Aldous Huxley said your memories are your personal literature. What story are you telling yourself today?
The day started like every other day. Daniel woke up a few minutes before his alarm was due to go off. He rolled onto his back and blinked his eyes several time as his vision adjusted to the darkness of the bedroom.
He rolled over and put his arm across his boyfriends chest, nuzzling into the side of his neck. Daniel loved this part of the morning, he just wanted to stay in bed all day like this. His boyfriend, Andy, was always so incredibly warm and his heat radiated from his body. Whenever Daniel felt too cold, he knew Andy would be able to warm him up. Just as Daniel started to drift off to sleep again, the siren of his phone’s alarm went off. He groaned and rolled over to turn off the alarm.
As he lay there on his side, he checked the weather and groaned again. 4 degrees. Ugh. Daniel pushed the covers off his naked body sat him self up on the edge of the bed, wiping the sleet from his eyes, going over his mental checklist of what he needed to do. He stood up and staggered his naked body out into the lounge room. He stood near the couch and turned on the morning news, before staggering over to the kitchen sink to pour himself a glass of chilled, filtered water.
Daniel stood at the kitchen bench staring out the window at the majestic ocean views. The light cloud cover had started to clear to let the sun shine through to the sandy beachfront, and for a brief moment all he wanted to do was call in sick to work, and grab his wetsuit and head down to the beach… until he remembered that it was still only 4 degrees. He flicked the switch of the kettle and made his way to the bathroom. As he turned on the light, he lifted his hands to shield his eyes from the sudden brightness of the lights reflecting in the full-width mirror in front of him. He stood there looking at his body, and groaned before he proceeded to get into the shower.
Standing at the edge of the water spray, Daniel waited until the cold water was flushed out of the pipes and the steaming hot water began gushing through the shower head. For a couple of minutes he stood there completely motionless. Thoughtless. Silent. He wet his loofah with some bodywash and gave himself a good all-over scrub before washing his hair and exfoliating his face. He turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, the chill from the cold tiles toying with the soles of his feet. He dried himself off and had another look at himself in the mirror – he wasn’t happy with the person in the reflection.
Daniel had significant body image issues. Despite how many times Andy told him that he had a great body, and he loved seeing it, Daniel never could feel comfortable being naked, not even in front of his boyfriend. He knew it would take something drastic for him to change his bodyshape, but he knew that required working out in a gym, and he felt far too self-conscious to set foot on a gym floor. Daniel wrapped the towel around his waist, and walked back out to the kitchen. He was much more awake now, and prepared himself a large cup of instant coffee. He left the steaming mug of coffee on the bench whilst he returned to the bedroom to pick out the clothes he was going to wear to work.
He stood there staring at his expansive wardrobe, Ugh, I have nothing to wear, and flipped through his collection of shirts, like pages of a magazine. Eventually settling on a dark navy shirt with sky-blue spots and a dark-purple tie, he finished dressing himself and then returned to the bathroom. As he hung up his towel, he turned back to the mirror, noticing his wild, curly hair sitting on top of his head like some kind of small, messy mini-afro. He opened the cupboard to get out his hair products and his hair straightener, and plugged it in to let it warm up. As Daniel waited, he worked some hair serum into his hair, and let out a heavy sigh as he began to straighten his hair into something much more presentable for a corporate setting. By the time he finished, he applied his eye cream and facial moisturiser.
He leant in to get a closer look at the fine lines on his face as he washed his hands, fuck I look tired. and old. FUCK! My coffee…! Daniel quickly dried his hands, and raced back to the kitchen to see his once steaming mug of coffee now black and cold, ‘Great… cold and black, like my cold, dead, black heart’, and a smirked creeped onto his face. He re-boiled the kettle and tipped his cold coffee down the sink. As he waited for the kettle to re-boil, Daniel picked up his satchel bag, re-packing it, and making sure that his keys and work pass were still in the front pocket where they were always kept.
