Thursday 25 April 2013

Dark Fiction - Hot Water

Dark Fiction Image

Hot Water

By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash

Survivor log #27482-EURO – Kenneth Brown

‘Most people have the concern that as soon as they sit on the toilet, get naked or do anything else that makes them vulnerable, that they will be burgled. Or that some other contrived situation might arise causing them to deal with the emergency services whilst only wearing a dressing gown. Few would expect the world to end at bath time. Even fewer would actually have it happen.

I was in the bath when it happened, as you might have guessed. It was a nice deep one, the kind with the water upto my ears and the buoyancy making my arms float pleasingly a few inches from the bottom. I had some lavender fragranced Radox bath salts which were making me very drowsy. I remember having the thought that I had better pull the plug or end up drowning, when a colossal boom made me flinch so hard that as I relaxed again my head thumped on the backward slope of the white bath. I wasn’t sure what was going on, although my whole body tingled and ached with the flood of adrenaline. My ears sang like a wet finger being run around the rim of a crystal glass. Before I could marshal my thoughts, the bathroom window blew inwards in an explosion of twirling glass. Somehow I did manage to get my arms up to protect my face, the only injuries being some nasty gashes on my forearms and shoulders.
The next thing I remember was the broiling heat. I moved my arms down away from my face and saw waves of rolling flame licking in through the window frame and moving along my ceiling. It was like it was alive, an ocean of orange and yellow lapping around the light fixtures. I gasped as I felt my face tighten and begin to itch, so I sank lower into the bath water to escape some of the heat. The air had become thin and bitter, tanged with the smell of burning. My breathing rasped in my throat. I thought I was going to die, to blackout or get cooked alive. It was then that I felt a malodorous breeze on my face and quickly realised that air was being sucked through the plumbing by some sort of equalizing pressure. I moved my face closer to the overflow drain halfway along the bath and breathed in deeply, fighting the urge to retch as the smell of drains corrupted my nose. It was horrible, but I think it is what saved my life.
I don’t know when the fire vanished, my shell-shocked mind was just happy to be breathing and was wholly focused on the source of air. When I did look up, my ceiling was black and smouldering, my shower curtain gone, its rings charred and clinking in the breeze from the window space. I do not know why the fire burnt out. Later, when the fire-brigade did finally turn up, they put it down to some kind of unique mixture of the atmosphere in the bathroom and the construction of the house. They told me I was very very lucky. I didn’t need to be told, I knew. I later found out that one of the fireballs from AST6-75 landed in the field behind my house. It was only a few feet across but I am just thankful it wasn’t where the main rock fell to the earth. Others weren’t so lucky so I count my blessings. The burns have healed now, and they don’t hurt as much as they did. I am told that with time they wont bother me at all, but for now, I have my writing.’