Think back to the exact moment when you fell in love for the first time. That split second. That precise moment. Can you remember it?
I can remember the day as if it were yesterday: from the light blue dress she wore, to her golden locks curved along her shoulders, down to the shocking tingle when our fingers touched. It was the happiest day of my life, and yet she didn’t even know I existed.
What if you had the chance to relive those moments? Would you take it?I’ve waited almost ten years for her and my time has finally come.
This split second, this precise moment will change her life forever.
THE SMELL OF SMOKE BURNS MY NOSTRILS. The faint cry of my mother’s screams echoes from behind the walls. Is this a dream? Mom, where are you?
Moving my sleepy fingers awake, I slowly open my eyes to darkness. The distant moonlight is grasping to shine inside my bedroom. As my eyes open wide, I see a haze of smoke surrounding me. Sitting up in bed, my hand reaches out to grab it. The siren of fire trucks grows louder.
My lungs begin to burn as smoke fills them. I buckle down and cough, gasping for clean air. Fear creeps along the back of my neck, as the hair stands still.
I quickly jump out of bed and immediately feel the heat on my bare feet. Whoa, that’s hot! Remembering what I learned in school, I try to stay low to the ground. Slowly crawling to the window, I try to open it, but the lock is too tight for me to pry.
The heat from inside is getting hotter and hotter. Beads of sweat start to trickle down my face. I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.
The panic builds inside. Banging on the window, “Somebody help me!” The heat on the window burns slightly, but I ignore the pain.
I look out the window to see three fire trucks pull up beside the apartment building. Firefighters race to the hydrants, connecting the water hose, as others rush into the building. Police cars make their way alongside the building as well.
Sudden screams startle me, jolting me away from the window. Mom?!
Keeping low, I crawl to my bedroom door and tap the knob to see if it’s hot. Sudden heat tingles my skin, so I turn around to try and find something to protect my hand. Feeling my way along the floor, I pick up what feels like a t-shirt and head back toward the bedroom door.
The smoke in my room gets thicker and harder to breathe. Constantly coughing, I make way to the door to twist open the knob. Pushing it open, I see flames cover the living room and its walls.
Pictures of my mom and me, plants, furniture; everything I see is burning. Standing up quickly and shielding myself, I yell out, “Mom! Where are you?”
“Roman! Oh, thank God you’re alright?”
Frantically, I look around to see her, but the flames blind my vision. “Mom, I can’t see you.”
“I’m in the foyer; I’m coming to get you! Stay where you are. Keep low baby, keep low!”
Bits of the ceiling above, crash into the living room, engulfing in flames. Heat rises, flames grow higher; panic builds inside. I’m scared.
A heavy pounding crashes onto the apartment’s front door. The muffled sounds of deep voices carry from the other side of it. The pounding continues until a firefighter crashes through the door. I can’t help but scream.
The firefighter grabs hold of me, “Are you okay kid?” Where’s your family?” He quickly inspects my arms and legs for any signs of injury and burns.
Pointing toward the back of the apartment, “My mom is back there and she’s on her way.”
Nodding his head, ‘Let’s get you out of here.”
He talks into his radio, “This is Rivera. I have two residents on the sixth floor in need of extraction. I have the boy with me now.”
Another voice responds through the radio, “On my way, Rivera.”
He wraps what looks like a blanket around my body, “This will prevent you from getting burned.”
I nod my head, “Thank you.”
Turning around, I see my mother reaching us. She pulls me into her arms, “Oh, thank you, thank you. I’m so happy you’re alright.”
I see tears spill out of her eyes, “what took you so long Mom?’
“I got stuck in the foyer. Some debris from upstairs fell. I’m okay though.”
The firefighter wraps a blanket around her, “Are you all right Ma’am? Anyone else in the apartment?”
“Yes, I’m okay. No one else lives here.”
At that moment, another firefighter comes barreling through the front entrance. “We need to get out now before it crumbles!”
Rivera picks me up, “Hold on kid,” and races off into the stairwell of the building. I look behind me and see my mother being carried by the other firefighter.
Smoke and flames surround us, and the unbearable smell fills my nose. I use the blanket to cover it, hoping I can breathe easier. Racing down the stairs, the building trembles and I hear debris falling.
As we pass each floor, cries for help echoed throughout the stairwell as I see firefighters attempt to complete their rescues. The building shakes again, and Rivera stops suddenly, grabbing onto the banister.
“Shit! Hold on to me, kid!”
As our bodies sway along the banister, I see the pieces of the stairwell beneath us crumble and fall into the darkness below. My eyes grow wide, and my breathing stops as fear of falling seeps in.
Rivera looks behind and yells, “We need to turn around! The stairwell is gone! Go back up to the fourth floor, and we’ll jump for it!”
As we turn around, I can see Mom wrapped safely in the firefighter’s arms, and she gives me a warm smile.
We follow closely behind until we reach the fourth floor. My mother’s rescuer runs to the nearest window, but suddenly debris falls in front of them. I hear her scream and the firefighter curse.
Rivera holds onto me tight as he radios for a jumping point. As he’s given his orders, he yells back, “We’re jumping off the west hallway! Follow us!”
He turns to race down another corridor, as I look back to see my Mom in the distance, “Mom!”
Rivera assures me, “Don’t worry kid. He’ll get her out.”
The building trembled again as we rush to the jumping point. I can hear Rivera’s heavy breathing through the oxygen mask, and he squeezes me tighter.
“Almost there. Hold on!”
I see light shine from a busted window casing as we get closer and closer. And as we approach for the jump, I hold with all of my might. Rivera leaps out, pulling me closer.
My eyes shut tight and loud screams from within escape me as we fly through the air. Until suddenly, we are bouncing up and down on a trampoline. As our bodies settle onto the trampoline, I look up at the building. It’s completely covered in flames. Smoke escapes broken windows; firefighters spray water to calm the fires while others are jumping out of the building into safety.
An explosion blasts from inside the building and it immediately begins to crumble into dust.
My heart sinks as I jump off the trampoline and rush toward the building, “Mom!”
Rivera grabs hold of me, “No! Don’t!”
I struggle in his arms, “No! My mom is still in there! She needs my help!”
I continue to struggle as tears trickle down my face as he holds onto me. What feels like forever is probably only a few minutes, my aching body surrenders in his arms.
I look back at the crumbled building as my body shudders. “She didn’t make it, did she?”
“No. I’m sorry son.”
About Madison Street
Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After September 11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country.
During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she’s on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.
Besides writing, her second passion is music and dance. Even though she’s a terrible singer, she’ll still belt it out in the shower, especially if the song is her jam! She currently resides in Virginia with her husband of 8 years, 2 children, a dog, and a cat. She is so excited to start this amazing journey and is honored to be part of such a compassionate and loving community.