When it happened, it astounded everyone.
Not again was the cry around the room.
Poor Cousin Harry had gone up in a ball of fire.
It wasn’t until Harry’s dust was cleared away that the talk turned to “Have we got a problem as a family?”
This was because we all remembered Uncle Cedric going the same way. Was there a genetic issue with us all?
Those of us who were there on the two occasions recalled the moments before both men went up in their respective balls of fire.
Harry had coughed a few times, stretched his collar and remarked that his feet felt unusually hot.
Cedric had also had the cough, he loosened his tie, as he’d just come in from Sunday Church, kicked off his shoes and then it was all over in a flash. It freaked out those of us who were there as the sermon that morning had been on the fires of hell. Reverend Repent or Burn had been in fine form. We all left the church chastened and determined not to do anything that might invoke God’s wrath.
Needless to say, attendances and plate collections boomed in the weeks that followed.
But Harry was a mystery. He was a good boy, quietly spoken, he worked diligently both at home and at his studies. It got us all wondering if there was more to Harry than met the eye. After all Cedric did have a lot to answer for. He led a precarious life in every bar for miles and there were rumours Cedric had fathered more than one child in the district. Rumours were all that were as no woman in the district wanted to admit she’d had anything to do with him.
So, as we looked down at the charred remains of Harry’s working boots we wondered if it was a genetic issue and who might be the next one of to go up in a ball of fire.