From the 1961 Journal of Duncan Blood: Incineration


I will admit that I was taken aback by the incident which occurred this morning outside of the Diner.

I had come into town early on business for the Historical Society, and so I was eating a late breakfast by myself in the Diner when I saw Ellie Dak. She was a petite woman, her face rather pinched but still pleasant on the rare occasion when she decided to smile at someone.

This morning, she was positively beaming.

As I drank my coffee, I watched her gather up sticks and pieces of wood from alleys and yards. She stacked them neatly on the street near the curb, and then she vanished for a short time. In less than an hour, Ms. Dak, the perennial ‘old maid,’ returned with Dr. Eldridge Luther. He seemed bemused by the woman’s persistence as she tugged him along by the hand. They were an odd couple, and at that moment, I realized they had been a couple at one point.

There was an unmistakable look in their eyes, and a coldness between them plainly evident despite the doctor’s feigned smile. I couldn’t hear what she said as she coaxed him to stand upon the pile of wood. When he finally did so, I heard him ask what it was all about.

Ms. Dak smiled and answered him in a sweet, calm voice and held up a single match.

“You said the passion and the fire were gone between us. I’m bringing it back.”

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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