Categories > Original > Drama

We Never Went Back for that Harmonica

by ArsenicAutumn 1 review

To whomever is reading this, I'd like to tell you a story, and ask a favor of you.

Category: Drama - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst - Published: 2015-01-31 - Updated: 2015-01-31 - 1200 words - Complete

To whomever is reading this, I don't know you but I'd like to tell you a story, and ask of you a favor.

I remember the day The Great Fire started. The other survivors tell me that it had been started by men with flamethrowers wearing heavy dark coats and ski masks. I wouldn't know and I don't think the others really know either. I had been sleeping before the sirens went off. Eldoron City was at least 100 miles away from any other town. We were a desert city. We wanted seclusion and now with the power stations out, we got as much as we could ever ask for.

That night, I went to bed early. My daughter, Micah, had been quite the handful for most of the day. Once I got her to sleep I turned in. I think it was at about 19:00, but I'm not entirely sure. The sirens went off at about 23:00. If they hadn't I would have never gotten my daughter out in time.

I didn't smell the smoke until I opened my bedroom window to see what was happening. The entire city was on fire and the skyline blazed like a sick, multi-hued sunrise all around us. My neighbors were already standing in the middle of the street. They couldn't do anything but watch as their homes burned. My daughter ran in crying, she clutched her father's old, tarnished harmonica.

My husband had died only a few weeks after our wedding. A drunk driver took our future away. We were very young and not well established. So when I discovered the day after his funeral that I was with child, I sold everything we had together and moved to Eldoron City. I kept the harmonica to remember him by. I gave it to Micah only a few days before the fire on her fourth birthday, so that she'd have something of her father's.
She never liked loud noises and the sirens were deafening. I picked her up and ran for the bedroom door. The bedrooms were located upstairs on the left side of the house. I could already see smoke rising from the staircase. Our upstairs bathroom was on the other side, I ran for it. I glanced down the staircase in passing, flamed licked their way up the bannisters and I knew we didn't have much time.

The bathroom window had been sealed shut long before I bought the house. I put my daughter down and kicked it out, making sure there wasn't any glass left to cut us. The window was directly above an extension of the roof that covered the patio. I knew if we could get down there, we would make it. I turned to grab my daughter and she started screaming,
"No! No! My 'marnica!".

I peaked out the door and saw it shining on the floor right next to the staircase. The flames were already visible in the rolling, black smoke. We never went back for that harmonica... we couldn't save it.

Ignoring my screaming child, I climbed out the window and sat against the narrow ledge that was just below it. Holding the upper part of the window frame with one hand, I grabbed my daughter around the middle and hoisted her onto my lap. She held tight, her skinny arms around my neck and her legs around my waist. I think she knew what was going to happen.
I slid off the ledge and dropped down onto the roof extension. My knees buckled on impact and I fell, flipping myself so that I wouldn't land on Micah. The glass that had been broken out of the window upstairs cut me as I landed on it. Blood ran down my arm and side. I felt the glass embedded in my shoulder as I forced myself back onto my feet. My daughter was unharmed.
My neighbors had seen me fall and ran over to help. One of them had a ladder that had been sitting in his truck from his house painting business. As I was helping my little girl onto the ladder, I somehow lost my footing and fell. I heard the sickening crack before I felt it. The pain flaring from my ankle wasn't anything compared to the nauseating sight of the bone sticking out white in the moonlight. The neighbor with the ladder had gotten my daughter down just as we saw the flames in that bathroom window.

I screamed as the neighbor picked me up and carried me into the safety of the street. I screamed as I felt the glass moving inside my skin. I screamed as the EMT in training tried to see what was wrong with my ankle. I screamed for my husband, and for my daughter, and for myself. I screamed for the future that had been forever changed that night. I screamed until I blacked out.

I woke up 3 days later in a bed. I thought the whole thing had been a nightmare until I tried to stretch. I felt the cuts on my shoulder and side try to reopen and I felt the weight of the heavy wrapping and splint on my ankle. I cried out in pain and confusion until I felt a little hand slip gently into mine. "It's okay, Momma. The fire's out now". I opened my eyes and saw my little girl's blue eyes, so much like my own. Her black ringlets had been tied back out of her face.

That was only two weeks ago. The Great Fire has left an entire city homeless with little-to-no understanding of what we're supposed to do now. People have already started to leave Eldoron City, those who had undamaged vehicles are already gone. They said they'd send help but somehow, I don't think help is coming. My daughter and I are staying in a tent with two other survivors. It's cramped but much safer than sleeping outside in the desert. The heat is brutal but we're all getting by the best we can.

I'm writing this all down so that someone will know what happened to us. All the stores of medication that we had has all been used up by the wounded. While my cuts healed fine, my leg will not. I made sure I was alone last time I changed the bandages. There are red lines running up my leg and the smell from the wound damn near knocked me over. I'm sick and feverish, I'm getting cold chills and I've been throwing up. I doubt I have much time left now.

And now I must ask, please take care of Micah. Take her away from here. Take her somewhere safe with clean water and doctors and electricity. She's still young enough that she may not remember me. If she ever asks about me, just tell her that her mommy loved her and that she did everything she could for her. And if she ever asks about her harmonica, as she's been doing quite often lately, tell her that her daddy has it and he plays it to mommy now. Tell her, she can hear it if she closes her eyes and listens.

Thank You.
Sign up to rate and review this story