The Promise

January 4, 2009
My head’s spinning. Where am I? Bright lights, blue walls…I see myself in bed. I look at my left hand and see it’s attached to an IV drip. Was I injured? Was it my fault? Was someone after me?

“Morning, Mr. Tennyson. You gave us quite a scare.” A tall, lanky man with a clipboard and thick glasses came into the room. “Don’t you worry,” he said. “We’ll take good care of you here.” I struggled to remember what happened. I began to recall scattered fragments of events. I began to think about my mom, dad, and—

“Where is she?!” I suddenly sat up in bed, surprised by my own vigorous voice.

“Please calm down. Now, I know how you feel so just…”

“Where is my sister?!”

“David, you’re still not well. Just lie down; you’ll feel better in the morning.”

“I promised to protect her!” I began to scream in torment—the painstaking guilt was stabbing my heart. I must have been screaming pretty loud because a team of doctors rushed into my room. The sight of that syringe didn’t help at all; it just fueled my incessant screaming. I felt a prick go through my arm and all of a sudden, I felt very sleepy…

* * *

“C’mon, Big Brother! It’s already started!” The brown-headed eight-year old girl whose eyes sparkled full of hope was all that I had left. Our parents died in a car accident a year ago, and now we’ve been dumped at some crummy orphanage. But tonight is a special night where we forgot all troubles. We finally climbed to the top of the hill near the fairground.

“Wow! It’s so pretty, David!” The fireworks of the fair lit up the night sky with a magical aura.

“It sure is spectacular, huh sis?”

“It sure is!” All of a sudden, that sparkle in her eyes turned dim. “I wish mommy and daddy were here to see this…” Tears began to well up in my eyes, but I resisted. Nothing’s going to ruin this perfect night.

“Hey Faith…you want me to tell you a secret?”

“Yes! Yes! Tell me!”

I looked up at the neon-lit sky, and then I looked at her. “I know it’s been hard this past year. I miss mom and dad too. But you know what? I’m going to always be there for you. I’ll always protect you whenever you need my help.”

Faith smiled. “Do you pinky-promise?”

“I double pinky-promise.”

* * *

I awoke several hours later, still dizzy from the medicine. The room was completely dark, with only a sliver of light from the crack of the door. I heard two doctors talking in the hallway.

“So how’s the boy?”

“Oh, I think he’ll be okay. He’s just a little startled, that’s all.”

“That was some fire, wasn’t it? It’s a real shame the orphanage burned to the ground.”

“Yes, that boy was one of the lucky ones.”

Fire? Was that why I’m in this hospital? What happened to Faith? I could feel the medicine taking effect again…so sleepy…

* * *
She has to be in here. I urgently searched inside the burning building. I wasn’t about to let the flames take her away as they took my parents. The warmth of the flames felt soothing after being in cold weather, but as I went along the heat became almost unbearable. The smoke was dreary gray; the flames were more hellish than before. I was having difficulty breathing through the choking fiery smoke. But although I was terrified of fire, my care for her melted my fear away. After exploring the first floor, I steadily climbed upstairs. I aimlessly investigated the second floor until at last I saw the figure of a little girl crying and huddled against a corner.
“Faith!” I exclaimed as I dashed towards her with overwhelming joy. I embraced my dear sister with open arms as warm, wet tears flowed from her gentle blue eyes. A feeling of relief overcame me.
Quietly through her tears, Faith whispered, “An angel protected me, big brother. I’m sorry I didn’t follow the other kids, but I didn’t want to leave behind the pictures of mommy and daddy. I took the pictures when everyone was gone, and I was about to go downstairs.” I felt her tightening her grip around my arms before she continued, “But on the way to the stairs, some of the ceiling fell! I was scared, so I closed my eyes. But when I opened them, I saw an angel’s wings spread above me!”
I was very surprised. “Where’d he go, the angel?” I asked.
“He...disappeared right after he saved me,” her voice trembled.
“Everything’s ok now,” I assured her in a comforting tone. “A guardian angel was watching over you just like in the bedtime stories mom used to tell us. Do you remember?” Faith nodded. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”

I made my way towards the stairs and struggled to see through the thickness of the smoke. Suddenly, I heard a loud, creaking sound. I looked up above us; pieces of burnt wood started to fall from above.

Everything blacked out.

* * *

“You look well-rested, Mr. Tennyson.” A nurse came into my hospital room to open the curtains. It looked like the sun was about to rise any minute. “Oh! And you have a special visitor who’s been anxious to see you.”

A little girl with bandages on her forehead meekly entered the room. “Big Brother?”

“Faith!!” We hugged each other what it seemed like eternity. “But…how? The last I remember is that we were about to get crushed by the falling building.”

“The angel! He protected us with his HUGE wings until a firefighter came to get us!” She laughed. “You fainted before you had the chance to see him, silly!”
I could no longer hold my tears. I tried to look away at the windows so Faith couldn’t see my flowing tears. I could see the basking glow of daybreak stretching across the tranquil sky, illuminating the peaceful clouds beyond the horizon with a crimson mist. The encouraging sunshine reminded me what my father taught me when I was little -- that a light of hope can shine through even the darkest hour.
I couldn’t sleep soundly last night, but now I can. I closed my eyes, holding Faith’s hand as we together witnessed the dawning of a new day—and a new chapter in our lives.

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Kaitlyn S. said...
Sept. 28, 2009 at 9:29 pm
So amazing! Loved it! :) keep writing
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