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Dylan Knight: Inferno
It began not too long ago, in fact it was just a few days ago to be precise. I was sitting on the queens bound M train heading home; we had just passed Queens Plaza.
It was Friday morning, and when I say morning, I really mean morning. It was 3:10 am, I had just come from the midnight premiere of the eighth harry potter movie.
While waiting for the train at Union Square I had made a mental note not to ever go to a midnight movie ever again for two reasons. You can get very tired and it cost over 40 dollars.
Once at the 36th street station I decided to take a little nap, I only have about six more stops but I really need the rest. I was asleep in three seconds and I had the strangest dream.
In the dream, I was standing on the platform of the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue train station. It was one of the busiest stations in the city, yet there were only five people here at the time.
I noticed the man who was standing to my right. He was at the edge of the platform, leaning over, looking down the tunnel to his right at the arriving r train.
I love the R train, it is the only train, oh sorry, back to the dream. Wait a minute, what happened to the person? Wasn’t he just standing there?
At first, I thought that he had gone on the train but then I noticed that the train was still moving. I was stumped until a few seconds later when I had realized what had happened to the man.
He had fallen to the tracks just as the train was pulling into the station.
The train had come to a complete stop and stayed there about ten minutes until about 15 police officers came running down the stairs. Five ran into the train while the rest ran into the tunnel.
They could not move the train out of the station because they could risk injuring the man. The conductor had to disconnect the last four cars and slowly back them out of the station.
I slowly walked over to the edge of the platform and looked down. I half expected to see something disgusting like I did a few weeks ago when the M15 bus that I was on hit somebody.
There was nothing to see that was even close to being disgusting, the man was lying on the tracks just inches from the electrified third rail but other than that he was fine, nothing wrong.
Seconds later I woke to the sound of the announcement ringing through the car, I hated those, so annoying. “We are being held here due to train traffic ahead of us, please be patient.”
Just a few moments later the conductor’s voice rang out. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem in the next station and we need all passengers to head to the front of the train.”
I stood with the other five people in my car and began to make our way to the front of the car where the door was. (Never gone through it, I was both scared and excited.)
As soon as I stepped out of the car, I noticed the change. It was so much darker out here and about 20 degrees hotter. I kept my eyes on the tracks and walked through the door into the next car.
Once I made it to the first car a few minutes later, I saw that, there were three police officers in the car. They were escorting passengers through the open door at the front.
When it was my turn, the officer pointed to a small ledge that was just outside the train. “Follow that to the station, it’s about 300 feet away.”
I stepped onto the ledge, had to recover my balance, and then I took a few steps. I stopped once the smell hit me. Yes, it smells, as a subway tunnel should.
Sure enough, not even five feet ahead of me there was a dead rat lying on the tracks. I turned my eyes away from the tracks and looked at the wall, which was equally disgusting with all the graffiti.
Two more steps and the color drained from my face, the train was now behind me and there was nothing to hold onto. I was lucky that the back of the next train was just a few feet away.
The last three cars of the next train were empty, all of the passengers must be t the front also getting off. I wonder what could cause such a delay.
The moment I had climbed of the train I was able to see the station, it wasn’t too far but its kind of hard to walk along a two foot wide ledge with a wall on one side and a train on the other. In other words, it took well over an hour to get to the station.
It was now half past four, early yet the station were bustling. Aside from the three or four dozen passengers, there were also countless officers and ambulance workers.
There was a stretcher a few feet away and somebody was lying in it. I tried to get a bit closer to the person to get a better look at what had happened.
No such luck, I took two steps and was stopped. “Sorry kid, this area is blocked off. You need to use the stairs behind you or get on the arriving E train.”
Well, I was able to see the mans face but when I did, my heart skipped a beat and my face turned even more pale than when I was in the tunnel. Could it be?
Yes, I was standing on the platform of the Jackson Heights- Roosevelt Avenue station, and the man in the stretcher was the one from my dream.
I did not get home until ten minutes after five. I did not bother eating or doing anything for that matter. I went to my room, changed my clothes, and jumped in my bed.
