Open Fire

A story by Domenic Marinelli

__________

It was 1989; I was seven. My parents and I had left the comforts of New York for a trip back to my father’s birthplace of Parella, Italy. It was a small town of about two hundred people.

What I remember most about the trip was the freedom I had. I could wander the town walking from one end to another all alone, exploring and going on private adventures.

It was on one particular day that my walk took me to a less populated area where the alleys were narrow and the buildings seemed all but abandoned. I walked slowly, trying to take it all in, when suddenly I could see a small open fire in the distance. It was at the mouth of a small alley. The fire drew me closer, and the air smelled oddly of a scent I associated with Christmas Eve. It wasn’t until I was standing a few feet away from the fire that I noticed the small pan of chestnuts sitting above the bright orange flames.

A noise startled me from deep within the darkness of the alley. An old man was standing there, staring at me through grey eyes that were both menacing and kind. We stared at each other that way for the longest time, until he motioned me forward.

***

It was dusk, and my father saw me returning from the distance; I could see him waving me home from the front door of the house he’d grown up in. “How was today’s adventure, Ademo?” he asked me when I got closer.

“Fine, Dad,” I said as I squeezed by him.

He tousled my hair before I was out of his reach and into the hall bathroom.

I stared into the mirror, as I do now all these years later, wondering about the hidden corners of the world and the human spirit, where darkness covers all, and the soul suffers most.

 


(Copyright 2017 - Domenic Marinelli)

Domenic Marinelli is the author of Weathered Tracks, Save … Act – A Collection of Ten Stories, Miles In The Dark, Beneath The White Darkness, 13 Years of Lamentation, Resonant Words (articles) and Strays In The Cold. He is also a freelance writer who has contributed various pieces to many publications including The Sportster, The Gamer and Steel Notes Magazine.


Domenic
Montreal , Canada

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