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Monday, December 12, 2011

Fire for the Holidays

This is a short story I wrote for Tuesday Tales. I have put the link to them at the bottom. I hope you enjoy. Till next time.

Fire for the Holidays

The night was anything but perfect, so thought Amber as she pulled into the driveway of her home. She just got back from the third blind date she was set up on this week. The night started out like any ordinary night does for a single mom, trying to raise a daughter, but the blind date made it a bad night. She was seriously getting tired of being set up. She pulled herself up the steps to her door. She checked her watch and smiled, she just had enough time for a bath before she had to go to work. She didn’t like working the night shift, but she would do anything to support her little girl. Amber started the water for her bath, and then went to check on her daughter who was sleeping like an angel in her room.
            She slid herself into the calming warm water and let out a relaxing sigh,”Oh yeah this is exactly what I needed tonight. She closed her eyes and just let the water wash away all the stress from the day. An hour later, she got out of the bath and dressed in her scrubs, and left for work. She drove the 15 minutes to the hospital where she worked in the burn unit. She was getting a new patient tonight. She walks into the burn unit and waves at the nurse behind the desk, “Good evening Charli, how are ya tonight?”
            “Hey there Amber, I am pretty good thanks, how are you?”
            “I’m as good as can be expected seeing how my night began. What do we have going on tonight?”
            Charli gets up from where she is sitting and handed Amber a folder, “Well, we have a new patient in room 4. A white male, age twenty five, was severely burned in a house fire, trying to save his son. He has third degree burns on his face and hands. He was admitted earlier today. Here are his charts.” Amber looked over the files as she entered the man’s room. “Hello, I’m Amber, how are you doing today? “
            “Look at what happened to me, how do you think I am doing?” he said with a sharp sting in his voice.
            “At least your son is safe.” Hoping that will improve his attitude. “And besides, it’s the holidays. You have your family.”
            “They aren’t going to want to see me like this. I will be lucky if they even love me anymore.” He touched the bandages wrapped around his head and face then took a deep breath. “No one will ever want to see me like this, I am a freak now.”
An overwhelming sadness overcame her and a tear escaped and slowly made its way down her cheek. “It will get better, I promise.”
            “Your promises don’t mean much to me; in fact they mean nothing to me. Now just leave me alone.”
            Amber pauses a moment longer, then leaves the room. George sat in the hospital bed wondering what he was going to do now. His family had tried to visit him, but he wouldn’t allow them to. He just couldn’t face them, knowing what he knew about how the fire started. As he laid there thinking, his past, and the reasons the fire started come flooding back to him.

