It Took His Life

The doorbell on the shop door gently rang, as Liam opened it and walked in - It Took His Life introduction. It wasn’t late, about 6 O’ clock. Hours at his work had been non-ending recently and he knew the Marie, his wife and Lilly his little girl had been missing him terribly and he them. He loved them both so much that if a canyon contained his love the Grand Canyon would leave a lot to be desired compared to the one that captivated his love for his family. He had stopped off on his way home to buy a beautiful bouquet of Lillies for his darling wife, and a LULU doll for Lilly his daughter.

She had been asking for one for a long time now but Liam hadn’t had the time to go out and get one for her, and Marie had persisted that she had already to many toys. However Liam was under the loving impression that Lilly would never have to many toys and never too much love and nurturing in her life. After collecting and paying for his goods he left to head for home. Marie phoned Liam on his way home to see how much longer he was going to be, he explained that he wouldn’t be too much longer and he had a surprise for her.

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Lilly’s laughter filled the background noise like a choir singing, and listening to Marie telling Liam that she loved him and Lilly shouting ‘hiya daddy! ‘ and giggling to her hearts content filled Liam with so much joy it brought several tears to his eyes. A small discreet smile crept onto his face as he hung up the phone. For the remainder of the duration of his journey home he quietly hummed along to the ‘love song’ CD that Marie had left in the car last time she had it. He pulled up into the drive and turned off the engine.

A hard day at work was about to end perfectly, with a quiet night in with his family and a pizza. Liam however was oblivious to what that night was going to reveal to him. The day after he sat paralysed, slouched on his cold, stone garden fence; face down, the faint and distant screams in the back of his mind haunting his every memory of the previous night. The street was empty and the deep reds, pinks and oranges which merged together to form the beautiful dawning sky settled neatly behind the dark, grim object situated in front of him. The smell was still intense.

The smell around him was like an enclosed bubble trapping him in a horrific exhibition of blue flashing lights, deafening sirens, a sea of anxious and perturbed faces following him towards the ambulance. His lungs started to tighten as they had done the night before. Only this time it wasn’t due to the infectious smoke strangling them but the pain and grief, squeezing them and twisting them preventing them from inhaling. He started to hyperventilate and cough excessively. The sadness was to overwhelming for his body to cope with. His legs gave way and he collapsed to the floor.

Crouched over in a crawling position, he let out a yelp of agony, as a montage of images of the night before flashed through his aching head. As the sun raised higher, the black object situated opposite him started to glimmer in the sunlight. The water, still settled on the roof, caught the elegant sunrays and threw them back at him. His face absorbed the light; and evaporated the tear that was sat on his cheekbone. He felt the warmth of the sun and remembered the heat, the hot and ferocious flames attacking him and Lilly from every angle.

He knew that he had to escape for the sake of Lilly; he was willing to fight the army of bloodthirsty flames to save his daughters life. He remembered the tears that had singed his cheek as they rolled down his face. The salt stung the cut below his left eye. The smoke was clogging his throat not allowing oxygen to enter; yet he still pushed through and tried to comfort Lilly to the best of ability. The red, oranges, yellows licking at his feet. Lilly’s tears wet the back of his T-shirt and her blood stained his hands for an eternity.

Snapping back to reality he lifted his hands and turned them so his palms faced him. His hands were shaking and shivering, unable to be controlled. Still on his knees, the damp grass was dampening his jeans. He had calmed down as a sheet of depression had fallen over him. He had grown quiet and the long and loud whimpers of anguish had formed into a heavy breathing and his lungs opened up and let the air fill his body. He remembered the guilt he had felt for leaving his beloved wife. Haunted by the expression on her face as he grabbed his daughter and fled to the next room to try and find an escape route.

In her eyes he had seen the agitation and despair to get away from what was happening, to escape with them; at the same time she was telling him that saving Lilly was the most important task. To start with Liam had set Lilly to one side and never loosing site of her he tried to elevate the wardrobe from of his wife’s legs. He desperately tried but as he lost more and more strength his moral level for saving both his wife and daughter was descending rapidly. As Lilly’s screams grew quieter and the amount of her coughing got less, both Marie and Liam knew that the chances of all of them surviving this horrific ordeal.

Struggling for breath and trying to ignore the pain attacking her legs Marie signaled him closer and whispered to him “Do what you have to do” Liam eyes filled up and he started menacingly shouting at her to give him a few more minutes to figure out the solution. It wasn’t long before he spotted that Lilly had chest had stopped moving systematically in and out. His wife gave an unsure smile and mouthed the words to her husband “I love you” through the layer of salty water that coated both of Liam’s eyes he regrettably grabbed Lilly and balanced her on his shoulder and spun to find a clear way out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

He didn’t dare turn around to see his dying wife’s face. The shame was to unbearable just imagining her face. He heard her cough and cry, moan and whimper as the smoke engulfed her body as he ran down the stairs. A passing car shook him from his hypnotic trance and brought him back to the street where destiny had the night before left him insecure and abandoned. The sun was shining brightly now and neighbors had started to leave their houses to go about their daily routine. One woman caught his eye.

