I woke up to the distinctive sound of crackling as I saw from the corner of my eye the flames threatening my home. “EVERYONE! OUT OF BED!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. Instantly my younger sister, Lenolina, started to cry at my harsh tone, only to wail and scream with terror as she too smelled the rising smoke. In a single heartbeat the rest of my family was on alert and ready to escape. Mother grabbed Lenolina’s hand and yanked her out the door, Father close behind. They told me to get out immediately, but I had just one thing that I was sure I could not live without.
I pulled open my drawer and picked up my boyfriend’s sketches which were wrapped up in vines I had picked carefully just for this purpose.
By this point my under layer meant for sleeping had caught on fire. I ripped off the edge and it fell to the ground. The flame from it quickly spread and made my eyes water. I tasted the ashes from it as it rose, threatening to burn me. With one quick motion I took our water basin and drenched my nightgown. This water protected me even as I ran through the fire in front of me and out the door.
My parents were seething mad when I appeared. This was honestly more frightening than the fire. At least I could use my quick wits to protect myself from the fire; this I had no control over.
Yet we still had to run some more to flee the fire. We picked up the pace with Lenolina being carried by Mother. After some time, we decided that we were far enough away that we would be safe—for now.
Our rest did not last too long, though. After only ten minutes we got up and trekked through the forest at a steady walk. Every now and then when Lenolina couldn’t walk she had to be carried by one of us.
That day we walked about twenty miles with occasional resting. Our meals consisted of dried fruits and nuts with a little meat.
Of course, I felt horrible about leaving my boyfriend. I was incredibly heartbroken. Sobbing was one of my regular pastimes for our rest breaks. My parents had told me that he would probably have evacuated with his own family, but I wondered, _what if we had traveled together? What if we could have been together through this? Or what if he...you know...he died?_