8 hours earlier
            Goren Albert came down from his bedroom and kissed his wife good morning. “Good morning sweetheart.”
            “Good morning, do you have time for breakfast?”
            “Not this morning, I have a big meeting at work today.” He glanced down at his watch, “And I am already late.” He kissed her again and ran out the door. His wife started to tell him something, but he just put his hand up telling her he couldn’t talk right then.
            A short while later their son came down ready for school, “Did dad remember he was taking me to school today?” The boy saw the crestfallen look of his mother and knew the answer before she said it. “He’s already left huh?” His mother nodded and the boy grabbed his lunch and with sadness in his eyes, he kissed her on the cheek and left to catch the bus.
Goren stopped at his secretary’s desk on his way to his office, as he did every morning, “Good morning Alice. Are there any messages for me?”
“Good morning sir. No messages, but there is a gentleman in your office, said he had an appointment with you this morning. He didn’t give him name, but said he was an old friend of yours. He seemed ok, so I let him wait in your office.”
“Alright, thank you Alice.” He looked in the window to his office and see a man in a trench coat and hat. He instantly recognized him. “One more thing Alice, please hold all my calls, I don’t want to be disturbed.”
She looked at him strangely and nods, “Yes sir.”
He slowly opened the door to his office and stepped in. “What the heck are you doing here? I told you never to come to where I work.”
The man patiently waited till Goren sat down at his desk before speaking. “You don’t call, you don’t write, how else am I supposed to get in touch with you?”
“I told you I was done helping you.”
The figure just laughed, “You were told when you started that I am the one who says when you’re done.”
Goren tried to swallow the anger and the fear so the figure wouldn’t see it in his eyes. “What can I do for you then?”
“See, now isn’t that better. So much hostility is never a good thing Goren. Now my friend, what I want from you is very simple.” A wicked smile made its way up to the figures face and Goren swallowed hard. “I need you to make a fire bomb and then deliver it to a designated place.” Goren’s eyes went huge as the figure continued, “The instructions for making it and the directions to the drop off point will be sent to you by encrypted email. Do this and I will consider our debt paid in full.”
Goren slumped down in his chair and nodded his head. The figure stood and left his office. Shortly after the figure left, his computer chimed telling him that he had a new email message. He turned toward his computer, reached over with a trembling hand, and opened the encrypted email.
He receives instructions on what materials he will need in order to make the bomb. He is instructed to leave work and make sure no one finds out what he is doing. He will be email more instructions when he needs them. He puts his coat back on and headed out to get the stuff he needs.
“Alice, I am leaving for the day, I’ll see ya tomorrow.” Before she had time to ask any questions, he rushed out the door, and headed to his car. He gets into his car and starts it. He went to start it and hesitated for a few moments as the reality of what he was about to do start to sink in.
            Goren was suddenly brought back to the here and now by the ringing of his phone. He looked at the caller ID on his phone and saw that it was a private number. He accepted the call and heard a dark voice on the other end, “What are you doing Goren? You need to get going if you are going to meet your deadline.”
            “What deadline are you talking about?”
“The deadline you have to make the bomb and deliver it. If you miss the deadline… well let’s just say it won’t be good. How is your family anyway Goren?”
He started his car and headed home. He arrived there to find a note stating that she had gone to the store and that Tommy was up in his room playing. He went out to his car, opened the garage door, took the supplies to his work table, and got to work. Something went wrong with what he was doing, some unforeseen circumstance that he could have never known about, let alone combat.
He added the last component which was the timer and all of a sudden, the timer turned on and started a count down from 4 minutes. He started to panic not quite knowing what to do. It was then that he remembered his sweet little boy was playing in the house. He raced into the house, knowing he needed to get to his son before it was too late. He grabbed his son and headed out the front door. His son yelled that the dog was in his room on the other side of his bed. Goren rushes back toward the home and just before he gets to the door the whole home explodes in a great ball of fire.
A knock at the door brought Goren out of his thoughts and to his surprise, it was his grandfather, who he was named after. His grandfather smiled when he saw the shock on his grandson’s eyes. “I take it you are surprised to see me.” All he could do is nod his head, the shock at seeing his grandfather still in his eyes. “Are you just going to stare at me or are you going to say something?”
“Hi…” He looked down, not able to look at his hero in his eyes. A tear gently fell from his eye as his grandfather moved over to sit beside him. His grandfather looks him in the eyes and speaks softly, but sternly, “So what is this I hear you won’t let your wife and son visit?”
“I… It’s my fault… I just can’t face them because of what I have done. If she knew, she would leave me and I can’t live without her.”
“Okay Goren, you say it’s your fault. What happened?”
Goren explains to his grandfather, everything that had happened that day up to when the house exploded. His grandfather sat at his bedside and listened intently as the story is told. As he finished the story, his grandfather looked at him with sympathy in his eyes. The old man took his grandson’s hand and smiles at him. “If what you tell me is true, you were just doing what you thought you needed to. I am sure you lovely wife and son will understand. Before I go get them, there is one more thing I need to tell you. “
“Okay granddad, I am listening.”
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit, and what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Go to Him in prayer and he can take the pain you bear away. Only then can you go on with your life.”
With that said, the old man leaves the room, and then returned with Goren’s wife and son. They all hug and then pray to God for the pain to be taken. A warm loving feeling that is present at the holidays is felt by everyone in the room and the pain slips away.

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