House on Fire

Erin woke up coughing, strangled by the murderous hands of a thick smoke. The acrid vapours burned her watering eyes as she tried to peer some sense through the haze of the vapour filled room. A piercing cry of pain jolted her to reality as she realised the house was on fire. Frightened and still shocked, she stumbled out of the bed sheets, still choking, ran towards the bedroom door. Halfway through the fuming corridor, lit in golden flames, she remembered her “Apocalypse kit” – the kit she had prepared for whenever disaster struck. “Oh! I need to get that!!” breathing heavily through her mouth covered by her palm, she made her way back to the room. She could barely discern the outline of the giant king size bed amidst the rapidly building smoke laden with the stench of burning wood and paint. Hastily she kneeled, the heated floor burning against her knees and fished blindly for the kit in the chasm of dark smouldering vapour. Tears welled in her in her eyes, from the smoke and despair; she was just about to give up when her hand brushed against the rough fabric of the bag. In the blink of an eye, she grabbed the bag and was up on her feet, perspiring heavily. Hurriedly yet cautiously she made her way back through the corridor, down the stairs and ran out the front door for her life, the jaws of deadly flames lapping at her feet.

Charred and covered with soot, she stumbled into the front garden welcomed by her favourite pooch; Fluffy ran up to her – a ball of fur, wagging tail and a wet tongue and soothingly licked her soot-covered, tear stained face. James jumped out of the recently approached car and hugged Erin, relieved to find her safe – looking worriedly at the house now engulfed in fire, emitting bright orange-yellow sparks and spewing out noxious fumes. He had received a call while he was on his late night shift and had rushed home. Thankfully, all he held precious was safe. Emotions overwhelmed him and he weeped of relief, joy and thankfulness.

Meanwhile, Erin looked down at the blackened blue bundle of zipped fabric clutched with white-knuckled fists – her apocalypse kit. The sight of the bag took her back to the day she had made it. She had seen on the television, a reality show documenting the story of a family that survived a fire. Their entire life had been snatched away by the disaster. The experience had left her shuddering, The thought of losing all her memories, her life, sent chills down her spine. She had decided then, she would be prepared for the day should any ill-fortune ever befall her. Taking her favourite backpack, she had made her apocalypse kit – it consisted of all the things that would give her hope for times to come. It had a photo of her with her parents when she was 8 years old, a ceramic zebra gifted by her sister when she came out of the hospital and a letter written to her by her father just before he died. As an afterthought, she had put in her passport, some money, energy bars and a bottle of water.

Her thoughts were interrupted when James shook her to reality that the sirens of the firetruck came blaring into her consciousness.  It was only when the cold January night wind brushed against her body and she looked down at her underwear-clad body that realised- she had forgotten to wear any clothes!!!

In response to :

Burning Down the House

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?


Remember this prompt, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?


A cup of tea??

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