All she remembered was darkness, then the feeling of spinning wildly around and around before the bright light. Drifting, she couldn’t tell if it was heaven or hell, as he feet did not touch the floor. Weightless, blinking, she remained frozen as she shielded her eyes from the light the light that was paralyzing her. That’s when reality and the wood floor hit her.
She gasped out loud and screamed as he landed, feeling her leg twist and the sound of bones crunching in the fall. As she gasped at the pain, she began to cough as smoke spilled into her lungs and billowed around her. Looking up, she saw the splintered wood of the ceiling above her that had opened up as she’d fallen.
Around her, flames rose and tickled the edges of furniture and carpeting, lapping up the wood and fabric on the floor. Where was she? Blinking. Her office? No. Even in the dim smoky light she could see the walls were a disgusting shade of yellow.
Then she knew. Her boyfriend Justin’s place.
Oh God, where was Justin?
Coughing, she swung her head around to look to see if she could see his form anywhere but she couldn’t speak. Shifting her weight, she tried to pull herself farther along to look but the minute her left leg shifted, the rush of shooting, burning pain shot through her and she gasped.
It was meant at an unnatural angle and wasn’t moving. It had to be broken. Wincing, she felt the tears start dreaming down her face and she groaned, adjusting to a position that she felt that perhaps wouldn’t stress her leg as much.
Above her, the smoke and fire raged and she watched, transfixed, as crimson red and setting sun orange licked at the walls until they turned black as night or crumbled. On the bottom of the floor, she gasped and coughed, but she saw everything. She’d heard the saying before of life rushing past one’s eyes and sure enough, the flashes came to her of her life, her graduation, her family, the romantic evenings she’d spent…
Her eyes were closed, she hadn’t remembered when she’d closed them but she suddenly saw a bright white light and they fluttered open. Dark figures brandished white light. Blinking against it, she was struck with a fit of coughing, her chest heaving as she tried to speak out but instead collapsed into a ball.
The light grew brighter and brighter, and she blinked against the impossibly bright light until she felt a course fabric against her hand. With it, a masked man, breathing in oxygen. A firefighter.
“I’ve got you, ma’am, I’ve got you.”
Against her skin as he lifted her to her feet, the coarse material; the texture of hope.