We were in the middle of town, but the flames had danced along our street, devouring the two vintage cars parked in our front yard. Dad stood beside the burnt-out wrecks, tears staining his sooty face. “I was just getting started on the restoration… now look at them!”
“Dad.” I put a hand on his arm. “You saved the house and the shed. Even the boardwalk is intact, but look down the street! Nearly everything’s gone.”
He was looking at me but through me, his eyes gritty with smoke and exhaustion. “It was the firefighters, Margie, not me. I put the sprinkler up on the roof and I filled the downpipes with water, but you saw how ferocious it was. Our garden hoses were useless.”
He was right. I’d never seen anything move so fast. Dad had ordered Mum and I from the house, pointing down the hill to the dam. “Get in and wait for it to pass over. And keep your heads down.”
“But I can’t find Max!” I screamed.
“Forget the cat,” Dad answered. “Animals know how to find shelter. GO!”
We charged down the parched paddock, stumbling over rocks in the half-light. We were one of the lucky ones, we still had some water in the dam, thanks to the run-off from the nearby Blackwood Hill.
I won’t talk about when the fire hit. Just imagine we’re up to our chests in water. It’s pitch-black, and the air is a choking mix of smoke and burnt eucalyptus oil. The fire is roaring, a ravenous monster coming for us, leaping across the tree tops. Sometimes it touches down, sometimes it leaps over. The fire gods were with us that day, because it leapt over us, except for the finger of fire that singled out Dad’s cars.
I patted my singed hair down and gave Dad a weary smile. “You can rebuild them. I know you can!”
“Not this time, Margie.” His shoulders slumped. “They’re too far gone.”
I turned back towards the house. A dishevelled grey creature struggled out from under the verandah and trotted towards me. I scooped the cat into my arms and held him tight. “Max! You’re safe.” Tears fell into his scorched fur.
Kim was born sometime last Century in the magical island state of Tasmania, Australia.
From a young age, Kim was entranced with books, pens, and writing, and she dreamed of a life in journalism. However she got a little sidetracked and joined the Royal Australian Navy instead. Accepted into the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in 1988, Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1990 and dedicated the next 10 years to serving Australia as a Maritime Logistics Officer in the Royal Australian Navy.
Life in the Navy was demanding and exciting, but in 1995, Kim was diagnosed with the medical condition Lupus, and she was subsequently medically discharged in 2000.
Since then, Kim has learned to manage the auto-immune condition, and in 2015 she published her first book The Black Fire Chronicles – Origins. There are currently three books in the middle -grade / young adult fantasy series plus a prequel available for free by joining Kim’s mailing list on her website.
A complementary series to the Black Fire Chronicles details the lives of hero Andrew’s Guardians. The first in the series, Dorothy the Dreamer, aimed at young adults, is now available. Patrick the War Man, the second Guardians book is due out in 2020.
Kim lives in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia with her husband and fur child. Away from the Black Fire Chronicles world, Kim escapes to the garden to indulge her passion for nature. Occasionally she jumps on a plane to appease her wanderlust. There are many more worlds to discover…