New Beginnings, Episode 2, Part 4
People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.
As I ran towards the noise all I could think was, This isn’t happening. I wasn’t prepared for anything like this. I had nothing to protect myself, no mask, no suit, and had no idea what was going on. But still I ran towards the noise. People needed help.
The explosion sounded like it was behind me, which meant it was near the coffee shop I had visited this summer. I picked up my pace and by the time the gun fire cut off I could see the red glow of fire. The explosion had torn the front off of a sandwich shop and an Indian food restaurant. At a quick glance I saw that there appeared to be no bodies, so maybe no one was hurt.
Before approaching I looked around for anyone that had a gun. I wasn’t going to get shot. I saw no one so I headed in, pulling the color of my hoodie over my mouth for some smoke protection.
I knew the Indian restaurant closed at eight every night, but the sandwich shop had a bar and was open late. The door was torn away from the wall and I could see flames licking the ceiling as I walked towards the opening. Further inside I could see a crumpled form on the ground. Taking a couple deep breaths I ducked the flames, keeping low and started dragging the man out the door.
As the fire department and police arrived I was pulling the third person out of the fire. My lungs were on fire and I wanted to collapse but I had seen one more body lying in the very back of the store. Standing up, preparing myself to go into the fire, I saw spots and was forced to set down again. A fire fighter ran up to me, trying to pull me away from the fire.
“There’s one more,” I rasped at him, pushing him away from me and towards the fire.
The exertion of talking was almost to much. The fire fighter grabbed one of his buddies and they headed into the flames. I felt the cool drops of water as the hoses sprayed the fire out and it felt nice. The fire fighter came back for me and drug me towards an ambulance. A paramedic handed him an oxygen tank for me and then pulled away with one of the victims inside.
The fire fighter, who I was surprised to see was a tall blond women, shook her head as she looked at me.
“Next time, don’t wave away help.”
She handed me the oxygen mask, which I held to my mouth, taking deep breaths.
“You’ll need to see a doctor,” she said, “tomorrow should be fine. But I need to make sure you’re OK before I let you go.”
I nodded my understanding, and kept breathing. She took my hands and checked them for burns, but there were only a few scrapes.
“You got lucky. It doesn’t always pay to be the hero.”
She had no idea how true that was.
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Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.