Thanks to an idea from EZforever (Have I ever said how awesome ideas are?) about daring each other to writer certain things, I’ve been dared to write a post on my creepiest memory. Which, I’ll admit, is kind of an odd thing for me to write. Creepy? I’m no horror writer—I don’t even read horror. No Stephen King for me, thanks.
But if I pull all of the creepiness out, what’s left? Just a memory. It would be like saying, “My creepiest memory was when my neighborhood was on fire.” I mean, does that seem creepy? Maybe a little disconcerting, but nothing more. In fact, I think this calls for a quote from one of my favorite books, Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia. Alcatraz is describing how summarizing, is, well, I’ll let him describe it.
Summarizing is when you take a story that is complicated and interesting, then stick it in a microwave until it shrivels up into a tiny piece of black crunchy tar-like stuff. A wise man once said, “Any story, no matter how good, will sound really, really dumb when you shorten it to a few sentences.”
For example, take this story: “Once there was a furry-footed British guy who has to go throw his uncle’s ring into a hole in the ground.” Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?
(If you know what story that is, post it in the comments! I’ll give you a reward…)
See, so my dilemma is that I have to write my creepiest memory out. My other dilemma is that I’m putting off even trying, by talking about how I can’t summarize it. Great, eh?
Anyways, let’s try to get this over with, before this post ends up being three miles long. My creepiest memory is what I stated above—when our neighborhood was on fire. I remember, it was a Thursday night, and my siblings and I were sitting on the couch, entertaining ourselves. Occasionally, we heard a helicopter fly by, and we’d heard mention of a fire that had broken out in a city near ours. Our parents told us that my mom might see if she could volunteer at the park around the corner, which was where all of the evacuees were being sent.
“Oh, okay,” was our response.
Then, an hour or so later, our parents again came into the room, only this time, their faces were grim. “The fire is a lot closer. Go upstairs, and pack some of your clothes, in case we need to evacuate.” So, of course, this meant immediate panic mode—we rushed up the stairs, grabbed all of our favorite clothes and shoved them in backpacks. We all talked, half excitedly, half anxiously, about what would happen if the fire really did start burning the hill that separate our little town from the fire, and if we really did have to evacuate.
As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones on the street preparing. There were a whole group of neighbors outside, discussing whether the now ‘evacuation is suggested’ warning from the police should be followed, or if it would be fine if we stayed in our houses. At this point, we could almost see the flames. The sky, which should have been a dark twilight, was a bright red, brighter, even, than the sunset. Smoke was beginning to cover the sky, and there was a light dusting of ash everywhere. We could faintly hear the sirens of firetrucks, and hear the blades of helicopters flying overhead.
Then we began to see the flames—just barely—at the top of the hill behind the neighborhood. We really panicked. Rushing back into the house, we grabbed nearly everything we could and shoved it in our cars. Anything from computers, pillows, school books, iPods, anything. It was that moment that was the scariest. I remember rushing about, almost without paying attention to where I was going, thinking, “If the house burns down, what do I really, really need? What are the things I couldn’t live without?”
After packing the cars so full we could barely fit in them ourselves, we talked with the neighbors a bit more. And then, the threat didn’t seem quite so bad. We didn’t need to evacuate. We could stay in our house that night, and see what everything was like tomorrow. So, us children were sent up to bed.
I didn’t sleep. I kept staring out my window, at the bright red horizon, and the smoke that blocked out the stars. When I finally could close my eyes, my sleep was restless.
The next day, all was well. The sky was our famous sunny-blue-skies. So, the day went about normal, until afternoon or so. My mother hadn’t slept at all, so she was napping on the couch. I remember watching my dad go up the stairs and onto the balcony attached to his bedroom, then downstairs and into the front, then upstairs again, then down into the backyard, and back again. Finally, he woke my mother up, and they both went outside. Now, we were all curious, and followed. It seems that there had been several helicopters flying over head that we hadn’t heard, but my dad had.
My uncle called, then. It turned out that my aunt and two cousins, who also lived in our neighborhood, were being forced to evacuate. A bush on their street had caught fire, and now the police were going up and down the street, telling everyone that evacuation was necessary.
We decided to tag along with my aunt, and go down to the mall parking lot, away from the fire. But as we left the neighborhood, we turned down one street, and I saw at the end of it, the largest flames I’d ever seen. They had to have been as tall as the houses, maybe more.
The ash and smoke were now so bad, we had to wear masks whenever we were outside. We all had pits in our stomachs, too, full of fear, and dread, and worry. There was only one thing we could do—wait.
But, we were at the mall. Why not distract ourselves, perhaps by eating dinner? That was probably the best thing we could do. We took two hours to eat dinner and desert, and managed to keep our minds off of the fire, although we did see on the news that the flames had jumped over the aqueduct that ran across the hill behind the houses.
Eventually, we came back outside. The skies were once more, entirely blue. Not only no smoke, but not even a cloud. My uncle and father decided to go back to the neighborhood, and see what damage there was, and if we could come back home. So we wait, once again nervous. Questions raced through our heads. Would we have a home to go back to, or had we lost it? What would we do, if we had?
Finally, they were back. I remember holding my breath, afraid of whatever my dad was going to say. But, he said that the firefighters had done their job. Not a single house had burned, though the hills had been charred, and deposed of their bushes and grasses. A few fences and such had burned, but no houses.
Again, the firefighters had done their job. I still held my breath as we came back home, not really sure if I was believing what I was seeing, but it was true. Our home still stood, as did everyone’s elses.
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Okay, now that that’s over… Let’s try for something happier, eh? EZforever, I dare you to describe the wall right in front of you, using two hundred words. (How’s that for a dare? *laughs evilly*)