Realising the time, he realised he’d actually taken longer than anticipated to get dressed, and needed to leave now in order to catch the bus. As the sound of the kettle started to boil rapidly in the background, he quickly put on his coat, and scarf, grabbed his satchel bag, and gym bag, snuck into the bedroom and kissed Andy on the lips and the forehead, ‘bye baby… I’ll call you later this morning…’, and raced out the door. He walked out the door of the building into the crisp spring air, and walked down the street to wait with the others at the bus stop. Nobody spoke to each other. Nobody smiled. It was just the same uncomfortable silence he experienced every single day waiting for the bus. There could be fifteen people standing there waiting, and nobody would utter a single word. The only sound was the noise of the passing traffic, and even that was intermittent.
As the bus rounded the corner, everybody began to file into a line to get on the bus. Daniel fell onto a seat in the back row, nursing his bags on his lap, and skipping through the tracks playing on his phone as he stared blankly out the bus window. The bus rocked and jolted on its journey towards the train station, until it came to a screeching halt. Not really paying attention to why they had suddenly stopped, Daniel just assumed that the driver in front had slammed on their brakes suddenly, or cut in front of the bus driver. Slowly, his attention was brought back inside the bus, as more and more passengers were getting up out of their seats and looking towards the front of the bus. Daniel looked out the window again, and noticed that there was no movement amongst the traffic. Even pedestrians were beginning to stop walking and staring at the front of the bus, some even pulling out their smartphones to take photos.
Puzzled as to what was going on, Daniel pressed pause on his music and pulled out one of his earphones. He turned the gentleman sharing the backseat, asking what all the commotion was about, and the man was uncertain. As he tried to look over a sea of passengers heads, he heard some blood-curdling scream from a woman outside, and instantly knew something was wrong.
Oh my god… we’ve hit somebody… He got up out of his seat, and pushed his way through the crowd of people and made his way to the front. The driver wasn’t there. The door had been closed. The windscreen had been smashed, and the car in front had been hit… and as he looked through the broken glass, he noticed spatters of blood across the boot of the car in front of them. Fuck… we really did hit somebody. Feeling semi-nauseous at the thought of it, and unsure as to what really happened, he began asking the passengers at the front of the bus what had happened. Nobody seemed to know. They just assumed that we hit the car in front of us.
Oh god, they have no idea! He reached over and grabbed the microphone next to the driver’s seat and made an announcement, ‘Attention ladies and gentlemen, as you would all be aware, we’ve been involved in a collision. I’m unsure as to where the driver has gone, but I assume that he’s outside speaking with the driver. If there is a qualified medical professional on the bus, can you please make yourself known immediately, and make your way to the front of the bus. I’m a trained first aider, and will be offering any first aid should it be required.’ Nobody said anything.
Daniel looked down and the sea of faces staring at him blankly, as though he had just made that entire announcement in a foreign language. ‘Okay, I’m going to go and provide any required medical assistance. I will return to give you an update on the situation shortly, but I ask that you just stay in your seats and remain calm – this might be a great time for you all to call your workplaces and tell them that you’ll be late’.
He pressed the button for the door release, and stepped outside, kicking the button under the door to close the door behind him. The crisp cold air hit him in the face, and there were cars everywhere.
Daniel didn’t really know where to look. Amidst the chaos of all the cars there were so many people. People standing around looking, people with their phones out taking photos, people with blood on their faces and hands wandering around in a daze. Daniel approached the first car, the one that the bus had hit. Nobody in the backseat, thankfully, but two people slumped forward in the drivers seat.
He looked up for any type of flashing lights and listened for a siren, but heard and saw nothing. He squeezed the hand of the passenger who moaned a little bit, at least she was alive, that was a relief.
SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE!! I NEED URGENT MEDICAL HELP!!
The blank faces nearby just stared at him, void of any reaction. TRIPLE ZERO!! TRIPLE ONE??
DON’T YOU SPEAK FUCKING ENGLISH?? AMBULANCE?! POLICE!! EMERGENCY!!.
Still nothing but vacant stares.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?? SOMEBODY CALL A FUCKING AMBULANCE!!
