When the fire was finally put out, the townspeople began to walk among the ashes of what used to be their homes, their livelihoods, their belongings. Thankfully, there were no dead bodies among the ruins, but the twisted and scarred beams, the fragments of beloved old furniture and the stray blackened tool or child’s toy seemed almost like the severed limbs of loved ones.
A child ran into a hollow house, crying. His mother had hardly recognized the place as her own dwelling until he’d shouted and run inside. Now she watched in horror, locked in place by fear, as he began to climb the half collapsed staircase that led to the second floor. Her eldest daughter, who had been walking behind, holding the youngest of the family on her hip, thrust the baby at her frozen mother and ran after the child inside.
“Esav! No!” She snatched him up from the third stair and ran out of the house. As she stepped out of what used to be the front door, a loud crack sounded and a beam tumbled down inside, bring down half the second floor with it. Her mother clutched the baby so hard that the tiny thing began to cry, sensing its mother’s desperation.
“Hush, hush there. Hush now.” the mother snapped out of her stupor and patted the baby’s back. Tears ran down her face in a mixture of relief that her boy was safe, shame that she hadn’t done anything and pride that her daughter had.
They continued to walk through the town, looking for a place to shelter, along with everyone else.