Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
What goes on behind closed eyes? People die, wars are waged both far away and in your own backyard.
Her frantic screams echoed throughout the crowded streets as she desperately tried escaping the man's grasp. People were now gathering around them, their indistinct faces identical masks of concern. She neither knew nor cared what they were staring at, her episode or her burning home, all she knew was she had to break free. She had to get to him. Smoke was beginning to billow heavily from the heat-cracked windows and it was only a matter of time before fiery tongues would begin to caress the exterior. She'd seen it before, seen what a fire could do in a matter of moments.
He could be dead already.
"Killing yourself isn't going to help anyone." the man hissed through clenched teeth. His grip on her was tight and expert, the product of spending so many years with her father. She flailed all the harder, thrashing with all she had, but he wouldn't budge. "They're already on their way! Just leave it to James, dammit!" She could hardly hear him, could hardly breathe. Shane was still in there. The bellowing fire filled her ears, continuing to brim over the cistern of terror she'd kept so well concealed all these years. Her chest heaved wildly with each ragged gasp of air. She couldn't just let him die. She wouldn't.
She couldn't take anymore, lashing out blindly with her elbow. The sickening crunch proved she'd made her mark. She felt a flash-flood of guilt wash through her as he dropped her with a pained howl, but she was gone the instant her feet had touched the ground. She didn't have time to apologise, not now.
She pushed her legs for all they had, her powerful strides digging deep into the ground with every kickoff. Her heart thudded painfully in her chest as she tore off towards her home. She'd been in there just minutes before. She'd been right beside him, and she just left him there. Before she could reach the front door she felt the excruciating heat of the blaze scorching at her face. That wasn't good.
Her spinning mind was a flurry of curses; the fire was too big. Already the house could be unstable, ready to come crashing down at any given moment, crashing down on her best friend. The thought made her sick to her stomach. She could lose everything at any time. She gritted her teeth, attempting to block out the nagging thoughts that threatened to cripple her where she stood.
This was all her fault.
She flung the doors open heedlessly, the slamming of it hitting brick inaudible amongst the reverberating echo of the fire. Immediately she was engulfed in a wall of smoke. The unending growl was deafening, almost painful, but nothing could compare to the smothering smoke that tried strangling the very air from her lungs as soon as they caught hold of her.
The wispy ashes danced gleefully around her as if welcoming a new victim to their mounting festivities. They whirled and spun, making her head as light as the air they danced in. She cursed, wrenching her shirt over her nose. She was acting like a complete novice. Her father told her of the people he'd watched suffocate in these blazes. She couldn't be one of those people.
"Shane?" She shouted into the blackness, pausing but for an instant in hopes of hearing a reply. Her throat flared up, constricting her windpipe. She began to choke convulsively, feeling as if she'd swallowed molten lead. Even her eyes burned like thousands of wasp stings.
Clenching her eyes shut, she took off at a steady run, her hand placed against the wall. Her back hunched over, an attempt at avoiding twirling tendrils of death as best she could, but the aid was minimal. She had to rely on memory alone, her convulsive choking doing nothing to help her remember the route to the room she'd last seen him in.
She called his name over and over, pleading for him to answer. Pain shot through her chest with each shout, but she wouldn't stop. He had to be here somewhere; finding him was all that mattered, and getting him out of this hell was worth any price. No matter how steep. She owed it to him, and after all this, nothing less seemed to suffice.
Her thoughts were beginning to blur together, the caustic scent of noxious gasses becoming unbearable. She tripped over fallen debris, slamming painfully into the ground. She let out a low moan, a sound that would have been treasonous to her code had there been anyone to hear it. The carcinogenic fumes were driving her to delirium. She could hardly think straight, could hardly remember where she was going. The fire wouldn't even share a part in her death at this rate; the dancing collection of gasses, fumes and smoke would beat it to her.
She clambered to her feet, straining her burning eyes to try and see where she was going, but it was impossible. She put her hand on the wall and proceeded to regain speed, heedless of the disorienting roar that assaulted her ears. A faint glow flickered against the far corner of the wall, and she knew that was where she had to go. Shane would kill her himself if he could see her now, but he could go right ahead and try if he wanted.
Had she only stayed for just a few more minutes she'd have been by his side already. For better or for worse. Had she only not ran from him, he could have come out along with her. Her mind raced, assaulting her already bleeding conscience with every mistake she'd made in the last five minutes. Five minutes ago now felt like a lifetime away. A lifetime she could never get back.
A burning inferno of orange-red flames greeted her with a callous roar the moment she turned the corner. It lined the ceiling and clung to the floor, engulfing everything in sight. She watched it in disbelief as it licked merrily at all the familiar things she'd grown up with, revelling in the mass of fuel it had stumbled upon. She was forced to shield her eyes from the intense light, unable to bear looking directly into the snaking conflagration.
The dancing smoke cheered like kids at the colloseum, goading on the beast that could take her life in moments had it cared to. She felt like a mouse that wandered into the den of a taipan. The air churned around her, mimicking the actions taken by her stomach. It was a monster, a gluttonous, merciless demon that was willing to take not only her home, but her best friend the moment it found him.
She felt a surge of hatred overcame her. The fiery fiend was nothing more than a thief. The blaze was taking what belonged to her and her alone. It had no right. He was hers, he'd said so himself. Enraged, she began to scream at it. She knew it wouldn't help, but her delirious mind couldn't bring her to stop. She felt herself growing faint with the energy expended and cursed the more fervently.
