Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Worlds ' On Fire

The World’s On Fire!
Loosely based on a hospital fire in Calcutta, India
                Susan twitched her nose but didn’t wake up. The aroma wove its way into her dream. She stirred restlessly and the obscure figures in her visages of slumber grew agitated and started running around doing she knew not what. The acrid smell grew stronger, stinging her throat. Susan woke up rubbing her eyes and found herself staring straight into Jenna’s terrified eyes!
                Leila shook her violently. “The hospital is on fire!” she screamed.
                “Someone call for help!” 
Barbara yelled. “Let’s get out of here!”
                Jenna hurried to a window. “Someone did call for help and the motorways are crowded with emergency vehicles, but they can’t get in.  The streets are too narrow!”
                Susan yanked back the curtain. “You are right! These narrow, crowded roads were never meant  to maneuver and back up in!”
                “Hurry! We must rescue the patients!”
                “The smoke is so thick, I can hardly breathe,” Barbara wailed.
                “Everyone grab a washcloth from the laundry room and soak it.” Susan instructed, “Hold it to your nose and stoop as low as possible while going from room to room.”
                “Crawling won’t help,” Leila sounded frantic. “The smoke is below us.”
                “I can hear the crackling,” Barbara screamed. “I’m getting out of here!”
                “Grab a patient—grab two patients! You can’t go alone!”
                The other nurses were too distracted to see if Barbara actually assisted others as she headed for the elevator.
                Meanwhile,Leila, Jenna and Susan were helping each other by transferring patients to wheelchairs and stretchers.”
                “Which route shall we go?” Susan asked desperately.
                Jenna looked around. “Not the elevators. We might be trapped.”
                “Oh I wish someone would come and help us,” Leila said through clenched teeth.”  She was wheeling Mrs. Farah out of her room;

                “I can hardly breathe!” Jenna gasped. Wish I could re-dampen this cloth, and yet the patients don’t have any!
                “ Hanzia darling, climb on my back and wrap your arms tightly around my shoulders. I’ll carry you to safety. “
                “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me! “ Several voices screamed. The bedlam was increasing all around them. Those that could walk were making their ways into the halls and clutching the nurses as if their lives depended on it. 
                Leila pushed the wheelchair she was handling into one of the more mobile patient's hands; “Here, wheel this over to the exit sign; and you take this one: and you this one.”
                A hulking figure appeared in the shadows. Susan’s heart beat double time. Gabi. This is not the time to be afraid of him. “Follow me,” she said quietly. “I know the corridors. I’ll lead you to safety.”
                Jenna scooped up an armful of towels and dumped them into a container of water. She could hardly see any more as she tossed some to Susan and some to Leila, who handed them to the patients nearest them.
                The bells all around the city seemed to be constantly clanging.
                Nearly everyone on their floor was crowded by the door. A scream rang out; “The fire is worse over here!”
                They turned about face and headed the troupe to the fire escape. “We will never get the wheelchairs and stretchers down there!” Leila said grimly.
                Susan opened the door. Firemen raced towards them carrying a safety net while others took turns scrambling up the steep stairs to piggyback patients to safety.  Hanzia clung to Susan screaming when the nurse endeavored to release her grip with soothing words and gentle movements.  Gabi yanked her off Susan’s back and threw her to safety.  Many jumped.
                Then the building collapsed and was engulfed by flames.
                At least we saved some; Susan thought as her Guardian Angel swooped her up in his big, strong arms and carried her high above the flaming building that lit up the entire night sky.
                As the screams of the lost faded, the songs of the rescued became louder.


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