Story Contest 2019 #1 - Outstanding Stories (Sub-junior) »

Outstanding Story (Sub-junior) - The Fire

“The Fire” is one of the outstanding stories (sub-junior) of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2019 written by Chua Swee Yen Raeanne, Artistic Strategies Academy, Singapore.

The Fire

“Dad, do you really have to go to work so early?” said seven-year-old Ian, Mr Tan’s second child. “I’m sorry, Ian but I have to go work early as I have a lot of work to do,” said Mr Tan, walking out the front door. After Mr Tan left the house, Ian looked around sadly at his mother and sisters. They had woken up at 6 a.m. so that they could say goodbye to Mr Tan, before he went to work. “I’m tired,” said Ian’s four-year-old sister, Emily. “I want to go back to bed.” Following that, everyone went back to bed, crestfallen. They were in a low mood as Mr Tan was always very busy and never could spend time with them.

It was around lunchtime when Mr Tan received a call. He usually got many calls from his boss and colleagues and so, he just waited for the ringtone to stop. He did not pick up his phone as he thought the call was from his boss or one of his colleagues asking him about work.

However, when his phone continued ringing, Mr Tan decided to pick up his phone. He realised it was Mrs Tan’s voice on the phone. It sounded urgent. “Help!” she said. “There is a fire at home! I’ve already called the fire fighters but they have not arrived yet! Can you come home and help us to put out the fire?” Then, she hung up.

Mr Tan rushed home immediately. He grabbed his water bottle and ran to his car. He quickly started the car and drove home. He was dying to get home as his family was in danger and his home was about to burn down.

When Mr Tan got home, it was utter chaos. Mrs Tan and her children were running around and trying to put out the fire. His eldest child, Sarah, spotted him and called out to Mrs Tan, “Mom! Dad’s home!” Mrs Tan saw him and rushed over. “You’re home!” she exclaimed.

Mr Tan walked to the kitchen where the fire was burning. Huge flames engulfed the kitchen. Sarah, Ian and Emily stood next to him, watching the fire and thinking of ways to put it out. Suddenly, Ian had an idea. “Aha!” he said. “The fire started when Mom was cooking. So, we should turn off the stove first!” Sarah ducked under the flames to turn off the stove. Then, Mr Tan had another idea. “Sand and water are good for putting out fires,” he said. The children grabbed Mr Tan’s water bottle, which he was holding, and tipped the contents over the fire.

The fire was partially put out. The children whooped and cheered. Then, they checked if they had any water left. They had none. Mr Tan said, “Now the only thing we can use to put out the fire is sand.” “But Dad, there’s no sand here.” said Emily. “We may have no sand here,” Mr Tan replied. “But we have flour!” He proceeded to get a bag of flour from the kitchen shelf, which was the only furniture in the kitchen that had escaped unscathed from the fire. Mr Tan tore open the bag of flour and poured the flour over the fire. The fire died down a little more.

Mrs Tan ran to the kitchen and helped by pouring a jug of water that was sitting on the living room table over the fire. Fifteen minutes later, the fire fighters arrived and helped to put out the rest of the fire. From then on, Mr Tan realised that family was more important than work. Just when they were feeling relieved, Sarah realised that there was still another problem. “Dad! Dad! Come and look! The furniture in the kitchen is all destroyed!” Mr Tan went to the kitchen. True enough, most of the furniture in the kitchen became just a pile of ashes. “We will have to buy new furniture.” Mrs Tan said. “It will cost a lot of money. Do you think we can solve this problem?” “Of course we can,” said Mr Tan. “We are family, after all.”

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