The Last Match

(238 words- flash fiction/poetry)

The wind hammered down the narrow Sierra Nevada Mountain trail, followed by hail and then a blanket of snow as the man looked for somewhere safe to go…

he was covered by his old slicker poncho pulled over his sagging hat and leather clothes, a lone traveler who was nearly froze, but who was able to walk even though he couldn’t feel his toes…

… when the snow stopped and the night crept up like a rattlesnake, the traveler had a decision to make, if he were to survive he’d have to find a shelter to stay alive…

when to his relief he found a small cave in the mountain’s side, an opportunity to get warm inside, where his biggest desire was to start a fire so the heat could get to his frozen feet…

… he gathered some twigs and leaves off the dirt and knelt down while drawing a little cardboard box from his shirt, that to his horror only contained one match…

that he could feel and dimly see, a wooden key to warmth and being frostbite free, he sat there for what felt like an eternity, hesitant to see if the match would be able to relieve his misery…

holding the cardboard box on it’s side he took the match and let it slide across the rough surface and suddenly there was a spark, he lit the fire, and chased away the cold and the dark.

*****