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Fire rolled like lava, devouring trees, grass, shrubs. Sparks pricked my skin, singed my hair. This couldn’t be a normal fire, this was wild, alive. Barely any smoke rolled up to darken the sky, above was just the bright cloud over hang of the early morning. Plus it acted like a liquid, not dancing flames, but rolling floods. Sweat beaded my skin, just to evaporate off within seconds. Heat scorched me, and I was thankful my clothes weren’t polyester otherwise I’d be a Jack-cabob already.
I’d given the three tramps the slip when they went into town for whatever reason. I’d tracked down my stuff baggie, the one holding my valuables, phone, Misty tooth, and two favorite knives- with sheath. Somehow the stuff had been missed by the swarm of hunters. After refitting the tooth and sheath I was on my way again. This time doing my ‘tracked travel,’ this includes traveling by trees and river. Tracked travel is when you throw off your follower by messing up your scent and tracks. To do this you jump from tree trunk to tree trunk, preferably up high where dogs can’t catch a whiff; also riding a river downstream, then jumping onto a tree trunk, entering the woods and then traveling up stream by tree trunk to tree trunk. This is usually done best when you have the time to spare to give all the effort. Plus you can adjust it to ideas and notes to better conceal yourself. Obviously I wasn’t given much time to do this, because now I’m trying to escape the flames of hell … and if you didn’t know: TREES ARE FLAMABLE!!!
The wail of fire truck sirens are up and to the right, but right now I’m trying to avoid people so left it is. As I run and jump over fire infested foliage, the flames reached up, flickering tongues trying to taste my flesh and distracted me. If I catch aflame it’s not like I can just stop, drop, and roll. I was so distracted by trying not to catch on fire that I didn’t see the man behind the tree. Flying past, somehow he manages to catch the back of my shirt. Yanked back by the constriction on my throat, I whirl about to slash him to pieces when I notice the firefighter uniform. His mouth moves but nothing comes out … well nothing loud enough for me to hear over the roar of the fire that is. He leans in close.
“You’re going the wrong way, son! The team is back behind you! … Where’s your jacket?” His voice is scratchy from the normal fire by the fire line set up a ways back, and there obviously is a large group fighting otherwise he would have recognized that I’m not a firefighter.
“I’m looking for a friend! I gave my jacket to a civilian and told him where the line was! He said he saw my friend head this way!”
“Ok, I’ll radio in and see if your friend’s turned back! What’s his name?”
“I don’t know! I just met him out here and I’m bad with names! We became friends quick because of that bond that grows between people who work together to save lives!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him!” I smile, trying to hide how antsy I was. It’s time to get going. “Ya, this is Granger! Do we have anybody missing or out?” Granger said to his radio, then his brow furrows as it squawks back a reply, he gives me a sideways look. “Ok, thanks.” I know that look; it’s a look that has always warned me when I’ve been found out. The fighter smiles when he turns to me. “You’re in luck, kid. No one’s missing and we are the only two out.” He got a firm grip on the base of my neck and practically starts dragging me towards the sirens. “Let’s go find that friend of yours and tell him of all the trouble you went through to try and find him.”
I’d had enough; I wouldn’t be drawn back into the ‘civilized’ world. That would be a dead no. Quick as a frightened hummingbird, I stoop, swipe a leg out from under him, and use the momentum to drive my tricep into his bicep. He drops me; I stand and push him away with my foot in the same movement. Stunned, he doesn’t move for a moment, trying to get his breath back. A moment is all I need. In a flash I’m flying again, ducking, diving, jumping. The center heat of the fire has caught up to me, as well as the smoke. Finally I have to turn from running away from the sirens- that are now a faint distant ringing- to running parallel to them. The smoke was defiantly starting to get to me; it seemed to be getting thicker even though I was running away from it.
Finally I have to stop, uncontrollable coughing racking my frame, ripping at my lungs and throat. Hands on my knees, I look around through watering eyes trying to get a grip on my bearings. It was all smoke here, no real flames, just smoldering brush that let off more smoke than the unnatural seeming fire behind me. The heat was still there, evaporating sweat and tears, setting my skin to a boil. Muscles exhausted from lack of oxygen, I try to at least keep walking but instead my legs collapse beneath me. Hands in my lap, head hanging in defeat, and a weak cough constantly shaking my whole body. For a moment every thought in my head is dark, dangerous to myself, and horrifying to my soul. Then a deep, recollecting breath.
I raise my head, the fire in my eyes reflecting that of which I had just out ran. Determination boiled in my blood, a growl rumbled in my chest and echoed in my throat as I swallowed the lump of smoke in that clogged my airways. Then, mustering up the strength, I cough it out in a large roar. My hand finds my Misty tooth, clutches it, and fed into me the lessons she taught me. Smoke slowly trailing from my nostrils, I let out a deep breath from my mouth, and am ready to go on. I stand.
To my right, where the trucks and sirens are, I hear voices shouting and running towards me. I can see them with only a little haze, but they only can see there is a person over here and are coming to help. Not today, I run on. Legs shaky at first but then slowly regaining strength, till I was running wolf style, with never ending energy, strength, or fight.