“Oh, Emmett, we will find her and keep her safe.” Isabella answered.

“Thank you so much. I will come find you when I can, I promise.” Emmett promised.

“Emmett, we need you.” A fireman yelled.

Emmett turned and quickly returned to his brigade. Edward looked down at Isabella and could see that she was crying. Pulling her into his arms, he held her close trying to reassure her. He know that it went against decorum, but this was not a normal situation. “He will be fine.” Edward said, trying to reassure her.

“I am so worried that I may never see my father and brother again.” She sniffled

“I promise you that I will do everything I can do make sure you are all reunited.”

As they continued down the street, they saw that the fire seemed to be everywhere; the heat and smoke was overwhelming. Edward knew he needed to find them shelter, but somewhere that would hopefully withstand the fire. He glanced along the street until he saw it, St. Michael’s Church.

“Isabella, we have to seek shelter. Let’s go into the church. The bricks should protect us.”

“That, and God.” Isabella said.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome chapter of Flames of Desire. I really love your writing, how you can evoke such emotions in us. This was/is a nail biter chapter for me as we wait to see if everyone in Isabella’s family is safe and if Edward and Isabella will find somewhere safe to be. Thank you for sharing this story with us. 🙂

    Like

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