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But the noise of the raging fire wouldn't allow me to do so. The noise of the animals as they screamed in terror and pain wouldn't allow me to do so. I even tried to plug my ears but I could not escape the chaos or confusion of the moment. l could not hide from the flames, nor the cries of the animals. Those poor creatures were doomed just as I was.
Yet, it was my inability to sleep that perhaps saved my life. As the enormous flames gathered strength before my eyes, I decided to at least die fighting, but I didn't know how. I could not stop coughing from inhaling the smoke. But still I ran. I had to. I had to make it out of this forest fire alive.
The fire had already circled around me. No matter which direction I ran, the fire would always cut me off. I saw eyes in the walls of flame -- wicked eyes that taunted me. The heat seemed too intense and once again I felt utterly hopeless.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, broken down shaft that the fire had not yet reached. It resembled an out house, but it was slightly larger. As I ran closer to it, I noticed that it was really an old, rusty well. There wasn't a bucket near it, but, then again, I didn't really have time to look. I jumped into the well, praying that it contained enough, if any, water.
Fire (Part II)
Luckily, there was water at the bottom. On the way down, other animals had climbed on top of me, trying to get to the safety of the water. There were little squirrels and raccoons down there in the well, along with bugs and spiders and countless other creatures.
It seemed as if every small forest animal or insect that could possibly fit in that well was in there. I don't know how long I must've been there, but I wasn't lonely. As the fire came toward the well, the animals kept screaming and whimpering. I tried to protect most of them from the burning debris that was still falling into the well by splashing water on them. But I really could not do much except wait. The forest fire raged on above us, and all I could do was wait.
I looked up and still saw images of red and orange, only this time I didn't feel tired or hopeless. This time I felt relieved. I was going to make it out of this inferno alive.
I waited until I could no longer hear the noise of the fire. I carefully climbed up the rusty chain that still hung down into the well, pulling off the animals that still clung to me. As I climbed out of the well, I no longer saw images of red and orange.
In fact, I saw no color at all.
Everything was disgustingly gray and black.
Every ounce of life that the forest had once contained had been destroyed.
Nothing was left except for black smoke and black ashes.
The animals that were with me in the well survived, yet, what could they possibly live off now? Where would they stay? What would they eat?
Soon, there would be nothing left but me.
But, at least, I had survived. I should be happy, ecstatic, overjoyed . . . shouldn't I be?
I walked around, feeling the heat from the ground through the soles of my shoes. I saw the remains of creatures that were not as lucky as I. Ones that didn't -- or rather, couldn't -- escape the flames. They became twisted and warped skeletons. The contortion of their bones proved that they did not die without feeling intense pain.
I saw what resembled a fawn's skeleton lying next to another, larger skeleton; both were twisted and deformed.
I broke down and the tears could not stop falling from my eyes.
For, it wasn't until then that I had realized the severity of what I had done.
I never knew an arsonist could cry.
Mystery Net Community Writing Mysteries Mysteries By Members Short Mysteries Fire by Rhoda Faye Abidog
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