It was dark. It was as dark as can be for a chilly November night in that small town. There was not a light to be seen, except the delicate twinkling of the stars burning a billion miles away.
That pale skin of her's was all that was noticeable on the quiet porch of the little farm house. The slender young girl sat leaning against the pale green siding, staring up at the sky. Her attention to those burning balls of gas seemed to foreshadow the things to come.
A cold breeze swept across from nowhere, raising goose bumps all over the 18-year-old girl. She shivered and slowly pulled herself to her feet. It was time to end the night.
Just inside the front door, the girl started the apartment-sized clothes dryer and then lazily dragged her sock covered feet into the single bedroom just passed the front room. She lay down on her soft black sheet and began to doze off into another reality. It was late. It did not take any more than a few breaths before she was completely out.
Then it came screaming as if it were a banshee. The girl jumped awake and fell to the floor, taking her blankets with her. She grabbed for the small wooden night stand beside her bed and quickly pulled herself up. Those ear-piercing screams echoed all around her.
The fire alarm...
Her feet nearly came out from under her as she ran out of the room to see what was going happening. There was thick dark smoke rolling in like waves in a hurricane. The egg shell white paint around the door way to the front room was dripping down as if it were water.
The house was on fire.
The girl knew that the fire was blocking the only exit from that tiny house. When looking at the place before signing her lease, she noted how strange it was not to have a second door. Didn’t most homes have a back door? She never would have thought that it would pose such a danger.
I've got to get out of here.
In that moment she realized yet another fatal flaw in the construction of the home she was renting; none of the windows opened fully. Time was short and her decisions had to be quick. Her fist went crashing through the closest window, splattering blood and glass all over the green grass outside.
Merely five minutes after jumping down from the broken window, she watched the angry flames take over the entire house. They ate through everything as if the house was just a crumpled piece of paper thrown into a bon fire. It was all destroyed.
The shock within her slowly transitioned into anger and frustration. She stood watching everything burn away. A short life time of possessions was taken away within the blink of an eye. Her hand dripped warm crimson blood onto the grass, but she did not notice. The girl was fixated on the roof collapsing before her, sending sparks soaring through the cold night air.
Tears ran uncontrollably down her face, as the men dressed in bright yellow began to battle with the monstrous fire. She had taken for granted the few things she had, the things that were now being turned into ash. The jewelry that she inherited from her great-grandmother, the slightly beat up used leather sofa, the collection of film cameras and all of her clothing, none of it had seemed as important as it did now.
Taking a deep breath, the girl suddenly realized that she was about to faint. She looked down at her hand and noticed the shard of glass sticking out of her thumb and the pool of blood that had formed around her right foot. There was just one other thing that she had taken for granted; her life.
A few minutes meant the difference between her being alive, bleeding in the grass or inside that smoldering mess. In that moment nothing else mattered. She was alive. Not a single thing in the world or in that house was as important as that.