My eyes started to water as I peered through the smoke. There had to be some way out of this choking black fog! I coughed as the smoke tickled the back of my throat but instead of clearing my lungs it only served to make matters worse as I sucked in twice as much smoke because of it. I knew I heard crying, I knew it, my mind was not playing tricks on me!
I rested my head against the door frame for a moment in a dizzy spell and my mind began to cloud as though the smoke itself was seeping in between each braincell. Get on the floor, below the smoke. I thought to myself and my body screamed out in an agonized protest as I began to move again.
I could hear the sirens in the distance and I knew that help had arrived. Thank you Father! I thought tearfully. I crawled along the floor on my belly, deeper into the burning building. I could hear my name being called but I ignored them.
"Maura! MAURA! Come back! You're going the wrong way!!"
Save yourselves fools. I thought angrily as I forced my broken body to move. I heard their footsteps over the noise of the crackling flames as they moved closer to the window and the firemen outside.
"Is there anyone else?" I heard a man ask and Nurse Mackenzie's voice echoed loud and clear "Yes, there should be another girl who was with us, Maura, I fear the rest of them are lost, the nursery was too near the explosion for any survivors."
Bile rose in my mouth as I forced myself to my feet and I ran up the hallway just as I heard the man's feet clunk onto the hard wood of the floor. He was coming to find me, but I wouldn't let him, not yet.
"Maura?" he called and I coughed weakly in reply as I fled up the corridor, knowing that he would follow. He did.
I reached the staircase and the door of the nursery. It was hanging off it's hinges and flames crackled up the frame. But I heard crying. I knew I was right. Something told me they were still alive.
"Maura?" I hand was placed on my shoulder and I looked up at the suited fireman, his visor pulled down over his face. Then he heard the crying too and looked at me. "They're still alive!" I coughed pointing towards the cots. He rushed in and I stumbled after him as we found six babies in their cots and one nurse lying in the corner, barely conscious. The fireman threw her over his shoulder and then picked up two babies and put them in the cot with another before wheeling them out the door with a hurried glance at me. "Get the others." he cried and I nodded, lifting the babies into one cot and wheeling it quickly out behind me. The wood groaned as I left the room and suddenly the floor behind me collapsed. We had made it just in time!
I dragged the cot down the hallway after the fireman and I handed him the babies one by one as he handed them to another man out the window. Then I felt suddenly weak and tired and I fell to my knees. He lifted me up gently and carried me through the window and down the ladder to safety. When we reached the bottom he looked at me and his surprise was evident when he took in my bald head and transparent skin. "You're a very brave girl." he said to me as he carried me over to paramedics. "You saved the lives of 7 people today." I smiled and closed my eyes as the darkness seeped in from all sides and I surrendered to the bliss of endless sleep.
That fireman said that I never left his heart. He was at my funeral and he gave a lovely speech, he had insisted on it. Everyone cried when he described how we had saved those babies and then he spoke the words that were on everyone's lips. "I do not pretend to know how Maura survived such tremendous amounts of smoke for so long to save those other people. She was a cancer patient yes, but that is not the most unusual thing... Maura had lung cancer, and the first five minutes of smoke should have killed her outright, but somehow, for some reason, she survived long enough to save the lives of 7 others."
My Father sent me to this earth for one reason, that others should live. I cannot explain why or how it happened but it did. My wings were taken from me and I was placed on the doorsteps of St.Agatha's hospital for sick children. I looked at my fireman and my heart was light.
He finished off his speech with the words "If God has not made her an angel, then I will be very surprised." I smiled at him, even though he could not see me, and I turned and walked into the shining light.
"Hello Father, I'm home again."