Um. Short update.
But it didn't really fit in with the next chapter, so I decided to let it stand alone.
Enjoy. [Chapter Forty-Six -- Nightmare]Smoke. Everywhere.
That was the first thing she was aware of when she was ripped from her dreams; the thick clouds burning the lining of her nose, mouth, throat, and even going so far as to smolder painfully in her lungs. Her eyes began to water as she coughed up the fumes, but any relief that might have come with fresh air was not to be found, as the room was completely saturated with the smog.
Desperately the girl rolled over out of her bed and onto the floor, where a slight drop in temperature met her and she found it possible once again to breathe. She waited like that for a moment, crouched down on all fours until her mind had a chance to clear.
And it was then that her other senses were put on full alert.
She could not see anything through the smoke, but she could feel waves of heat coming from somewhere nearby, and her ears were assaulted with the loud roar and crackle of what sounded like…Flames. Fire… My house… my house is on fire?!
Her heart began to beat rapidly at that conclusion, and she felt herself going into a bit of a panic. Why weren’t the alarms going off? Why hadn’t her parents come to wake her?
The girl got down flat on her stomach and began to crawl soldier-style towards where the air felt coolest, in the hope that it was the door to the hallway and her escape. But when she bumped into a wall and felt around blindly for a while, she could almost feel the blood draining from her face in despair.
Cautiously she turned around, and as much as her mind screamed at her to go back, she began to head in the opposite direction—towards the heat. The air was getting so hot as she went on that it nearly made her sick to breathe it, but when she ran up along a surface the second time, she was sure that she had found the door. Instinctively, she pulled her shirt collar up to cover her nose and mouth and then she rose to her feet, groping around for the handle.
She let out a shriek as the overheated metal burned her flesh, but a few seconds later she had determined that painful or not, she was going to have to try getting out this way.
There were no windows in the girl’s room, and the sense of self-preservation would not allow her to merely sit down and burn or suffocate to death. And so, she gritted her teeth hard as she moved forward to take the handle again, bracing herself for the searing pain that was to come.
Only this time, she really screamed
The wall of heat hit her like a bullet train, and the girl immediately dropped to the ground again, letting out the stale air that she had been holding in all that time. On the upside, she could see again, because the smoke in the hallway had collected at the ceiling.
On the downside… she was terrified by what she saw.
Great orange and yellow flames seemed to be engulfing nearly every surface of her home, and they were licking out at her, beckoning her towards them. For a moment, she was paralyzed with fear. One false move and she would never make it out alive.
Then a loud cracking sound alerted her to a wooden beam overhead, and she had just enough time to snap out of it and roll to the side as it slammed into the floor where she had just been.
There was no choice. It was move or die.
She crawled forward at a steady pace, careful to give quite a bit of room to the fire, and attentive to any more noises that could possibly save her from being crushed. But after a while, her mind was no longer on her peril, but on her parents.
So focused on escaping and finding them was she, that she let out a startled yelp when her nose bumped into something hard and unyielding.
It was a shoe. A shoe that was on the foot of a stranger that should not have been in her house.
She backed up quickly, falling hard onto her rear in the process. But her clumsiness didn’t seem to affect the stranger much at all. In fact, the girl was not entirely sure that the figure even realized her presence there.
She was dressed in all black, and she had hair that matched the color of her clothing, bound in a ponytail. But they were nothing in comparison to her eyes, which were so dark that they made what she was wearing seem almost faded. There was a sinister glint there, some bloodthirsty evil that caused a chill to run through the girl’s body.
But the most frightening part was that the figure was covered in blood. Blood that was definitely not her own.
And then the figure’s eyes finally focused on the girl, as if she was seeing the other for the first time. The girl could not move, and her breathing stopped, as if she sensed that her parents were dead, and this was the person responsible. Not only that, but she felt that her own death was near…
A sing-song voice, one that was wildly out of place, pierced the girl’s hearing, and for a second she could think again… if only to process what was being said.
“The thing about burning houses, my dear one, is that you must escape them before they collapse on you, otherwise you won’t be around to do it again. If you’ve done your job, it’s time to leave.”
The figure seemed to hesitate for a moment, but she turned her head to call back to the voice that had spoken.
“There’s a girl here… Their kid.”
“Oh? Then just make sure she can’t get out. We haven’t any time to deal with her, the firemen are beginning to arrive.”
The last thing the girl was aware of was a sharp pain in her forehead as something hard connected with her skull.
In the Loft, Chinami awoke with a frightened scream.