It was as that point Daniel noticed somebody holding their phone up, recording his outburst… and he flipped out. RIGHT!! YOU!! COME HERE!! The man holding the phone didn’t seem to flinch, despite Daniel and his rage storming towards him. Daniel grabbed the phone, threw it on he ground, smashing the screen. IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE A DUMB CUNT AND NOT FUCKING HELP ANYBODY, YOU DON’T GET TO FUCKING RECORD IT, YOU STUPID FUCK. NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!
The owner of the phone started yelling, as Daniel pulled out his phone and dialled emergency services, Yes, I need all three please, there’s been a multi car pile up just near the university on Power Street in Highfield. There is nobody else providing any medical assistance, just a bunch of dickheads filming it on their phones. I’m going back to inspect the vehicles before I give any assistance… Daniel… Not sure, maybe six… Unsure, but will need at least eight to ten paramedics… I’ll keep the line open as I check vehicles.
Daniel returned to the first vehicle and described the female passenger, then went around to the drivers side, the male driver was unconscious, but breathing, and had no signs of bleeding. As he checked the next couple of cars, it was very similar, minor injuries, but all still conscious and breathing. A couple were trapped as their doors had become stuck from the impact, and Daniel advised the ‘Jaws of Life’ were going to be needed.
He got to the second-last car and checked the front seats. Okay, I have an emerald green Honda. Rego Charlie-X-ray-Sierra-three-seven-seven. Two occupants. Passenger. Female. Approximately fifteen or sixteen years old. School uniform. Head trauma and bleeding. Severe cuts on left forearms from broken glass from passenger window. Daniel reached in and grabbed her hand and placed it on her opposite shoulder holding it in place with the seatbelt.
He walked around to the front of the car, Okay same green car, female driver. Approximately late thirties, early forties. No signs of life… I can’t find a pulse… He’s not breathing… I can’t get him out of the car… I can’t help him… OH MY GOD, I NEED TO HELP HIM!! I NEED TO DO CPR!! I NEED TO HELP HIM!! WHERE ARE THE FUCKING PARAMEDICS??
The emergency operator, instructed him to attend to a passenger in another car, which disturbed him greatly. In his mind he knew he couldn’t help them all, and he knew if somebody was not showing signs of life, they were assumed to be deceased, but he felt so guilty for not even trying. Daniel followed his instructions, and returned to a station wagon that had all but been split in half. He dragged the young driver out of the driver seat, and layed them on the bitumen into the recovery position.
He repeated the same with the young passenger, and in the distance, the sound of an army of sirens began getting louder and louder. It was instant relief that help was almost here.
Within moments, the sound of sirens was all Daniel could hear. There were police, firemen and paramedics all around him, and everything was awash with flashes of red and blue. He saw a myriad of uniforms racing all around him, screaming out to each other, but he couldn’t hear any of their voices over the blaring sirens. Before he knew it, he saw people being carted back to ambulances on stretchers, and people being treated for their injuries on the cold, black road.
He took a moment to look at the man on the ground, who’s leg he’d just bandaged, and a paramedic raced over, bundled the man up onto a stretcher, and raced him off towards an ambulance. Daniel stood up and took a deep breath. He couldn’t quite believe how many people were here providing assistance. A small part of him felt humbled from knowing that this all happened because of his actions, and that, in turn, saved a lot of people.
Daniel suddenly remembered all the people on the bus, as he began walking towards the bus, that was still full of people, he realised that he hadn’t told Andy about this yet. He reached into his pocket to grab his phone, and just as he pulled it out to start writing a text, a policewoman and a paramedic came racing over to him wanting to check him out to see if he was okay, and get a statement. He politely said it could wait, and then before he knew it, he was being restrained by the policewoman and dragged back towards one of the police vehicles for immediate questioning.
Daniel couldn’t quite believe that this was happening, but could t quite understand why he needed to be restrained. He calmly explained that the bus still had a load of passengers and they needed to be let off the bus, and just as he said this, he saw two firemen running towards the bus with an axe. He knew instantly what was going to happen. No. NO! NO! NO!! USE THE BUTTON UNDER THE DOOR! he screamed, but it was too late. The axe swung through the air into the glass panels of the door, sending glass flying everywhere, releasing the screams from the terrific passengers. One by one he watched them get carried through the narrow holes in the door, some of them cutting their arms on the broken glass on the edges.
