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The Burning This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I remember that night like it happened yesterday. The air crisp and chilly, the wind making it even colder. The faint click of the lighter, the crackle of the flames. I had no idea that night's activities would affect the rest of my life.

We lit a miniature skateboard on fire, and that's when things went completely wrong. I stood aside as my friend jumped over the burning miniature board on a larger one. The skateboard unexpectedly exploded, sending hunks of melting plastic in every direction. Unknown to me, one of these hunks randomly connected with my dangerously flammable pants. I felt heat moving up my leg, and in bewilderment saw my left leg engulfed in flames. I scurried to the grass to drop and roll. The fire showed no signs of retreating but finally began to lessen as I frantically patted them out.

I walked the three blocks back to my house thinking my leg was not injured too badly. It was red and oozing stuff, but I did not want to tell my parents because I would be punished for my stupidity. Instead I went straight to bed.

The next day I walked with a limp and was feeling a little ill. I did not go to school. The day after I could not walk and was feeling bad. I began to throw up, so I stayed home again. The next morning I awoke to questions from my father about what had actually happened to my leg. I went to the doctor an hour later. The doctor sent me to a burn specialist. They thought the nausea was because of an infection, but it turned out to be the flu.

I stayed under observation for over two weeks and experienced the most excruciating pain. Twice a day doctors would take the dead skin off my leg so new skin could grow. Then they put on lotion and wrapped it in a bandage. Due to my pain, the doctors gave me medication that was stronger than morphine! This would either make me fall asleep immediately or ramble incoherently before falling asleep in mid-sentence.

After a week, I began physical therapy to regain strength in my badly burned limb. I eventually graduated to walking with a walker but I could not be released until I could go up and down stairs with crutches.

At home I had to eliminate the dead skin, which I despised because it hurt. Once a week a nurse would come to check my progress and bring supplies. After a couple of weeks, I could walk without crutches, and I was allowed to go to school.

School required lots of walking, and having a leg without skin made me feel like not walking. My doctor gave me a note so I could use an elevator, but I didn't get a key for a weeks. Without the elevator, I had to will myself up and down the staircases. With every step, blood would rush down my body giving my legs more energy that resulted in making me bleed into the bandages. Walking up the stairs also often made my leg sore, so sometimes I missed school because I couldn't walk.

Even now I still see the nasty purple and red scarring from this treacherous incident. I cannot be out in the sun very much because my leg is very sensitive to heat. I will think of this accident the rest of my life whenever I see the hide-ous scars that have taken the place of my skin. What happened in less than a minute will affect me forever. I cannot run as fast or jump as high, and my shin is sensitive and weak because of the third-degree burns. On the brighter side, at least skin didn't have to be taken off my butt for skin grafts.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

WinterWolf said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm
great story. when i was 3 i burn myself from cupanoodles because my cousin put it in for 10 MINUTES now i have an almost completly healed scar on my hand. but for me that hand can actually resist heat
 
practicerandomkindness said...
Jun. 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm
good story. sorry that this happened to you, but your story will help others not make the same mistake.
 
Jessica T. said...
May 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm
I'm sorry that happened to you, but because of you, it may have saved someone's life. Someone who was doing something stupid and now their eyes are opened.
 
Grindking123 said...
Nov. 3, 2008 at 12:54 am
i skateboard, and your writing makes me pay attention to playing with fire and doing careless stuff on my board. this is a good story.
 
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