He was in trouble the second he smelt smoke. The gray cloud billowing inside his room under the door as it crept in like a ghost. What had bothered him the most was that his daughter, was in the other room.
He covered his mouth and staggered down the hall calling her name. No answer. He called again. He'd had friends of his that were in a few house fires and they said that the best best thing that they could be thankful for was that they made it out alive and well. But, in the process of it all they lost everything. Their secret stash they had tucked away in a deposit box that was said to be fire proof. The secret room where they'd grew their pot and sold it from their own shop that only a select few knew about and the neighborhood affairs going on with that wife swapping game they were hiding behind their walls. Mom sitting in her chair stitching up a hole in a pair of jeans thinking about what excuse she's gonna use tonight to get out of the house to meet her secret lover. No love involved. Just sex. And they are all okay with that cause it doesn't mean anything and it made them feel good and if it makes you feel good then it's right. While dad sits in his man cave inside the smelly garage and sucks down beers while watching sports as he thinks about all that he could've become if he applied himself so might as well drink and try to forget it all cause ain't nothing gonna happen now cause he's too old. Daughter comes home locked up and tries to keep the whole thing a secret till her belly is round as a basketball. Sonny number two is trying to keep his gay life a secret cause he knows how much his father hates that kind of thing and always wants to crack open the bible and beer and starts talking about God. The years and years of family pictures. Pretending to be smiling. Faking happiness. Smoke was rolling in heavy and now he couldn't see. What caused this? Did I leave something on the stove? Grease? Yes, he'd had a uncle that left a frying pan on the stove and it caught fire and burnt half his house down. Everywhere he turned there was smoke. Flames danced out from under the door as if they were laughing at him. He could hear them calling him names. Ha ha ha. Today's not your day pal. Good luck. The hairs on his arms sizzled and smelled of burning embers. House embers floated up into the air like fireflies escaping into the night and slowly fizzled away in the sky. A cacophony of snap crackle and popping shot out from behind the walls. The walls that once held the portraits of their family tree, The walls that held their secrets like the day they found out his daughter was pregnant. The walls that watched all their arguments. The walls that kept them cool on a hot day and warm in the winter. The walls that kept them safe from the outside world. He could hear them crying for help as they tumbled to their deaths. There were no sounds of firetrucks. Smoke getting thick inside his lungs forcing him into a coughing rage. More coughing and coughing. Walls screaming as they crashed to the floor. This was the time to cry out to god and ask for help and ask for forgiveness of his sins and that he comes out of this okay like his friends did but somehow he didn't think he was going to be so lucky as he watched the roof collapse on top of him. Because at this point there was no way there could be a god. Timbers crackling and falling smacking him in the face. In the center of the fire he saw a face. The figure picked him up and walked him through the flames. He thought right then and there he was going to die a horrible death and prepared himself for the worst. It was the feeling of his burning skin was what frightened him smelling like a BBQ pit and he thought about those times he was burning twigs and brush in the yard with his dad and he remembered how impressed he was with the flames and the they danced so free and without a care in the world and he marveled at how they could chew up something to the point it was reduced into ashes. And he thought this is what's going to happen to me. I'm going to be returned back to the earth from where I came. Where did that man go that was carrying me? Did the dancing flames get him too? The devils teeth. He watched them dancing around as if they were having their own little party, a celebration as they danced to the music of their own beat. It was his celebration. Creatures of various sizes with big teeth and razor talons poked and prodded at him. Creatures of the flames biting and clawing as claws reached out from inside the flames and snagged him by his legs and he felt him sliding across the burnt floor and the flames grew higher and higher and towered over him like a vicious creature. All around him the flames danced and whipped and laughed.