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My House Was Destroyed by Fire

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December came quietly that year, not blinding us with a blanket of snow, but creeping

through the landscape with a cold that ached in the bones. Every blade of grass was held

captive by a sheath of frost, as were the glacial branches that scraped at my windows, begging to get in. It is indeed the coldest year I can remember, with winds like barbs that caught and pulled at my skin. People ceaselessly searched for warmth, but my family found that this year, the warmth was searching for us.

My family had collected in the basement, a testament to tacky décor with a dash of dank-

ness. Nevertheless, it was easily the warmest place in the house and all household activities were being conducted there that day. My dad was trying to conquer a video game with little success, and my brother and I toiled with our homework achieving an equal lack of accomplishment. The culprit of our distraction was undoubtedly the pot roast that waited upstairs for us, taunting our empty stomachs with its heavy smell which floated over the moldy air of the basement like oil on water. The aroma must have reminded my mother to afford the roast a checkup, for she had abandoned the laundry and was ascending the stairs.

Now, I don’t believe much in the extrasensory, but I distinctly remember having a bad, bad feeling when my mother traversed the last step. Whatever this premonition may have been, it had me at my feet and waiting at the bottom of the stairs for a scream I already knew was coming.

No foreshadowing could have prepared me for it, though. Her scream hit me like a cy-

clone, turning my legs to rubber and my innards to slush. Frantic yelling followed the first shrill cry, and my father had nearly flown upstairs before I could even chi...

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...the fire. My dolls were twisted and liquefied, broken and scorched, sprawled upon my shelves and floor as if my room was some elaborate death scene. Spectral pieces of shattered glass sparkled amongst the yellow glow of my flashlight, littering my bed and a great deal of the floor.

My family was reunited with no tears, but shared a common frustration that knotted in all

of our stomachs. The next four months would be equally hellish, spent in a cramped hotel

room, with a so-called kitchen and comfortable living space that included a sink, a microwave, and three beds for the four of us. The time away from the hotel was devoted to slaving over house repairs, or simply yearning for just a breath of spring. The cold was hideous and blistering, and people matched its bitterness with their complaints. My family stayed quiet; we had our share of warmth that winter.
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