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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2227433
Daisy never realized that anything could happen on her runs. (Writer Cramp Entry 7/21/20)
Daisy woke up at three in the morning with a sigh. It’s going to be another long morning, she thought. She must make the cheerleading team, or she must suffer her mother’s disappointment for as long as she can remember. She climbed out of bed, yawned and stretched before grabbing her clothes and racing to the bathroom. It was the usual sweats and tank top for her morning runs.

It was perfect for her to get out so early, so nobody has to look at her as she runs down the darkened street. She tied her platinum blonde hair into a ponytail, then went downstairs to the kitchen. She remembered that her mom bought some protein bars and shakes for her, so she can have something in her belly when she gets hungry. She grabbed a bar and refrigerated water, stopping at the front door to pull out her phone. She received a text from Jannice, it read: When r u running? Ima join ya 2!

Daisy’s reply has always been the same: Im heading out now. And so she did.

The world beyond her door was dark, as always. She saw a small figure down the sidewalk, jogging towards her.

“Hey, Daisy!” Jannice hugged her, her dark hair swept back by the soft breeze.

Daisy hugged her back tightly, “Let’s start! Come on!”

Their run to the park was quite peaceful, the birds just starting to sing their morning songs. The park in itself was large, a small playground set right in its center, and open field surrounding it. The girls chased one another as a game before doing races, pausing at a few trees occasionally for a break. By the time they finished a few laps around the park, the sky glowed a faint orange. They both looked up, noticing the strange dark cloud of smoke rising from a nearby house. She looked at the street sign of where she guessed the fire was. Mayhem Street. Her house was on Cherry and Mayhem.

She ran as fast as her long legs could carry, worried about both her neighbors and her family living there. Her phone slipped out of her hands and cracked onto the cement, but she kept going. She ignored the concerned shouts of her best friend and the wailing sirens of first responders passing by, her mind only set to the question: whose house was on fire? Her sprint slowed to a stroll as she stopped to see what had happened.

The row of houses was engulfed in flames, the heat burned her skin as she got closer. In the dense smoke and fire, she couldn’t see her house from here. It hurt like hell to breathe, the foul air turning her lungs raw. She still ran. She kept running until she couldn’t run; walking until she couldn’t walk; crawling until she couldn’t crawl.

How much longer, she wondered, this street doesn’t last forever. She could still hear her Jannice’s cries and sirens before the world became dark.

Daisy's eyes fluttered open, her hand reaching for her phone. Didn't I lose my phone? She must've imagined it because her phone was in her hand.

She was in her bed, she was safe. There were no sirens, no fire. It was all a dream.

"Good morning, honey!"

She turned to look at her mother. She looked as if she'd been up all night; maybe longer.

"Hi, Mom," Daisy said.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

Daisy thought for a moment, "I feel... fine."

Her mother smiled slightly before giving her a kiss on the forehead. Daisy tried to get up, but couldn't. It was like she was forgetting how to move.

Her mother put her hand up, "Careful! You don't want to hurt yourself now, do you?"

"What happened?" Daisy asked, "Why can't I move?"

She looked as though she went through the worst pain in her life, "Honey, you've been asleep for a few months since the fire. You didn't fare very well since you didn't get out in time. Your legs got the worst of it, but you were practically burned everywhere. Your legs had to be removed they were so damaged and were going to make you sick."

Daisy couldn't believe it. She saw a wheelchair waiting by the door, then looked at the empty space on her blanket where her legs should've been. Pulling off the blanket, she couldn't look at it without feeling disgusted.

Her legs were now stubs, blackened and burned, up to her thighs. She started to sob.

Word count: 758 words
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