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Life Twice

Thursday 6th June, Story #158/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished 7 days ago 3 min read
Life Twice
Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

Smoke stings, burns. Eyes, throat, nose. I'm carrying Emma and Donnie, my youngest.

I stumble. Despite my assurances I'll get you out, my mind sees my babies burn. No answer to that, only a raw scream. I sew it inside my skin with iron, and run.

Outside, I gulp clean night air. Sweet. Brief.

"Stay there!"

They wail after me.

Running back into a wall of heat, covering my face... Something falls. I skitter sideways. I nearly went down, almost left them to burn...

At Darcy's room, I hear, "Mummyyyyy!"

She's OK! Relief! I hold her tight.

"Turn your face into me."

Worryingly, there are no shouts from Brodie or Finn. They're limp, unresponsive.

I should get them out first. But leave her-? No. Bathroom? Can't get to it.


Terror radiates off her. I squash mine, hoping she doesn't see it. Crouch so she can climb on. Clutch the boys to me, stagger to my feet. I welcome Darcy's choking embrace.

Flames against my skin... clothes catching fire. Dreamlike, my legs just won't GO fast enough.

Dumping them on the grass, screaming hoarsely at gawping neighbours: "HELP!!!!"

Sucking cool air down into my burnt lungs-

-running again. Coughing. Skin crackling.

At Anna's room, I look round wildly. Bed empty, smouldering. Not here. Good! The room's almost completely aflame.

"ANNA!" A useless whisper.

Maybe she got to the bathroom before that area was engulfed?

Now I scream, bursting through the furnace. She's in the tub on soaked towels, shower running, horror on her face.

I must look like a monster emerging.

I wrap the towels round us. Cool dampness soaks through; tiny relief.

"Hold me tight, ok?"

"Mum, I ca-"

Can't let her finish that treacherous thought. No way to prepare her, I grab her, and GO.

Oh! We're afire! She's heavy! And scared! If I set her down, she mightn't make it out.

Blind now, smoke worse. Blundering in (please!) the right direction.... I smell cooking flesh. Hear it. The balm I pour into my mind: it's ok, that's just me...

Out on the lawn, I register the fire engine (at last!). Someone's helping Brodie and Finn. I sag, the fire going out of me.

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Word count, excluding note: 366

Submitted on 6th June

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly:
thank you so much for reading my story! The ha'penny that Vocal will toss in my hat for your eyeballs landing on this humble piece will be well-spent.

If you enjoyed this one, the very best compliment you can give me is to share it, or read another!

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one continues my 158 day streak since 1st January.

Please do consider lending your support to the other creators who are also on this madcap "a story every day" adventure. They are putting out excellent content every day!

Rachel Deeming

Gerard DiLeo

Leave me a comment: it makes it easier for me to reciprocate the read. I know I am behind on reads, but doing my best to catch up!

Thank you!

Thank you again, most sincerely. Especially if you are one of the wonderful people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you very much indeed!

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Short StoryMicrofiction

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

Flexing the writing muscle

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for nudes.

Here be micros

Twitter, Insta Facey

Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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Comments (8)

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  • Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.2 days ago

    This was intense!

  • Caroline Craven6 days ago

    Oof. I’m glad you’re writing short stories as I think I was holding my breath the entire time. This was so good.

  • Christy Munson6 days ago

    Intense and terror-filled, this one sings! Your line: "I sew it inside my skin with iron, and run" knocked me over almost literally. Powerful writing, L.C. Sensational work!!!

  • Cathy holmes6 days ago

    My God, that was intense. 😳

  • Why does this woman has so many kids? Sheeesh! Use protection, lady! Look how much trouble you have to go through to save them. Smh

  • Intense! Did she burn? Is that why the fire went out of her 😱🔥

  • Donna Fox (HKB)7 days ago

    Wow... I think I held my breath the whole time!! So intense and heart stopping, that second last paragraph speaks volumes about a mother's love "I smell cooking flesh. Hear it. The balm I pour into my mind: it's ok, that's just me..." Just breath taking!! Amazing work LC!!

  • Lana V Lynx7 days ago

    So tense and gripping!

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