By: Rikki Laser, Grade Eight
I woke up to sweltering heat.
What was going on? I tried convincing myself that my mother had turned the heater up way too high again. It worked for almost two whole minutes! Then I finally got freaked out and jumped out of bed. I raced over to the door, reaching for the plastic handle.
“Ow!” I shrieked. My hand was burnt! Jay. I suddenly realized. My younger brother. I had to make sure he was okay. I went back into my room and quickly changed into jeans and put my gym shoes on. I didn’t think I’d be coming back, and Jay would scream if he needed me.
After shoving feet in shoes, I realized that he could already be dead. I jumped up. Then I raced over to what I called my memory chest and pulled out last year’s baseball glove. Too small for this year. I ran back over to the door and opened it quickly.
“AH!” I screamed. Fire roared in front of me. I looked over to my left; where Jay’s door was. The fire was small and low. So I figured I’d jump. But after, when I found myself stuck between flames with burnt ankles, I knew I was done for.
“Carnation!” My brother yelled. I hadn’t even realized his door was open. I looked down. The fire was low. I looked ahead. Jay’s door was three feet away. I knew I couldn’t make it, but jumped anyway.
“Ow, ow, ow.” I said, stepping quickly. I had landed only a foot away, but it still hurt like no body’s business. I reached the doorframe and walked into Jay’s room. My brother, shorter than me by a foot, 12, blind, and grey-headed, was still in his bed. He jumped up and raced over to me, wrapping me in a hug.
“You slept in your jeans again! Jay, come on,” I sigh.
“You are so sixteen.” He responds, looking up at me. My brother may be only 12, but his knowledge extends far past his years. I smile.
“How are we getting out of this mess?” He asks quietly.
“We have to get Mom and Dad first.” I remind him. He shakes his head a bit, and pulls away to go sit on his bed. I follow, but don’t sit.
“I can’t sense them.” Jay simple words strike me harder than a dagger. My brother is blind. But only in his eyes. In his heart, he can see. I think it’s called aura. He can sense what’s around him. Kinda like bats, except without an echo. It’s amazing, if you think about it.
“So they’re dead,” I say quietly. He nods the slightest bit. I glance around.
“The window.” Jay looks up at me.
“What?” He doesn’t understand. I walk over and pull him to his feet. Then I yank open the window. “Oh. I get it. But wait.” He says, just as I’ve gotten on the roof. He darts under his bed and drags out a long, heavy rope.
“Smart.” I smile. He returns it, and we crawl out on the roof.
“We can tie the rope to the drainage pipe.” Jay says, doing so. I watch. He stands back up and walks over.
“You first,” I say. He shakes his head. Before either one of us can protest, the window explodes! Glass shatters and fire charges out at us. The sheer force of it chucks us off the roof.
We are falling slowly, it seems. Seven stories. I hadn’t mentioned that before, but we live seven stories up. Lived. We can’t live there anymore.
Jay smiles, as if to say that everything will work out. But it won’t. We’re falling to our deaths. I reach my hand out. He does the same. And we fall, down, down down, down and we’ll never get up. But at least we’re falling together.