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The Fiery Wakeup Call

A while back, I was going through a very tough time. As in a rough time, I mean I was sleeping in my car every night. During the day I lived in my place of business which didn’t bother me much at all. I worked at a gym cleaning up. Being an employee allowed me a shower so that I never went dirty, had lockers so I had a place to put all of my things and I was able to work out all day and night, as long as I was out before the opening crew showed up.

Sleeping in my car did take a toll on me at times and I would find a friend to visit and crash on their sofa. Today was the perfect day to crash my brothers spot. He was at work and said that I was more than welcome to crash at his place and I went straight there after my workout. When I got to his house I was so tired that I didn’t even think about taking a shower. Still in my spandex shorts and my work uniform t-shirt, I jumped straight onto the living room floor and knocked out.

I don’t know how much time went by but I heard my brothers neighbors from the building across from his arguing. It was a regular scene that would play regularly. They would get into altercations that sometimes ended up in death threats being said and even getting physical. I was in no mood to listen to it but something told me to poke through the blinds and see what was going on.

I see an older man on the second story balcony, hand on the rail and looking intently, straight forward. From the location of my window, he was looking directly to my left but I couldn’t see anything. A few seconds later another man busts out of the front door with a fire extinguisher. “Oh hell, this man is going to kill somebody!” I thought and felt that I had to go outside.

Not caring about my dress attire, I ran outside. I expected to see a group of people fighting but instead I was shocked to see a group of people surrounding the apartment building across the man made mote separating the buildings. An apartment on the second floor had smoke billowing inside. The only thought in my head was “Am I going to cross this green water with my brand new shoes on or am I going barefoot?”

That was literally my only thought because I intended on doing something. I just didn’t know what, yet. Seconds later, shoes still on, I walk in the dirty, smelly, dark green water. Halfway across I am filled with fear knowing that the water was so deep that I couldn’t touch the ground and could only think about getting pulled under by a gator.

The fear dissipates immediately as my foot hits the bottom as I reach the other side. Halfway out, I point to the first man I see and tell him to come here. I take off my shirt and demand him to give me a boost. Without question, he runs to me and puts his hands together, cups my foot and counts to 3. On three I leap and he assists me until I put my hand on the railing and I was able to pull myself up, which was way harder than I expected because it was just a smooth pole that went up and down.

Once over, I touch the sliding glass window with the back of my hand to make sure it wasn’t hot and then I tested to see if the door was unlocked and thank God it was. When I opened the door, it was nothing like I expected. My eyes immediately burned and it felt like the oxygen was sucked from my lungs. Instinctively I dropped to my hands and knees and start looking around for anybody. I hear a dog barking but I don’t see the dog. I rush to the balcony and ask for somebody to throw my wet shirt up. The shirt helped block the smoke while I checked the rooms.

The first room was to the left and it had 2 beds. I touched the tops to make sure there was nobody inside of the covers and searched around the bed. Nothing. When I leave the room I notice that my body feels like I was sunburned and I stepped back out in the sun. It was blistering hot but I did not see any fire. Just smoke. The kitchen and bathroom was the next places to check. The dog was in the hallways between the bathroom and the second bedroom. A cat was simply chilling in the bathroom without a fear in the world. The dog on the other hand was beyond petrified and was snarling. Spit being thrown everywhere as it barked.

I rush into the bedroom and check the bed as well. Nobody. Now for the animals. I run to the balcony to get a breath of fresh air. “Get your ass out of there now!” shouted the cops that arrived shortly after I entered. “You are committing a crime by being in there! If you don’t leave right now you are going to jail!” I shout back that I am already up here so I am going to finish what I came her to do. I race back to the second bedroom and I grab the sheets off the bed to wrap around my arms.

I race to the front door and the heat is beyond sizzling my body. I unlock the door, open it and turn to the dog. The fear of the dog dying was greater than the fear of it attacking me so I rush to grab the dog. The dog leaps straight towards me but as soon as he paws hit the ground, he dodged my arms and ran past me and through the open door. Good. Now for this cat.

Once I make it back to the bathroom the cat is still just chilling there. No worry in the world. I go to grab it and it walks away from me as if he has accepted his fate and is going to die in the bathroom. I struggle with the cat for about a minute before the heat is too intense and the yelling outside is getting more aggressive. I sprint to the doorway and time instantly slows down.

When I run out, there was a giant standing over me at the entrance. He is wearing a huge body suit, an oxygen mask over his face and has an axe in his hand. As I run by, he follows me with his eyes and says “Good job!” I won’t lie. I felt like a school kid who just saw superman for the first time. When I get to the bottom of the steps, the cops change their tone and thank me for doing that. It was all a scare tactic to get me out of harms way. I cross back through the mote and jump straight into the shower.

Afterwards, I have to get to work but forgot that my shirt was still in the apartment. I make my way all the way around the apartment so that I wouldn’t have to go through the mote again. I find a group of cops and let them know who I am and ask permission to grab my shirt. One of the firefighters took me inside and explains to me what happened. The reason why my body was sizzling but I couldn’t see the smoke is because the smoke was in the roof and the vents. The entire ceiling was pitch black and my shirt was balled up on the floor in the second bedroom.

Once I left, I was bombarded by 4 cops. They were applauding me now that they know that I was the one who tried to help. 2 even tried to give me their business card and claimed that they need more people that would sacrifice their safety for somebody else. I denied the offer. While talking to the cops a girl pushed through and gave me the biggest hug. There was an older man right behind her and was smiling.

She said that I saved her dog and cat and that she was beyond thankful. The man was her father and he shook my hand, looked me in my eyes and was truly thankful for what I did. He said that if I ever needed anything, to let him know and he would be there for me. I told him that I was fine as his daughter grabbed me again for another hug. She said that she didn’t know what she would do if she lost her dog.

I was advised to take myself to the hospital and get checked because of smoke inhalation and made it to work a few hours late but I was alive and felt amazing knowing what kind of day that I had. To this day I still tell people about this story but most people don’t believe me and that is perfectly fine. This memory will always be engraved into my head and I love this story.

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