Apr 06

My Fault

“KAREN!” I screamed. I couldn’t think straight. People were shouting but I didn’t listen.
All I could think about was Karen. Tears poured down my cheeks, the world blurred around me.
It was getting hotter. I had to think fast. A plan formed in my head. It was crazy but I had no
other ideas. So without another thought I ran straight into the raging flames.
“Mom, May won’t get out of bed!” Karen complained.
“Karen leave me alone,” I mumbled through my pillow. “You are very loud for seven
years old.” Even through my pillow I could hear Karen’s long exaggerated sigh.
“Come on May, we’re leaving for Florida today! We get to fly on an airplane, eat airplane
food, sit in airplane seats....
Karen had never ridden on an airplane before she was very excited. I however was not.
When I was nine I rode on an airplane to California to see my Aunt. On the ride I got up to use
the bathroom and I tripped on someone leg in the isle. I don’t remember anything else but I was
told they had to bring me to the hospital because I had a concussion. Ever since I have been
deathly afraid of flying.
When I snapped out of my daze Karen was still talking about how awesome it was going
to be to fly. “Fine I’ll get up if you stop talking.”
“Ok but mom said to pack your suitcase before breakfast.” Before she left she looked out
my window. “You should ask daddy to cut down that tree it blocks the view.” Then she walked
out of my room.
Still half asleep I threw some clothes, a book and a hair brush into my hot pink suitcase. I
hated the color but last year Karen’s friend Chase destroyed my blue suitcase. That’s a story for
another time, though.
“May Harper, what were you doing up there, our plane leaves at noon! We still have to
get to the airport and go through security! That takes two hours! It’s already 9:15!” Mom was
frantically packing and trying to get Karen ready. She was red in the face. I knew I better listen
or I was going to get it. “May help your sister get packed.”
“Okay,” I replied. Karen was slow so to save time I packed her suitcase for her. The next
twenty minutes were a blur. We packed, ate toast and went out to the car.
In our house we always light a candle on the stand next to the door don’t ask me why, I
don’t know. As I went out the door my suitcase bumped the stand, but I was in such a rush I
didn’t notice. I was the last one out of the house so I locked the door and headed for the car.
Mom,dad, and karen were waiting. We were about to leave when Karen made a high pitched
squeaking sound.
“What is it honey,” dad called from the front.
“I forgot ELLIE !!” Ellie was Karen’s toy elephant that she brought with her everywhere.
“Karen I already locked the door,” I argued
“May bring your sister around the house. I don’t think I locked the back door.”
Reluctantly I brought Karen to the back door. “Get Ellie and come back out.” I said.
“What, your not coming with me?” Karen looked upset.
I stood there with my arms crossed. She was annoying this morning and I still wasn’t
over it. When Karen opened the door it smelled like burnt toast. “Mom must have forgotten to
turn off the toaster. Turn it off when you grab Ellie. I’ll lock this door behind you. You can get out
the front door.” Karen didn’t look convinced. She gave me puppy eyes. Her light blue eyes
getting bigger by the second. I turned away. “Meet you in the car.”
As I walked back to the car shame rose inside me. I was being rude to Karen. She’s only
seven. She was just trying to be nice. I pushed those thoughts deep into my brain to deal with
later. Finally I got to the car. Mom and Dad were having an adult discussion so I tuned them out
and focused on my shoes. My laces were dark green and my shoes were light blue. My two
favorite colors. The light blue reminded me of Karen’s eyes. My shoes were also covered in mud
from me dragging them as I brought Karen to the house. A thought hit me. “Mom, did you turn
off the toaster this morning?” I said interrupting my parents conversation.
“Yes May.” she replied
Feeling better I turned to the window looking at the house. Then I realized, shouldn’t
Karen be back by now? Looking at the house something caught my eye. I must have been
hallucinating. It looked like smoke was coming from one of the windows near the front door. I
rubbed my eyes. Nope I wasn’t hallucinating, smoke was pouring out the window.
“Mom, MOM!!” Panic bubbled in my chest.
“May Harper this better be good. You can’t keep interrupting me.”
“Look mom smoke is coming out of the house!” I yelled
Mom and Dad turned toward the house. Smoke all over the roof now. All at once we
shouted, “KAREN!!”