See, what was the point of that? They’ve just injured a whole heap of people for no reason. Why didn’t they just hit the door release button? So fucking dumb! he sighed and rolled his eyes. One by one the bus passengers began to disperse. Some were treated by extra paramedics arriving on scene, and some were giving statements to police. A few of them kept pointing over towards Daniel.
Hmm, doesn’t look like you’re too popular, mate!, the policewoman commented.
Yeah, so it would seem. How stupid of me for wanting to keep a bus full of fuckwits out of harms way!! Maybe I should have just let them all run into oncoming traffic instead!
Mate, you kept them locked in a bus! That’s not really doing them any favours… Plus it’s a criminal offence.
I’m sorry, WHAT?? Let me see if I’ve got this right, I’m the ONLY person who was assisting the victims in the cars. I’m the only one who called for an ambulance. Nobody on the bus did. Nobody on the bus offered to assist in anyway, neither did any of the retards standing around gawking. Just me. If it wasn’t for me, some of these people could have died. You’re only here because I MADE THE FUCKING CALL FOR HELP!! And you’re sitting here telling me that I’m the one who’s in the wrong?? What a fucking joke.
Daniel rolled his eyes and began to answer the policewoman’s basic questions, before he noticed a few firemen with their arms in the air. What are they doing?, Daniel queried.
Hmmm, that’s usually a sign there’s a problem with the site. You stay here, and I’ll go find out. The policewoman left Daniel on the stretcher to go speak to one of the firemen. Just after she left, another female cop walked up to Daniel. This one looked pretty angry and Daniel wasn’t looking forward to what she had to say.
You the guy who called for help?
I’m Senior Detective Andrews
Daniel interrupted, Senior Detective? Wow! Good for you, girl!
Snr. Det. Andrews smiled and thanked him, and undid his handcuffs. Look, I’m really sorry that you were treated this way. I can assure you that you will not be charged for anything. You’ve done an incredible job here, and I can unofficially tell you you’ll be getting a medal for displaying such bravery!
But what about that other copper? She seemed pretty adamant about locking me away?
Snr. Det. Andrews groaned as she rolled her eyes, FUCKING ROOKIES!! She won’t last long. I’m really sorry about how she handled you. Geez, you give somebody a fucking badge, and suddenly they think they run the world. Daniel was taken aback by her candidness, but didn’t question anything.
The policewoman came running back towards Daniel, and saw the Constable standing there with him, and her entire expression changed.
Senior Detective, I, ahhh, I, ummm. I was apprehending this perp, um, until you got here.
Apprehending a perp? Are you kidding me? This guy is solely responsible for SAVING all these people, and what, you were going to arrest him?
Daniel decided to pipe up, Thank you, that’s exactly what I told her, but she said that I had locked all those people on the bus against their will. Andrews looked back at the Rookie, with a disapproving look. Is this true, you want to charge this man, who will be getting a medal for bravery and heroic actions, resulting in saving multiple lives… and you somehow think he’s guilty for locking people on a bus? How about keeping them confined in an area out of danger? Did you think of that? No, of course not, get the fuck out of here.
The Rookie saluted Det. Andrews and ran off behind some vehicles. Mate, you’re free to go. I suggest going to hospital to be treated for shock, I can take it from here. They shook hands and Senior Detective Andrews walked off towards some of the other policemen who were talking to the firemen.
Daniel decided to go and retrieve his bag from the bus. He kicked the door release button, and watched all the broken glass cascade off the step onto the ground like a waterfall, each tiny fragment reflecting the blue and red flashes from the sirens. He climbed onto the bus, walked down to his seat and grabbed his bag.
He briefly paused to smell the air. Unsure as to what that smell was, he ignored it and sat down. He took a moment to pull out his phone, and text Andy,
OMG! Have big news! Not at work. Coming home soon. Call you in a little bit. Love you. xx
Daniel slung his satchel bag over his shoulder and headed towards the front of the bus, and the smell from earlier seemed to be quite stronger. What is that? He moved around the bus, sniffing the air. He slowly stepped off the bus and around the car in front, sniffing the air. Petrol!