She sank to her knees, watching the fire burn furiously in every direction. Unbidden sobs began to shake her slight frame. She couldn't have left him in a worse way. She'd been terrified by his proposition, she was too young. Instead of talking it over, she ran from him. Ran from the only person who'd ever really known her. She'd hardly cleared the front lawn when the sound a violent explosion shook her very core.
She punched the ground in her fury, the cracking of her knuckles sending a shooting pain all the way up her arm. To her disdain, the throbbing hadn't made her feel better, only worse. The pain helped to clear her thoughts, and now if she had to carry him out, she was that much more likely to fail. She'd already failed though. Rafters rained down over head, missing her by inches, but she couldn't move. She was going to die there, and she'd deserve every ounce of the pain she received.
The burning debris landed inches to her side, causing her to jump up in terror. Her heart pounded violently, a fresh wave of adrenaline pushing her on. He could still be alive, and he wouldn't quit n her. The menacing hiss-crackle slithered towards her, seeming to open its greedy maw to swallow her whole. She yelped, stumbling backwards into a door.
There it was; her room. She opened the door recklessly, forgetting to check the knob to see if it was hot. She was surprised at how relatively little soot had built up in the room; the tightly sealed door must have done some good in slowing the soot. She began looking around the room, still unable to see more than a few inches from her face.
"You shouldn't be here," wheezed a familiar voice. Her head snapped around, her eyes growing wide in spite of the relentless fumes. She'd let out a pained cry at the sight she received when she approached close enough to see. He was pinned under a fallen shelf from the ribcage down. She couldn't see his face; it was completely coated in black soot. She prayed to whatever gods would hear her that he was alright.
"Shane!" she croaked, falling to his side in a daze to examine him to see the extent of the damage. She gave up as her consciousness attempted to tug itself free from her grasp, eager to join the twirling ashes in all their fun. She staggered slowly to her feet, abysmally aware that her long years of endurance training wouldn't help her now.
She heard a snap as another rafter came soaring down towards her. She let out a strangled cry, covering her head desperately only to have it land inches from her feet, sparks landing on her exposed legs. The pain in her knuckles flew to the back of her mind as she hooked her hands under the shelf. They needed out now. She strained her legs, putting all the weight she could on them as she pried the shelf from his body.
"Move!" she screamed at him, her arms and legs trembling as she attempted to lift it higher. She could almost cry; she couldn't move it any higher. Despite the fury she felt towards herself, Shane managed to pry himself from his prison with the little space she'd provided. As soon as she was sure he was out she let the shelf fall, much to the relief of her still shaking muscles.
He slowly staggered to his feet, his towering figure quickly making her feel small. He looked at her sternly, some unknown emotion playing in his eyes. He was undoubtedly furious with her for coming in the first place, but there was something else there too. She disregarded the thought quickly, they had to go. He glared at her through slitted eyes before seizing her wrist and taking off in a clumsy sprint, saving his ultimatum for a less deadly setting.
His grip on her was iron, almost painfully biting into her wrist. He could go ahead and hate her for all she cared, as long as he got the hell out of here. He was a few years her senior, but they'd been together since she could walk. She'd never hesitate to piss him off if it meant protecting him, not on his life.
Her legs started to tremble, and she instantly knew she wasn't going to make this one. He better have more energy that she had, because despite the exit being no more than twenty meters away, to her each step felt like a mile. He was grateful that he'd been in that room. He'd been so close to the ground that he could have been able to avoid the noxious fumes that had her defeated. Not that she minded, if he got out of there, it was all worth it.
She felt calm despite the hell whirling around her, inexplicably detached. Shane was going to make it out, which meant she would too. He was dragging her around like a ragdoll, but she had already picked her poison and poured herself a mighty tall glass.
If, by some miracle, she did survive this she was as good as dead anyway. There would be a line-up of people waiting t beat the hell out of her for her stupidity. She could almost laugh; she could see their expressions already.
Without warning she heard a series of swift snaps as more rafters came plummeting from overhead. She looked up in a horrified daze, but Shane reacted without hesitation, knocking her to the ground and shielding her body with his own. She screamed, her heart practically freezing in her chest. She tried to shake him off her so she could protect him instead, but his weight was too much for her.
No, not now. He had to get out. He couldn't do this to her now. The rafters crashed down inches from where they lay, hot cinders landing on their clothes, burning holes straight to their flesh. She continued to struggle as she saw his face contort with pain. She had to protect him; why the hell couldn't he get that? Slowly his face relaxed and a mischievous grin soon followed. He knew he'd won, there was nothing she could do to stop him.
"I'll take my reward while I have the chance," he mused as he leaned down and mashed his lips into hers with an almost violent desperation. She was caught completely off guard, enough to pause from her fervent struggling. What was he doing? He was supposed to get out!
She heard another snap, and her eyes widened with terror. Time seemed to freeze as she watched the burning rafter careen down straight for them. Straight for him. Each second ticked by as if it were an hour, and her stomach leapt into her throat. He frowned at the look on her face, and undeniable pain passed through his eyes. She could feel her heart breaking, she'd hurt him yet again, and nothing she could do would stop it now. She felt tears brimming in her eyes as her first kiss melted away into the blackness of hell.
Only to be replaced by their mingled screams.