It wasn’t the memory that woke me. I have a nasty habit of constantly waking up with one hand under my pillow, grasping the hilt of my hatchet like the lifeline it is, coated in sweat and feeling as tense as a wire.
It was the smell of smoke from the burning bed next to me. The one my sister was currently screaming in.
I shot out of the bed like a bullet from a gun, getting as far away from the white flames as I could. Despite the horrible screams she was making, I knew Dro wasn’t being hurt. At least, that was what she always told me.
Our bags were by the motel door, ready as usual. I only had the clothes on my back, so I didn’t have to change. I grabbed my knives from the table, holstering them on either side of my ribs, and then threw my black military jacket– my lucky jacket– over my shoulders. I hooked my hatchet to my belt, shoved on my boots, and glanced at the bed where Dro was still screaming.
The fire had moved from the bed to the walls, to the curtains, and then to the ceiling. The cheap, peeling wallpaper blackened and rained down around her, like black snow in a whiteout.
Dro suddenly stopped screaming. The nightmare was over. She realized what was happening around her, and that it was time to leave. I was already waiting by the door with her bag and mine in hand. She jumped off her burning bed, completely unharmed by the fire. It had sloughed off her like a second skin.
It never got easier seeing her burning like that again, but when you’re about to be smothered in what literally feels like ten thousand degrees, there are only two things that should cross your mind: Get out, and get out now.
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