Circle of Fire
by Yvonne DeBandi


Short Reads

Circle of Fire by Yvonne DeBandi

Challenge: Write a scene based on the provided photograph.
Photo by Swaraj Tiwarifor
Written for:


© Copyright Yvonne DeBandi 2019

It had been a long time since we had a night off. The fact it coincided with the annual lake party thrown by longtime friends was an unexpected bonus. I was helping with the food when Mandy disappeared. No surprise there.

We met in college. She worked the cafeteria to make ends meet and ever since then avoided all things relating to food preparation. Five years later we were roommates. While she made up for it in many ways; the kitchen was my domain. Honestly, after I learned of her many accidents, it wasn’t a compromise. I valued my life.

“Oh, my word! Who gave that woman a weapon?” I laughed as I made my way down the backyard porch steps.

“What are you talking about?” asked Craig. “She said she had never attended a fourth of July party before… not a real one, anyway. She is surrounded by seven-year-olds, how dangerous can it be?”

My mouth hung open as I searched for a response, moving away from my guardianship only because Tonya physically turned my body and pushed me towards the barbeque. They were waiting for my carried goods. While my eyes moved towards my destination, my mind drifted to stories Mandy shared about her childhood. Her journey had been difficult. I wasn’t surprised she had never attended a fireworks gathering and thankful I insisted she join me… until I heard the screaming.

Dancing to the music, she had moved away from the area designated as sparkler territory. Turning around and around to the disco beat, the leaves beneath her began to ignite into flames, creating a circle of fire around her feet. Our eyes met with consensus, reaffirming our agreement: Mandy should never touch anything she could accidentally set on fire.

Quick motions contained the climbing wall of heat before it could do any more than singe the bottom of her jeans and one of her eyebrows as she bent over to assist. Despite the fleeting moments of fear, her eyes reminded me of the children now applauding with excitement from the wet grass. One precocious young lady helped by pointing to the posts, explaining the prepared safety zone.

Mandy, fearless and exhilarated, jumped back into the predetermined area and yelled, “Again! Again! Again!”

I couldn’t help myself. I picked up the supplies and carried them to her, offering a light. “Why not? You still have one normal eyebrow. Probably need to make them a matching set, right?”

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