Fire! Fire! Fire!A Talbertville Tale 

Three fires burn in this fictional short story for children about a jealous 9 year old twin.

       Preacher  Tom wiggled in the pew for about the 15th time. The preacher was never going to get done. Mrs. DuBois gave him a “knock-it-off” look. He sat back, thinking of playing baseball after church while his parents talked. His twin brother, Ty, was sitting quietly like a little angel as always. Ty looked at Tom and smiled. A small spark flashed inside of Tom. Match Terri, 13, was writing in her notebook. TJ, 14, was sitting up tall and saying “amen” just like Dad did. Sometimes he said it at the wrong time. He was not as bright as the rest of them, but he made up for it with lots of smiles and big handshakes.

            At lunch Mom brought up the wiggles, while feeding little Tanner.

            “Tom, I declare you have ants in your pants. Why can’t you sit still in church? You’re 9 years old now.”

            “Aw, Mom, Preacher Talbert is just an old wind bag, and I don’t like what he was talking about anyway. Why does everyone think he is a good preacher? If he were so good, he would talk about something other than Jesus dying all the time.” Tom shot back.

            “Thomas Jordan DuBois! That will be all!” snapped Dad.

            Tom knew he was in for it now.  Dad never called him by his full name unless he was really in trouble.

            “You will be thankful some day that you had such a man of God to learn from. Why can’t you get it? You are so smart in other things. You won the spelling bee and came in second in the geography bee at school just last week.”

                                                                                                         1st place ribbon Red ribbon with star

            Tom just sat there looking at his okra, corn, and tomatoes. He had already eaten the beef and grits with gravy.  He could feel Ty looking at him too. Those sparks inside him flickered to life.

small fickering flames

            “Ty is so perfect,” he fumed. “He won 1st in the science fair. He sang a solo with the city boys’ choir last month." His oldest sister, Tamika, had called the solo "a real honor."

            Tom didn’t even like that kind of music, but his parents made him go to be there for his brother.

            “Ty plays piano for the offering at church each month. Ty does this. Ty does that. Ty is Mister Goody-Goody," he thought as he kindled the fire.

 small bonfire

      boy in suit  Tom forgot that it was Ty who moved his choir picture so he could hang up his ribbons from the spelling and geography bees.

            Dad had been talking to him, but Tom was watching Tanner. He had not heard a thing. Now Tamika was talking about helping in Junior Church.

            Tamika had been a foster kid who had gotten into a lot of trouble. She had even tried to shoot a cop. After baby Tanya had died 3 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. DuBois decided they wanted to make a home for some other girl. Tom wanted a cute little baby like Tanya, but when Social Services called, all they had was a 15½ year old girl in big trouble. Mom and Dad said they had prayed about it, and would try to help her. Now 17, Tamika was worse to listen to than his parents. She had asked Jesus into her heart. She sounded like Preacher Talbert, talking about Jesus all the time, only she couldn’t get the words all right. He tuned her out too.

       Father and son  Monday night Dad came in to talk to him before bedtime like he always did. His parents took turns talking to each of the 6 kids every night. He liked that. Even though his parents were too “churchy” for him, He had to admit that most of his friends didn’t have parents who took time for them like his mom and dad.

            “Great play tonight.” Dad clapped him on the back again. “Without your long drive the Cotton Socks would have never won. I’m proud of you. You drove in the winning run.” He patted Tom’s dog, Rick, on the head as he left the room.

                                                                                             Kid in baseball uniform

            Mom was talking to Ty on top of the bunk bed on the other side of the room. He heard her say that she was glad Ty was still praying for Tom. That really fueled the fire down inside.

   fire   “Ty always wants me to be just like him, just because we're twins." He fanned the flames.  "Who did Ty think he was? Always doing what he was told. Always praying for people to ask Jesus into their hearts. Always doing something at church so people would know how good he was. Always, always, always!

            Tom forgot that Ty had gotten in trouble last week for not doing his homework on time because he had helped Tom with his first. He hadn’t feed his dog, Rock, on time either. Ty never told his parents the real story. He got a week of extra chores. Tom forgot.