Daniel began to panic. OH MY GOD, THERE’S A PETROL LEAK!!
He immediately screamed out to the firemen, waving his arms frantically. A couple of them ran over and he explained the smell of petrol. Without hesitation, they moved him away from the cars, and radioed the other firemen to move everybody away to safety. Once the police knew what the situation was, they joined in in containing the safety line. Paramedics began to leave to take people to nearby hospitals, and police moved their cars so that the fire trucks could get closer access to the site.
A sea of yellow uniforms filled the area, looking for the leak, and within minutes, they were all being told to evacuate. It was discovered that a couple of vehicles were leaking fuel, and the sit had become too dangerous to contain, until they had extra resources on site, which would take some time to arrive. Until then, they had to maintain a safe distance, just on the off-chance that an explosion occurred.
Daniel looked around at all the people standing there taking photos and videos. He felt quite sad that all these people were so content with standing around and getting in people’s way, rather than actually offering to help. Then he remembered what Senior Detective Andrews had said about his medal for bravery. A smile washed over his face, and as he turned his head, he noticed another senior-looking policeman walking directly towards him.
The policeman approached and outstretched his arm, Mate, are you the guy that called for help? He shook Daniel’s hand rather vigorously and stepped back to salute him. Mate, you did an amazing job here. I’m Senior Inspector Davidson. I’ve just been speaking to Senior Detective Andrews who was informing me about your actions. You’re a hero, son, and we’re going to make sure that you get the recognition that you deserve. Your actions saved a lot of lives today, and you should be quite proud of that. Our senior force respect and commend you for your heroics.
Daniel, felt quit humbled and felt himself blushing from the praise, I was just doing what anybody el- well, what I thought anybody else would have done if they were in the same situation… it’s just disheartening to see nobody else want to get involved in any way, or even do something as simple as call triple zero. I just… I couldn’t believe it. All they did was stand there gawking, holding up their fucking phones to record the carnage and share it online. It’s completely fucked. What is wrong with people? I just… arrgghhh, it pisses me off!
Look, this is something that we have to deal with constantly. We see stuff like this the whole time, and nobody wants to get involved, so we just assume that in these kind of situations, NOBODY has provided any assistance, which is a shame, because even something as simple as calling for a paramedic can change somebody’s life, but people don’t seem to want to do that. They’d clearly rather ignore it and pretend that they didn’t see it. Or, like you said, stand there and watch, but do nothing.
They stood there looking at each other in the silence, with a mutual adoration for each other – they were on the same path and had the same belief, it was a strange moment, but it felt good. The silence was broken by a sound being carried on the breeze. Just as soon as Daniel thought he heard something, it was gone. He cocked his head to see if he could hear it again, but couldn’t. He glanced over at Snr. Insp. Davidson, who had given him a familiar look. He heard it too, but couldn’t work out what it was. They just had this feeling that it was coming from the site. They waited to hear that sound again, but it didn’t happen.
Davidson turned back to Daniel, Now, at some point, you’re going to need to come in and give a detailed statement. I know that you may also be experiencing shock, but it’s preferable for you to give a statement whilst everything is still fresh in your mind. We just need to get a clear understanding of everything that happened from your perspective, and the actions that you took, to enable us to work out what occurred.
Yeah, sure, look, I can come in and do this now if you want, Daniel said, rubbing his eyes. I just want to, like, wash my hands and my face and have something to eat… and grab a coffee.
Oh, well, we do require you to go to the hospital first, because whilst you might feel okay, you can still be suffering from shock. We’ll make sure that you’re taken care of first, and we’ll go from there.
Davidson shook his hand again, and as he did, they heard that same sound again. This time it was slightly louder. Daniel and Snr. Insp. Davidson shook hands, and noticed that the extra fire trucks had arrived. As the yellow uniforms weaved in between the wrecked cars, they quickly utilised their spill kits, and washed away excess fuel with their water canons, but before long, all the spill kits had been used, and there was still excessive fuel leaking from somewhere. The firemen once again were ordered out of the area to wait for extra spill kits to arrive, and whilst they waited, Daniel and Snr. Insp. Davidson said their goodbyes.
