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Flash Reprint: Ryan Griffith’s “Thrill of Fire”

Thrill of Fire

by Ryan Grif­fith


In mid-air the stereo con­tin­ues to thump like a heart-beat, the car already ripped through the railing–the boys still more than den­tals, more than a cop sig­nal­ing two with a peace sign–still with skin and liq­uid eyes that move in their sock­ets, scars map­ping their hands, the car torqued and rolling, a deep groan from the machine, and the still-liv­ing boy sees his mouth reflected in the mir­ror, and he loves his mouth, and the other crank­ing the wheel as if to steer through air, caught in that holy moment of falling, the spine’s lad­der still unbro­ken, their names still attached to the his­to­ries of skin, the throb of life ampli­fied, like the first thrill of fire, when some­thing plain and lovely is destroyed.



Note: This story orig­i­nally appeared in the Jan­u­ary 2011 issue of Night Train and was sub­se­quently cho­sen as one of the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Sto­ries of 2012.


Author’s Note

In the late 90’s I would meet a friend every week at our local dive bar, NuNu’s, to drink beer and share writ­ing in response to an exer­cise we had devised. This exer­cise required that we respond fic­tion­ally to some news item in order to human­ize the objec­tive reportage that had bled the story of its grav­ity and power. Our goal was to use fic­tion to empathize with those whose lives had become media fod­der and to imag­ine them with greater depth and com­plex­ity. “Thrill of Fire” was writ­ten in response to a story I read in the local paper about two boys whose car ripped through the rail­ing, plung­ing them to their deaths. It was just a tiny arti­cle buried beneath the head­li­nes, but it left me think­ing about those boys in their final moments. The story allowed me to freeze them in mid-air before they became two more media casu­alties, imag­in­ing them as beau­ti­ful, breath­ing, and alive in flight. I had com­pletely for­got­ten about “Thrill of Fire” until I dis­cov­ered it sleep­ing in an old com­puter file, over a decade since I had first writ­ten it. I thought, this isn’t bad, and sent it off to Night Train.


RyanGriffith.jpgRyan Grif­fith is a writer cur­rently liv­ing in Bel­grade, Ser­bia. His work has appeared in eli­mae, Night Train, Dogz­plot, Nanofic­tion, Fic­tionDaily, and the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Sto­ries of 2012. 


FF.Net Edi­tor Com­men­tary (Ran­dall Brown) 

I love the con­trast between this lives frozen in mid-air and the image of fire, some­thing that would destroy what is plain and lovely in life.

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