A conspicuous mist was sweeping over the streets that night. My window was slightly frosted as I peered outside, onto the silent street before me. Across the road to the right, I could see Christmas lights on a tree, glistening like fallen stars through a window of another snowflake-matted house. Everything seemed as good as normal, as I drew the curtains and fell into bed, succumbing to an overpowering feeling dominating my body.
I fell into a deep, uncaring sleep, with only the thoughts of Christmas entering my head.I didn’t notice the almost apparent oddness in the air that night, nor did I find anything strangely out of place. It was the 21st night of December, and nothing would prepare me for the shock and devastation that I was about to encounter.
I found it hard to sleep that night. I woke up abruptly at one stage and glanced at my clock. It was 3.
27am. Something was beckoning me to rise out of bed, but I didn’t know what it was. An arousing smell crept through the air. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but as the smell developed, I was attracted towards it.I tried to resist the curiosity of the smell as it passed though the air by pulling the covers over my head. I eventually won the battle of temptation, and allowed my curiosity to surrender. I drifted off into another restless sleep.
My eyes flung open again. Sweat was invading my brow and I was finding it hard to breathe. A strange warmth had surrounded my body. I sat up in bed and strained my eyes to see the clock. It was 3. 52.
Normally I would struggle off the sleep in order for me to get up, but now, it was almost as if I was forced. Something was seeping in through the mahogany door of my bedroom.I was still in my semiconscious state of sleepiness, and it took me a while to realize what was happening. It was smoke. I ran to the door, opened it hastily and forced my way through the veil of smoke onto the landing.
It was getting hotter and hotter as I proceeded further into the smoke. I stood on top of the stairs and looked down to the ground floor. Giant, deep orange flames were engulfing the banister, and were creeping ever closer up the stairs. A sudden but apparent fireball was created as the last piece of the banister crashed down to the hall, with an almightily, piercing sound.I was thrown to the ground and covered in immense amount of black cinders and ash that scorched my skin. This left me staggering against the wall and crying out, hauling over to regain my balance and strength. I was becoming trapped and as I felt the pursuing heat behind me, but I knew I had to carry on. My parents had their bedroom on the second floor.
I gazed up at the bedroom door, closed tight, at the top of the vast amount of stairs that were laid out before me. Behind their door was a world of safety and dreams. The disastrous goings on below was still not affecting them.Their safe world would be broken into shortly and fade way into despair and devastation. I clambered up the stairs with care, as by now it was becoming harder to see pass the great wall of smoke which obscured my path. I had to stop to regain my breath, as my deluded mind was now finding the act of breathing a challenge. I reached their bedroom, flung open the door and shouted as loud as I possibly could, breaking into a silence of dreams and tranquility.
I ran in to the bedroom, jumped on their bed and frantically tried to wake both of them up. “The house is on fire. It’s on fire.Wake up! Wake up! We have to do something. ” “For God’s sake! ” my father exclaimed as he suddenly realized what was happening, leaping out of bed and running to the stairs. I quickly followed him but glanced back at their bed. My mother was having trouble getting out of the bed due to the unbelievable amounts of smoke entering the room.
I pulled her out of bed, and gripping her hands tightly, guided her to the door where we hesitantly made our way downstairs. My dad had literally jumped down the whole flight of stairs in front of us and had lunged forward to the phone on the landing wall.He nervously phoned 999, trembling, and only managed to mutter what was happening. “Err.
Th-The house is on F-Fire. Please help. We need the fire brigade. Err..
7 Fife road, East Sheen. Please come quickly, this is an emergency. ” He left the phone off the hook, dangling in mid air on the cord, and shouted at us to follow him. It seemed like a parallel universe we were entering into as we saw the engulfing flames creeping up from the other end of the landing. It was almost as if giant, outstretched arms were beckoning us to fall into them.They flames were stealing our every inch of our living space, taking everything we owned. Destruction. My father led us into the bathroom, and opened the big, white, glazed bathroom window just above the toilet.
It was our fire escape window, leading to the roof above our kitchen. I clambered though the window, closely followed by my mother. My dad had closed the bathroom door, jumped up on the toilet back and forced his way through the window, which was pretty hard for him, seeing it was relatively small window. No sooner then all of us had settled on the roof, distant sirens could be heard, making their way towards us.My mind’s elation set by the ever-closer feeling of Christmas was growing overcast by the minute and I was finding it hard to concentrate on our situation. Here we were, sitting above our home, where beneath us, a raging fire of torment was destroying any hope of a peaceful Christmas. There was nothing we could do but sit and wait.
Neighbours gathered upon streets gripped with inquisitiveness and sympathy, watching us as we were hoisted out onto our front garden with the aid of two firefighters. After the initial shock had settled in, we were taken to the hospital to be treated for any injuries or trauma we may have suffered from.The overwhelming aspect of our situation had finally sunken in, and it was obvious now this was going to be an extraordinary Christmas. My mother waited in the hospital waiting room in the accident and emergency for me. I was the only one in the family who had managed to obtain injuries from the fire. It was hard enough overcoming the change in your mind, as well as the change of your physical appearance. I could see my reflection, hazed, in the shiny, metallic surface, of the bed opposite me. I had changed.
Burn scars had built a hostile breeding ground on my shoulders and neck.I looked down at my arms. I could not bear to stare any longer. I had obtained 3rd degree scars on my back and neck, and 2nd degree burns on my arms and chest. But, after all this, it was a small price to pay for everything this world had to offer me.
My life was being torn apart at this point. My hope of a peaceful and fulfilled Christmas had suddenly been turned into an unreachable dream. Not having a home for Christmas seemed a daunting thought. Our presents had not yet lined the tree, as my mother thought it best not to put out the presents until Christmas Eve.Every year she would come up with different hiding places around the house to hide the presents and I loved to search the house high and low for any signs of them. Unfortunately, this anticipation was all shattered.
The chilling winter air, was circling the nearly empty hospital throwing us into a bleak and uncaring world of hatred and despair. If only I had bothered to find out the cause of that smell. The mind wrapping, secluding smell, of disaster to come. If only I let my curiosity get the better of me. If only I had the will, the force, even the courage.