Chapter 2: Smoldering Silently

Aaron DeBee
7 min readApr 13, 2018

This is the second installment in an ongoing fictional storyline. The first installment can be found at Born of Smoke and Flame.

There must be order in chaos, even when we can’t see it. I pull my scarf and the collar of my coat more tightly around my neck as I watch the clumps of snow fall between the thin curtain of sleety rain. A few days of above-freezing temperatures have spoiled Green Bay with the insincere promise of Spring, and now we’re left feeling like fools.

There are no fluffy flakes today, no shimmering blanket of white dust to cover the ground. This snow, where and when it falls, falls in what can best be described as “glops”. There is a seemingly random quality to the frequency of the glops, but in another way, it doesn’t seem random at all. It’s as if there’s a bigger plan for them that I’m just not able to see quite yet.

My face is cold, but I threw my balaclava away after the fire. I couldn’t risk that any of my clothing from that night would be found. I’ve not been able to bring myself to buy a new one.

Word of the fire won’t seem to die here in Navarino, and I’ve even begun hearing it around other parts of Green Bay. Sometimes when Cliff talks about it, it almost seems as if he suspects my involvement, but he’s also not said enough for me to know that for sure. As I turn the corner to head for the door to the bar, I notice that his rusty old Chevy pickup isn’t in the parking lot.

There are no customers in the bar when I walk in, and Helen’s standing at the opposite end, watching what appears to be a soap opera. There’s a dingy white bar rag in her hand, but from the looks of the bar top, she’s not done much with it yet.

It’s a few moments before she notices me, and I don’t interrupt her. I don’t need a drink that badly yet. Her eyes first widen in surprise when she does finally turn around, and then her face settles into a kind of defensive scowl. “They’re better than ours,” she grumbles jerking her head backward toward the television. The program is in Spanish, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t speak it.

Aaron DeBee

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor, veteran, Top Rated on Upwork, former Medium Top Writer in Humor, Feminism, Culture, Sports, NFL, etc.