You thought I would be going to sleep right? Well you are wrong, who would go to sleep after what had happened an hour ago? Knowing that your dreams could possibly hurt somebody.
Well guess what? I am not a machine, I am human. Like all humans, I fell asleep, and I had a dream, actually, I had a bunch of them.
When I opened my eyes.(In the dream of course.) I was standing in the yard of a nice looking house. I knew where it was.
I looked over the fence and saw the street signs, 107th street and 91st avenue. I was in Richmond Hill. I used to live down the block on 87th avenue, by the train tracks.
I used to love that place, oh sorry, this is just like the other dream, I keep getting distracted. Back to the dream.
In the yard, there was a tool shed and three chairs. A middle-aged woman was sitting in one of those chairs watching her son who was playing in a small pool next to her.
Every five or so minutes the boy would try to hide from his mother by going under the water. (Must have thought it was cute, but do not worry, his mother pulled him out each time.)
After a few minutes of nothing happening I began to think, well this is boring, nothings happening. Maybe this really is just a dream after all and nothing bad will happen at all.
Okay, I knew that was a lie and it was proven a few moments later when the mother stood to stretch, turned away from the pool and began to walk towards the house.
Wow, right now that looked like a bad decision; she cannot just leave her son here. Well, maybe she will come back out before nothing bad could happen, right?
Wrong. Again. Before she could come back, the boy had this crazy idea to do his routine again and go under the water. He did not come back up. I would have helped if this weren’t a dream.
The scene had changed again, now I was in a deli and yes I knew where it was but we agreed not to talk about that sort of stuff.
It was dark out and the only soul in the store was that of the man behind the counter. He was busy counting his day’s earnings and did not notice when his new customer walked in.
If he had been paying attention, he would have noticed that this man was wearing an open backpack. He would have found it odd that the bag was empty.
The man made his ay to the fridges where the soda was kept. This area was hidden from the cashier. (Does not matter though, he was still counting his cash.)
The man slid open the door and began dumping bottle after bottle of Tropical fantasy into his bag. Next, he began raiding the shelf with the potato chips, stuffing at least 20 of those dollar bags into his bag.
All that was left to do was walk up to the front with a box of pop tarts in his hands and pay for them so the cashier would not be suspicious.
The man behind the counter did not know what had just gone on right under his nose, nor did he? No, he probably did not.
Again, the scene had changed. Now I was in yet another familiar place, I was standing on the Staten Island Ferry.
Just like the first dream, everything seemed fine for the first few minutes. Well I knew better, I knew that something can, and most likely will go wrong.
I slowly walked around the boat looking for danger. About a moment later I realized that I didn’t have to look much, I’m pretty sure everyone on the boat heard the screams.
“Somebody help them!!!” I found the person who was screaming. She was looking over the edge of the boat. I followed her gaze, and yes, there was trouble.
There were people in the water, and not just one or two, there were three men, two women, and five children struggling to stay afloat in the icy water. (Yes, it’s the middle of July, just trying to be dramatic.)
“Listen to me!!” one of the boat workers screamed into his phone. “We have ten passengers overboard. We need a helicopter or two sent to the Guy V. Molinari ferry.”
I could tell they agreed to send help because just seconds after hanging up, two choppers took off from the city and were heading our way as fast as they could.
They did not make it in time, they were able to get three kids out of the water but the rest could not be found. They were taken, stolen by the river.
I woke up nearly screaming with sweat pouring down my body. After seeing what I had, I felt like I just had a fatal heart attack.
It was now a quarter to twelve, perfect. Just in time for the twelve o’clock news on channel seven. Now I can see if they were real or if they really were just dreams.
“And now our top story,” The reporter said. “A man from Staten island had a heart attack just nine hours ago and collapsed onto the subway tracks at Jackson heights-Roosevelt Avenue. Robert Lowne was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he had been tested.”
“Six of the seven tests had come back negative. Lowne did have a fractured chip in his left leg and will have surgery today. If lucky he will be able to walk again within five weeks.”
“our next story, ten people, including five children fell off the Staten Island Ferry when the railing they were leaning on broke at 3:07 am. Three of the kids were rescued but the rest were never seen again, until two hours ago.”
