I slammed my bedroom door shut and punched the lock button as loud as my knuckles could go, and the infuriating laughter was cut short immediately. Exhaling a long breath, I turned around and greeted the murk, depleted.
I didn’t even know why this party had to be held at my house. Not that I wasn’t hospitable, it just seemed the snobbish kids downstairs were unnecessarily invited. Smart phones were so life or death to them apparently, and I was turned into a laughing stock the second they realized I didn’t have one.
I grabbed the MP3 player irritably and muttered, ‘I’m not a hillbilly.’ I collapsed onto the bed and stuck the earbuds into my ears. I played every obnoxious and migraine-provoking song that was on the list until I was convinced that my poor eardrum couldn’t take in anymore. I was just about to pull out the earbuds when a sudden shriek pierced through the thick air of quietness in my room.
Startled and confused, I inched closer to feed my curiosity satisfaction. Raucous yelling of a mob followed, with a twinge of horror to the edge of the voices. I shook my head disapprovingly, wondering what games they were up to. Feeling the anger balloon expanding again, I finished the work I started earlier.
With a mild migraine lurking in the corner of my head already, I resolved to call it a day. I then hopped out of bed to get changed into my pajamas. Almost instantly, an acrid smell of burning wood filled my nasal cavity, and my just-in-contact-with-the–floor feet screamed at the intense heat underneath them.
Not containing my reflex, I withdrew my feet abruptly and hopped back onto my bed, already fearing for the worst. Panic surged through my veins like quicksilver, and my ears got wonky, before I realized belatedly that it wasn’t just a complaint of me torturing my eardrum. I swallowed thickly, trying to stay collected futilely.
Raising one hand, I touched the wooden amulet engraved with the line ‘I love God’ beneath my shirt, and whispered desperately, ‘Please.’ I closed my eyes, challenging the tears that planned to escape. After failing to get my jumpy nerves in line, I wasted no time scrambling to my feet to prove my doubt.
I opened the already scorching hot door, and came face to face with a blaze eating away the wooden stairs rapidly. Not greeting the acrid smoke, I noticed an ardent flare was licking its way to my bedroom. I froze and glared at the uninvited inferno before me with my jaw wide open.
‘Oh. My. God.’ I clutched my head, shaking it like I had lost my mind. I clutched tighter when all I heard was the crackling of burning wood, no screaming, no instructions shouted to smother the starving flame. I was alone. The rest of them must be outside the house, and my parents probably had yet to notice my absence since there were so many attendees tonight. The only way to safety outside was the stairs, and they were devoured completely. There was no way for me to scuttle past it, I’d definitely be charred before I made it.
I held my breath and an excruciating cough suddenly rose up in me. I tried to fight back, but that only spilled the pool of tears welled inside my eyes. I promptly retreated back to my bedroom and racked my brain to think of a way out. Still coughing, I dashed towards the windows, not that I think I had the strength to break the metal railings, but I figured shouting for help was the best option so far. I threw open the windowpane and opened my nasty dry mouth, but not even a yelp escaped my mouth when a cough rose up in me again. Still hot-headed, I smothered the irritable cough and tried again. And again, the initial result echoed.
I balled my fist and hit the railings hard. My lungs were threatening to stop functioning, and I willed them to obey their master. Turning to see the progress of the blaze, I threw my hands to my mouth and gasped. The wooden floor beneath my feet was suddenly searing, declaring another conflagration was on its way. I hobbled to the middle of my bedroom.
That was it. I was engulfed. No way out. Everything began reeling and I was drenched in a sheen of sweat. Blinking to clear the fuzziness, I backed up. My feet and lungs screamed, and my anguished skin was starting to crack. I clenched and gritted my teeth through the unbearable heat and pain. I touched the amulet again and muttered a prayer, begging for divine intervention. My lips trembled involuntarily.
Then, there was a sudden burst of manic energy through my whole body, goading me not to die. I knew it, I wasn’t ready for death. It was simply an instinct, there were too many things waiting for me to do, I was only 16! Travelling around the globe, enjoying a simple life, going to concerts......Barely remembering I was still in a death-or-cripple situation, I screamed and jumped dramatically when a fire licked at my calf.
Abruptly, I backed up again and my back hit the closet. It was a rather old and durable closet made from cumaru wood, which was passed down from my grandma. Not even having an inkling of my actions, I threw open the closet door and wedged myself inside it. What was I doing? I had no idea at all. It was simply a...tangible pull.
Mind swirling in a turmoil, I balled myself up, still indomitable to leap over the death breach. I could feel the intense heat outside this so far safety zone, and I bit my lips until I drew blood, hovering at the edge of surrender. Again, I grasped the amulet tightly and prayed over and over again. Not even realizing it, darkness swallowed me.
I opened my eyes slowly and forcefully, and a fuzzy white figure stood over me. Cherub? But then, a tang of antiseptic drifted into my nose, and I focused my gaze again by pulling in my brows. I gasped. Nurse? I was...alive? A surprised laugh escaped my parched mouth and I shook my head unbelievably.
I pulled my sore hands from under the cover way too impulsively and grasped the amulet with both of my hands, mentally expressing gratitude to the Lord continuously. Then, I smiled and whispered to the air, ‘Thanks, grandma.’