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The Fire - Abby's POV
The smell of smoke was overwhelming, filling her nostrils and lungs until she felt she couldn’t breathe. She coughed as she slowly came awake, realizing that she wasn’t safe. When she opened her eyes, at first she saw nothing because the smoke was so thick.
She coughed again. Her senses went on full alert as she saw the flames. Flames were everywhere, consuming everything. There were even a few small embers on her clothes, she quickly beat them with her hand to extinguish them.
Her eyes burned, tearing up from the smoke as if she were chopping onions. Her throat was so dry that she could taste blood on her tongue. “Somebody help.” All she could manage was a raspy whisper. “Help.”
She tried to remember where she was. The last thing she remembered was unlocking her front door at her apartment after a long day at work, and then everything went blank. She looked around. This wasn’t her apartment. Nothing was familiar.
This place wasn’t a house, nor was it an apartment. At first she thought it was a storage space, and then she thought an office because of the desk, but it was neither. There was a chalkboard and rows of much smaller desks. There was no mistaking. It was a classroom. She was in a school.
“Help!” Her voice was getting louder, but still sounded little more than a whisper.
She saw the door and tried to pull herself toward it. Once she moved she felt the instant resistance, another force holding her in place. Whatever it was sent a sharp pain up her leg and made her cry out in pain.
Just then she heard a voice. “Did you hear that?”
Another voice answered in response. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“Help,” she cried, but her voice didn’t cooperate. There was no way they could have heard it over the roaring flames. “Please help.”
The door knob started shaking in attempt to open the door, but it was locked. It stopped and was still for a moment. Then the door jarred forward, splintering the frame, letting two men burst through. “There,” one pointed toward her and ran to her, kneeling by her side. He looked back at the other man. “See if there are any others.”
The other man complied and rushed out of the room. The man next to her turned his attention back to her. “I’m gonna help you out of here,” he told her and wrapped her arm around his neck. “Do you think you can hold on ma’am?”
With a nod of her head, he attempted to lift her. Again, she felt the resistance on her leg. And again she cried out in pain. She saw him look down at her leg and then back at her in worry. He set her back down and shifted to her leg. “What is it?” she asked, not looking back. She heard a rattle like a chain.
“It’s your leg. You’re chained to the wall.” This had to be a bad dream. A nightmare that she couldn’t wake up from. She would just wake up and be snug in her bed in her apartment.
She felt him lift her leg carefully and move it to the side. “Whatever you do, don’t move your foot,” he told her and stood. He walked away from her and out the door. She wanted to cry for him to come back and not to leave her. Then she heard glass shatter.
He came back through the door, this time holding the fire ax from the hallway. He stepped up and held the ax at the ready. “Remember, don’t more your foot.”
She closed her eyes tightly shut and braced herself. She heard the rush of air and the ax breaking the chain and hitting the floor. Hesitantly, she reopened her eyes and looked back for the first time. Her leg had been chained to a tall bookshelf bearing textbooks. If they’d have fallen, she would surely have been crushed.
While she sat there in shock, he quickly lifted her. In surprise, she wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, holding on for dear life. He rushed toward the door. They didn’t make it in time. The ceiling came crashing down. She heard a yell as she screamed in sheer terror. They went crashing through the floor. He shielded her body with his own so she didn’t feel the brunt of the blow when they hit the floor. She heard his grunt of pain. By shielding her, he’d taken the blow badly, blood emerged from his jean jacket.
She looked up at his face. His eyes weren’t open and his chest didn’t seem to be rising. For a moment she thought he was dead. Then his lips moved. “Are you okay?” he asked her. She didn’t know how he could possibly worry about her when he was obviously in much pain. She should be the one asking if he was okay, not the other way around.
She thought that he was going to fall asleep because he laid his head back against the floor and closed his eyes for a few seconds. “We have to get out of here,” he said and slowly got to a sitting position. “Do you see any way out of here?” he asked. They both looked around and came to the same conclusion: the only exit was blocked by both a fire and a book case that had fallen and wedged itself to keep the door closed.
There weren’t any windows, nor were there any desks. They defiantly weren’t in a classroom. Most likely they were in the basement because of the lack of windows. “You aren’t a fireman,” she stated. It wasn’t a question per say, it was more like a question within a statement.
“No, I’m not,” he said and got to his feet.
“Then why are you here when you don’t have to be?”
He didn’t answer her. He walked over to the book case and started grabbing books and throwing them off the shelves. “I didn’t catch your name,” he said.
“Abby,” she said, stepping to the side slightly to avoid one of the books tossed astray in her direction.
He looked over his shoulder at her with a smile. “I assume that’s short for Abigail,” he said with a slight chuckle like there was some kind of joke behind her name that she was missing.
He shook his head with raised eyebrows. “It’s a nice name,” he said and threw out the last book.
She crossed her arms. “You have one up on me. What’s your name, oh mysterious rescuer?”
“Garrick,” he said with a strained voice as he tried to pull the bookcase away from the door, but it didn’t budge an inch. He didn’t give up though. He tried pushing half of it upwards, but to no avail. The bookcase stayed firmly wedged between the two walls framing the door. “Sonofa-”
She wanted to help him, but what could she do. She was too weak to lift anything and she couldn’t stand on her leg that had been chained. Most likely it was broken.
“Cathan!” Garrick shouted for his friend. She didn’t hear any answer, but apparently he did. “We’re down in the basement!”
Either she was going def, or he had super hearing because she hadn’t heard a thing. All she could hear was the annoying ringing in her ears that wouldn’t go away. She was about to suggest he think of something else when the bookcase went flying and the door burst open, letting the man from upstairs walked through. He held out his hand to her. “Come on, the way out is this way,” Cathan said, not noticing her leg.
Garrick knew though and came and swept her up into his arms and ran through the doorway, Cathan close on his heels. “She was the only one?” Garrick asked Cathan over his shoulder as he kicked open another door.
“Yeah. No one else. When I heard the crash I knew it was you being clumsy again,” Cathan joked. She didn’t know how he could possibly joke in their current situation. All she wanted was to get out and probably cry like a newborn. Then she saw it. The exit. The last door that led to the outside. As they went through though, she saw stars and felt something smash into her head and she blacked out.