Hello faithful readers. Today I’m sharing with you a story I’ve been holding onto for over a year now. I originally wrote La Llama Eterna (The Eternal Flame) for an anthology I was asked to join. The theme of the anthology was “fire” and each story had to involve fire in some capacity. Unfortunately, some of the other writers were unable to make the deadline and the anthology was ultimately scrapped; leaving me with a story too long and too specific to submit elsewhere.
La Llama Eterna (not a llama, like the animal, but instead prounounced eeyama) is a western with touches of magical realism about an aging, unnamed protagonist (think of an older Clint Eastwood from Unforgiven but in The Man With No Name trilogy) who is on a journey to find a fabled flame which is told to have the power to cleanse a person of all their past sins before death.
Our protagonist meets a young Mexican boy named Arturo—who has his own troubles with a notorious gang—and the boy knows of the flame’s location from the stories he was told growing up. Arturo helps the unnamed protagonist in exchange for the man’s protection from the gang.
This story deals heavily with themes of loss, feeling lost, regret, and the inability to let go of the past and the bad memories that come with it. In the end, this story makes us think about our own past, failings, and the power in letting go of those things which hold us back.
While I’ve grown as an author and have improved since writing this, I feel this story was the turning point in my writing career. It was the point where my unique author’s voice and style began to emerge. And while I continue to sharpen my writing skills and refine the way in which I tell and develop stories, this was the first piece I was truly happy with.
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it. And if you could be so kind, your feedback on the story is more than welcome.
If you don’t want to click through all the pages or want to read the story without the accompanying pictures, you can download or click on the PDF at the top of the page.
Caleb James K.