Prologue

I'm completely unable to breathe. Or see much of anything.

The black, billowing smoke is making it impossible to make decisions or do anything.

I vaguely hear someone pounding on a window. It's like I'm underwater.

I'm about to pass out, I can feel it.

I lay flat on the ground, on instinct. The smoke isn't as thick down here. For a moment, my vision clears slightly and I inhale.

The coughing, sputtering inhale barely helps, but I'm not going to pass out this second.

It's getting hotter and hotter behind me. I refuse to turn back.

My long dress is making it harder to crawl. I glance down, see rips throughout the fabric – I pick the biggest rip near the middle of the skirt and tear as hard as I can. It rips, leaving my knees exposed. I continue crawling.

The smell of burning fabric and burning...everything evades my senses. But I can't think about that now.

I need to find a way out.

My hair is singed at the bottom. It smells horrendous. But I don't let it bother me.

I bump into something as my crawl continues. A wall?

I feel with my hands. It's a wall with a window.

I feel the thumps on it now as well as hearing them.

I inhale deeply, holding my breath and stand up.

His face meets mine.

He is screaming, I can see it. But, I can barely hear it. He's saying something like, "Keela, run!"

I put my hand on the window, knowing I will not make it out of this place alive.

His hand presses against the glass where my hand is. He's still beating the window with his other hand.

I mouth to him how much I love him.

I turn to look behind me and suddenly, everything goes black.