Fear and Flames

June 15, 2008
By Kendall Kaestner, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

“Good evening and welcome back to Fox Six. Tonight we will be keeping you updated on the raging Witch Fire that is burning in California”

“TUURN IT UP,” my mom screamed, staring at the T.V. as if it were going to lay an egg.

“There has been a recent evacuation warning for most of the cities in Southern California.” The T.V. was roaring now and the whole family was watching as our town of Rancho Santa Fe showed up on the evacuation list.

“All right, you heard him, time to hit the road. We should hurry before the word spreads.” My dad said.

Everyone rolled their overly stuffed suitcases filled with favorite clothes, treasures, and anything small enough to fit, out to the car. I did not take the packing very seriously because of the last evacuation. I mean who was I kidding, our house burn down? Never.
Standing outside was brutal. I could feel the ashes and fumes from the blood orange sky creep into my nose as I inhaled.
Now driving away I glanced back at my poor house, drenched in a blanket of ashes. That’s going to take a lot of cleaning up I thought.
After six long and painful hours of squeezing in the car with my seventy-five pound dog, brother, mom, and dad, we finally arrived in Fresno. Unlike everyone else who was staying at some fancy hotel on the beach, I got to stay at my grandparent’s house. They weren’t too happy when we showed up with our dog, but hey it was our only choice.
That whole night we were zombies, watching and waiting for news about the fires on T.V. But the news we finally heard was news that I did not want to hear. In fact, it was ear piercing. After receiving a phone call from a friend who had gone back to investigate, my dad announced something that would change my life, forever.
“Our house burnt down,” he said, immediately turning away to avoid our reactions.
First there was the mouth dropping, then the shivers of fear, and finally the complete and total break down. It was useless to try and hold it in.
“NO . . . .NO . . . .NO, NO, NO.” I screamed at the top of my lungs. Tears were flying from my eyes and splashing on the asphalt.
“Why . . . . Why us?” I did not understand. Images of Christmas morning in the living room, listening to NSYNK and chewing on home made toffee, filled my mind. I wrapped my arm around myself and then it really hit me. I realized that when I would return there would be nothing. No more walking down the halls that I had crawled on when only a baby. I felt that because my house had burnt, my memories had too.
“It’s going to be okay,” my mom said while stroking my hair. She was trying to be so strong but I wanted here to cry with me.
“I know,” I whispered back.
The car ride home was horribly silent and as we drove up the drive way I took a second to picture my house, the place I had grown up in. When I opened my eyes that picture turned into piles of ashes.

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