Here is a sample from my short story, Smokescreen in which an elderly couple are forced to flee a forest fire and must face their fears of what losing everything really means.



by Christopher Katava

Ed peered through the window at the approaching menace. Thick haze turned the rising sun into a large, salmon-colored ball. Even with all windows closed, the smell of smoke permeated the house, irritating his eyes and lungs. Occasional flakes of grey-white ash floated down to land on the wooden ledge outside the glass. Normally, the large picture-window provided a panoramic view of the forested valley below. This morning however, the growing dawn did little to illuminate the landscape.

Without turning from the scene, he cleared his throat and called out to his wife, Sarah.  “Well, if nothing else, dear, the smoke has given us some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.”

Hearing no response, Ed turned and watched Sarah pack away framed photos of their children and grandchildren. Putting pieces of clothing between each picture to protect the glass, she was the model of silent efficiency. In the dining area behind her, faded paint on the wall outlined a series of small rectangles of fresher color. Where the photos used to hang, barren space, reminiscent of an old photographic negative, now dominated the room. An oppressive emptiness lingered as if the house itself mourned the absence of what used to be.


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