November 25th, 2018 by Patrick Starks


Orange and yellow filled the skies, coiling together like mom’s Thanksgiving mac and cheese. Any other day I’d considered it to be fall, but I knew better, at least, the many of us that surrounded it did.  Ambulance trucks rushed all over as fast as they could, from house to house, doing their best to put out the flames. But sadly, there were a few on occasion that they couldn’t save. While still in the process of trying to protect what little was left, families became separated, hearts had become broken as well as a few bones from the evacuation that had awoken. It was sere chaos. Chaos that not even the sun itself I felt could comprehend.

Nevertheless, the day went on, but the fires didn’t stop coming. If anything, they seemed to be getting worst, and part of me started to wonder if what the helicopters pour from the skies was really sand or gasoline. Out of it all, the ambulance was becoming slimmer as we went from having ten to one truck. I never thought I’d be living my life through the character of John Cusack’s “Twenty-Twelve”, but there I stood hesitant to move a muscle.

And the hardest part was just trying to take care of a newborn in such a situation. You could say I chose a really great time to have a kid. And you would guess it right,  that wouldn’t be my sarcasm talking. It was like a maze, like playing Tetris—everywhere I, no, we went, fires. We were running out of time.

But not far from us stood a mansion perched up on a nestled hill. I didn’t know what celebrities it was, but I was sure if it was Stan Lee’s at least there would be some sort of a hero to help, I would hope.

If you couldn’t tell by now, we’d been split from the rest of the buffalo that we ran with, and the closest places beacon for hope was that very mansion that resembled the white house. It was massive, completely white all over. But no, this was California—we had many houses of its size and depiction.

Within an instant, within only a few miles, fires slowly began to slither their way towards the mansion like a snake to slithering, but thankfully the cavalry had arrived. Out of nowhere, an ambulance truck then pulled up, and not long after two more would pull beside it. All firemen and firewomen stepped out forming together like the thunder cats, and oh! it was exactly like something straight out of a comic book. I’d begin to second guess if what I was looking at really was Stan Lee’s mansion.

Little Amara was still asleep. Cheeks brown with freckles around them like a poppyseed muffin, just like her dads. It all dug deep into my chest like that time I played dodgeball back in middle school—the pain lingered, but to be honest, it only been a week since we’d lost him, so, at the end, it was no wonder. But the day that I really feared was the day I’d have to explain to Amara what happened her father. The good thing was that I had plenty of time, but the sad thing was all of that was dependent on if we made it out of hell or not.

As the fires around the mansion were coming to a halt.  A man and a woman then came out from the bushes. The man was average height, gold chains around his neck as if he was some sort of Pharos from Egypt. But he wishes. The woman looked just the same, but minus the golden chains. However, money was still obvious to her appearance—a Dolce and Cabana nightgowned said it all.

The woman’s lips were rose red, as was the man’s, from the possible make-out session they’d have prior. But then again it was Hollywood, if anything, the man might’ve put the lipstick on himself for men in Hollywood were not shy to makeup. I mean, let’s think K-pop shall we.

Moving on. Case closed.

I honestly thought that there were no more ambulance or even medics around but there they were all rallied around the mansion like an old western campfire. I then rushed over to the closest bush and took a better look.

“Thank you so much!” said the woman, handing the fireman a suitcase.

But the fireman didn’t look impressed. He looked pissed off.

“Listen, lady, this ain’t our job!” yelled the fireman “While we are out here helping you guys save your precious mansion, people are out there starving, sadly… dying.”

“Excuse me?” replied the woman.

“You heard me loud and clear you money hungry w….”

The moment of the whole environment then changed. The fireworks had officially begun. The man in the gold chains then turned to the fireman knocking him down by the fire with a massive sucker punch. And before I could even process what was going on, the man in gold chains had pushed the fireman deeper into the fires. The fireman cried for help, for his life, for the rest of comrades, but none of them ever came to his aid. All of their heads were bowed, along with the suitcase by their side. It was the perfect murder—fireman killed by fire. Who wouldn’t believe that story?

“Y-you traders!” yelled the fireman. “Out of all the years, we’ve worked together…”

Before the fireman could say another word he would be engulfed by the fire. And afterwards, all that was heard were screams that echoed and later faded.

Little Amara then started to cry from all the insanity that was happening. When it came to a babies senses they knew better than old saint nick himself who was naughty or nice. It was official, we needed to find somewhere else to stay. Heads then turned towards our direction.

“What was that?” said the woman.

“Probably just another tree falling,” said the firewoman.

“No. This sounded like a child… Someone should go check.”

I tried my best to calm Amara, but it was hot and she was frightened for the both of us. It was already enough that Amara and I were in the pits of hell but the last thing I needed to deal with was the demons in them. Money, murder, deals—yeah, pretty fitting for criminal, I said.

One of the firemen then made their way towards our direction. Luckily the spot that we were in was dark. Unfortunately, the only thing I had was pepper spray and a pocket knife. I needed to make a decision.

To kill or to blind? Or to just run? I questioned. But only time will tell—feet don’t fail me now.

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