She had blonde hair, tall and slender, all dressed in black, very smart looking, sophisticated and flawless. She looked over and softly smiled. Liam slowly tilted his head to one side and tried to edge up the corners of his mouth to return the friendly gesture. It was as though his mouth was never going to smile again. His head wanted to but his body was too weak with depression to even try. The woman must have seen the drama the night before, how could she have missed it. She lived only three doors down from Liam, her name was unknown but her face was familiar.

She looked a little like his wife, same hairstyle, same important appearance, as she walked past her scented perfume drifted into the man’s flared nostrils. Gucci Envy. The sweet fragrance Marie had worn on their wedding night. That had been a beautiful, memorable day for him. Marie had been a vision in white; she had resembled a lilly. Her skin was soft and elegant like the petals that she held in her bouquet of Lillies. Ironically the flower she admired so much represents death, which in actual truth did not reflect the love of his life.

Marie was so lively that it was hard for Liam to keep up with her. A few years later she had given him Lilly. He seen Marie and Lilly as gifts from God, yet he now felt like Lucifer had taken these holy gifts from him for the crime he had not yet committed. A tear rolled down his face. His eyes were started to dry out and there was no longer many tears to cry. He felt drained, drained of energy, love and compassion. Liam rose to his feet as his breathing was once again following a regular pattern and some strength had restored to his legs.

As he regained an upward position he looked upwards towards the sky to try and find help being sent from his wife, for someone to answer his prayers which he had been continuously repeating since he smelt the first of the fumes rising from the lower level of his house. Nothing came. He noticed a large black cloud racing towards him. He looked back towards the burnt house facing him. He saw again the large billows of black smoke following him out of the house as he sprung into the street. Tightly wrapped in his arms was his daughter, Lilly.

His head was bombarded with the images and memories of being held back off two policemen. The mixed emotions overcame him again. He remembered the way his lungs felt like they were being filled with a toxic substance. He was fighting with the two policeman for them to let him go so he could go and collect his wife and save her from her excruciating fate. He was still struggling to breathe while firefighters rapidly barged into the house to look for his wife and while paramedics tried frantically to get Lilly breathing again. A dark cloud fell overhead.

It may have been from the dark black smoke rising from the burnt out hole in the roof, or it may have been Liam’s world and his purpose for living coming to an end. He felt like the ground had opened up and extracted everything precious from his life. Neither the paramedics nor the firefighters were successful in their endeavors. His wife’s body was recovered from the fire and was carried out of their front garden not in her Liam’s strong loving arms but in a black, morbid body bag, to be sent straight for analysis. Paramedics escorted his wife to the ambulance doors as the man watched in anxiety and hysteria.

As the ambulance doors shut, Liam spaced out into a world of his own. He remembered all the time he had seen Marie smile and laugh, he remembered the times that he had looked into her eyes and seen so much motivation and happiness. He recalled the way her eyes had made him feel. Her eyes provided him tranquility and calmness, like looking over an ocean when it captures delicate glints off the sun. He was soon overcome with the thought he shall see those eyes no more, apart from the odd photo they may be able to recover from the catastrophe.

He watched his daughter as she was resuscitated but never brought back to life; he watched her body go into a state of rigor mortis. Every time an electric pulse was sent through her small and fragile body a fearful pain rushed through Liam’s body affecting everything in his corpse, his muscles, his skeleton, his mind and soul. He fell to the floor through pure desperation to be held by someone. No longer moving, no longer feeling anything but the pain, fear and sorrow he lay sobbing to his hearts desire.

A crowd of people standing nearby stood and stared at Liam curled up on the floor. He was lost in a spinning realm, so alternate to his natural environment. The streets had filled with concerned faces and fumbling bodies so quickly when the flames were spotted and the fire engines, police cars and ambulances arrived. People mumbled and chattered, as the man lay crumpled on his neatly trimmed lawn, bawling and screaming to God, demanding to know his reasoning for destroying two of his greatest creations on Earth.

His sides split, as his face grew more and more crimson. Veins increased in size and were exposed at the skins surface, as the anger grew within the man, his heart ached more and more tears flew freely relieving some of the pressure from inside Liam. Neighbours stood shocked at this exhibition as he cursed the Lord above. Liam was forced away from the house by two paramedics, and into the third ambulance at the scene. As the ambulance drove off away from the house, you could still hear the agonising howls from the back of the vehicle several yards down the street.

If God himself hadn’t heard the cries of pain, grief and confusion, the loud and helpless prayers he yelled in front of an enquiring crowd, than not many prayers must be heard. The sun was high in the sky when the man turned away from the worst nightmare, he had have ever encountered awake or asleep, rather it felt like a dream but when the man looked to his left where his wife always stood and looked down to where his little girl held his hand and looked up to him and smiled, her face filled with joy and prosperity and neither were there, he was repeatedly reminded that he was in a reality.

This reality reminded him that a fire does not have to kill you to take your life. He silently started to walk, again not looking back towards the house because the remorse was to much to cope with and having only regained enough strength to walk away towards his care he had no intension of loosing yet again nothing more to the fire that had taken his life and so much more. The life of Marie and Lilly.

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