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Fire in the Night (undecided title)
The girl couldn't breathe. Sitting up in shock, she looked around. She could see a large glow of red. Taking a breath, she started into a spasm of coughing. The temperature of the room she was in was rising. Fire? Fire! The realisation that she was breathing through smoke set in. She knew she had to get out, but she didn't even know where she was. Getting up off of the hard floor she was on, she tried to call out for help. But no sound escaped her lips. She had breathed in too much smoke.
Almost by instinct she used her shirt to cover up her mouth to minimize the smoke she was breathing in. Her eyes burning, she walked forward, not knowing where she was going. Her hand in front of her, she walked until she found a wall of fire blocking her way. She quickly walked in all directions to try find an escape, but no matter what why she went she was always met with a wall of fire. She started to panic and returned to around where she started. The smoke was becoming overwhelming and she knew she had breathed into much smoke. Slowly falling to the floor, she curled up in a little ball and started to cry. She couldn't remember anything. Why was she in here? Why was there fire? Would someone save her?
Her breath started to slow, and she felt very dizzy. The heat was intense, but she couldn't
feel it anymore. Closing her eyes, she fell into a deep sleep, never to wake again.
Rachel slowly drifting out of a light sleep, she smelt smoke and…and death? Jerking awake she couldn’t understand. Carefully she sniffed the air. It still smelled of smoke, but the other smell wasn’t there. Sniffing harder she smelt it. She knew the scent wasn’t there; it was almost as if only she sensed it. Sitting up in the bed she looked outside. Walking to the window she almost expected to see the flames. But all that she saw was a burnt house. The night before there had been a huge fire at their neighbours’ house. Rachel had been the one to first see it. She had called 911 and tried to help as much as she could. But all she could do was hand out coffee to the firefighters at the end. The neighbours were gone away on vacation so they didn’t look hard for anyone. And all that would have been left would be a body. No one could have survived that.
All she could truly remember about last night were that a firefighter had asked her numerous questions and the flames. The giant, dancing flames. They were so captivating and almost magic, yet so destructive.
But all the firefighters were gone now, crime scene tape around the building and her neighbours were called and heading back to their house of ashes.
She took another sniff from the slight breeze wafting through her window. She could sense it. It was coming from the house; she had no doubt about that. But how? There was no one in the house. She decided that she had to check. She didn’t know why she trusted her instincts so much, but she knew she had to go in. Having been in that house a million times, she knew what should have been the best route. She snuck through her house and quietly opened the door, hoping she wouldn’t wake her parents. Exiting her back door she snuck to the back of the house, opposite to the frequently used street. Crawling through some rubble, she quickly found that this was going to be harder than she thought. A lot harder. Adding to the fact that there were burnt objects scattered randomly, there was also water everywhere and it was it would have been pitch black if it had not been for the full moon. With the light shining from the moon she slowly made her way through. Sniffing she continued in the direction she sensed it coming from. But now it was as if it was coming from all over. She was confused and was starting to really doubt herself when she though, â€˜The basement!’ It was coming from the basement. Making her way over to the stairs she quickly encountered another problem. There were no steps really. It was more like a couple of random scattered boards badly burnt. Looking for another route to take she spotted some boards that had fallen over. They were leaning up against the basement wall. And they looked strong enough for her to put her weight on. The boards were almost at a 90-degree angle so she had to jump half way down. Falling down on the floor she stopped dead. Then she crouched in the corner for a good 10 minutes. She didn’t want to be caught down here. No one would believe her. They couldn’t sense it, she didn’t know why she was so sure about this, but she knew only she could sense it. She finally continued after her heart stopped pounding. Following the now strong odour it brought her to a dead end in the middle of the basement, under the burnt stairs. Groaning inwardly, she was about to turn back when she saw a small opening. It was open about three inches and was about a foot and a half tall. Looking closer, she saw that it was a small square sliding door. Squeezing her finger through the opening, she tugged. It didn’t budge. Looking over she saw there was burnt wood blocking the railing. Putting her other hand into the crack she pulled with a strong jerk. The door flung open, sending pieces
of wood all over. It was too late to turn back now. She knew anyone within the block would have heard that. Pushing herself into the opening she struggled through. The tunnel was about three feet long. Then it opened up into a black hole. She couldn’t see a thing, but she sensed it. She knew something or someone was there. She wished so much that she had brought a flashlight. Hearing someone calling out into the yard she gave a slight grin. They apparently thought it was some teenagers fooling around in the rubbish, because he was yelling at no one in particular. She struggled backwards, back into the open roofed basement. Looking up, she saw someone through the flashlight beam. She made him out to be one of her neighbours three doors down. Apparently he noticed who she was too.
“Hey! What are you doing down there? It’s way to dangerous for you to be there. Come here!” he shouted from the upstairs.