“One man and two of the children had managed to swim the fifty yards to Governors Island where they were treated. In other news, a boy drowned in an inflatable pool while his mother was cooking.”
Okay, I turned the T.V. off and went back to bed, still tired. While waiting to fall asleep I began to think. You know what? I should not hide from these dreams. I should help these people.
If I had one of these dreams earlier, I might have had some time to help them. I could have become a hero.
(Do not worry, I do not think I will let my fame get to my head.)
I took matters into my own hands on Monday July 18. Ever since I watched that newscast I had six dreams, none of them were big enough to help with though.
Then last night came the mother of all dreams, it was like watching Saw only it was not a movie, it was real life.
Really, it was not just a nightmare. It was pure horror. The dream took place in Rego Park, which is not too far from here.
It happened in a ten-story apartment building on Queens Boulevard just off 63rd drive. No there was not a robbery or a shootout, nothing like that. The whole building burned down.
I was able to catch a glimpse of today’s newspaper headline. It read “96 killed in building blaze, no survivors.”
Yes, that part stunned me, no survivors. Then I learned that the fire took place a few minutes after five. Everybody was still asleep.
Like most of the dreams, I woke up nearly screaming in the middle of the night. At least this time I wanted to wake up so I can help these unsuspecting people.
I snuck out my bedroom window about an hour before the fire was to take place and I walked along Queens Boulevard past the mall and towards the building.
I made it with just minutes to spare. I ran into the building and began banging on peoples doors screaming “get out, the building is about to burn!!”
Yeah I know that is a stupid thing to say. The residents thought so too, out of the six apartments on the first floor, not even one responded.
Well, they did respond, but not in the way that I had hoped. One guy came out and threatened to call the cops, one came out and screamed, and one even threw a shoe at me.
Okay, that floor was a complete and utter disaster. Well, on to the next floor.
I had a little more luck on the second floor, one family came out and began running down the stairs. I bet they did that only because there were three kids with them and they did not want to take the risk.
Another resident said he would call the cops and guess what/ this time he actually did. They said they would be here in five minutes. (He had them on speaker so I would know he was telling the truth.) They never came.
It took me about 30 seconds to get everybody on the third floor out, not a single person protested or denied that his or her homes were in jeopardy.
About two minutes later, I began to smell smoke, the fire had started. I had to get to the top floor to get those people out.
I kept running until the stairs would go no farther and then I realized that I made a mistake. This building only had eight floors. I was in the wrong building.
I ran down the hall to the window and looked out. The fire was in the building to my right.(I should have paid more attention to my dream.)
This was going to be hard (and deadly) but there was only one way I was going to get inside that building in time.
I went through the door that led to the roof and very (Very!) carefully walked to the edge. There were about 15 feet between the building I was on and the burning one next door.
I took six or seven steps back, and took off running for the ledge. Once there, I planted my right foot firmly on the very edge and leaped.
As I said before, there was a 15-foot gap; nobody could make that, not even me. I ended up a few feet short and began to fall.
I was very lucky that the fire escape reached out an extra five or so feet so after falling about two stories I was able to grab the railing.
I took a deep breath and looked down. I was at least fifty feet in the air, I would not have minded resting here for a few minutes, but the railing that was keeping me alive was beginning to brake.
Few more seconds and it will not be able to keep me alive anymore.
I slowly began to climb down. (Only a few inches because there was nowhere to go.) Then I began to swing. When I let go of the railing, because of my swinging, I was able to land safely on the steps of the fire escape on the floor below me.
I quickly regained my breath and ran up to the tenth floor. The people on this floor were the most important, there was no way they could get out, and we were already like three minutes into the fire.
I kicked out the nearest window and climbed in. In order to tell you how strong this fire was, I need to tell you first that the fire started three floors below me, yet this floor had melted stairs and flaming walls.
I could hear crying coming from one of the bedrooms. I walked towards the door and opened it to see that the room was fine (aside from the smoke, no fire, but there is smoke, a lot of smoke.)
