Hello everyone, how are you? I hope you’ve had a good week and are having a good weekend.
Last week if you remember Sunday inspiration was brought to you with the line:
I pulled Robin towards me away from the crackling of the inferno of wood that was once our home
So here is my vastly under edited contribution to Sunday Inspiration. I hope you enjoy reading it.
I dreamt that I was running, running fast away from something without concrete substance or force. I was running without fear, without intention just running away from some vague imperceptible force that threatened me but caused me no anxiety. I dreamt on and on, running forever until a wolf was suddenly licking my face and despite me groggily pushing him away he persisted until the dream faded and I was waking with heavy eyes and a throat filled with thick smoke.
Robin, my King Charles was licking my face frantically and whining in an infrequent and high pitch mew. I was awake now as my senses alerted me, my ears perceiving the popping and creaking of burning, my eyes itching as they filled with the toxins of melted plastic, smoked wood and the thousands of other scents mingled with the dry burning at the back of my throat. I grabbed Robin by her collar and dragged her onto the floor between the bed’s edge and the window, pushing her to the floor where the smoke was thinner and I hoped sufficient to fill her smaller lungs. My brain ticked for seconds that I didn’t possess as I tried to decide how I could best make the 18 foot drop from my bedroom window to the lawn below … tick, tick, tick still nothing came to me. Precious life-saving moments were passing me by as my dream do-it-up house that I had saved for so long to afford burnt around me.
Water streamed from my eyes in a desperate attempt by my body to keep my eyes clear from the noxious smog that rolled thick and fast under my bedroom door. I needed to stop or at least slow the smoke coming into the room. It was the height of summer, unusually for Manchester we had been enjoying a heat wave with 34° degree lows which were taking their toll on my hydration levels and I had taken to keeping a carafe of water which I now grabbed and poured over the small rug by the side of the bed. I crawled across the floor with the soaking wet rug trying desperately to take breaths against a blanket of humidity that blocked the air into my nostrils and smoke that chocked my lungs through my opened mouth, stuffed the sopping rug tightly against the gap under the door and crawled back to Robin who was laying down, eyes shut only occasionally taking deep breaths, her body giving up as the carbon dioxide slowly suffocated her.
I grabbed a rounders bat that I kept by the side of my bed in case of intruders and smashed it against the window, weakly at first and again and again unthinkingly trying to smash the window which wouldn’t break when I could have just pushed the lower sash up to escape. I couldn’t think straight, my whole body cried out in exhaustion as each breath grew shorter than the last and I dropped the bat on the ground as I fell onto my hands and knees. The stream of smoke coming under the door had slowed and closer to the ground my breaths begun to come easier to me. The sound of the fire though had grown louder and this perhaps allowed clarity to take hold of me. With one final deep breath I shoved the sash window open and stuck my head out taking deep gasping breaths of air that filled my lungs with fresh air, then coughed and splattered as the sudden exchange from toxic to fresh air took place while my lungs attempted to purge themselves of the lethal fumes.
Grabbing the top sheet from the bed, I tied it in a rough triple knot around the thick wooden leg of the bed, then knotted the bottom sheet to the top sheet and then a blanket to the rope I had created, throwing the sheet out of the window so it snaked down the side of the house. Grabbing my last blanket from the end of the bed I rolled it under Robin, struggling under her weight to cradle her against my chest and tied it into a sling that clung tightly against me and wound the rest of the blanket around my waist securing it with further knots.
My heart fluttered arrhythmically, nerves and adrenalin pumping through me, I could feel Robin still breathing gently against me, she had not yet given up the fight, but she was breathing weakly and had a lot less time than I did. It was time to climb and my knees felt weak from the stress and fear. I was no fan of heights, but I forced myself to the window and Sitting on the window ledge I swung my legs out and ducked awkwardly under the sash’s midframe with Robin’s bulk laying against my stomach. Looking behind me I could see the flames beginning to lick through the thin oak veneer of the doors that I had been so eager to replace with solid wood reproduction panel doors. It was time. I grabbed the sheet and twisted in an ungainly manner so my bottom slipped off of the ledge and I was facing the scorched and scorching hot front of my house. My final hurrah of strength plied through me and pushing out with my legs I straightened them and quickly bounced down the wall bending and straightening my knees with each bound. I was descending quickly now, the wood panelling and the heat from within the house burnt the soles of my feet with each contact and I minimised the contact by quickly bouncing away from the wall, finally dropping onto the lawn in a messy pile as the glass in the windows exploded outwards from the house covering my naked body in shards of debris and glass.
All my strength had drained from me now, it was all I could do to crawl along the long wild grass that would one day have been a neatly trimmed lawn till I reached the border where it met the pavement and lay there choking and coughing.
I pulled Robin towards me away from the crackling inferno of wood that was once our home, waiting there helplessly, as the sound of sirens grew louder and closer.