Friday, July 16, 2010

The Fire Extinguisher

Her 4th floor apartment was small, but she enjoyed filling it with original art and inexpensive antiques. The old fire extinguisher was no exception. She loved how the metal had oxidized, while the red paint had remained. Who had used it? Where had it spent its life?

Later that night she fell in an exhausted sleep. It had been a particularly long day at the middle school where she taught art. Some days she wondered if it was worth it.

That night she dreamed of fires and her fire extinguisher. She felt a persistent need to wake up, but fought it. When she finally did wake up she was groggy and confused. What the heck? The smoke was real!

She leaped out of bed, her heart in her throat as she tried to see through the gray smoke. The window closest to her bed had a fire escape, but as she pulled on the window sash, it wouldn’t give. It was painted shut. She cursed herself for not opening the windows sooner and for not being more prepared in situations like this one.

The smoke thickened. She tried another window and another. All had been painted shut. She turned to try the front door and remembered the fire training she’d had with the kids at school. She needed to touch the door first to see if the fire was on the other side. She laid her palm against the door and quickly removed it. The fire was most likely in the stairwell. The door was burning hot.

Her heart in her throat she got down on her hands and knees. She needed to find something to break a window with. She wasn’t going to die like this. Through the smoke something gleamed. It was her fire extinguisher! Crawling over to it, she took a breath of the cleaner air near the floor and holding it, prayed this would work.

The fire extinguisher was heavier than she remembered, but she found the strength to lift it. She threw it with all she had at the window with the fire escape. The sound of glass splintering was music to her ears.

Mag 23: Photo credit: Willow


  1. WOW! Intense emotion on my end here! So well written with the perfect pacing.

  2. Ooh, that's vivid! I'm glad the antique could still save her life!

  3. Trusty old fire extinguisher never faileth. They don't make em like they used to.

    Nicely written, my friend.

  4. I love the irony. Magnificent Magpie!!

  5. "What the heck? The smoke was real!" Great lines, sis!

    Thank goodness for small miracles (and old antiques)!

  6. If it won't put out a fire, it will surely break a window! Super read.

  7. Thanks everyone! I didn't feel like I'd done such a great job with it. It took me a while to write, while most of the other ones write themselves! ;o)

  8. Nicely written, a great Magpie!

  9. oh you built the tension nicely...and i like the end...nice magpie!