There was a mother and two children in this room. The kids were up and were the ones that were crying but the mother was fast asleep.
Something made me get the kids first. I told them I was here to get them out but they were too scared to come with me so together we woke up the mother who at first screamed when she saw me in her apartment but screamed even louder when she noticed the smoke.
“Stop screaming!!” I screamed at her. “We have to get you and the kids out of here!” That made her stop screaming, but she was still panicking. (Its not every day when your place burns down. I would be panicking too if I was in her shoes.)
I left the room, battled through the flames (there were not that many where I was going.) and made my way to the kitchen.
Good thing their sink was one that came with that little hose that comes out of the faucet, or I would have spent the next hour running back and fourth with cups of water.
I sprayed down the walls, the carpet, and all the furniture, putting out all the flames in a matter of seconds. It was now safe to lead the family out of the bedroom.
“Okay, you can come out now!!” I screamed so they can hear me through the roar of the flames in other apartments.
Change of plans, once I led them to the door, I opened it and nearly burned off my flesh. The fire was in the hall, we had to get out another way.
“We need to use the fire escape!” I called to the mother and then I led them to the window, and helped get the kids out.
Next, I said my goodbyes and went back into the kitchen to grab the sink hose. If I were going to help anybody else on this floor, I would need to clear out the hall.
Okay, clearing out the hall was easy, but getting into the hall was the hard part. With every step, pieces of the floor would crumble.
Because of the possible danger of the floor collapsing, I decided not to go too far, I went to the door right across the hall and opened it. (Yes, it was locked, but the fire had weakened it.)
For the time being, I believed that there was nobody in here, I did not hear anybody or see anybody. I was even going to leave this room right then, until…
I noticed that the sofa in the living room was trembling slightly. I did not think that a fire could cause furniture to move so I went over to do a thorough inspection of the sofa.
There was a pillow on top, and there were two blankets pulled over a box. Just in case, I looked in the box. I actually expected to find something like a cat or a dog in there.
There was nothing in the box that need saving, just a half-eaten slice of pizza, two ripped tickets to a Knicks game, and the first Percy Jackson book.
Well I have pretty much checked out the entire sofa. Except for under, that is. I pulled up the blanket because they were blocking the space underneath; I dropped to my knees and looked under.
Yep, there was a kid there. A little boy no older than five was hiding there.
“You can come out” I said. “Its okay, where are your parents?”
“My mom just left to pick up breakfast a few minutes ago from the cafeteria downstairs.”
Okay, I need to take care of this kid and then I need to make sure that his mother gets out safe. The boy crawled out and then I led him across the hall and to the window that led to the fire escape.
“Hey!!” I screamed downward. The mother and kids who I just rescued a while ago were still heading down. They were three floors below me.
She looked up and saw me, when she saw the kid standing next to me she understood what I wanted her to do.
She left her children where they were and walked back up to me. She held out her hand to the boy and led him down the fire escape to safety.
On to the next room. I went back inside and into the hall again. This time I could not get out. As soon as I took three steps into the hall, the center of the blaze had reached this floor and ate at the walls around me.
There was no way out, fire on every side. There wasn’t much that I could do to get out of this situation but I had to try something right? (I had no idea what that something was.)
The first thing that came to my mind was flour. Fire feeds off oxygen and I heard that flour sort of sucks the oxygen out which in turn would kill the fire, leaving me alive.
One problem, I was in a hallway with no doors or windows, where was I supposed to find flour. There was no other logical way out that I could think of.
Then I guess it was time to go on with the illogical ways to get out of here. As soon as I can think of one that is, and I did not have much time to think!
The first thought that came to mind was just crazy, and dangerous. The second thought was about twice as crazy and the third was the same amount of crazy but about three times more dangerous.
I went along with the third idea, I ran right into the fire. Maybe I will get lucky and the blaze only goes on for a couple of feet. If not, I am going to come out badly burned, or worse.
Well the fire was not too long, but it was not that short either. I had managed to reach the other side alive and my skin was not melted. However,…
Four inches of my hair had been burned off, the palm of my right hand was blackened, and my shoes have melted and were gluing themselves to the floor.
