Here’s my attempt at the latest photo prompt challenge from Creative Writing Ink. With no word counts and no real guidelines, this has to be one of my favourite challenges. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
I didn’t know her name. She hadn’t told me, and I’d never thought to ask. There hadn’t been time, but now – well now – I regret it more than anything.
I’d only known her for five minutes. She’d been waiting in the back seat of my car when I finished work. I’d thought then that I was going to die; ironic, really.
I remember how she’d jumped out at me and whispered in my ear,
“Don’t go into work tomorrow.” Then, with a delicate finger pressed against her lips, she’d slipped back into the darkness, and I’d never seen her again… not in the flesh, anyway.
I don’t know what had made me listen to her. I don’t know what had made me ring up sick, but I’d done it.
I’d been sitting at home with my son when the news article came on: 50 dead in office fire.
I would have been there, in the centre of it all, but I wasn’t. I’m here at home, sat at my kitchen table, when all my colleagues, my boss, the HR lady, the intern, the people who worked in the kitchen and that mysterious woman who’d saved my life, had been burned alive.
I don’t know who she was, and I don’t know why she’d been in that office block if she’d known what was going to happen – not that she could have. In my heart, I hope she was trying to get people out. I hope she was warning them, just like she warned me, but in my head, none of that makes sense. She couldn’t have known about the fire. It had been put down to a small kitchen fire that had just veered out of control.
How could she have known? Unless she was responsible.
I sigh, tossing the morning’s newspaper away from me.
They’d moved on from the fire already, those reporters. They’d forgotten about the HR lady and that nice intern. They didn’t care about those nameless, faceless workers, because they weren’t important anymore. They were gone.
I won’t ever move on.
I can’t move on, because, in the back of my mind, there are all those horrible thoughts. There are the voices that whisper at me when I’m trying to sleep, telling me that I’m supposed to be dead.
The one thing that I’ll never understand, though, is why it was me that the woman warned. Why wouldn’t she tell the boss or the boss’ boss? I’m no one important. I’m just another nameless, faceless worker.
Except I’m alive.