A Fire

Ezra’s eyes flew open. “Smoke,” he gasped. He sat up and shook Morgan awake. “Morgan,” he said. When she moaned softly, he shook her harder. “Morgan, wake up! There’s a fire!”

Morgan was awake in an instant. Grabbing her housecoat, she ran to the door. Ezra was close behind her. “Get out, Ezra,” she said, her tone brisk. “I’ll get the kids.”

Nodding, Ezra headed for the steps. He was halfway down the flight when he remembered it. He bit his lip and ran to the base of the steps. The fire was in his workshop – probably something as a result of the chemicals he used in his art.

He could hear Morgan getting Loki and Missy out the back. They were safe. That just left one thing. He ran across the little den, coughing as he tasted smoke at the back of his throat. He took down the painting and hurried out through the front door.

Morgan was already on the front lawn with the kids. Neighbors were rushing in to throw water at the fire. Ezra dropped to his knees beside his little family and sighed. “All right?” he asked, his voice hoarse.

“We’re fine,” Morgan said, kneeling beside him. She looked into his eyes and frowned. “What, in the name of all that is, could be so important that you’d risk your life to get it?” she said.

Ezra gave her a weak smile and held up the painting for her to see. “My father,” he said. Then, he coughed again. It was the only painting he had – the only image that existed – depicting him with his brother, mother and father.

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