Hey guys! So this is the first chapter of the novel I’m working on. This post is a lot longer than most of my posts are going to be, but I really wanted to share this with you. I hope you like it:
I was violently shaken awake. Opening my eyes, I recognized my thirteen-year-old cousin, Sage, standing above me. She was wearing her pajamas that consisted of a baggy t-shirt and leggings, and her light hair was matted. She was gripping my arms tightly. Her eyes were full of tears, and I could see sweat rolling down her face.
“Julie! Julie, wake up!” she pleaded.
“What’s going on?” I asked, half awake. I rubbed my eyes as I sat up in bed.
“Get up! Get up, there’s no time!” she screamed.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, confused. But there was no need to ask. Everything hit me at once: The smoke alarm was beeping loudly, my room was full of smoke, and my throat was throbbing. My younger sister, Rose, wasn’t in my room.
“Where’s Rose?” I cried, scrambling out of bed.
“She already left!” Sage yelled as I grabbed my locket off my bedside table and stuffed it in my pocket.
She grabbed my hand firmly and we bolted out of my room. Running full speed down the hallway, the sound of the fire’s flames and the screech of the smoke alarm pounded in my ears, mixed with a scream. My heart was beating quickly, and I almost fainted with fear.
We rushed down the stairs two at a time. The heat was almost too much to bear and reaching the bottom of the staircase, I felt sweat start to drip down the back of my neck and onto my back.
I stopped running and looked around. The smoke was thick, but through it I glimpsed flames in the kitchen, spreading towards the dining room. The sound was unforgettable: the crackle of the sparks, the roar of the flames, and the ringing sound of the smoke alarm, mixed together making it all the more terrifying.
“Mom! Dad!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, but the sting in my throat made the scream sound muffled.
Without even thinking, I made towards the hallway to my parents’ room. Sage grabbed my arm, pulling me back.
“What are you doing? There’s no time!” she cried.
The smoke was getting thicker, and it was hard to make out Sage’s figure, standing in the doorway.
My throat burned too terribly to answer her. I grabbed Sage’s hand and pulled it away from my arm. She gave a small gasp as I turned away from her, running down the hallway towards my parents’ room.
When I thought the flames couldn’t get any hotter, they did, making my entire body drip in sweat. The smoke was blinding, but I managed to turn into my parents’ room.
Through the smoke, I saw a motionless body lying on the floor.
“Dad!” I screamed. I ran towards him and kneeled beside his blank figure. He was lying on his stomach in a puddle of blood. I felt hot tears and sweat dripping down my cheeks. I put my fingers to his neck, looking for a pulse, but my hand was shaking so much I couldn’t keep my fingers in one place long enough to find one. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. It didn’t matter. I knew he was dead.
“No!” I cried, but it sounded like a whisper. The flames were growing louder outside the door, but I didn’t move, gripping my dad’s hand tightly, my head bent towards the ground.
I was so confused. At this moment, there was a fire burning our house down. How could he have been killed? It didn’t make any sense, but I was filled with so much sadness and pain I couldn’t think straight.
New tears were pouring down my face, more sweat dripping down my back. I couldn’t move. I felt like it was all fake. A dream maybe. It just couldn’t be real.
I noticed his hand I was holding was clenched together. I pried his fingers apart and there, in his palm, laid a chain bracelet with a small stone attached to it.
The flames were roaring, coming closer. I knew that if I didn’t leave I would get trapped. I grabbed the bracelet, stuck it in my pocket, and squeezed my dad’s hand tightly. Pushing my tears back, I tried to stand up, my legs wobbly. I made myself a promise, right there and then that I would find out who killed him and take revenge, even if I spent my whole life trying to accomplish it.
I turned to the door, and right as I did, I heard a loud crack. I was thrown out of the way as the hallway ceiling came crashing in. I landed hard on the ground, covering my head with my arms for protection as the ceiling came crashing over me, enclosing me in sweltering heat. I heard more crackles as sparks flew everywhere.
I tried to move, covered in bits of the ceiling and wall. It hurt just to inhale air. I tried pushing the rubble and debris off me. It hurt. I could barely breathe, let alone get out of the wreckage. I could feel what little energy I had left being drained out of me. I began to panic.
I tried to twist around, trying to heave myself up. I could hear the flames growing. I wasn’t going to let myself die. Not like this. I felt the urge to get out growing inside me. I tried pushing myself up, using all my strength and breathing hard. I felt the wreckage slowly falling off me. Before I knew it, the rubble was off, and I felt cooler air filling my lungs.
I got to my feet. I wasn’t badly hurt, but my ankle felt slightly sprained and I was covered in cuts and bruises.
I looked around urgently. My dad was gone, covered in debris from the ceiling. I swallowed hard, blinking back tears. I tried to push thoughts of him to the back of my mind. One thing was clear: I had to get out of the house.
I could barely see through the smoke. My eyes stung, and I felt as if I were being forced to close them. The only things visible were the flames spreading towards me. I desperately looked around for an exit. The door to the hallway was blocked from the wreckage. I couldn’t think properly. My mind felt fogged and I was dripping even more in sweat. I looked around more urgently. That’s when I saw the window.
I ran towards it and tried to pull it open, but it wouldn’t budge. Feeling stupid, I realized the window was locked and quickly flipped the lock. I tried yanking it up again. I could feel my eyes closing from exhaustion. The window slowly opened, and I pulled myself through.
Landing on the other side, the cool grass met my bare feet. Fresh air rushed into my lungs, filling me with energy. The late-night breeze swept over my face, cooling my skin.
I looked around nervously. I could still hear the flames, and there was dark smoke around the house. I spotted a couple of figures standing under a street lamp across the street. They looked frightened, exhausted. I sighed a sigh of relief, realizing that it was Rose and Sage. But I couldn’t help from feeling terrified. My mom wasn’t there.
I was about to run over to them, when I heard something in the bushes on the other side of the house. I quickly ran around the corner of the house to see what it was. A person dressed in black was running away from the bush, towards the woods behind the house. As soon as I saw him, my head felt like it would explode. I dropped to my knees, my head in my hands. I squeezed my eyes tightly from the pain.
Next thing I knew, my head had stopped hurting. I saw images flashing inside my head. I was in a room full of smoke and people. I saw a lady trying to run, but a man pulling her back. Her face looked worn and tired. The lady was screaming, yelling, “No! Not the girls! Please! Not the girls! Don’t hurt them!” Tears were streaming down her face. She looked insane.
Then I saw a man trying to break free from another man’s grip. He pulled his hand away, quickly bringing it back to punch his captor in the face. His captor fell back and landed in a slump on the ground.
I then heard a lady speak. Her voice was evil, making the smoky room feel cold and empty. “If that’s how you want it to be,” she said before cackling loudly. Then I realized the most horrifying thing: the lady that was talking was me.
My head started throbbing again. It was as if I was in this lady’s body. It made no sense. Then this lady- me – reached down into her jacket and pulled out a gun. She pointed it at the man and pulled the trigger.
I heard a gunshot right as the scene changed. I saw a view of my house on fire. I heard screaming.
I couldn’t take it any longer, and I didn’t have to. At that moment, my head stopped hurting completely and the visions were gone. I felt myself falling backwards, hitting something hard behind me.