Amy pulled up in front of the house and pulled out the groceries from the pickup truck. As she inched in through the door she heard a huge blast which shook the house, she froze for a second and called out, “Mama! Papa! Anyone home?”

As she picked up the groceries from the table, she dropped a bag and fruits rolled across the floor. She rushed outside to see where the explosions were coming from. She wasn’t the only one. All the neighbours ran out of their homes chattering and speculating about what could be the cause.

“It’s that darn firecracker factory, we told the mayor it was too close,” one neighbour blurted out.

“We told him, said it would give our boys a good job. What job? The factory went bust in a year!” Another person remarked.

“Darn Mayor, what’s the Sherriff saying? Anyone called the Sherriff?” Miss Dilly prompted.

Confused looks were exchanged. Amy quickly reached into her shorts pocket and dialled the Sherriff. His phone was busy. She tried again a moment later, he was unavailable. “What the hell is going on?” Amy blurted out loud.

“What’s wrong honey?” a familiar voice inquired.

“Mama!” Amy ran into her Mama’s arms. “I am scared.”

“There’s nothing to worry about honey, it’s that darn firecracker factory; it finally burnt down.”

“But with all those explosions, wouldn’t some of them be going up in the sky now, crackin’ off?” Jonah, their next door neighbour pointed out.

There was a moment of silence as everyone internalized his point. It did make sense. Then where was this fiery blaze emanating from?  And why was the Sherriff unavailable.

“Hell! Jonah’s got a point! Has anyone else called the Sherriff, maybe this girl’s phone don’t work.” Miss Dilly blurted.

Jonah called this time, the Sherriff’s phone was going straight to voicemail. “He’s not available Miss Dilly; we better go to his office to tell us what’s going on here. Our houses might catch on fire if it isn’t stopped.”

There was a roar of agreement from the growing crowd. Sirens could be heard speeding North.

“Let’s follow them, we’ll find the Sherriff where they are going!” Irene, Amy’s Mum remarked. People hopped into their cars and the back of the numerous pickup trucks and followed the ambulance.

“Call Papa while we are the way Mama, I’ll drive!” Amy said as she swung open the pickup door.

Nothing would prepare any of them for what they were about to witness.

“I smell barbeque,” Jonah remarked in the car with Irene and Amy. “That isn’t a good thing is it?”

Irene and Amy sat silently as Amy sped past t-junctions and zebra crossings, swerving past children playing on the street.

“Is Papa answering the phone Mama?” Irene was quiet! “MAMA!”

Amy’s eyes began to cloud with tears as she drove, she finally screeched to a halt behind of the fire engines. She wiped the back of her hand as she fought back tears.

“Sherriff! SHERRIFF!” Jonah called out as he dashed out of the vehicle. The Sherriff turned shocked to see just how many people had arrived. It was the whole town all 200 residents.

“Anyone got a hold of Louis?” His brother Paul called out to his friends. People shook their heads and shrugged shoulders apathetically.

“Back up son, there is nothing to see here. Let these firefighters do their job.” The Sherriff calmly instructed. Jonah backed up slowly as he watched the firefighters put out the fire as the Coroner pulled out body bags from his vehicle ready to work.

“The coroner’s here, and his assistant, two of them! We have a massacre on our hands!”Jonah’s remarks stocked a fire within Amy who now yelled at Irene demanding her to call her father as she wept.

Irene rubbed Amy’s back to calm her, dialling repeatedly, the phone was ringing, there was no answer. After several attempts, just as she was about to throw in the towel, one of the forensics inched toward the crowd and asked, “Who is Irene?” He was holding a familiar phone with a screen lighting up.

Irene’s head fell on to Amy’s head, they now knew where Papa was, and they both collapsed on the gravel and wept. Amy was in for a ruder shock once the details came to light.