Just as they did, they heard that sound again… this time they both knew what it was. The unmistakable cry of a baby began to echo from the site. Daniel looked at Davidson, and Davidson knew that Daniel was going in there to retrieve that baby. Davidson reached out his hands to grab Daniel’s arm to prevent him from going, missing by a mere centimeter.
Daniel barged through the human blockade, running towards the screaming, trying to determine which vehicle it was coming from. He suddenly remembered seeing a booster seat in the back of one of the cars. There wasn’t a child in it, so he ignored it, and suddenly Daniel felt crippled by the guilt.
I should have checked. I SHOULD HAVE CHECKED!!!
Without warning, a fireball erupted and the impact of the explosion sent Daniel flying backwards. his body slammed up against the door of one of the vehicles, and he fell onto the ground.
With his eyes closed, he heard so much screaming in the distance. Sirens filled the air, but it was all somewhat muffled. He opened his eyes, and everything was blurry. There was a burning sensation in his eyes and he couldn’t focus. They felt like they were on fire. His head was spinning and he struggled to get himself upright. He sat up, leaning against the door of one of the cars, wiping the corner of his eyes with the inside of his t-shirt collar.
His eyes began adjusting slightly, and he heard the screams of the baby again. Daniel tried to stand, but couldn’t. His legs buckled underneath him. He felt pain, but wasn’t sure where the pain was coming from. Through his blurred vision, he could see red on his legs, but wasn’t sure the extent of his injuries. Daniel, tried to call out for help, but as he opened his voice to scream, only a little whistle sound came out. Unable to speak, and unable to walk, he commando-crawled along the ground towards the screaming infant. He reached a small clearing and saw a giant black plume of smoke getting higher and higher in the sky, and soon began to feel the heat from the nearby burning car.
The screams were getting louder, so he was obviously getting closer. Behind him he heard the firemen shouting and screaming to each other, and heard sirens and the horns from the firetrucks honking and blaring. He approached a car, and heard the screaming from the other side of the door. He lifted his arm to grab the handle, but the heat from the nearby fire had already heated the metal to such a degree, that Daniel burnt his hand instantly upon contact. He dropped back to the ground, recoiling in excruciating agony. He needed to get this door open. He looked around and couldn’t see anything, so he took off his t-shirt, ripping it in half. He wrapped one half around his blistering palm, and the other half around his other hand. Daniel reached up to grab the handle, stretching his fingertips to grab the handle, and missed, collapsing back onto the bitumen.
He let out a silent scream in frustration, as he heard the hysterical screaming getting louder from behind the door, the tears began to well in his eyes. He was determined to rescue this baby, even if it killed him. He mustered up all his energy to try for the door handle again, this time barely touching it. The friction from his t-shirt was enough to hold his fingertips onto the handle, allowing Daniel to pull himself up and get enough leverage to open the door. He heard the click of the handle, and the door opened slightly. Daniel fell back to the ground, breaking his fall with his burnt, blistered hand, and used his other hand to fling the door open. He rolled over onto his forearms to see a small chubby pink arm waving around in the darkness.
The baby’s blanket had fallen down on top of it during the crash, shielding it from the chaos that ensued all around it outside. Daniel sat himself up, reached in and grabbed the baby. He bundled it up in the blanket and as soon as it saw Daniel’s face, it stopped crying, and let out a small smile. Daniel burst into tears. He sat there cuddling the baby momentarily, whilst his tears streamed down his face, falling onto the dark baby blanket, feeling so incredibly grateful that he was able to save one more innocent life, but his gratitude was brief, as he knew he was still in danger.
Expecting to be surrounded by firemen and water cannons, he was surprised that he could still only hear their voices in the distance, rather than anywhere in Daniel’s immediate vicinity. This wasn’t a good sign. He tried to stand, but simply didn’t have the strength. Panic was starting to set in, as he knew he needed to get out of there. He couldn’t stand, and couldn’t crawl. He grabbed the baby with his burnt hand, and leaning on his other forearm, rolled onto his side, and began to drag himself towards safety. He couldn’t call out for help, and nobody could see him as he was completely hidden from the other vehicles.
