I'm not sure if I like this story or hate it. Is this how it should end?
It began with the fire, I do believe. It may go back farther than that but I think the true start of it was the fire. Just remember it started with the fire.
I remember pounding and screaming noises. “Oh my god, get up! FIRE! WILL, WAKE UP!!” I rolled out of bed to be met by a wall of smoke. It seemed to press in on me and wanted to suffocate me. “The door’s this way!” I now recognized my mother’s voice. I ran toward the door. Found the knob and turned. I saw my mother’s outline thought the haze. We ran down the hall toward the door. I rushed ahead of her. When I reached the door I turned the knob and rushed out into the night. The cool air felt so good on my lungs, quenching my thirst for air.
I suddenly froze and I just knew... “Mom?!” I shouted. My yell seemed to be swallowed up by the roaring of the flames. They were leering at me, making fun of me. She wasn’t there. I turned around and ran back toward the house. I ran though the door. “Mom!!” if only I could shout louder. The flames swallowed up my voice hungrily. I saw a lump on the floor. Mom! I rushed over and tried to drag her out of the flames. My body felt heavy. It was like I was swimming though water. Her eyes suddenly snapped open.
“Look out!” she shrieked and pushed me out of the way. I looked up and saw a stress point in the ceiling. I was just about to run for her when the ceiling collapsed, crushing her. I screamed but I couldn’t hear myself, only the roar of the fire. Happy it had claimed a life, wanting another. I mindlessly started toward the pile of rubble. A strong hand stopped me. I turned around, I was going to let whoever was going to stop me have it. I looked into the face of a fireman. He shook his head. He started to drag me from the building. I yelled and struggled. The fireman was just too strong. Maybe he didn’t hear me over the roar of the fire. Soon I felt a chill when we broke through the door. My jet back hair was plastered to my forehead with sweat.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!!? MY MOTHER IS STILL IN THERE!” I hollered at the man. The firefighter remained silent. I looked at the fire and howled at the moon. “No!” The flames cast long flickering shadows across the ground. They were leered at me they had claimed one life they wanted another. “No” I shouted at them. The flames danced mockingly.
I do not remember how I got to the fire station. The rest of the night was a blur. I do remember waking up crying. At first I didn’t know why, and then it hit me. I just lied in bed and wept. For my loss for the loss to the world, my mother was a good person. I got up and walked down the stairs. I saw all the faces of the firefighters all looked awkwardly at me, not knowing what to say. It was the same when my dad died. No one knows what to say, no one knows if you’re going to start crying or scream at them. What are you supposed to say, “Sorry your mom’s dead. Oh well life goes on.” I don’t think so. It’s like you’re a bomb that could go off at any moment and no one wants to be there when you finally crack and all that pain comes spilling out.
I sat down and ate some toast. It tasted like cardboard and ash at the same time. It was like someone had turned off my taste buds. Nothing tasted good, but still I ate simply because it seemed like the sane thing to do, the normal thing to do. I felt that the only way I wouldn’t disintegrate would be if I stuck to a schedule and acted like a normal person. Like nothing was wrong. I got up from the table and went back up to the cot. No one stopped me, no one said anything.
As I lay in bed I thought, I have come to a conclusion through all of my experiences of death. Most people will try to avoid uncomfortable situations such as loss, pain and mental stress. They simply avoid it all together because they don’t talk to the person in general or they simply are dead silent when the person in question enters the room. Also they commonly try to avoid the topic and have awkward conversation about something like the weather. Soon I decided that thinking was too painful I just couldn’t, not think about it. I cried again. My mother had always said that I wasn’t a crier but I simply shut down during times of great mental trauma. So I just lay there and soon sleep came with all its dreams and horrors. But just the same I allow myself to slip away.
For two long days and nights, I went through the same routine, get up, eat, think, sleep and part of me wondered if maybe this would be how it would always be on and on for the rest of my life. I felt dead, numb, detached, removed from everything. The firemen tried to make small talk, it all ended up as a one sided conversation. It seemed like I had forgotten how to talk. Like the cold hand death had ripped out my voice box. My dry scratched lungs soon recovered. One more thing the fire took, when I ever I spoke it sounded like sandpaper on steel. I cried and cried more than I thought possible. Some strange logic told me that eventually my tears should stop flowing, like a drought to my tear ducts. I was hopeful, but no. I cried on. Part of me had lost all will to live, but only the thought of my mother saving me, kept me cling to life and mental sanity.
On the fourth day of my isolation, just after breakfast, I was walking up the stairs to go back to my cot that I now called home when a sound brought back a torrent of memories I had suppressed. For years. My father. I remembered the day when I went to work with my dad, just like any other day when I had gone to work with him, I was so excited because he had said that he would give me a ride in the fire truck. Then just as I was sliding down the pole, the alarm had gone off, meaning that they had a call. I watched as all the men rushed to get ready for the call and suited up. My dad grabbed me and said, “Come on now you can have your ride.” he laughed opened the door to the ladder truck. He always “ran the ladder” meaning that he drove the truck and let the ladder out and Sam climbed up the ladder with a hose. We drove lights spinning and horns blaring. It was at an old abandoned ware house, somehow it had caught fire. My dad just like always maneuvered the truck right to where it needed to be. Everything was going well when, they heard a noise from inside. They discovered that there was a teenager inside the ware house who had been smoking with his buddies and the whole place had gone up when he and his buddies lit up. His ‘friends’ had run off and he was pinned under a large piece of debris. My dad, went in to save him, and got trapped along with the kid. Because of the chemicals that had been used in the ware house before it shut down the whole place was a deathtrap. Soon the flames got out of the control of the firemen and they had to call in reinforcements from the next town over. When the fire finally got put out my dad and the teenager were gone with the fire. The flames had eaten them up too. The next day the papers ran a story about a teenager who had been such a good contributor to society and they just mentioned that a “Brave firefighter had been taken down trying to save him.”
So now I stood on the stairs a rigid form hearing the same bell that I had heard on that fateful day. The firemen rushed past me. One paused on the stairs and asked if I was ok. Slowly like wading though honey or molasses. I paused at the top of the stair and saw the KOC-Killed On Call-wall. There was a yellow and black, slightly charred, helmet. It had the number 67 on it. My dad’s face smiled up at me from a picture right next to it. His captain’s helmet had been turned to a red gooey mess by the flames. I picked up the helmet and held it in my hands. I felt closer to my dad than ever. It was like he was going to walk into the room and say, “Hey that’s mine!” and laugh is huge booming laugh. It seemed as though the entire world moved when he laughed like that. I don’t know if it was just my partial insanity or the lack of dream-free sleep, but I turned and rushed down the pole just like I had always been taught to do and ran toward where the firemen were getting ready to leave for the call and saw a burn suit,-the tough jackets and paints firemen where-I stepped into the boots and pulled the pants up, grabbing the jacket I ran to the ladder truck and said, “Now you have one more man.”
No one objected. He had learned enough with his dad being the Chef. The fire trucks raced out on to the street and toward the fire with one more fireman aboard.