Photo by Kelsea
Photo by Kelsea

Feel the heat of the low, slow-burning flames. The cool night breeze on your back. The smell of smoky wood, roasting marshmallows, and crisp clean forest air all mingling. Hear the crackle and pop of the fire as it finds its way through the wood it feeds on. Watch the flames dance like gypsies, fluid and care-free.

What I See.. A group of young campers all gathered round the red glow of the embers. Sticks that were found on the forest floor are now decorated with soft chewy marshmallow tops. The older campers gather together bits of chocolate and graham crackers. When faces have been stuffed, the fire rekindled, the stories begin. One of the older campers says he has work in the morning, and decides to turn in. The young watch as he enters the sleeping tent. The tale of Mad Molly has been told and re-told. Tonight, they tell the tale once more. Of the young girl who was committedly insane. Her parents were wealthy, they locked her in the basement and paid doctors to keep her secret. But when the parents moved away, they left the child, thinking she would starve and die. Now just because you’re insane, doesn’t mean you’re stupid. Molly let her nails grow, her toe-nails too. They grew into long cage-like nails, which she used to trap the rats and mice. She couldn’t start a fire, so she ate them raw. The bones ground down her teeth into sharp points. Oh but Molly was lonely.. One night, for it was always night to Molly, the construction team came through the cellar door. She asked them if they wanted to play, and they screamed at her. That made Molly angry. She killed the man like one of her rats. There was a scream and the other older camper, not the one who was speaking, but the one who was sleeping, had disappeared. The younger campers all exchanged looks. Some of secret knowledge and false fear, others with false bravado and real fear, and even some who were very simply terrified. Mad Molly’s house was not too far from her the speaker continued, the false fear laced in his voice. They said she loves sweets, and if you get too close with sweets, she’ll ask for some..and if you scream, you’re dead. A red headed shadow with glowing eyes enters the campground to see frozen faces. The words come out garbled, as if by someone who hasn’t talked in ages. “Would you like to play with me?” The young ones all scream and run into the safety of the open tent. Huddled in the middle away from the walls. The shadow of Mad Molly is portrayed on the wall, getting closer. But when she opens the tent door, she has no claws, her eyes don’t glow, and her face is familiar. It’s not a ‘she’ at all, the older camper. Young campers groan, knowing they’ve been tricked.

When I look at fire I see many things, this is only one of many. But the the pyre dances and your eyes are held captive, what do you see? Perhaps the fairies? Maybe a memory? Share your thoughts. Bring imagination back to life.


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