            It must have been several hours later. His head was foggy. He heard a loud squeal. Then he smelled it – smoke! His brain kicked in. He tried to remember all the things they had done for fire drills.

 house burning

            “Close the door. Put something down to cover the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out. Put something over your mouth and nose. Get down close to the floor and crawl to the window.”

       black bunkbeds   He jumped out of bed, but one foot landed on something with wheels. That foot went flying, but the other got stuck in the blankets. He landed on his elbow and he felt it crack. He tried to get up, but he couldn’t push with his arm.  The he heard them. Both Rick and Rock were in the room, barking and going all around. Ty shut the door and TJ put down a blanket, and then chased Rick. Ty got Rock in his arms. A fireman banged a ladder outside the window. When TJ saw Tom on the floor, he quit chasing Rick. He grabbed Tom and headed for the window. The last thing Tom could remember was calling Rick and Ty yelling that his dog would be OK.

            Tom woke up. His first thought was Rick. Where was Rick?  Where was he? Then the pain in his elbow brought him to his senses. He was in the emergency room. His arm was in a cast.

"No more baseball this season," he groaned.

            Dad was beside him. He told Tom that Mom was with Tanner. He had breathed in too much smoke. So had Terri and Tamika. They were in another room. TJ and Ty were fine.           

            “Rick? Is Rick OK? Did he get out?” asked Tom.        border collie

            “Yes, he’s fine,” said Dad, “but Rock was left behind.

            “Why?” Tom cringed at the thought. “Ty had him in his arms.”

            “Yes, that’s right. He did. But Ty loves you. He loved Rock too. When you fell he knew he could not hold 2 dogs. He put Rock down and picked up Rick instead. TJ had to carry you to the window and there was not time for him to go back for Rock.

            It was the next day before Tom could finally see Ty.

            “Why did you do it, Ty? Why did you let Rock die instead of Rick? You could have saved your dog. I don’t get it.”

     Tall flames “Well,… it’s like thi…,” Ty started to cry. “When TJ picked you up it made me think of Jesus dying on the cross to save us from the fire in hell.  God gave Jesus to us in the manger so He could grow up to die for you and me. He didn’t have to do it. He did it because He loved us. If God could give up His only Son for me, well… I knew I had to give up Rock for you. I’m really sad about Rock, but I’m sadder about you not asking Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins.”

            Dad squeezed Ty tightly as he cried.  Mom, Tamika, and TJ cried too. Terri just looked down at Tanner.

            “Oh,” said Tom.

            The next Sunday morning everyone hugged the DuBois family and promised to help. Preacher Talbert had an old plantation house with servants’ quarters where he had lived as a child. Plantation house in trees He had invited them to stay there until a new house could be built. Having a place to stay was good. Tom decided Preacher Talbert wasn’t so bad after all. He decided he would listen.

            “When God gave Jesus to die, He gave us His very best. He knew we could never get ourselves into heaven because we were all sinners. He could not let sinners into a holy place like heaven. Sin has a paycheck. It’s death. Not the death like when someone in our family dies, but an eternal death in the dark flames of hell. Flames, darkness The only one who never sinned was His only Son, so He sent Him to die in our place. Because Jesus wanted us to know He was God, three days later he came out of the grave and lives again. If we want to go to heaven to be with Him, all we have to do is ask Him. He’s just waiting for each of us to come to Him and believe in what He did for us so He can forgive us of all our sin. Is there just one person here that hasn’t asked Him to save him from sin and its wages? Is there just one who wants to ask Jesus to forgive him? Is there just one person who wants to go to heaven when he dies?”

          Boy in cast  Now it was Tom’s turn to cry. He thought about the fire. He thought about needing someone to help.  He thought about TJ saving him. He thought about what Ty did for Rick. He thought about what Ty did for him. He thought about why Ty saved Rick for him. He thought about Ty praying for him. He thought about himself.  He thought about the mean things he had thought about Ty. He thought about the fire burning in his heart. He thought about what Jesus did for him. He thought about why Jesus died for him. He decided to believe in Jesus, and right there he asked Him to forgive him.

            Tom prayed. The he looked up at Preacher Talbert. Preacher Talbert understood. He looked at Mom and Dad. They understood. He looked at Ty. Ty understood. He had been right about Jesus all along.

            “Now we really are twins,” smiled Ty. "and no more fires!"   twins

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."  Jude 21-23

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:31

Fire! Fire! Fire! - WORD SEARCH

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