November 9th, 2005
It has been a week since he died. Since…since I found him burning on the ceiling of our apartment. Above the bed we used to share. In that week, I've felt sick every day. That sort of sickness where you know that you're not sick at all, it's just you. Your mind making you feel as crappy as possible. Just another thing to pile onto the mountain of shit things making you feel forty billion times worse.
I can still see him. He haunts my dreams. Everytime I close my eyes, he's there. Either burning on the ceiling, or asking me "Why?". "Why did you let it kill me?" Everytime I attempt to fall asleep, I'm back in our apartment.
Lying on the bed looking up at him. The sound of the apartment door slamming closed, trapping me inside the room. The flames spreading furiously. The sound of splintering wood, a scream and then arms wrapping around me. Deanna's arms, pulling me up from the bed as she tightened her grip so that I couldn't squirm free and attempt to rescue Jesse.
I remember screaming for him, even after Deanna had successfully gotten me out of the apartment and down the main staircase of the building. I didn't stop until we passed the threshold.
I remember breaking down, painful sobs wracking me. My knees giving way beneath me, but no blunt impact. Instead I was lowered gently down to the ground by Deanna's strong arms which then pulled me close and wrapped around me comfortingly. I rested my head against her chest as I continued to cry. Deanna stroked my hair softly as she leant her head on top of my mine and offered soothing reassurance. My cries only ceased as I hacked into Deanna's brown leather jacket, my sister then began rubbing my back to try and clear the coughing fit.
The paramedics, not having previously noticed me, came rushing over.
"Miss, are you okay?"
"She needs checked out, she was in the apartment where the fire started."
This triggered an immediate response from them as they gave instructions to Deanna.
I suddenly myself lost for breath, as I my lungs were struggling for oxygen. That's all I remembered.
When I woke up again, I was in Deanna's arms and she was crying. My eyes were flickering as I struggled to hold onto whatever I was falling in and out of.
"Sammy…" Deanna noticed that my eyes were open and looked down at me. "You hold on okay?" She sniffled as more tears fell.
And then I fell again.
Waking up this time was much more pleasant than the previous, despite the fact that my throat still hurt. I flickered my eyes open to find myself looking up at a plain white hospital ceiling. I began to take in my surroundings. Endless white panels with long, yellow tinged lights that were both dull and too bright at the same time seemed to stretch off infinitely above me. The beeping of a machine accompanied the sound of any generic American hospitals hustle and bustle, or in this case, a generic American hospital room with the door open. The tickle in my nose also drew my attention to a plastic nasal cannula that was tucked slightly into my nostrils and supplying oxygen, obviously to help me breath.
Flickering my eyes fully open, I turned to see Deanna sat in a leather chair beside my hospital bed with a tired, worried expression. I smiled drowsily.
"Hey…" My weak voice accompanied it.
"Don't try and talk, the doctor said that the smoke has fucked your throat up a bit. Should clear in a couple of days though." She explained before relaxing slightly as she clearly stopped and took in the sight of me awake. "Thank god you're okay." Deanna smiled equally softly before taking a deep breath. "Jesus Sammy, you scared me."
"Sorry." I apologised.
She smiled once again. "Wasn't your fault…and neither was what happened."
"Please don't torture yourself about it, there's nothing you could have done."
"I could have saved him."
"Sammy, you didn't know."
I sighed, shifting slightly on the bed, eyes tiredly flickering as I leant into the soft white pillow.
Deanna stroked a hand gently through my hair, pushing a strand behind my ear. "Get some sleep." Her soft tone was protective and caring. "I'll be here when you wake up."
"Need to call Jesse's parents." I mumbled into the pillow.
"That's the police's job, not yours. They'll deal with it. You just worry about you and get some sleep."
So I did.
I was out of the hospital three days later, once the doctors were happy with my progress, and Deanna had booked us into a small motel on the outskirts of Palo Alto. We couldn't go far because we both knew that the funeral would be in a few days and that there was no point in driving somewhere just to come all the way back. Not that we could go far anyway. I was tired from my hospital treatment, and spent most days sleeping. The doctor had given us an oxygen canister and a nasal cannula which I had to wear when sleeping and when I found myself short of breath.
