Perish the Thought

The voice in my head shrieks, “Do it!” but my body is petrified. I look back at the engulfed workshop as smoke encases me like a tomb. Scorching fingers of fire slither closer to my blistering skin. My body is broiling.

A distant voice yells, “Jump!”

I look out onto the street below and leap from the 10th floor window, my clothes ablaze and melting against my skin. The world rushes by in a single blink. The scream I hear is not my own, but that of the other 145 souls that perish with me in the fire.


This story was written for Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. For those of you who don’t know about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York City, you can read about it here. It was one of the worst industrial disasters in New York City history, taking 146 lives.


76 thoughts on “Perish the Thought

  1. Just looking at the pic I thought of the Triangle Shirtwaist tragedy. A few years ago read an article written by a survivor’s family member; one can’t imagine the fear these people felt! Although I found your story disturbing, I believe it was an awesome reflection of the photo prompt! Great read and thank you for throwing in the history lesson 🙂

  2. Dear Lisa,

    I remember the first time I read about the fire in the shirtwaist factory. Your story went right to my immediate thoughts. What went through those ladies’ minds? How did it feel? You and Janet definitely complemented one another this week. Well done.



  3. I watched a documentary on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire……Lisa you captured somewhat it must have felt like….those women were treated like cattle…..what for me was the most disturbing part of the story were all the women lined up in the caskets with burnt clothing, charred flesh, all the while their families identifying them…..good job…;))

    • Thanks, Sherry! I’ve never seen that documentary. I would like to. That tragedy was instrumental in establishing new safety regulations and reform in the workplace. It’s sad that all the suffering and death had to happen for workers to be treated like humans instead of animals.

  4. I hate to say this, darling, but this made me think of the World Trade Center — maybe because it’s so ingrained in the psyches of my generation, having watched it live as it happened. You really captured that sense of terror and panic.
    I’m not writing this week, but I’d love it if you’d drop by my blog for a second anyway, I posted a big announcement today

  5. An overall good story. Interesting that this incident comes up multiple times in stories this week. Your piece is tightly written. I would personally replace the “and” in “ablaze and melting” with a comma. JMHO, and only a small nit. 🙂 I enjoyed the read.

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