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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    “Reluctant I” by Sadie Tabor

    Reluctant I 

    I wake up to a piercing blaring noise ringing in my ears as I try and process what is going on. The hot smell of smoke radiates throughout the house and I quickly go into a panic, frantically looking around for a shirt to cover up my nose and mouth. How did this happen? Where the hell is mom and dad? My thoughts are disrupted when I hear the faint cries of my siblings from their bedrooms.

     I have no idea where our parents are, but I sincerely hope they are okay. I run downstairs and see my sister screaming and crying from her bed, as the flames slowly begin to engulf her room. Terrified, I scream at the top of my lungs for her to stay calm and cover her nose and mouth with her blanket. I hear the creaks from the weakening floorboards as I gently maneuver my way to her. I wanted to stay strong for her, but I could not help but sob in pain as my bare feet were scorched by the dancing flames on the burning hardwood. When I finally can reach her, I yanked her out of bed and carried her 80 pounds on my hip, urging her to keep her head as close to my skin as possible.
    After grabbing Lilly, I run as fast as I can to my brother’s room. I can hear his dry, and weak coughs as the smoke blazes about the bedroom. I quickly set her back on the ground so I could get Wes out of there as quickly and efficiently as possible. Tears roll down my face as I set Lilly back on the floor, knowing the amount of pain she must be enduring. She screams for me to be careful as I run into the burning doorframe. Wes was standing next to his bed, sobbing and choking on the smoke. As I make my way over to him, I felt a searing pain run through my body. I ignore it to the best of my ability and scoop up Wes the way I did with Lilly and covered his head with my shirt in a wild attempt to get him to stop inhaling the smoke.

     Lilly was waiting for me in the hallway in front of his bedroom, trying her best to keep her nose and mouth protected from the toxic air. I gain her 80 pounds again, this time with the additional weight of my little brother, who I could feel shaking with fear against my chest. My heart breaks to see them this way, and I long to reach the front door of the house.

     I hobble downstairs with them, allowing the flames to eat at my bare legs and feet. During my painful descent, I can hear the dog barking and whining at us as she desperately scratches the front door. The metal is blazing hot and burns my skin, but we finally made it outside. Both of my siblings have severe burns on their skin and I cannot help but feel as if I had failed to protect them. In the distance, I can hear the sirens approaching us, bitterly thinking about how they were too late. I try and set them down in the grass, but both of them clung to me for dear life, refusing to be let go of.

     Now that we are relatively safe, the pain finally begins to set in at extreme volumes. I look down at my destroyed skin and tried my best to hold my tongue. My sister could tell I was in pain and finally released me from her grip. The firetruck exploded into the driveway, some of the women running to our aid while the others began to spray down our home. They asked us millions of questions, and I tried my best to answer all of them. 

    Sitting in the ambulance under the care of the EMTs, I am finally able to process the fact that my parents were completely absent during that whole situation. Where were they? And why did they leave it up to me to play the hero? My mind flutters with several different possibilities as to where they could have gone and why they disappeared the way they did. Our parents did not want to be responsible for 3 children, and I always wonder why they even kept having kids in the first place. They were probably out partying like they ALWAYS do. Rage seeps through my body like a wildfire as I try and find reasons to justify why they were not around to protect us from tonight. Maybe they were there, and are still trapped boiling in the house. Or maybe they were never there to experience this awful fate from the start. Whatever their twisted excuses were, I guess I will never have the ability to find out.


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