I was used to sleeping with the cannula on now, so it didn't bother me. I could easily sleep through the night wearing it, it was only when I moved around in bed that it could sometimes fall off. This wasn't really a problem though because it was never off for long if it did fall off because the cannula would magically be back under my nose, with the tubes once again wrapped around the backs of my ears, without me having to do anything. The day when I no longer had to use this thing would be a god send, because Deanna wasn't get much sleep at the moment through worrying about me and my cannula, and it was clearly showing in the bags under her eyes. On top of that, she had also put herself in charge of handling everything.
It was the day after we got out the hospital, and I awoke to the sound of Deanna having an argument down the phone.
I didn't make it known that I was awake as I listened in to her conversation.
"My sister had nothing to do with this. It was a fire for fuck sake!" Deanna shouted.
"No, you won't. She's sleeping so no, you're not talking to her…" She paused, obviously listening to the Moore's reply. "We just got out of the hospital yesterday. Sam was treated for smoke inhalation and is still on an oxygen cannula for it so she's still recovering. That's why she can't come to the phone right now, not because she's purposely ignoring you. She doesn't even know that you've been ringing. I haven't told her because the doctors said that it's not ideal for her to be stressed right now. She's been struggling for oxygen enough already." Deanna paused once again. "Look, I know you're just looking out for your son, but you gotta' understand that I've gotta' look out for my sister here too."
There was silence before Deanna's reply came.
"I'm taking Sam to pay her respects." Stated Deanna's blunt tone. "Even if it's a few hours after the funeral, she's going. You can't stop us."
"Jesse was her boyfriend, and you're banning her from the funeral because of some stupid, false accusations." She paused. "Jesse wouldn't want this. He'd want his girlfriend at that funeral sat front and centre. You gotta' accept Jesse's wishes."
The silence that followed obviously brought better news because through my slightly open eye I could see her expression change to a small smile. "Thank you." She then hung up.
I closed my eyes.
The sound of footsteps could be heard as Deanna walked over to my bed and rested a hand gently on my shoulder. "I wasn't gonna' let them stop you from seeing your boyfriend one last time, Sammy." She then sighed. "Jesse seemed like a great kid…" Deanna paused once again. "I'm proud of you, kiddo."
The funeral was painful and made me never want to attend another ever again. Funerals are morbid in their very nature due to the type of the event taking place and its significance, but I found myself wanting to do nothing more than sprint out of the doors of the church and never set a foot back inside ever again.
Deanna's hand on my knee brought me back from my thoughts. She wordlessly asked 'you okay?' to which I nodded.
'Liar.' She'd followed.
After the service, we followed the procession out to the graveyard where the coffin was buried and Jesse's Mom, Dad, Sister and Auntie all said a few words before dropping some dirt down into the grave. I was thankful in the fact that I didn't have to speak.
Deanna noticed that I was shaking and took my hand in hers before squeezing it in reassurance, all without drawing attention to us, like she knew I was panicked about doing.
Once over, I walked back over to the Impala, which was parked just outside the cemetery gates, and opened the passenger door. Sitting down sideways on my seat so that my legs were out of the car, I buried my head in my hands and took a couple of deep breaths.
"You okay?" Deanna repeated her words from earlier, her big sister senses instantly knowing that grief wasn't the only thing that was affecting me. "I knew being out this long was a mistake."
"Deanna, I'm fine." I stated. "Just a little sore that's all. And anyway, the doctor said I've just got to get used to breathing without the cannula. They've done all the tests to check and they're fine. I'm just sore, and tired, it's not my lungs."
Deanna nodded. "I believe you. But you better not be lying to me." She smiled before walking round the Impala and climbing in.
"Why don't we go check out Blackwater Ridge?" I suggested.
"No, Sam." She stated definately.
"Because you're still recovering. We're not going hunting."
"I just told you I'm fine."
"And it was total bull. We're not going."
"Mom's still out there somewhere, De…"
"Since when did you start caring?" Deanna blurted before realising what she'd said. "Sam…"
"It's okay." I smiled. "Honestly, it's okay." I paused. "To be honest, I just really want to leave this town."
Deanna paused for a few seconds before she sighed. "Fine." She put the Impala in gear. "We'll go back to the motel, get changed then hit the road and see what's going on in Blackwater Ridge."
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