The Great Fire Demon (250 word Micro-Fiction)
I try to catch my breath as I stumble out of my school’s front door and follow my classmates to the shelter. They’re piling in quickly, but Tanaka sensei urges us to move faster.
‘I need to see more urgency! The American planes have already begun burning houses! The school will be next!’
Inside, it’s cold as usual. The door slams shut behind the last of my classmates, the lights flicker and Tanaka sensei looks at his watch.
‘Almost two minutes! In that time, the Americans can obliterate a hundred buildings! We must do better.’
I wonder if the Americans really would target a school, even in wartime. But I wouldn’t dare to argue with our sensei; his wrath is like a great fiery demon that would swallow us whole at the first sign of disobedience.
‘Come now, let’s go back to the classroom.’
We march out of the shelter in lines like dutiful ants. Nobody talks as we make our way back towards the school. Then a distant rumble hums in the sky above. The sirens sound. Without the need for our sensei’s instruction, we turn and flee back into the shelter. This time we all cram inside in less than one minute.
Before Tanaka sensei can swing the door closed, my eyes are burned by a great white light. A demon with a fury twice the magnitude of our sensei’s suddenly appears. The door closes, and I wonder if our sensei accepts that he has been outmatched.
This story was awarded 4th place in its group in round 1 of NYC Midnight's 250-word microfiction contest. The assigned genre was historical fiction, and the word "less" had to be used somewhere in the story.