Snakes and Pills

139 - lost knot

The smell of smoke hung in the air. Only a week had passed since Tyler had become a firefighter. He had been waiting for this day to come, but now he still wasn't completely ready to deal with his feelings. Anxiety, anticipation, and, he hated to admit, fear, bubbled up in his stomach.

No one had called the fire in yet. He peeked out the window of the firehouse, and through the morning light, he could see a big column of black smoke billowing into the otherwise-pristine blue sky. The smell was getting stronger, and call or no call, he knew the time had come.

Being the town's only firefighter was no small task, a pain Tyler felt all too well when it came to preparing to roll out. The truck and all the necessary gear had to be checked and loaded exclusively by him. Fortunately, he kept things in as much of a state of readiness as possible. Giving everything a final check, he confirmed that he was as ready to go as he would ever be.

He unplugged the truck's battery and water supply, and hopped into the driver's seat. He flipped a few switches on the control panel, and the machine sprang to life. He still felt that these new electric firetrucks sounded kind of wrong. Too quiet. He flipped another two switches, and the lights and sirens came blaring on. Now things felt more right.

He gripped the steering wheel nervously. This is it. It's go time. He stamped down on the gas, and the red beast lurched out of the garage. Tyler was on his way to the first real fire of his life.

Since he still had not received any official dispatch, he wasn't exactly sure where he was going. There was no surprise in not getting a call, though. This area was so small that it was entirely possible that nobody had managed to report the fire yet. Despite this, navigation was easy for Tyler. He just followed the plume of smoke, needing no address.

The lights and sirens seemed unnecessary too, as the roads were completely desolate. Tyler left them on anyway, to alert people to the fact that help was on the way. Sirens in the distance could be a reassurance to anyone facing a raging inferno.

Out here was a lot of farmland. He hoped that it wasn't a home going up in flames. He knew he would find out soon enough, as the smoke was getting much thicker, making it difficult to clearly see where he was going.

When he spotted bright orange flames licking the base of the smoke, Tyler knew he had arrived. Fortunately, it was just a simple grass fire, but there was a residential building nearby, so he moved with the utmost urgency as he brought the truck to a stop.

Tyler grabbed his gear and suited up. He was nervous, but the adrenaline rush was more than enough to cover that up for the time being. He began unfurling the hose, dragging it toward the base of the fire. The heat was making his work uncomfortable, but the smoke in the air was making breathing nearly impossible. His eyes watered, and he wondered if his respirator was working at all.

Wasting no time, he flicked the valve to release the water. It came rushing forth from the hose's nozzle, and he pointed it at the flames.

At the same time, a resident of the nearby house also came rushing forth. He was an elderly man, and he was shouting angrily.

"What the fuck are you doing?! I told you idiot kids to stop playing firefighter whenever I burn leaves! Get your Power Wheels out of here or I'm calling your mother, goddamnit!"


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