Chapter 1 - Within these walls
I live in the small town of Fallsfiance Heights, in a tight-knit community of middle class people, where I have always learned how to be compassionate, considerate, and kind to others.
Within these walls are the people I love, My mother, Elizabeth Walker, my father, Henry Walker, and my little brother Oliver (Ollie) Walker. It’s home- it’s family- And It’s all I’ve ever known.
I am turning 15 today, and every year on my birthday my mom makes a big dinner, and the four of us would sit down at the table together, talking about our days. Being, happy.
Except for my dad, that is. He was too busy talking on his phone to even acknowledge the fact that it was my birthday, my mom slapped him on the arm,
“Henry! It’s your daughters birthday! Could you get off that damn phone for just a couple hours and spend time with your family?!” She yelled.
“How about I just go sit at the couch so I don’t disturb your little tea party.” He scowled.
My dad got up from his chair and walked over to the couch, I looked over at Ollie, who was rolled in a ball under the table, then I looked back at my mom who had gotten up from her chair and yanked my dad on the arm, causing him to turn around and face mom with a scowl.
“Dammit Henry! It’s Nicole’s birthday, can’t you show some decency?!”
He got up in her face and grabbed her by the chin.
“You listen to me woman, no one talks to me like that, not even you! You’re my wife, and what I say goes, got it!”
He loosened his grip on her face, and she pulled back, holding her chin.
I got up from my chair and walked up to my dad and punched him in the arm.
“Hey!” I yelled. “Who do you think you are?! She is your wife and you are her husband, you’re supposed to love her! Not hurt her." My mother and father both looked at me in astonishment as these words came out of my mouth.
"How do you think she feels being abused and downgraded by you everyday?!"
"Nicol-" My dad started.
"Let me finish." I interrupted. "You know, I have to watch you, and listen to you abuse her, and push her around, each and every day. It's not fair to her! She doesn't deserve to live like that! Me and Ollie don't deserve to live like that! Watching your own mother get hurt is- it's horrible! " I started crying.
My mom held me, trying to comfort me.
Dad looked at me in shock, mom looked at him from over my shoulder.
"See what you did? You hurt everyone you love!" She continued to comfort me.
We were all so busy talking that we didn’t notice the smoke coming from the kitchen, my mom had been cooking the casserole, my brother was hungry so we started eating dinner before the casserole was done, therefore leaving it in the oven.
My mom and dad noticed the smoke and made a mad dash for the kitchen in an attempt to put the fire out. They opened the oven door and almost immediately thick smoke filled the air, making me dizzy, and I passed out.
When I came to, I heard Ollie screaming, and crackling flames. I pulled myself up using the table, and when I finally gained my balance, my five year old brother Ollie ran up to me. He looked absolutely terrified.
I picked him up, and held him in my arms tight. The next thing that happened made everything worse.
My dad threw water onto the flames, causing them to rise up and expand throughout the room, causing a sort of explosion-like expansion of the flames and the smoke. My brother screamed and I stumbled backwards, and fell, causing Ollie to fall out of my arms. I winced in pain as a high-pitched ringing began in my ears, I opened my eyes and I saw flames, everywhere, and a lot of thick smoke, making it difficult to breathe and see.
It was becoming difficult to stand as my whole body felt heavy and shaky. I pulled myself up using the table which wobbled and almost fell on top of me, but I managed to get up off the floor.
I started to hear sirens in the distance, which were slowly getting closer to the house, so I knew help was coming. I got to the kitchen doorway and held onto the frame to prevent myself from falling, I got to my parents and Ollie was laying at their feet, passed out. He was partially conscious, I grabbed Ollie and told him to go into the living room, he ran into the living room and sat on the floor, hugging himself and rocking back and forth.
I tried to wake up my parents, my mom woke up, but she was only partially conscious, and didn’t have the strength to get up. It had gotten even harder to breathe than before, and I felt myself almost passing out so I ran over to the counter, opened the top drawer and grabbed a cloth to cover my mouth with, I tied it in place so I could have both of my hands open, I started to go over to my parents, but a beam fell on top of them, causing me to stumble backwards. I tried to lift it off of them but my mom stopped me by grabbing my hand. I looked at her, wide-eyed and confused.
“Nicci, you need to get you and Oliver out of here, okay? You guys don’t have much time.”
“But what about you guys? I can’t lose you.” I replied, my voice breaking.
“D-don’t worry about us,” She replied weakly. “Just get you and Oliver to safety. Be there for him, and always protect him. I love you..”
“I love you too. I promise, for you, I will always protect him, I will never leave him.” I replied with tears in my eyes, but I had no time for tears, so I ran out into the living room and scooped Ollie up into my arms, I headed for the front door, but another beam fell, right in front of the door. I backed up, holding him close to me. I looked around frantically for an alternative exit. Then I noticed the window my mom had opened to let air in.
′No wonder the fire is spreading so fast, there was too much oxygen supplied to it.′ I thought to myself.
I lifted Ollie up to the window and told him to climb out. He looked at me, scared. He didn’t move.
“Go Ollie! Now! We don’t have much time!” I yelled.
He climbed out the window, and I climbed out after him. When I got outside I picked him up and ran from the house, not looking back. I noticed the fire department and police outside our house, along with our neighbors. A police officer ran up to us.
“Get in the car. I don’t want you kids to get hurt, okay?”
“Yes, officer.” I replied sternly.
The fire department was rushing to put the fire out, and I watched as the flames got bigger, until the whole house gave way and collapsed, there were tears in my eyes, but I held them back, I didn’t want to scare Ollie. I blocked the window so he couldn’t see the state that our house was in, and with our parents still in it no less.
I thought to myself,
′within those walls was my life, my home, my parents, my memories, the only thing I knew. But those walls collapsed, on top of everything that was within them.′