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The Fire - Garrick's POV
He came to a stop on his motorcycle at the red light. There was no point to having a light at this intersection in his opinion, he was one of the only people that came through and was the only one at the moment. He felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket and quickly answered it. Without hearing the voice on the other end he knew it was bad news. No one ever called him for good news. “Hello?” he answered.
“There’s a fire at Harrison Elementary. I’ve already called Cathan. He’ll meet you down there. Sweep the place and see if there’s anyone inside,” Damien said from the other end. Just like he’d guessed: bad news.
“Yeah, okay,” he said and hung up the phone just in time for the light to turn green. Harrison Elementary was only a few blocks away. The bad thing though, was that it was practically isolated from other buildings, and it was three in the morning, so no one would notice the smoke rising unless they were paying close attention. With his in tuned senses, he could smell the smoke.
He pulled up in the parking lot, and parked his motorcycle, not taking a chance with his “baby” to get scratched on the asphalt. Within seconds after him, Cathan pulled up on his own motorcycle. They both cut the engines. “Shall we?” Garrick held the door open, mimicking a bellhop at a hotel.
Cathan nodded. “We shall,” he said and stepped through. “Should we check the left or the right first?” he asked. Not that it mattered. There probably wasn’t anyone in here anyway. Who would stay at a school after hours anyway?
Garrick looked both ways, trying to decide, but in the end, he pulled a coin out of his pocket. “Heads we go left. Tails we go right,” he said and threw the coin up. He held out his hand to catch it, but Cathan reached over and snatched it out of the air. “Hey”
Cathan opened his hand and peered at the coin. “Heads it is,” he said so they went left. All the doors in the hallways were open except one. They strolled along the hallways as if in no hurry and as if the building around them weren’t burning. It’s not like they had need to fear. It wasn’t as if they could die like a normal person. They could, however, get seriously injured and feel some major pain.
They peeked their heads in each door, but each room was empty. They were going to just walk past the last door that was closed and turn to the next hallway, but Garrick heard a very animal-like cry of pain. He turned to Cathan. “Did you hear that?”
Cathan shook his head. “I didn’t hear anything.”
Garrick was sure that he’d heard the cry though. And he was sure that it had come from behind the closed door. He grabbed the door knob and tried to open the door, but it was locked. He let go and stepped back. He lifted his leg and then kicked in the door. It splintered at the frame.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a woman lying on the floor. “There,” he pointed toward her. He rushed to her and knelt by her side. He looked back up at Cathan. All humor had left them. The situation had turned serious. “Go see if there are any others.”
Without giving him a sign of understanding, like a nod or something, he rushed from the room. Garrick turned his attention back to the woman. “I’m gonna help you out of here,” he told her, making sure she understood his intentions. Then he wrapped her arm around his neck. “Do you think you can hold on ma’am?”
When she nodded her head, he tried to lift her. Something kept her firmly on the ground and she cried out in pain. He looked to see what was holding her. He saw a short chain, one end attached to the bookcase behind her and the other end circling her bloody ankle. He looked back up at her, coming up with an idea that she was not going to like. He set her back down and shifted her leg. “What is it?” she asked him, not looking back to see for herself.
He yanked on the chain, testing how it was holding up. “It’s your leg. You’re chained to the wall,” he said and lifted her leg carefully, moving it to the side, getting as much distance between it and the bookcase so he would have more chain to break. “Whatever you do, don’t move your foot.”
He got up and rushed out the door and into the hallway. He looked both ways until he saw what he was looking for. The fire ax case attached to the wall. He’d always wondered why they kept them in schools, and now he was thankful they did. He went back through the door and back to her side.
He held the ax slightly above his shoulder, ready to swing. “Remember, don’t move your foot,” he said and swung the ax at the chain. The chain easily broke from the force of the ax.
He dropped the ax and lifted her into his arms. He felt her arms tighten around his neck. Cradling her, he ran for the door and almost made it when the ceiling fell through and along with it, the floor. He wrapped his body around hers like a protective shell to keep her safe.
These were the types of days that he hated. He slammed into the floor and she went flying from his arms. Pain spread through him, although most of it centered on his shoulder. He had no doubt that it was broken. And his head felt like someone was driving wooden stakes through his skull. Monster headache didn’t even begin to describe it.
He felt her hair brush his cheek and knew that she was looming above him. “Are you okay?” he asked her. If she came away from his unscathed, the pain would be worth it. Although, right now it wasn’t. It would be okay once he downed a bottle of Advil.
“I’m fine,” he heard her say.
Hoping for the pain in his head to pass, he laid his head back against the floor, letting the heated tile soothe the gash he knew was on his scalp. “We have to get out of here,” he said and brought himself to a sitting position. “Do you see any way out of here?” he asked. Looking around, he didn’t see any way out except for the door that had a bookcase wedged between the walls framing it.
“You aren’t a fireman,” she said. She was observant. She deserved the ‘Captain Obvious’ award.
“No, I’m not,” he said and even though his legs and back screamed not to, he got to his feet.
“Then why are you here when you don’t have to be?”
Now wasn’t that the question of the hour. A question he wouldn’t answer. Instead, he walked over to the book case blocking the door. He examined it for a moment. The only way he had a chance to move it was if he got rid of the books. He started grabbing them with his arm that didn’t have the injured shoulder and tossed them. “I didn’t catch your name,” he said.
“Abby,” she said.
He looked over his shoulder at her with a smile. No way. It was the name of the woman who tried to kill him last week. They weren’t the same person of course, but it was still amusing. “I assume that’s short for Abigail,” he said with a chuckle. He’d have to tell Cathan later.
He shook his head with raised eyebrows. “It’s a nice name,” he said and threw out the last book.
“You have one up on me. What’s your name, oh mysterious rescuer?”
Usually, by a rule, he didn’t give his name. He liked to just keep it simple. Save the people then cut all ties. They’d forget about him and he’d forget about them. Yet he found himself saying, “Garrick,” while he tried to pull the bookcase away from the door. Naturally, to make his day worse, it didn’t move, not even a little. Then he tried leaning down and pushing half of it upwards. Again it didn’t move. “Sonofa-”
“Cathan!” Garrick shouted for his “partner in crime”.
“Garrick?” He heard Cathan’s reply, a little faint, but all the same, it was close.
“We’re down in the basement!”
He stepped back when he heard knocking on the other side. Likely it was Cathan trying to kick it in. Garrick knew to step out of the way. The bookcase went flying and the door burst open, letting Cathan step in. Cathan looked over at Abby. “Come on, the way out is this way,” he said.
Garrick shook his head. He knew that Abby’s leg was no doubt injured and she couldn’t walk. Despite his shoulder being injured, he lifted her into his arms and ran through the doorway, Cathan close behind. “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. Garrick found their natural order of humor refreshing. He saw the door and rushed out, forgetting to pull Abby’s head up, so her head smacked into the door jam and she blacked out as they made it outside. Cathan saw it. “Nice going. You should really look into working for Disasters-R-Us.”
Garrick shot him a glare and then sat her on the grass a distance from the school. When she woke, she’d be fine. He slipped one of his “business” cards into her pocket. “Let’s go,” he said and they mounted their motorcycles and started their engines. Then they took off, not looking back.