I woke up to shouting. I was tired and groggy and couldn’t see a thing, my eyes not yet used to the light. When I could see again, I looked at the rusty, old alarm clock; it was 2:41 a.m. Why couldn’t my parents go one night without arguing with each other? It’s always something, whether its money or just because they don’t like each other. It gets really frustrating. “You know what? I’m leaving!”, screams my dad. “Maybe next time I see you guys, you’ll be dead!” “Fine! Go!”, shouts my mom right back at him. Once I hear the door to the front slam, I get up from my lumpy mattress and walk on the dusty hardwood floor over to the window, which is a little bit bigger than my head, and watch my father get in the car and drive away.
I start walking down the hall to see if my mother’s alright, accidently stepping on a nail on the floor. “Ouch!”, I swear to myself silently. As I’m walking, my little sister Rosy comes out of her bedroom. Her long auburn hair tangled, her hazel green eyes alert but half closed. Rosy might only be seven, but she knows when something’s wrong, especially when dad doesn’t come back for days. “Are you going to see if mommy is alright?”, she says tiredly. “Yes.” I tell her. “Go back to sleep.” As she walks back to into her room, eyes almost closed, she hits the wall, and the wall paper that was already peeling, fell off more. I follow her to make sure she doesn’t hit anything else and tuck her back into bed. “Good night Rosy.” I whisper softly. “Good night Catherine.” She says back.
Before I enter my mother’s room, I can hear her crying. As she sees me walk in she tries to pull herself together, her auburn hair in her face. Sometimes I feel like the odd girl in the family. My mom and Rosy both have auburn hair and hazel green eyes, but I got the other gene. My hair is dark brown and I have light brown eyes. My dad has dark brown hair with auburn streaks when the sun hits it just right. How come my hair isn’t like either of theirs? My dad’s side of the family they told me when I asked.
“Catherine, honey, what are you doing in here?” she says. “Really mom? Umm let me see….I don’t know, to see if you are okay?”, I say. Did she really believe we wouldn’t have heard them arguing? I look around my parent’s bedroom and see that my mom’s favorite vintage lamp had been thrown on the ugly, stained carpet. I go over to pick it up, but just as I do she stops me and says rather rudely, “Don’t! When he decides he wants to come crawling back, he can pick it up himself!”. I pick it up anyway and she slaps it out of my hand. “Mom we both know if he comes back, he isn’t going to pick it up!”, I shout softly. She gives me a cold stare and says, “Not that you should care! You kids are the reason he’s always leaving!”. “I don’t know why you even bother parenting!”, I shout and run out and trip on something hard and pointy, pain shooting up my leg. I eventually make it to my room and after a while I fall asleep.
The next day throughout school I’m way too deep in thought to concentrate. Something was different about last night. Usually the morning after, my mom apologizes for saying the stuff she said, but this morning she barley looked at me and Rosy. Usually she doesn’t pay much attention to us anyways, but still. Also, when Rosy called our father, he didn’t answer. He usually does, to tell Rosy that he won’t be home for a while. I could tell even Rosy knew something was up. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but that’s just how I am. Also, on top of that, I have a bruise on my leg where it was jabbed into last night.
When I got home my, mother was already home from work. Usually she doesn’t get home until after 4:00. She’s all dressed up and I noticed a bag by the door, but I didn’t bother looking in it. “You’re home early,” I say cautiously. I don’t want to get her mad before I can even relax. “Does that bother you? Not that it matters.” She laughs. What’s that’s supposed to mean? That laugh was kind of creepy too. Then I remember, “Where’s Rosy?” “I sent her up to take a nap. She seemed so tired.” She says now sounding crazy. “Anyways, I’m going out tonight. I don’t know when I’ll be back.” It sounds like she mumbles, “if I come back”, but it was so low I could have imagined it. “Could you cook dinner for you and your sister? By the way, I’m not taking no for an answer.” What is up with her? Usually by the time she comes home she is already blaming us for random stuff, but not one today.
