Image by Yours Truly!

Written for Friday Fictioneers


The country had never seen such bitter cold before. The cold had penetrated into his old weary bones.

He saw the golden flames of a fire in the distance and started walking towards it in hope. He might be able to request the people to share their bonfire with him. They wouldn’t refuse an old man.

As he walked further, the flames of the fire kept rising up. What he thought was a bonfire was actually a row of huts on fire. As people howled and ran around with buckets of water, he crouched, drawing warmth.

About Anshu Bhojnagarwala

Fiction Addict. Agatha Christie Fan.
This entry was posted in Short Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Bonfire

  1. I think you’ve captured human nature brilliantly here

  2. neilmacdon says:

    I loved the pragmatic coldness

  3. Anita says:

    Someone’s pain is another’s gain…drawing heat from the huts on fire.
    Reality for some for sure.
    Fiery image for this week’s prompt, Anshu 🙂
    The Night of Bonfire – Anita

  4. kislaya says:

    Quite unexpected!
    Before the fire is doused, I hope the old man will derive warmth to keep him alive through the night.

  5. Dear Anshu,

    Such a contrast. Beautifully told. Thank you for the wonderful photo.



  6. Sandra says:

    A sharp observation on human nature. Good one, and thanks for an inspiring photo.

  7. Dahlia says:

    One man’s poison… Nicely drawn and lovely photo. Am hoping it will thaw out the chill in my fingers 😀

  8. What is disastrous for some can be beneficial to others. Your photo is sending us all in very different directions! Thank you, Anshu.

    Click to read my FriFic tale!

  9. Iain Kelly says:

    Excellent idea, that some people’s misfortune might be another’s solace.

  10. Jelli says:

    What a scary image you’ve painted for us.

  11. pennygadd51 says:

    Clever story, Anshu, taking us from hope to despair in just 100 words.

  12. Liz Young says:

    Brilliant and tragic story.

  13. Dale says:

    Thank you for the great photo and love your take. He’s just taking advantage of the situation… what more can he do?

  14. michael1148humphris says:

    I hope he can survive, for it sounds like time is against him.

  15. Thank you for this week’s photo prompt. Fire – both friend and foe – portrayed beautifully. And the cold reminds me of the recent Arctic Vortex in the midwest.

    • I was in Jaipur last month and it was quite chilly. We were sitting around a bonfire warming our fingers. So yes the story does remind of the recent cold spell while bonfire is what we think of in niemtter cold, isn’t it.

  16. He’s got to keep warm and alive, an old man wouldn’t survive in hostile clod conditions too long. Perfectly told

  17. Nan Falkner says:

    The cold is a killer, but hopefully for one night, he will be spared it’s predictable prickly demise.

  18. That was simply awesome. A great play on perspective.

  19. Abhijit Ray says:

    Some people lost everything in fire, another person tried to survive by soaking in the warmth. May be lost his belongings long time back. How life presents itself to different people.

  20. Wish! Humanity’s dilemma, especially in India. Good one!

  21. draliman says:

    Every cloud has a sliver lining!

  22. gahlearner says:

    So sad that he can’t find any other source of warmth. Maybe if he helps them they take him in? And thank you for the interesting picture.

  23. Joy Pixley says:

    I shivered when I read this, feeling the cold! What a terrible tragedy for those people, that just when they’re coldest, the fire takes away their shelter. But since he started with no shelter at all, that same fire provides him warmth. Not for long though, I’d guess — if the others see that he’s benefiting from their doom and not trying to help, I can’t see them helping him afterward!

  24. The huts already ablaze, the man was very pragmatic. He couldn’t change the sequence of events anyways. Love the atmosphere of your story. Nice photo, Anshu. =)

  25. It’s unfortunate that it so often has to be that way. My first thought that it was selfish of him not to try to help, but he has his own sad tale to tell too

  26. granonine says:

    You make use of what you have, I guess.

  27. 4963andypop says:

    Full of questions! A fire is a fire to a person who’s cold I guess, but why obn earth is the village burning?

  28. lisarey1990 says:

    This is very well captured. The flow of this story had great ebbs & twists. At the start I was so behind him & by the end I was like, ‘Get a bucket of water, help them!’ Really well-crafted.

  29. Beautiful. So poignant and touching. Self-preservation in his rawest state.

  30. Margaret says:

    Intriguing hints of a much bigger story in this. I like how you’ve left us guessing.

  31. Priya says:

    Love the picture.
    Can’t wish comfort for him though. Better he would have helped and earned the warmth of people’s affection.
    Fabulous story!

  32. The ending was unexpected as was his reaction, although I would think accurate if you’ve lived enough years you take opportunities where you might. Well done.

  33. He’s quite selfish in his needs but he’s old and the cold is severe so you can’t blame him. I hope he began to feel for the poor people losing their homes, once he’d warmed up a bit.

  34. For a short time he got his warmth… maybe there will be more warmth from helping the needy.

  35. One man’s distress can be another’s solace. Quite human.

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