Almost completely giving up on hope, he layed down on his side, grabbing his phone out of his pocket. He wanted to call Andy, but he couldn’t speak. He sent him another text message,
Not sure if I’ll make it home. In major trouble. Uni. Power St. Love U 4 ever xxx
A few tears dropped onto his phone screen, as he put the phone back in his pocket. He rolled back onto his side to drag himself a little bit further. The bitumen was tearing away at the flesh on his torso with every movement towards help, and with traces of petrol all over the ground, it was getting into the raw flesh. He felt like his skin was on fire, and the pain was unbearable, but none of that mattered because he had to save this baby. It was not an option. He continued to drag himself towards the closest car, where he sat himself up and rested for a moment.
He looked up into the sky, that was filled with flames and smoke. He couldn’t stay here, he had to keep moving, no matter how much it hurt. He knew that if he got within sight of the emergency services, he’d be taken care of, and he’d wake up in hospital with his beautiful partner by his side, and it would all be over. Daniel rolled onto his side and began to drag himself around the back of the car, and towards the car behind it. One more car! One more car and I’m done. One more car and I’m safe.
He was focused and incredibly determined, and as he crawled around towards the boot of the car, he hear a feint hissing sound, but that was quickly overshadowed by a voice in the distance. DANIEL!! DANIEL!! DAANNNIIEEELLLL!!!
It was Andy.
He was here! He’d gotten Daniel’s message. He wouldn’t have had any idea of what was happening. Daniel felt instantly relieved to hear Andy’s voice, and that gave him the motivation he needed. He grabbed the baby, and in absolute agony, climbed up the car, standing himself up. He leant up against the rear of the car, with the baby in one arm, and was able to stand long enough to wave his arm in the direction of Andy’s voice.
DANIEL!! OH MY GOD, I SEE HIM! I SEE HIM!! DANIEL!! DANIEL I’M HERE! I’M RIGHT HERE!!
Daniel couldn’t see anything, and so just kept waving his arms.
DANIEL!! OVER HERE!! Andy soon realised that something was very wrong. DAN? Something’s not right… SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT!! SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING! GO GET HIM!! GET HIM OUT OF THERE!! DANIEL, SIT TIGHT, SOMEBODY IS COMING TO GET YOU!! GET HIM OUT OF THERE!!!
Daniel heard this, and felt a sigh of relief, as he leant back against the car, he began to slide back down the ground. Before he hit the ground, he heard another explosion, the sound was so loud, and the heat was so intense, he knew that it was just behind him. The radius of the fireball was so intense, he felt the skin on his back, neck and scalp burn. It was like an instant severe sunburn, and he tried screaming but nothing came out.
He could smell burning hair, and the baby began screaming again. He unwrapped the baby’s face to check it was okay, and all was fine. He exhaled, and heard that hissing sound again. This time it was louder.
Daniel needed to move.
He tried to stand up, but the heat from the fire had already heated the metal of the car. There was no way he could lean up against it, especially with his back now burnt. He rolled over and grabbed the rear tyre, and slowly pulled himself to his feet. The pain was excruciating. As he turned back towards Andy, Andy began screaming again, and pointing to his phone. Daniel pulled out his phone, and there was a text from Andy,
Sit tight, help is coming. You’re my everything. I love you forever. xx
Daniel held up his phone, and Andy could see he was crying. All he wanted to do was just jump that perimeter and carry Daniel to safety, It was then that Andy noticed the baby Daniel was carrying. The cover of the blanket had fallen off from over it’s face.
BABY!! BABY!! THERE’S A BABY THERE!! DANIEL RESCUED A BABY!! YOU NEED TO GET THEM OUT OF THERE!! HE SAVED A BABY!! GET THAT BABY!! DANIEL!!!
Andy pushed one of the policemen out of the way, and tried to jump the safety perimeter, but was just as quickly tackled by several other policemen. They explained it was too dangerous for anybody to go in and rescue them, and they had to wait for the okay from the fire department.
