I arrive in the middle of a smoky room, the air burning my lungs. I drop to the ground and through the haze that has engulfed me, I spot the door, with light displaying freedom that is so close. But then I hear a scream. Of a child. I stop my movement towards the door and listen.
There it is again.
I scurry, feeling my way around the ground to the stairs. I find them and in a flash I am up there, searching for that child. I open doors and look in every nook and cranny there is.
Another cry but fainter. They can’t breathe.
Door after door, room after room do I come to the final door and I open it. The room is almost engulfed in flames and I can’t see a thing. I am lying on the ground, breathing in what oxygen is left and I am frantically looking, listening for any signs of life. There is a bed and I have to kneel. I take a deep breath and get up to the bed. But when I look all that is on the bed is a freshly made bed. No child. I feel faint and get back down to the floor in confusion. I heard that baby.
I am trying to find my way back downstairs but my vision is becoming cloudy and I can’t breathe. I am choking on the smoke. I get to the stairs and finally to the door. I crawl outside but collapse on the floor in a pile of smoke and pain.
I black out.
“Liddy?! Liddy!? Can you hear me?” a voice screams.
I open my eyes, slowly, letting in the light which blinds me. I see faces staring back at me, with worried looks painted on their faces.
“What happened?” I ask.
“You started to cough and then you passed out, fell on the floor and you weren’t breathing” speaks one of my classmates.
“Yes!” another says.
I hear the sound of sirens. “Did you call 911? I am fine.”
“Liddy, you weren’t breathing for like 2 minutes.”
I look at my teacher in disbelief and I can’t believe it. My head gets light again. “Oh I don’t feel well.”
The paramedics come in with a stretcher and haul me out of the school. The school called my mom and dad but both were in meetings and ‘didn’t have time to come down, but will as soon as they can’. I am brought into the hospital and the doctors are hooking me up to a million different machines. Needles being shove into every vein and soon I am being wheeled in for an x-ray.
Later, the doctors tell me that my lungs are filled with smoke, that I passed out from smoke inhalation. They tell me that I am going to have oxygen filtered through my nose and am going to stay the night.
I passed out from breathing in smoke, which apparently had filled the room and no one else knew.
I sit in my bed that night, around 7:30 and my parents briefly came in, bringing the girls with them. They were scared but I told them that I was going to be okay and not to worry. They kiss me good night and go off. I flip through the channels, stopping on a corny Hallmark movie that is already started. Then they come in.
‘They’ being him.
The one guy that I would have never expected.
Sam. And he brought flowers.
“Hey” I say, looking at him questioningly.
“Hey, how are you feeling? I heard that you passed out in class and I wanted to make sure that you are okay.”
“Yeah I am doing okay I am a little scared.”
“What even happened?”
“I had-“ I stop. What had happened? I had fallen asleep and I dreamed… I dreamed about trying to save a child from a house on fire. And there was a lot of smoke… and I had passed out after I got out of the house… Oh dear.
“I don’t know” I say, “I don’t remember much.”
“Oh I’m sorry.”
“Yeah...” I reply, hesitantly.
“Am I bothering you? I know it’s late and you are probably tired. And now I am rambling on and-“
I cut him off. “You’re fine Sam. Honestly. It’s nice to have some company.”
“Your parents didn’t come?”
“They did. But they really don’t care.” I feel a tear drip down my face.
“That’s horrible, Liddy. I am really sorry. Do you want me to stay?”
I nod. I don’t want to be alone. He sets the flowers on the table and walks around to the chair.
“What are we watching then?”
“Hallmark movie. I don’t know what it’s called.”
He sits with me for a couple hours and soon it is almost ten.
“You don’t have to stay you know.”
“Yeah I know.”
“That means you can leave. You probably have work to do or something.”
“Nah I’m all set.”
“You really don’t have to stay! It is almost ten!”
“Liddy, I am fine. You shouldn’t be alone. I’ll leave in the morning.”
“Sam, why are you doing this? I barely know you.”
“Because you need a friend. And I can be that friend. Plus you passed out from smoke inhalation and there was no smoke in the room.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I am sure.”
I lie down in the bed and listen to the nonsense playing on the TV. Sam is sitting next to me, sitting calmly and soon my eyes begin to drift down and shut.