Body Endings and Beginnings

A Twice in a Lifetime fan fic

by JD

12/19/00

(Could be considered a prequel to "Second Chances")

He couldn't breathe. The smoke was like a thick, poisonous blanket, filling his lungs and coating his mouth with filth as he gasped helplessly, unable stop trying to pull in the oxygen his body so desperately needed. Sight was gone, eyes tearing and stinging as the vicious fumes swept over him, leaving him blinded and lost /Oh God, help me I don't want to burn to death please God/. Where was the door? He'd known, seconds ago...and the realization that he was losing it, that he might not get out of this nightmare alive, stung him into action. He forced himself up from his crouch (when had he gone to his knees?) and staggered forwards, flinching away from the flaring flames as they snapped and reached hungrily at his hands. Pain flared as he collided with one of the pews hidden in the inky blackness, half falling over it in his panic. Oddly enough, it helped clear his head. He was in deep trouble. He was doing this wrong...what were you supposed to do in a fire? Call 911. OK, that was out of the question. Oh yeah. Get near the floor, he had to get down again, you were supposed to get low in a fire to avoid the smoke, everyone knew that. He dropped heavily, ignoring the pain of abused knees as his left hand hit the hard pew bench. Which way, which way? It was getting so hard to think, he was so tired, and he wanted to rest. Wait, front, the pews faced the front alter, so all he had to do was feel his way back along them. To the door. Yeah. Easy. He'd do just that, in a minute. First he had to rest, though. Just rest a little while, then he'd start moving. Promise.

Slowly, the young man in the black leather jacket slid down the side of the pew, crumpling gently between the rows with his legs in the aisle way between.

The fire roared on, consuming wood and cloth and plastics alike with voracious impartiality.

Endless minutes later, a rush of fresh air disturbed the thick smoke, momentarily thinning it as the door was forced open and a helmeted figure pushed it's way in. More by luck than design, it found the still form and managed to hoist him up into a fireman's carry even as it turned and stumbled back to the door, to safety.

But it was already too late.

And behind him, in the depths of the burning church, a round, bespectacled figure watched sadly as the next explosion tossed both rescuer and rescued onto the hard, unforgiving ground.

It was time.