Inspired by Amos Keppler’s blog post: Kill the Dog
The flames consume your house. Tongues of fire lick the walls. So orange in the dark. Your family stand around you. Motionless. Silent.
‘Charlie? Where’s Charlie?’ The cry jumps out of you. You hear yourself sobbing. A hand appears on your shoulder but you don’t feel the comforting arm.
‘Charlie! Charlie!’ You’re crying harder, now. Tears blur your vision but you think you see your dog at the upstairs window. You point. ‘Charlie!’ You hear a ‘woof’ amidst the roar of the flames.
Your daddy is kneeling before you, shaking his head. Is he speaking?
‘Charlie! Charlie’s still inside!’
Your daddy remains kneeling before you, shaking his head.
‘He’s burning! You have to save him! Please, daddy.’
Your daddy is running. Running towards the house, the fire. He is framed in the doorway – a solid black against the gluttonous glow. He is gone.
Fear fills your lungs, your body. You are choking on it and then – BOOM!
‘No!’ Wendy gasps in the darkness. She can still feel the fear clawing at her throat. Still? She was dreaming. It was a dream. She is awake now. Awake and naked and clammy under the duvet.
A body stirs beside her. Who? Oh, him. His name is gone from her mind – burnt up in the fire of her nightmare, perhaps. She turns her back on him and shuffles towards the edge before standing in one, brisk motion.
‘Er, are you OK?’
‘Yes. It was just –. I had a….nightmare. You know. It’s nothing. I’m just gonna er get some water.’
He doesn’t know what to say. She wouldn’t if she were him. She stumbles out of the room, down the stairs and through her house. Thank God she didn’t go to his place.
In the white glare of the bathroom she locks herself in, just in case, and sits on the cold toilet lid, her head cradled in her hands. Tears huddle on her face, hot and moist, as her body shakes with almost silent sobs.
She’s a little girl again, longing to be held by her daddy.