Author Topic: #130 Flash Winner - Bailish - Mods Please sticky this for me - Thank you.  (Read 1603 times)

Offline Simple Things

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"Men, check your fortifications."

Determined faces answered Reiner. Even though we were all officially the same rank, Reiner was the most senior member of our unit. Besides, no one else wanted to command while the captain was away. We checked our defenses and armaments.

"Charge!" came the enemy's cry from the top of the hill.

"Fortify the right flank," ordered Reiner.

I slipped to the right from my center position, my pockets filled with ammo. White projectiles crashed into the trees. I aimed at the red cap, and fired. Direct hit, but the red cap kept coming, his aim now directed at me. I emptied my pockets, hitting him multiple times, but he refused to go down. He jumped over the barricade and smashed a snowball in my face. People around us were laughing and wrestling in the snow.

"You're down, Eliza," Ethan said, pulling off his red cap.

"I got you long before you got close," I yelled back.

"You winged me."

"I winged you in the face," I retorted.

At that moment, the station bell rang. All joking ceased, and we ran to the station house. I was the first one dressed, so I jumped on the running board and Ethan hung on next to me.

"Hope it's not a house," I said to Ethan as the others boarded. "Losing a house on Christmas Eve..."

The siren blared and the engine took off, my hat bouncing over my eyes before I tightened the strap.

"A fire on a day like this?" Ethan shouted at me over the siren. "Too cold to burn wood."

"Probably electrical," Griffin yelled from the other side. "The cold snaps old power lines, sometimes shorting them out."

"I hate electrical fires," mumbled Ethan with a shiver.

The fire engine entered a residential area and I had a sinking feeling. We came to a halt in front of a blazing inferno, black smoke obliterating the sky. Snow started to fall through the billowing cloud, and I hummed "Silent Night" to myself, hoping my kids were safe.

"No one dies," called out Reiner, our standard call to action.

"Not on my watch," we all replied automatically as we took down the hose and ladder.

Reiner shook his head. "Fire's too far gone. Spray the door and windows in case someone's trying to get out. Nobody goes inside."

The house was a style similar to mine, and I thought of my kids again. Jonah might be reading a Christmas story to them now. I couldn't wait to get home and hug them, put out the presents before tomorrow morning. I wiped a tear from my eye. A window exploded and a chair dropped from the attic, breaking apart on the shoveled concrete.

"Someone's in the attic!" I screamed, and I took a deep breath to settle my stomach. I knew better than to be frantic in an emergency.

Ethan and Griffin propped the ladder against the house, and I started climbing.

"No one dies, Eliza," called out Reiner.

"Not on my watch," I yelled back. Not on my watch.

The spray hit my back, chilling me, yet reminding me my team was behind me. My boots slipped on the rungs as the water froze. I reached the third floor window, but my hand wouldn't move. My glove had frozen to the ladder. I slipped my hand out, and in that moment, a bloodcurdling scream rang out. My insides clenched as a young girl jumped out the window headfirst, her clothes and hair on fire. I caught her forearm, her polyester shirt instantly melting into my fingers. She was struggling so much I almost lost my grip on the ladder.

"Not on my watch!" I yelled at her as if she understood. It was all I could think of. The pain in my fingers was so intense my muscles were failing. I held her as tightly as I could, and I smelled burning flesh. "Not on my watch!"

I held on as the ladder tipped, Ethan and Griffin desperately trying to keep me upright. The guys yelling on the ground, the ladder swinging, my feet slipping, the girl struggling, but all I could think of was to hold on, one hand on the ladder, the other on the girl. And ignore the pain, the fire burning through my hand, snow on my eyelids blinding me. I couldn't let go.

"It's okay, Eliza," Reiner yelled in my ear. "You're on the ground. You can let go."

But I couldn't let go. This time the bloodcurdling scream was mine. My hand had melted to the girl's arm, a thin white layer of melted polyester fusing our flesh. My body shook uncontrollably.

I woke up Christmas morning in a hospital bed, my hand tightly wrapped and suspended above me.

"You saved her, Eliza," said Ethan, rising from a chair against the wall. He must have slept there last night. "Her chest and back were second-degree burns, like your hand. Cuts all over from the broken glass when she jumped out the window. If it hadn't been for the cold, she would have bled to death."

I wanted to say something, but the lump in my throat prevented words. I hummed "Silent Night," the presents still wrapped under the tree as my kids waited for me to come home, tears rolling down my cheeks.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 05:09:17 PM by fire-fly »

Offline heidi52

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Nice story, Bailish! Enjoyed it very much.

Offline bailish

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I missed the voting. Thanks all who voted for me. Ready for the next challenge?

Thanks, Heidi.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 01:08:03 PM by bailish »

Offline Laura H

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Re: #130 Flash Winner - Bailish - Mods Please sticky this for me - Thank you.
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 06:16:05 PM »
Yay, Bailish!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline bailish

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Re: #130 Flash Winner - Bailish - Mods Please sticky this for me - Thank you.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 10:36:23 AM »
Thanks, Laura.