a woman wakes up with her world in flames
|A terrible feeling of suffocation wakes Lacy up. The bedroom is dense with smoke. She feels around to find she is alone in bed.
"Jerry, where are you?'
She is terrified and wants her husband, the loving man her husband used to be.
'Probably in the recliner, asleep with TV blaring'.
Getting out of bed, she struggles with sheets soaked with sweat. They had become an animal with Lacy caught in its teeth. Finally, she is untangled.
Her thoughts began to race. Their house is a cheap single wide mobile home.
'My kids.......this place is a piece of cardboard.'
Lacy is making plans.....moving fast means survival.
'Suzy can run next door. I'll grab Nathan from his crib.'
She gets a towel, puts it in the sink, water splashes. cool on her p.j.s, feels so good she wants to sink down and stay there. Then comes the intense heat and acrid smell of something burning.
She feels her way, cloth over mouth, coughing, lungs now on fire.
Carefully she touches furniture in the smoky living room; she feels her way to the kids' tiny bedrooms.
Suddenly she can make out the king. It is Jerry, in his filthy recliner, beer cans all around.
He is snoring and she can smell the beer; a dangling cigarette was the trigger to destroy their home. This man had once meant everything to her. Now there is only contempt.
Her head pounds, lungs scream as smoke blinds her eyes. She knows opening a door would cause fire to burn quicker.
Lacy grabs Suzy, shaking her awake. Flames dance, leap toward her in the hall. She grabs scissors and stabs at the flimsy window screen. So hot, she gets a blanket and puts it over the sill. Suzy is crying so hard she can't hear Lacy trying to reassure her. Lacy pops the side of Susie' face.
"Baby, run to Doris! Bang on her door! Scream! If she don't come, go to Mr. Donnie's. Say "Call 911, fire"."
The poor kid is choking but lets Lacy push her outside. She runs for Doris' house next door.
Next was Nathan. She can't see or breathe but knows every inch of this matchbox.
"'Dear God, please help". Over and over, she is thinking.
She crawls along the floor, flames lick at her knees.
Nathan's room was straight across the hall. She fights panic; heart racing, lungs scream in pain. It looks like the walls and windows are melting. She knew what tornadoes do to cheap trailers.
People are now screaming outside. A siren sounds far away.
She feels for the crib and pulls her precious son close. His breathing is a smothering noise. Flames are all around her, licking like a wild animal. She feels for the metal window, so hot her hand sticks to it. She screams as searing pain travels from hand to shoulder. She reaches down inside her last reservoir of courage, pulls her hand loose, skin clings to the window. Surely this is what Hell must be like.
At this point, Lacy is in shock. She wants to die to escape pain. Must save this baby; then she can let flames take her. These kids didn't ask to be born into this lousy family.
Finally, Lacy and Nathan are pulled to safety by a fireman. She collapses into someone's hands. She is fading in and out of consciousness. The paramedics start an IV, give Morphine for pain and oxygen mask over her nose and mouth.
Lacy asks about her children. She catches a glimpse of them from the stretcher.
Suzy is such a smart beauty with singed golden curls, sooty black face and huge blue eyes. Nat, her sweet baby at three is sucking his thumb. She wonders if he will remember this?
One of the brawny firefighters asks, "Is there any one else in the home, mam? We found a body in the living room. He is covered with massive burns. I am so sorry."
Lacy shook her head no. She could feel the tears running over her cheeks for what could have been.
By Kathie Stehr