Coming Home

He came home, and she knew hell would break loose...

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7. Fire

Bethany:

The next day, I was up bright and early like always to go for a run. I was way too stressed. That moment with Kane was amazing but just to come home and find that shit blew my mood up so fucking quickly. I wanted to jump off a cliff from all the thoughts. When I finished my run, instead of going back to the house, I went to the barn, saddled up Bubba and took him out, up the hills. It was still pouring from the night before but I didn’t care. I needed to be out of the house and out of my head.

I was out there through the pouring rain, thunder, lightning, everything; I couldn’t stop crying as Bubba had started wandering the hills but staying close sensing something was wrong and could go even more south at any moment. Suddenly something in me clicked, a gut feeling, and I ran for Bubba and had him running full force back to the barn. When I got close I saw lightning has struck the barn and it was up in flames. I started screaming, hopping off Bubba, and calling 911 as I ran for the barn.

Once off the phone, I knew it would be awhile until someone got here. I saw everyone running from the house in the distance and I knew I wasn’t going to just sit here and hear all the horses freak out. I started running full force for the barn and heard everyone screaming for me to stop. I broke down the door and ducked, jumping for the floor knowing the fire was going to shoot out at me.

I was crawling stall to stall, unlocking them, letting the horses run. I was starting to cough as feel dizzy but I was halfway done and I wasn’t stopping. I still couldn’t hear sirens and I was not letting a single thing happen to anything in here. When I reached the last stall, it took all my strength to unlock it and let Blondie go but I was still on the ground, trying to crawl out but I couldn’t seem to breathe anymore as I felt my eyes start to feel very heavy; just as I heard thee sirens.

 

Kane:

“She’s in the fucking barn! We saw her run in and horses started running out and they were all locked in stalls!” I was practically screaming as people started jumping out of the fire truck. A couple guys flew past me, barging in past falling posts and wood.

We all stood there, petrified for what was about to happen. We all stood there in shock, waiting for what felt like hours before we saw Bethany being dragged out with an oxygen mask on and EMT’s waiting for her, grabbing her right away. I heard her parents screaming and crying and Sam was on the ground and I felt the world spinning.

Bethany was rushed off and we were told to head back to the house and someone would be with us soon as the fire was under control. We were all numb and just wandering around the porch, watching the flames slowly die down. After what felt like years, the fire chief walked over, taking his helmet off.

“You got a strong girl there, Cami, Craig. If it wasn’t for her the horses wouldn’t have made it out and the EMT’s got a heartbeat while on the way to the hospital. They broke down all over again. “Was anything else of importance in there? It looked like she was still looking for something when we got to her.”

“Wait, what?” Sam asked, chiming in. “She only got the horses?”

“What else was in there?” Sam went white and started crying, running for the barn with a few firefighters holding her back while she was screaming.

“What did she have in there?” He asked again.

“We don’t know…her and Sam spent a lot of time up in the loft there together…they never told us, they never caused trouble so we had no reason to believe they were up to anything bad…” Craig finally said, his voice cracking.

“We will talk to her and Sam once Bethany is stable and Sam is calm. I will let you guys have your time to see Bethany. She’s at the hospital near Nashville.” They nodded and the chief walked away, still looking sad. You could still hear Sam’s screams and she was on the ground with an officer who was trying to calm her down.

We were all wondering how on earth Bethany knew what was going on. She went for a run around 4, earlier than usual, it seemed she took Bubba out, but then the next thing we knew we heard her screams and saw flames.  It could only have been 6 or so when she heard this and no one would be up except her.

Word got around pretty quick about what had happened so by the time we reached the hospital, half the town was already there and more people were showing up by the minute waiting for word on Bethany. Every time a doctor or nurse walked by we all snapped our attention to them just for them to keep on walking or go talk to someone else. It was getting worse and worse, waiting for word on Bethany. I was sitting there, trying to hold myself together when all I wanted to do was fall apart. Sam was still crying and her parents were stone, still in shock with everyone possible comforting them while the rest of us were just waiting to hear something.

“Ms. Bethany Walker’s family?” Literally everyone turned and stood up. “Well…okay then; she’s awake and breathing just fine. She’s just a little shaken up; she has a concussion but that’s about the extent of the damage. A few bruises internally and externally, and cuts but that is all.”

“Can we see her?” Cami asked. She nodded and we all started making our way to her room where she had something clutched in her hands.

“Sweetie!” Craig and Cami said, running to her. Sam held back still in tears.

“Sam…” Bethany whispered, her voice raspy. “I couldn’t get everything…but I got this…” Sam slowly walked over and Bethany opened up her hand and there was a necklace, a small box, and a picture.

“Sweetie…you kept these…” Cami asked, confused.

“Grandma and Grandpa left them; everything they left us was up there…” Sam whispered. She fell onto Bethany who winced but held her sister, crying with her. Cami and Craig started crying again too, but silently this time, slowly realizing how important everything there was to them.

After about a week, Bethany was discharged and able to come home. She was still not speaking and the barn had not been touched since the fire. We had managed to get all the horses back and just had them in the much smaller barn on the other side of the house that my friends and I cleaned out for them.

At lunch that day, Bethany still hadn’t said anything and everyone was still really somber and quiet. I wanted to hold her hand but she looked like she had seen a ghost; she was always pale as a sheet, as a piece of paper. I slowly reached for her hand under the table, intertwining my fingers with her. She didn’t wince, her facial expression did not change, but she clung to my hand like her life depended on it.

After lunch, I found her and Sam standing by the barn whispering to each other and I slowly called out to them so they knew I was walking up with Travis in tow with me. They stopped talking and watched us approach and then we all turned to look at the barn.

“It wasn’t an accident.” Bethany said, finally speaking.

“What are you talking about?” Travis asked.

“When I came riding down here when I saw the flames, I saw someone running away. This wasn’t lightning.” She said slowly, not breaking her gaze. “Am I allowed to go in?”

“Yeah, they said the barn was allowed to be entered again.” I said. She nodded and slowly walked in, made her way to the back where she crawled up what was left of the loft ladder and started pulling at the wall.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked, looking up at her.

“I kept grandma and grandpa close…they were here…mom and dad knew that too, that I brought them up here since they always loved the horses. They were with me that day; I saw them.” She finally ripped the wall open and there was a metal box. She tore it open with her crow bar still up there and there it was; to urns with their names engraved on each of them. “They told me that they were safe and I was going to go home so to go where I could be found. So I grabbed what few things I could and came back down so they could easily carry me out…” She said, picking them up. She slowly climbed back down and Sam slowly reached for one.

“Wait, what’s that?” Sam asked, pointing to the ground. Bethany kicked some of the fallen crap away and there was a lighter with some residue on it.

“Call the cops.” Bethany said. Travis pulled out his phone and when people heard the sirens again, everyone came running back up to the barn. Bethany and Sam pointed out what they found and her parents started crying again, seeing that the urns were safe and unharmed.

The police then pulled their parents to the side and started talking to them about how finding this meant there was a whole new direction on the investigation and how no one could go near the barn and another search was going to be conducted. This whole thing was a simple open and closed case until this happened, adding more stress. Suddenly everyone was gathered in the house and interviews were being taken place and the whole day went from bad to down-right crap within the matter of minutes.

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