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The Ultimate Civil War

The sky was red that night. Lit up with the embers from the fire, grey clouds of smoke painted across our outdoor ceiling.

The ash fell like snow that night, but not the good, beautiful kind that piled on window sills and canceled school. This ash was hot, an ugly, damaging heat that singed everything in sight.

It was pure chaos. People were running everywhere, their coats pulled up over their heads, lungs filled with charr.

We were supposed to live happily ever after, or so they said. It was a promise I shouldn’t have believed. I watched with my parents on TV when they told everyone not to worry. Told them that things would get better.

That was months ago. The fire started burning and wouldn’t stop. It consumed everything like an angry dragon with bad breath. The flames licked my windows, begging to be let in, begging for a chance to feed.

The heat on my face was hot that night. I kicked off the covers and peeled off my sweaty shirt. The fire alarm blazed loudly. That was just the beginning.

He pulled me along, his cool hands grasped too tightly to my wrist. Don’t stop. Can’t stop. Not ever.

My feet stumbled and felt around the piles of rock and ash and covered dirt. People were falling everywhere, coughing, coughing, choking.

Shouts of “come on!” and “hurry up!” hope that maybe if they moved fast enough, maybe there would be some safety.

No one told us there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.

I always believed that we would have been saved. That we would reach a lake or a pond or someone with a hose to welcome us and free us from the fire that blazed on.

But there was just more of the same. Endless red and hot and burning. My feet were red, my hands ice cold. We kept running with everyone, running further than I ever could have imagined.

We ran until the sun came up, the sound of pounding feet and labored breathing. We ran until we could not run anymore and collapsed on the ground- waiting for the fire to come.

Waiting for the fire to come and take away the pain.

We waited. But it did not come. The flames did not dance at our feet, the ground did not boil with fear.

We waited.

And slowly the rains came. They drenched us to the bone, and there were days I never thought I would dry out. It rained endlessly and we could not run away from the damp any longer.

For weeks it went on, shivering, cold, dark.

And I wished for the fires to return again.




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