The Great Ball of Fire

It was a dark and stormy night as Kenny, Shirley, Tom, Bill, Diane, and two of the neighbor kids holed up in the shelter of the small green cottage on the shores of Otter Lake. The wind howled, the rain poured in sheets of water too thick to allow even a glimpse of the roiling waves that crashed against the dock, and peals of thunder shook the tiny cabin; yet no one seemed overly concerned. Kenny was busy painting the new bathroom, Shirley was curled up in her chair, enjoying a good book, and the kids were engrossed in an animated game of cards around the dining table.

Then suddenly there was a noise; a noise so loud, and so close, that it made everyone jump. A bolt of lightning had hit the antennae on the roof. Seconds later a streak of fire shot down the chimney. The force of the blow was so powerful that a brick was dislodged from the fireplace and then, as everyone stared in amazement, a ball of fire shot across the room. The children shrieked and ducked under the table. Kenny raced in to see what all the commotion was about. After a few seconds of speechlessness, Shirley sent everyone off in search of fire.

It didn’t take long for a thorough investigation of the tiny cabin and everyone was soon gathered again in the living room with a unanimous report that all was well. Nothing so spectacular happened for the rest of the evening, but Shirley couldn’t rest. She would wake one of the children at intervals throughout the night and send the chosen individual up into the attic to check for fires.

When morning came, and seven bleary-eyed survivors roused themselves for another day, the storm had ceased and the cottage was still standing, with no apparent damage save one loose brick.

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