After she leaves, I walk over to the fridge to see what I can make for dinner. There’s not much here, milk that smells rotten, two week old leftovers, and moldy bread. Since I refuse to eat or serve spoiled food I decide to order takeout. After I order, I go to check on Rosy. She is up and just laying there. I go over to her and say, “What’s wrong, sis?” she seems scared. “I want daddy and I don’t want to be here. I’m scared.” She says quietly, her big green eyes show her fear. Rosy was small for her age, so she looks more fragile than she actually is. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, sis. Do you want to come in the living room and wait for the food with me?” I whisper. She nods her head and I carry her to the living room. The living room is a pretty decent size, with a giant window on one wall. As I set her down on the brown and black leather couch, or at least what feels like leather, I see a shadow walk by the window.
I go look throw the dusty, cobwebbed window blinds and I see a guy. He is tall, muscular, very suspicious looking, and he is holding two jugs of something that looks like kerosene. He is pouring it around the house and I notice it’s almost empty. Normally in this case I would save myself, but the first thing I think of is Rosy. Suddenly she’s next to me looking at me with wide watery eyes like she knows something I don’t know. “Rosy, you look like you know something I don’t. What do you know?” I say in fear. She looks like she could pass out from fear. She looks at me and says “I heard mommy on the phone talking to someone. I didn’t know who, but she told them they were to ‘take care’ of us.” Obviously she didn’t know that most likely kill us. “Rosy, we have to get out of here! Now!” I almost shout.
I grab my phone, which was sitting on the couch, and then grab Rosy and start running to the door, but before I get there the fire had already started. The guy who did this started the fire from the front so we couldn’t get out from there. I can smell the wood on the house burning. It’s not the best smell in the world that’s for sure. “We have to find another way out!” I scream. As I’m trying to find another way out I call 911. After I called, I realized that the guy set all the possible escape routes on fire so it was almost impossible to get out. It was almost impossible. The windows were way too small for me to fit in them, but not for Rosy. The fire was spreading fast. I got to my room and open the window. I was trying to get Rosy through the window when she said “What about you? How will you get out?” I don’t answer her. She realizes what I mean and stops me from helping her. “I’m not leaving without you!” she sobs. “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” I lie. She believes me and runs.
By that time the fire is already here in the room and has trapped me from any chance of escape. The flames were rising; slowly eating the house away. I’m already coughing so I drop the floor to try to get away from the smoke. I can hear the sirens from outside and I hope they got Rosy to safety. I can’t breathe and the room is filled with so much smoke that I can’t see either. My eyes are watering and my lungs can’t take this much smoke. The firefighters have already started to put the fire out but I have a feeling they won’t get here in time. The last thing I cough out before I black out is “at least Rosy is safe.”
I don’t know how long it was after but I wake up in a hospital room or at least I think it is. “Where am I?” I croak. I see my beautiful Rosy sitting next to me. I also see my dad, his eyes glossy “You are at the hospital. You were in a very bad fire that apparently was caused by your mother. She admitted to hiring someone.” my dad says looking so sad. I feel kind of relieved that she confessed I wouldn’t have been able to confess. “I’m so glad your okay!” Rosy and my dad say in unison. Then my dad says, “I’m so sorry that I haven’t been there a lot for both of you guys. I just couldn’t take your mother sometimes.” He starts tearing, “Will you guys give me another chance? I promise to be a better parent.” I move my eyes to Rosy in a silent agreement and I croak out a yes.
A couple of hours later the doctor came to tell me how bad my injuries were. They weren’t as bad as they could have been, but they were still two degree burns, and I will still be in the hospital for a week or two. The cops also came later to see what I knew and if I knew anything about the person who actually set the place on fire. I told them what I knew which was very helpful to where they were able to catch the person. Everything else in the house was either destroyed or severely damaged except the item that started everything. The vintage lamp my mother never picked up off the floor.
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