Photograph of a photograph

The original black & white photograph was taken in 1952. It’s one of a number of pictures illustrating the building of    Cleveland Dam    in North Vancouver © Tanya Clarke 2017

The original black & white photograph was taken in 1952. It’s one of a number of pictures illustrating the building of Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver © Tanya Clarke 2017

Writing Prompt No. 11

I saw him standing at the edge of the crater.

Smoke billowed and drifted along with the wind that had picked up over the mountains. I could see thin orange flames licking up the sides of the enormous hole in the ground. The man looked unconcerned. Wearing thick gloves and carrying a small metal container he picked up a number of rocks that rested just at the rim. His foot slipped as he went to stand. My sharp intake of breath was audible. As the man steadied himself he looked right at me.

“You shouldn’t be here.” he said.

“Why are you?” I was feeling brave, speaking as if I had every right to be there.

“They’ll be here soon.” he said.

I ignored him as I started down the rocky embankment to where the man was now kneeling. He didn’t say anything. I peered across the crater. The impact had been large and loud. I was surprised the whole place wasn’t crawling with people. Photographers, journalists, scientists. Yet all that were here were me and this man. He had removed the thick gloves revealing unusually long fingers and thin pale skin. The flames were beginning to lessen but the skin on my face was still flushed with the heat.

“Your shoes will melt if you keep standing there.” The man wore heavy boots with thick soles. My trainers were feeling warm. I looked about for a safe place to stand. A small patch of grass lay just behind me, the edges crisp and blackened from the fire.

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