The Claim by Tim Law

“A candle did.”

“I am sorry Ma’am, could you please repeat that?”

“You asked me what caused the blaze that burnt down mine and my husband’s home of forty-seven and a half years. I just told you, a candle was the very thing that created such a chaotic disaster.”

“Ma’am, I need to ask you to please not raise your voice. I understand your frustrations. You are under a great deal of stress as you have just suffered a disaster. In order for me to be able to enable a swift and fair payment for your suffering though I do have a number of questions I am required to ask.”

“Can I please be frank with you, young man?”

“Er… If you wish, Ma’am…”

“Tear your eyes away from your script for just a moment and please speak with me person to person.”

“Um… Ma’am you do realise that this call is being recorded?”

“Promise you’ll listen and I’ll tell you how this happened.”

“I’m listening…”

“Good! It was Monday, last week, night of that big storm. My husband William retired early for the evening and I’d ventured down to our study to get in the first bit of research for a book I’m writing. I’ve been gathering old maps from the Crusades, plotting the possible final resting place of the Holy Grail.”


“And I think I’ve found it!”

“Sorry Ma’am, not the Grail… How did the storm, the study, your husband’s early retirement, how did any of this result in the fire?”

“Stop reading from your script and I’ll tell you!”

“I’m sorry again Ma’am, please continue.”

“Well, I’d just unrolled two of the three maps I’d acquired on short term loan from the library in the city when suddenly there was a flash of lightning, a booming thunderclap and all the lights went out. Opening the desk draw, second from the top I found the stash of emergency candles and cigarette lighter right beside the can of bug-spray and my husband’s cigars. Setting up a dozen candles and lighting them one by one I soon found I had enough illumination to continue my work.”

“Go on…”

“I took a candle from the desk to our library shelves, the walls of the study are floor to ceiling with old documents William and I have collected over the years… I found a stack of scrolls and the dusty volumes I needed… By candle light it made it almost romantic referencing and cross referencing all those historic locations. Finally I needed the third map, opened the cylinder and thumped the end. Out popped exactly what I needed and a dirty great Huntsman spider. I slowly reached for the second draw again and drew out the bug-spray… Twelve candles quite quickly became an inferno, William and I barely escaped with our lives.”

“What a story… You certainly qualify for full compensation… I bet that’s a relief..?”

“Not by a long shot, young man… Now I’ve got to ring the library.”

About Tim Law

Timothy Law is a writer of fantasy, horror, detective and general fiction from a little town in Southern Australia called Murray Bridge. A happily married father of three children, family is very important to him. Currently working at the Murray Bridge Library in the role of Library Manager he has dreamed since his early high school years of becoming a fulltime author. Working for a library, surrounded by so many wonderful authors it is difficult not to be inspired to write. Many of his short stories and general musings can be found on his blog or on the Parenting Express website

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