Chapter 3.1 – Today Starts a New Day

Chapter 3.1 – Today Starts a New Day

[Present Day]

It’s so hot in here, my body isn’t even sweating. I can’t see anything. Why can’t I breathe? My head is pounding. Slowly my eyes start to adjust to my location. Smoke, I can’t breathe because there’s smoke everywhere. There’s a burning scorch mark on my chest that’s raw to the touch and it feels like my head has been caved in. Why is it so hot, and what’s that ringing? I’m starting to realize the building is on fire. What building am I in? Doesn’t matter for now, I’m sure it’ll be on the news. I need to find my way out. I start to lift myself off the floor but my arms and legs give out beneath me, not strong enough to carry my own weight. I crawl over to some kind of table and try to pull myself to my feet. It takes a moment but I’m standing up, just barely. My legs are wobbly, like I’m some helpless baby deer. I drag my legs through the burning building trying to recognize any of the burning surroundings as I look for a door. It’s some sort of office building with weird furnishings but the flames are quickly engulfing most of it. Nothing comes to mind, nothing at all. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around any of this.

Don’t touch doorknobs if there’s a fire. I remember teachers always telling us that when we were younger. Right now, this door is my only way out. I grab the doorknob and quickly turn it. As I let go the flesh peels from the palm of my hand and leaves it melted to the knob. I want to scream out in pain, but I can’t. I just don’t have the energy or the ability to open my mouth. Staying on two feet is taking everything I have so I’ll just endure the pain in silence.  

Walking outside and I instantly start to choke. Almost as if my lungs hadn't had fresh air in a long time, as if it was some foreign substance. The sunlight instantly blinds me removing the little bit of sight that I had a few seconds ago. I feel hands touch me and people start to ask if I’m fine. Their warmth is more comforting than the fire, but I can't stay here. This feels wrong. I start to feel my way around and move away from the crowd before my sight fully returns to me. I don’t even recognize the burning building I just walked out of. I don’t even recognize this city, at least not through my blurry vision. Maybe once I’ve gathered my composure, I can figure it out.

As sirens come closer in the background, I guess it’s time to get familiar with the city. I start to limp away, legs feeling a little stronger but not strong enough. As I move more, they seem to strengthen and remember how to move. Almost as if they had forgotten how to walk. A few people behind me start to point me out to the firefighters. I can I hear them, I’m hearing everything. Wobbly legs and sensory overload, not exactly the best way position to be in. I should be running right now, but I can’t do it. Instead, I just walk faster and hope they get distracted by the fire.

“Hey, buddy you need help,” one guy grabs at me.

I snatchy my arm away from him and keep walking. Unless he could tell me why I woke up in a burning building, there’s no reason for me to talk to him. He doesn’t look like the kind of guy that can help me anyway. It seems like more people are starting to head towards the fire, so I just push through the crowd and try not to lose my balance as I go along. I’m not sure how far I’ll have to go until I’m away from the commotion but my legs won’t go much further. I duck into an alley as another fire truck screams past me. My eyes haven’t adjusted yet so it’s too fast for me to make out the city name on the side.

I make my way over to a dumpster and lean against it to catch my breath. I don’t care that it smells terrible, I lean my back against it and slowly slide to the ground to rest my legs. I suck in a few more heavy breaths full of oxygen trying to let my body recuperate. The scorch mark on my chest is still tender to the touch, and burns when I take a deep breath. My skull might have actually been bashed in, there’s blood and dirt covering my face, and I can feel a few indentations around my skull and face. I slide down the wall and sit next to the dumpster, my legs can’t take me much further without giving out. I just need a moment to rest and catch my breath.  

Too many deep breaths cause me to cough and spit up a mixture of black phlegm and blood. Shit, blood? That’s new, I don’t remember that at all. I don’t remember anything to be honest with myself. I reach into the back pocket of my burnt jeans to fish out my wallet. It seems like the flames might have gotten to it, the back pocket is partially burnt and my wallet seems to burnt pretty bad, melted in some parts. No cash, my cards seem to all have melted together into one super card that stores probably won’t take. Part of my driver’s license sticks through mess. I can’t read anything of value, just a warped picture of, who I’m guessing is me, and the letter M. I guess my name starts with an M. Was it that hot in there? Why was it so hard for me to move?  

I just need to think. I need to remember how I got to this point. I close my eyes and rub my fist against the side of my head as if it’ll help me remember what happened. I pull my hand back when I reach one of the tender indentations on my head. Just think.


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