Posies, diamonds, and dresses. None of these things could put a smile on Betsy’s face. Last Christmas, her husband tied a bow on a Dalmatian then placed the pup on her lap as she slept beside their son’s crib.
Now, a year later, Max was running ahead of the carriage barking at pedestrians to clear a path for her and Duke, the Clydesdale.
Thick, black smoke swelled into the sky. Betsy clicked her tongue twice, and Duke galloped faster. The red carriage whooshed through town even though it carried Betsy and the massive, golden steamer.
A stray dog ran beside them, but Max growled, and the dog scurried away. He barked and barked alerting the town to the red carriage.
“Atta boy, Max!” she yelled.
She could smell carbon and hear the panicked yelling. The carriage turned left then right; Shops, buildings, and people blurred together.
When she arrived, the fire whirled from out the windows crackling as it consumed the wooden home. Spectators had gathered, some had formed a line and were hauling buckets of water from the lake.
She pulled the reigns and leaped off. Immediately, she threw coal into the furnace then grabbed the hose attached to the steamer and dropped it into the lake.
Dark smoke billowed from the gold, metal machine. She glanced at the pressure gauge, then motioned to a large man standing amongst the spectators. She told him to turn the metal handle and pump.
She pulled the hose which rested on a reel beside the steamer and ran towards the house. Using her sleeve, she wiped away the sweat from her brow.
She opened the valve and watered flooded out. She soaked the windows and walls till finally the fire shrunk as did the crowd of onlookers. Inside, she found only ash. She sighed with relief.
She placed the hoses back, stroked Duke’s neck, then cupped Max’s head in her hands. After lifting Max onto the carriage, she climbed into her seat when a young girl walked up to her.
“Thank you,” she said in a tiny voice handing Betsy a handful of daisies.
Never had bouquet flowers elicited, so much warmth and pride from Betsy.