Mom called 911. She was a mess. Sobbing and shaking. Slamming the car door dad ran
toward the house shouting Karen’s name over and over. I followed.
“May stay back,” dad called.
Dad tried to open the front door but forgot something important. He didn’t feel the door
with the back of his hand first. He grabbed the door handle, pulled and let out a yelp. Clutching
his hand he ran for the back door. Then I remembered something.
“Dad the back door is locked too,” I yelled. My voice wavered.
Dad ran to me. “Looks like we have to wait for the fire department to breakdown the
doors.” His voice was shaking. He put on a brave face even though I know it wasn’t real.
Clutching his burnt hand he ran to the car to talk to mom.
Sirens blared. Finally. The thoughts I had earlier bubbled up. I love Karen but this
morning I wasn’t nice to her. I glanced back toward the house, flames danced all over the
house.
Panic was running through my veins like wildfire. This was all my fault. If I had let Karen
pack her own bag she wouldn’t of forgotten Ellie. If I’d went inside with her to find Ellie I could’ve
helped her get out of the house. If I had realized the burnt toast smell was smoke I could’ve
stopped her from going inside. It felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Starting out scared
for Karen, then angry with myself, soon moving on to shame. There was also many others which
I couldn’t quite identify.
The fire department was here. By then the fire had almost completely consumed the
house. As they tried to beat the fire with hoses. The wind picked up. The fire was like an
untamed lion and he wasn’t backing down. Firefighters soon realized the house was beyond
saving. The fire was to hot for even them to go in the house. But they couldn't give up. Not with
Karen still inside! I tried speaking to one of them but they just shook their head. “Sorry kid
there's nothing we can do.”
I knew a window by the back door that was always open. A slim hope but I clung to it
while I raced to the back door. Luck! The window was wide open with one push I would be
inside. From deep inside the house I heard a crack the a ear piercing scream.
No.. No! “KAREN!” I screamed. I couldn’t think straight. People were shouting but I
didn’t listen. All I could think about was Karen. Tears poured down my cheeks, the world blurred
around me. It was getting hotter. I had to think fast. A plan formed in my head. It was crazy but I
had no other ideas. So without another thought I ran straight into the raging fire.
The voice in my head was screaming,”Run AWAY!!” but I knew I had to save Karen.
Flames were everywhere consuming everything. Smoke was filling my lungs. I couldn’t stop
coughing. Finally with one final hack I spit up blood but I could breath for the second.
Remembering what they taught us at school, I got on my hands and knees where the smoke
was thinner. I knew Karen was most likely upstairs so as fast as I could I crawled up the stairs.
My hands were covered in blisters. Every move made pain run through my body like lightning.
Karen was the only thing keeping me going. I was almost all the way up the stairs when my right
hand landed on a nail. I let out a cry of pain relizing to late that that was a mistake. Smoke filled
my lungs it felt like I was drowning but I couldn’t do anything about it. I failed in agony. I had to
do something my lungs were screaming for air. I had only one idea left. I started to cough. Each
cough was painful but I had to do it. It wasn’t working I thought I am going to die. Then right
before I passed out from lack of oxygen I threw up. I could breath! I didn’t have much time to
celebrate.
Upstairs was a disaster. Some of the floor was gone leaving gaping holes. The only
paths to Karen’s room were covered in fire. I tried calling for her but no answer. My heart was
jumping out of my chest as a million different terrible ideas flashed through my mind. I pushed
them away. No, I couldn’t get distracted all that mattered was Karen. There was only one way to
Karen’s room. Straight through the fire. I mustered up all the energy I had left and sprinted
toward Karen’s room.
Tears poured down my cheeks as pain ran through me. Pain was a part of me. I couldn’t
run away from it. I could feel my skin burn and blister. I staggered into Karen’s room so excited
that I would be able to save her but when I entered the room it was empty. I didn’t have any
strength left. Despair settled in me. I didn’t care about the pain anymore. I had failed to save
Karen. Fire had followed. I was surrounded by flames with no where to go. Suddenly I heard a
loud CRACK! Before I could think the floor fell out from under me.