My Family

2nd February 2022
Prompted by the word ‘Focus’

Genre: Suspense

Trigger Warnings: Fire

I knew they would be perfect as soon as I saw them. They were a loving father and mother, two children, and a dog who just wanted to live out his life in the warmth. The children were young but not too young. I will have to have my guard up to ensure I do not accidentally hurt them. My first welcome was to warm them as I was sure they would be my new masters.

Over the next few years, I watched over the family, seeing the children become young people and the dog grow older and happier with my company. I saw them more in the winter months and less in the summer, but I enjoyed them both and was kept full during the colder times.

Over the coming years, the toys became books and computer games, and the conversations moved to more adult topics. Dinner conversations revolved around homework subjects, and the children would question things that were going on in the world. The children often politics, global warming, pandemics and science. Global warming was undoubtedly a good thing. The family always like it when they are warm.

Then came the day that the men came round and took measurements. I heard comments like low carbon footprint, environmentally better, not burning fossil fuels. “You could turn the fireplace into a nice bookshelf.” one said. I was confused; the fireplace is my place, where I eat and make my warmth. I forgot it all that evening when I was in full force, throwing lights and shadows across the room along with my heat.

“One last real fire”, I heard the father say. They all sat around and fed me, and as usual, I gave them light and heat. They looked at me with sadness and talked about how much better it will be with modern heating. “One last log.” the father said, and they all retired, leaving just the dog. He lay there for a while until my heat dwindled, and he also left me.

“One last real fire”, “You could turn the fireplace into a nice bookshelf.”, global warming. I was being replaced! They were going to kill me!

“One last real fire”, I summoned my last energy, the remains of the log shifted, and I generated enough heat for a small flame. Enough to throw some sparks out, enough to create more light, shadows, and heat. Enough for “One last real fire”.

After all, I am the hearth, the fire and the focus of this house.

Copyright: Andrew Miles February 2022

From the epidiemiology for the word focus is:
1640s, “point of convergence,” from Latin focus “hearth, fireplace” (also, figuratively, “home, family”), which is of unknown origin. Used in post-classical times for “fire” itself; taken by Kepler (1604) in a mathematical sense for “point of convergence,” perhaps on analogy of the burning point of a lens (the purely optical sense of the word may have existed before Kepler, but it is not recorded). Introduced into English 1650s by Hobbes. Sense transfer to “center of activity or energy” is first recorded 1796.