It was hot in there; it was so hot that I can still feel the pain. Oh wait, my clothes were on fire!!
I ripped of my shirt and began bating the floor with it to put out the flames. Once the shirt had been cooled of, I used it to put out my pants.
I might have batted the floor a bit too hard. (Yes, I know I batted it with a shirt, but still the fire had weakened it a lot.)
The floor began to creak under my weight, a lot more than about thirty seconds ago. I could tell something had changed during that time because thirty seconds ago, the floor was there.
Yes, the floor was falling, and since I was standing on the floor at the time caused me to fall with it, based, I think, on the law of physic.
There was only one thing I could grab onto, what was left of the floor. Would you do that? Would you grab onto something that was just on fire? I did not think so.
Well, I will get hurt either way right? My only options are to grab a hundred or so degree floor and burn, or fall 15 feet into a pile of still burning debris.
I have to admit, pulling myself up and getting just my hands burnt was a lot safer than falling into two-foot high flames.
I grabbed what was left of the floor and began to pull myself up. Not such a good idea. The rest of the floor crumbled and now I had nothing to hold onto, therefore I kept falling.
This was a bad idea because the floors, which just collapsed fell into the fire and gave it even more life, the height of the flame doubled and in not even two seconds, I was lying in it.
Again, my whole body was burning, and this time I did not have my shirt on to at least give me a bit of protection from the heat.
Quickly I jumped up and dove into the bathroom. There was fire in here but not that much so I would not burn as fast. I turned on the shower and doused the flames that were in the bathroom until they were gone.
Of course, before I could do all that I stood under the water for about thirty seconds to cool off, and then I took care of the fire.
Once the bathroom was cooled off, I went into the living room. The showerhead could not reach too far so that was the only room I could do.
I sprayed the room for the better part of a minute until there was nothing left but soaking (and burnt) furniture.
That went well, except for the small problem that the flames from the rest of the apartment began to spread into the living room again.
Forget what I just said; now it was a big problem. Smoke was now filling the room and it was not going anywhere. The window must have been closed so in a matter of seconds I could suffocate to death.
Another problem arose, what if there was somebody in here? Either I stay to help and possibly get some sort of lung damage or I leave them to die.
I do not like the thought of lung damage but the thought of letting somebody die just so you do not die is even worse.
I made up my mind, I had to help whoever is in here, and I will definitely be mad if it turns out that, there was nobody in here.
That thought soon was proved false because after approximately three minutes of searching, I heard a tiny cough coming from the room to my right.
I opened the door and yep, there were people in there, there was a baby in a tiny cot who was crying and the father was lying on the bed.
He was not sleeping.
I checked his breathing. He was breathing but it sounded scratchy, he must have known about the fire but passed out after a few moments of breathing in the smoke.
First, I tried shaking him. He did not move, and then I tried dumping a little water on him. That did not work either. What else was there left that I could do?
I had to figure out what to do quickly, the smoke was starting to burn the inside of my lungs. I could not take deep breaths; they were slow and very painful.
I guess there was one thing left to do, good thing it’s not dangerous. I walked to the window in the apartment and opened them all the way.
That only accomplished one thing, but I needed two things done. All that opening the windows did was clear out the smoke however, the man did not wake up, even though he was breathing better.
I did not know what to do. There was one thing I knew I was not going to do, and that was CPR. Even if the man is dying, I will not do that, sorry.
True, there was one other thing that I could do, but I was not about to carry a middle-aged man half way across his apartment.
You are right; I cannot just leave him here. I suppose I will have to go along with plan b. I grabbed his arms and then began to drag him out of the room.
After perhaps twenty steps, I began to fell the floor shake. Oh great, the floor is going to collapse again. I cannot let that happen with him by me.
Hey wait a minute, where is… Oh great, I forgot the baby. I cannot get the baby now, I have to get the dad out of here and make sure he wakes up.
What? You are going to criticize me for not taking the baby. You want me to take the baby and leave him out on the fire escape on the ninth floor of a building while I go back and get his dad? I am not doing that.
