I cough, choke on black soot and gasp for air that tastes like sulfur. The loose beams of wood lay heavily on my chest. I push them off, pick myself up. I stumbled into a world of ash and flame, and then I slip, no slipped…

I lose track of tense.

I couldn’t hear them, not with the world still ringing in my ears. I could taste something rough mingling with the char against my tongue. Bronze, no, copper. Blood. I. Was not. Unscathed.

I slump to the ground, felt the wetness seeping from my stomach, put together the only pieces left for me to assemble.

My father decides to cook, turns on the gas, forgets to light the stove. He was supposed to be in a home. My mother was not home. She couldn’t be around him, not after the divorce. My brother still smoked. I had begged him to stop, but a man in his line of work laughs at the thought of a cigarette killing you. The gas was on.

I wonder if he laughs before he sparks the flame. I know there are trucks coming, I know I have to leave, I know not to sleep. I know-

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