I was standing outside the house looking up at the second floor. I had never been to this house before, yet I knew it. Someone was with me. They were with me but they couldnít participate in whatever it was I was there to do. Apparently she was my guide of sorts, escorting me to where I needed to be.
I turned to her and said, "I know I need to go in through that window up there." It was a small dormer on the second floor. For the first time I acknowledged the body I was in. I was a small child. I guessed I was around eight or nine years old. I was wearing pajamas, and was in bare feet.
I looked at the side of the house and noticed a well-worn trellis. Obviously this wasnít the first time this trellis was used as a means to reach the second floor.
I turned to my guide, and said, "I guess itís up I go." She smiled and crossed her arms and nodded toward the trellis. I took hold of the worn wood with my small hand. My foot found a secure slat and I started climbing.
The window opened out and I squeezed through. The window slapped shut behind me. I found myself standing in a childís bedroom. It was simply but neatly decorated. I couldnít tell if it was a little boy or a little girl. The bed was neatly made and toys arranged in child-like organization. It was dark and I somehow knew the route to the door without so much as bumping a shin.
I reached the hallway and saw stairs leading down. As I walked down the hallway, a bedroom appeared on my left. It was filled with a large bed containing a single sleeping body. I could hear the contented breathing of someone deep in sleep. I tiptoed past the open door and went down the stairs.
The stairway opened into a cozy dining room. It was still draped in the smells from the eveningís meal, ham or pork, I wasnít sure. To the right a doorway led to the living room. A nightlight was plugged into the wall socket, illuminating the room in warm glow.
As I stood in the doorway looking in, a tiny warm hand slipped into mine. I wasnít startled and looked down to see a toddler smiling up at me. Apparently I had made more noise than I expected. He smiled and placed his finger over his lips, reminding me that we had better be quiet if we wanted to continue our late night explorations.
In the corner of the room was a birdís cage. Inside was a small canary-like bird. It seemed happy to see us, even at this late hour. My newfound companion was eager to open the cage and play with the bird. We walked to the edge of the cage.
Suddenly, without any warning, the floor in the corner was engulfed in flames. Orange tongues of fire were leaping from the furnace duct. My little partner in crime squeezed my hand and screamed. I pulled him with me and found the front door. I opened it and pushed him through.
"Go to the neighbors and get help! Run! Hurry!"
He was terrified but nodded his head in acceptance and turned and ran in the direction of the yard next door.
All I could picture in my mind was the body in the giant bed upstairs. I ran up the stairs, taking two at a time. I stumbled once or twice but didnít feel any pain. When I reached the room it was already burning. The bed was even burning.
I ran to the side of the bed yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, wake up wake up." She did wake up but was already being scorched by flames.
"You have to roll Mommy. Get on the floor. Stop, drop and roll mommy."
She was on the floor rolling to smother the flames. I helped her to her feet and we managed to get back downstairs. By then there was little air and less room to move. I could already hear the sirens. My little buddy had come through. I helped mommy to the door and we drank in the fresh air like wanderers in a desert stumbling upon an oasis.
There were firemen there and one took mommyís arms and took her to the ambulance. I could see the little fellow with her. Oddly, no one seemed to acknowledge my presence. I walked up to the ambulance and looked inside. Mommy was hooked to a machine to help her breathe and someone was cleaning her burns. I could hear them talking.
"It is a miracle you got out of there when you did" said the paramedic. "Any longer in that air and you would have scorched your lungs."
Mommy looked at him over the oxygen mask. My little buddy was sitting on the bed next to her, holding her bandaged hand in his.
"Where were you Timmy, why werenít you in your bed?" He looked at me and smiled.
"I was playing with Michael." Mommy looked hard at Timmy.
"Now Timmy, donít be fooling Mommy after such a scary thing happened to us."
He continued looking at me with that 'we know donít we' smile. Mommy pushed his hair out of his eyes and kissed his forehead.
"Iím just glad you were able to get out safely."
Timmy sighed and said "and Iím glad Michael was here to help you get out too."
Mommy somehow turned paler than she already was. The paramedic had been listening as he monitored the oxygen tank.
"Who is Michael? " He asked.
Mommy said, "Itís impossible. My son Michael was killed by a drunk driver six months ago."
Angie Berg was born in a small town in Michigan. She grew up surrounded by nature and snow. Her parents instilled in her a respect for everything and everyone around her. Angie was married at twenty-one and was divorced at thirty. It was after she turned thirty that her life changed and she discovered that she could write. Angie has a few published poems and short stories.
As for now, Angie is taking every chance she has to see the world and live life to the fullest. She fully believes the saying "life is not the destination but the journey." Angie hopes she can share some of the journey with others through her writing.