When we made it to the window, (Actually, I had not known that we were at the window, there was still a bit of smoke and could not see that well. The only reason I knew we were at the window was that I accidently banged the mans head into the wall.)
That was bad because I could have hurt him, but it was also good because he began to stir. “Ow!” he complained. “Hey! Who are you? Oh, you know what? Never mind, I see smoke which means you either started it or you are saving me.”
“Why can’t I do both?” I asked. “I heard of this guy who burned down his own house and went in to save his family just so he would be seen as a hero.”
“Okay, enough talking please and where is my kid?” “He’s in the cot; I thought it would be best to get you first instead of leaving him on the fire escape.”
“Wow that is the smartest thing I’ve heard a teenager say in like, years.”
“Yeah, my dads a cop.”
“Just go and get the kid!! I can climb onto the fire escape on my own, but I’m to dizzy to carry the kid, my head hurts for some strange reason.”
Lets keep that little accident with his head and the wall between us, okay? Good. I would not want him to know that I almost killed him while trying to save him.
What the… wow, one moment the kid is crying and the next he is fast asleep. I do not know if that is common with babies, the truth is, I have not seen one in real life in about a year.
Anyway, I carefully picked up the kid, woke up at the sudden movement and he began to cry again. As I said before, I do not have much experience with babies so I had no idea on what I was supposed to do to calm him down.
“Its okay, wait a minute, you probably don’t even know what’s going on do you? You must be hungry or something right. Don’t worry; I will grab something from the fridge on the way out.”
The kid made no notion as to that was what he wanted, but then again, he probably did not even know what I just said.
“Hey!!” I called to the father. “I think your kid is hungry!”
“Right, bottom shelf of the fridge, there is some baby food. Get two cans of those, get the white bag that says Dominos and get something for you. You deserve it for what you’ve done.”
Anything I want, that is nice. Well yeah, the place is burning so all of the food is going to go to waste anyway.
On the bottom shelf there were those tiny bottles of the Gerber baby food, he doesn’t know for sure how long they will be gone so I put five bottles in a bag just in case.
The bag from Dominos was there; I pulled that out and let us see. What to take for me? There were cupcakes, a bowl of salad, chicken nuggets, a box of bananas.
Whoa, I need to get out of here; I cannot look at every piece of food in here. I grabbed two of those red, white, and blue donuts from Dunkin Donuts that are for the new Captain America movie.
I handed the boy to his dad once all of us were out on the fire escape and then I gave him the food.
I did not want to go back in right away; I wanted to let my lungs relax from all the smoke I have inhaled, and I wanted to make sure that the two of them make it to the street okay.
It took a while for them to get down,(he had a baby in one hand and food in the other.) I was afraid that the nearly ten minutes it took for him to get down decreased my chances of getting more people out.
The building was already beginning to collapse, the structure was breaking and you could almost feel the building move.
Oh right, the building really was moving. It began to tilt towards the side, slowly at first but then it picked up speed. (Even with this extra speed, it was still going very slow, like a centimeter every couple of seconds.)
At the current speed and the rate at which it moves faster, I will have about five minutes until the part of the building I am on hits the ground.
Hold on, what if I do not get off. Will I still get hurt? I am on the other side of the building, which means that once the building hits the ground, I will only be a foot or two under the rubble.
Yeah, I know it is a stupid idea; I most likely will not survive.
I was in the middle of the thought when I was knocked down. Wonderful, since the building was leaning over, all of the furniture was sliding towards the window.
Once I stood up, (I was knocked down by painting flying out the window) I was knocked down again by a bookshelf tearing down the wall.
This time, I could not get back up; I fell off the fire escape and down nine stories.
It was three hours later when I woke up. I was in Elmhurst hospital. There were twenty people there including my mom and dad, some friends, and news reporters.
I was now a hero, the whole city knew that I had saved what, six people. I was not too happy about it though. Sure, I saved some people, but there were many people that I did not save.
Mom and dad were both horrified that I could have died, infuriated that I did something so dumb, and happy that I had done something great.
After ten minutes of talking to them, they were asked to leave so I could get some rest. I fell asleep in seconds and yep, I had a dream.