The police pulled Andy to his feet, and he screamed out, HELP IS COMING!! SIT TIGHT!! I LOVE YOU DANIEL!! I LOVE YOU FOREVER!! IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY!! HELP IS ON IT’S WAY.
As the police dragged Andy back behind the safety line, he saw Daniel mouth the words ‘I love you.’ Andy burst into tears. It was so painful seeing somebody he loved so much in so much agony, and not being able to do anything about it. He got distracted by a commotion amongst the firemen. He overheard a few of them talking about how they needed to get Daniel and the baby to safety, whilst others were holding them back, arguing that it was far too dangerous, and they needed to wait until the threat had been contained.
Three of the men who were fighting to rescue Daniel, jumped the safety perimeter, shoving the police to the ground in the process and running towards the accident scene. As they approached Daniel, one of the men grabbed the baby, and the other two carefully picked Daniel up to carry him to safety. The onlookers cheered and whistled, and Andy fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face in pure happiness.
Everybody from the emergency services cheered, and a few even hi-fived each other from overwhelming joy. The firemen began to slowly carry Daniel and the baby towards the joyful crowd, and whilst they were moving, the nearby hissing sound ended in a bang, and huge ball of fire engulfed them all.
The fireball had generated so much heat, it had burnt through the spill kits from earlier, igniting all the petrol that had run all over the road. Within seconds, three more cars exploded, resulting in a heat radius that was felt from within one of the university buildings. The heat was that intense that the safety barricades had begun to melt, and they were almost one hundred metres away.
The firemen quickly scrambled to blast the fire with water cannons, requesting immediate assistance from all units in the area. In fear of another explosion, the safety zone was pushed back even further. Andy’s entire body had gone limp. He was physically dragged back to the safety zone, and sat there in absolute disbelief at what he had just witnessed. The people screaming hysterically began to drift away, as did the sound of the chaos amongst the emergency services, and the sirens of the vehicles until it went silent.
Andy just sat there, staring at the raging inferno in front of him. He couldn’t even blink. He felt his eyes watering, and he felt his mind racing at a million miles per hour, but that all become secondary when he felt his heart racing. He experienced a sharp pain in his chest, and tried to stand, but fell backwards clutching his chest.
Somebody noticed and alerted a paramedic who literally jumped on him, checking vital signs. Whilst Andy was completely conscious, and aware of what was happening. He couldn’t hear anything nor could he speak. All he could focus on was the image of his partner being swallowed up by a ball of fire and being burnt alive.
Andy regained consciousness a couple of days later. Immediately thinking that it was all a dream, he screamed out for Daniel, but soon realised he was in a room all by himself. His longing for Daniel soon turned into despair, and Andy began crying uncontrollably, as the events of what he had thought was a dream, began to hit hard as he realised that it was all real.
He realised that Daniel had died in the fire, and was gone.
Andy remained in the hospital for several days whilst he recovered from shock and burns to his arms and face. As he was being discharged, he encountered several police in the waiting room. As Andy walked through the door, they all stood at attention. Senior Detective Andrews and Senior Inspector Davidson both left the others to personally offer their condolences to Andy and his mother.
They provided a police escort back to Andy’s mothers place and informed him they needed to conduct an interview. They all sat down in the living room, and whilst Andy’s mother, Janine, ventured into the kitchen make a plunger of coffee for everybody.
Snr. Det. Andrews and Snr. Insp. Davidson, leant forward placing a pile of papers on the coffee table, and pulled out a small ziplock bag. In it was a mobile phone, a watch and the remains of a wallet that were found on the scene.
Andy started crying just looking at it, as he knew immediately what they were. Still unable to come to terms with what had happened, he was struggling to process everything. He held the phone inside the bag, and the screen flickered. Whilst it was partially melted and cracked, all he could make out was a couple of words.
So overcome with emotion and grief, he didn’t even know how to cry adequately enough, and his initial crying turned into a painful and incredibly emotional howling. Even the police were beginning to well up. Andy placed the ziplock bag on the table, and recoiled into the couch, muffling his pain with a cushion. The police leant in to look at the text on the screen,
I love you forever. xx
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