“You always know who your friends are when disaster strikes. If it happens to someone else be there for them. You never know when you’ll need help next.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Pensitivity’s three things challenge – Bedroom – Began – Vest
AuthorWorld – first line prompt.
Word of the Day Challenge — Mongrel
#Writephoto Challenge – Picture above by KL Caley
Fire on the Farm
I sat drinking my morning coffee, listening to the news on the radio. I rose to my feet open-mouthed, now listening more intently.
“… A tanker believed to have been transporting petrol to the FiveWays garage, collided with the delivery lorry in the last twenty minutes. The two vehicles are blocking both the north and southbound lanes of the A3O7. The tanker is on fire, the spread of fuel has ignited the field. We’re being told by police and the fire brigade some nearby barns are in dan …”
What began as a restful morning, had just become a waking nightmare. I threw a T-shirt over my vest and ran from the bedroom.
My haste set Bond barking. The excitable Collie began running around my feet wondering what was going on. Marino, his lady and sheep herding partner, stood back watching, waiting for a command as she always did.
“Put me down you crazy mongrel!” I demanded of Bond as I pushed him aside. “Come on, dogs. We got work to go!”
Thrusting my feet into my boots, I grabbed my keys and raced out of the farmyard. In an explosion of free-range chickens, the dogs and I raced the Land Rover. At the drop of the tailgate, Bond and Marino jump straight in. “Good dogs!” I praised.
With no time to spare, I climbed behind the wheel and gunned the accelerator. The moment I turned onto the dirt track between my fields I could see the smoke rising like a volcanic cloud blotting out the sun. It was my field the tanker set ablaze.
The Land Rover’s hardy suspension bumped, clanged as I drove like a madman over the uneven ground. Seeing the gate ahead, I slammed on the brakes and swerved the big 4×4 to a stop beside it.
Pausing to drop the tailgate, I pulled open a field gate and then the one to the barn paddock. “Go to work, dogs,” I ordered with a whistle.
Marino gave an excited howl.
Bond one sharp bark as we all raced inside.
Thick black smoke was already billowing over the barn as the fire ate its way across my grazing field. I discovered the worst as I threw open the gate into the barn. The rear of the building and my stockpile of hay were already ablaze. “Away sheep!” I yelled as I unhitched all their pens.
Each pen was home to my Derbyshire Gritstone ewes and their newly born lambs. The ewes were cowering from the flames and covering their babies. Some nearer the blaze had lain down, succumbing to the smoke.
“Away sheep!” I bellowed waking them up.
Marino and Bond streaked past me like black-and-white lightning. The dogs knew what to do. Entering the pens, they began shepherding the herd from the hot smoke and flame-filled barn.
“Away sheep! Bond! Marino! Away sheep! To the Oaks!” I yelled between whistles.
Each dog barked twice. “Message received.” The dogs bounded about, nipping ankles and shoving the sheep into action. Driving them from the barn as fast as possible.
In the flurry of fleece, bleating and panting the animals began to run.
I clapped my hands hurrying them on. Then the rafter split. A huge burning timber snapped like a collapsing tree. I cried out as it thundered across my shoulder and hit the ground and explosion flames.
Bond began barking furiously. Beyond him, Marino grabbed a lamb around the middle. I watched through teary eyes as she carried a lamb out of the barn to safety, its mother running on behind.
My eyes widened as I realised I was pinned to the ground.
Bond tried to reach me but was beaten back by the flames.
“Away — Bond. Save — the — sheep!” I ordered as the acrid smoke began choking me. The heat scorched my throat as I let out a groan of pain.
The sheepdog never quit. Running straight at me, he leapt into the air. Flying through the pyre, he landed with a yelp on the other side.
Pinned to the floor, all I could hear was his claws clicking on the concrete. Then his teeth bit into my boot and he pulled.
“Good boy, Bond!” I dug in and yanked at the rafter.
Bond backed away, yanking all the time.
Just as my shirt and vest caught fire; I burst free because of the beams vice-like grip. I thrust my back on the floor, rolling until the flames were replaced by smouldering smoke and extinguished.
Bond began licking my face. Pawing at me. Full of concern.
“Good boy, Bond. Let’s get the hell out of here!” I climbed my feet feeling like a cooked turkey. Bruised and burned I turned a circle. The air rippled with unbelievable heat. The smell. The crackle of burning wood. The roaring of the flames was intense.
Bond barked at my feet.
His loyal call snapped me back to focus. I watched straw beneath him ignite. Clapping my chest, I opened my arms.
The Collie tensed his strong limbs and sprung into the air.
I was already running. I caught him around the middle and jumped into the fire. For a moment I felt I’d be burned to cinders. Then the smoke parted and we landed safely on the other side.
Marino was with us. Nuzzling Bond and licking my hands, she wagged her tail in delight.
“Sir! Get the hell out of that barn before it collapses!” yelled a firefighter beginning to douse the flames with a thick yellow hose.
“Thank you! Come, dogs!” I put Bond down and the three of us left the barn. Walking around the fire engine, we crossed the paddock to the Land Rover. It was there I smiled again. Marino had gotten all the ewes and lambs safely into the Oaks field and shut the gate.
Marino looked at the sheep and then sat facing me with a fond look on her soft features.
“Yes Marino, you did well my girl. You to Bond. You’re the hero’s this day.” I told them as I knelt and fondled their ears. “Let’s go get you two a heroes breakfast.”
Have a great day!