Thursday, 31 October 2013

October Flash - Day 29

Yes, this was last year.
Yes, I never finished with it then.
That's why I'm going to do it now! (Plus, they're starting a similar project in November this year, and I want to get the old one finished before that, which means two stories a day which is practically impossible, but yeah.)

The Flash Fiction Project at Google+ has something new going on! There will be a visual prompt for every day in October, and I'm going to try to write a (very) short piece for it every day as well. Due to time zone differences, I'll try writing and posting mine early in the morning, so it's a day after the original post for me, but still the same for them.

Let the fun begin! Here is the prompt for October 29:

Paul came racing around the corner and, without bothering to break, he threw his right leg over the crossbar and jumped onto the pavement, letting the bike fall against the wall. When he ran through the door, he was greeted by a calm bustle, which looked chaotic at first but was very well planned. Paul joined in, and less than ten minutes later he was racing through the city again, this time in other clothes and driving a fire truck.
The apartment building was already high on fire, and he saw at a glance that they would not be able to save it. Now, everything was about the people. The first responders were already there, waving them through.
"Three people missing, first floor right and left and second right!"
Paul nodded, took another calculating look at the building and then went inside, following his friend Adam. A few minutes later he returned with the man from the first floor, who was out of breath and badly shaken, but otherwise seemed to be fine. He was murmuring "No, no, no, no..." under his breath.
He turned to look at the door, knowing that he would have to wait a minute or two more before he could worry about Adam, who'd gone to the second floor. There he came, though, half carrying an elderly woman. Paul made to go back again for the last missing person, but the man he'd just rescued grabbed his leg.
"Don't go back," he croaked, "don't! Fire..."
"It's all right sir, I'm a professional," he replied, gently removing the hand from his shin.
The man's eyes followed him inside and then stayed fixed on the door. He continued his "No, no, no, no...", shaking all over.
Then a low rumble made the firemen stop in their tracks for a moment.
"No, no, no, no..."
The second rumble shook the earth beneath their feet, a last warning before... A deafening bang sent the onlookers running away screaming, and the building slowly collapsed into the flames that were suddenly stretching greedily out from the basement.

The night was almost over when the fire truck returned home. The men within were silent and tired, their clothes black with soot and wet with water. They had done everything they could, fighting the certainty that nobody could have survived that crash until the last moment. Now, one of them would have to call Melissa, Paul's girlfriend, and try to explain that nobody had known anything about the explosives that must have been in the basement, that they had tried to rescue him, that it was nobody's fault, and - worst of all - that she would never see him again. She appeared at the fire station ten minutes later, crying, to thank them between sobs for everything they had ever done for him.
Adam, who couldn't stand seeing her like this and had already left, appeared at the door.
"That bike outside... isn't that Paul's?"
They came to have a look, and confirmed what he had already known.
"I think it should stay here," said Melissa. The men nodded.

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