“Throw me down your flashlight!” she yelled back.
“What? Are you crazy? Get over here!”
“There’s something in there!” she yelled back pointing to the hole.
“What? What are you talking about? It’s pitch black. You can’t see anything. Get over here.”
“No. There’s someone in there. I can sense it. You’re to big to fit in the hole. Just pass me your flashlight!” she begged.
She knew she was agitating him. “No. Girl, if you don’t get up here, I’m coming down and dragging you out!”
Knowing he was serious she twisted around and crawled back to the tunnel. He was obviously curious as well as furious. This time she didn’t stop where it opened up. She awkwardly jumped into the hole. It was a lot deeper then she expected and she fell into it. Not daring to move, because she didn’t know where the body was she waited. She knew he was going to come down, call the cops or both. She hoped for both.
Hearing him yelling and cursing as he made his way into the basement, she gave a sigh of relief when she saw the shine of the flashlight.
“Where are you girl? Where’d you go? Get out here!” he yelled.
“I’m down here! There’s a tunnel that empties out into a hole. Pass me the flashlight and I’ll see if I can get out!” she begged, “I can’t see a thing.”
Hearing more cursing, she almost smiled. She knew she had won. Hearing the flashlight crash against the walls of the tunnel she carefully stood up and reached her arm into the tunnel to grab the flashlight. Jumping up she just barely grabbed it. Turning around she looked around the box. Gasping she stopped the flashlight beam on a girl. And she was definitely dead. The room was still filled with the smoke that would have killed her. Falling to her knees in shock she started into a spasm of coughing, which resulted in forcing her body to inhale the smoke faster. She couldn’t believe it. She had sensed death. But she didn’t know how. The smoke was a lot thinner down on her knees so her coughing eventually turned in to gut wrenching sobs.
“Hey! You okay down there? Can’t you get out? Don’t worry, I’ve called the cops, they’ll be here soon. There will be someone who can fit in there to help you.” The man yelled to her, who now sounded more worried then mad.
Rachel squatted in a corner still crying watching the girl. The hole was above her head level and there was no source of grip anywhere, so she couldn’t get out. Her heart felt like it was going to be ripped out. The girl’s face looked so scared. She was curled up in the middle of the room, eyes closed, hugging her knees. Slowly looking around the room, she saw nothing. No blankets, no water jugs or plates for food, nothing. There was a dark circle that surrounded her, and with a closer look, the cement floor looked burnt. There was no way this fire was accidental. To have a fire like this, to burn around her, but not burn the girl, and to even have a fire on a cement floor, was not possible with out the help of something for fuel, like gasoline.
The only objects in the room were her and the child. She turned off the flashlight so she couldn't see the girl anymore. She wasn’t sure what she felt. She felt angry at the murderer, sad for the girl, scared for herself and in confusion for being able to find her. Hearing more voices up ahead, she tried to listen to them. She slowly closed her eyes as she waited for someone to come. She eventually heard someone crawling through the tunnel, so she peeked through her eyelashes.
Turning the flashlight back on she looked up she watched as boots started to wriggle out of the hole. The person got up to their waist, pushed back and fell, obviously misjudging the height he was jumping. He landed on his back, just missing the body. Rachel gave a small gasp and the man turned to her. Noticing for the child for the first time he gave a small yell and scrambled away from the body.
“We’re throwing the rope in now!” yelled another cop.
The young looking cop took a steadying breath and yelled back up, “Guys, we’re going to need a body bag as well!”
“What? Is the girl okay? I just heard her crying!” called her neighbour.
“Not her! I think she’s fine. But there’s another in here.” he finished looking over to Rachel, not believing what he saw.
Rachel could hear the others outside talking loudly in shock and confusion. Suddenly a rope appeared.
“Let’s get you two out of there for now. I want to know what your talking about, without having to yell. And we’ll have to call the captain,” yelled the other cop.
The younger cop shook his head, stood up and reached his hand to Rachel, offering a helping hand up. Rachel sat frozen for a few moments, but soon realized what he was trying to do. She reached up her hand, grasping his and stood. She walked over to the rope numb. The younger cop tied a quick noose on the end of the rope, and slipped one of her feet into the hole. She grasped the rope with one hand and the edge of the tunnel edge with the other. With the younger cop supporting her and the others pulling her she got high enough that she could drag her self into the tunnel. Following the short tunnel into the bright lights of all the flashlights, she squinted her eyes. At the very end two cops pulled her out the rest of the way. As they wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and started leading her away, she watched as one cop radioed the captain and another threw the rope back in to the tunnel for the other cop. Calling back one of the cops escorting her, they began to pull the other guy out when she felt a wave of nausea rush over her. She watched the ground come closer as she slowly crumpled, passing out.