Nadia was already standing behind Harry looking scared; her normally pale complexion now almost a match for her plain white briefs and camisole.
'Harry,' she said. 'What are we gonna do?'
Harry stepped back from the door, biting his lower lip. 'Well. We can't go out of the door. If we can still open it, it'll just bring the fire in here to us. And then we'd really be in trouble.' He looked around, trying to figure a way out. 'It might be a good idea to move anything flammable away from the door. That might buy us a little time while we figure out what our options are.'
Nadia turned all the lights on and pulled the draught-preventing drapes off their rail above the door. Harry moved to the center of the unit and looked around, his height permitting him to see beyond the rails of clothing that filled most of the space.
'There's no additional doors that you hadn't told me about', he mused, hopefully.
'No. No other doors. No windows. Nothing.'
Harry sighed. 'Any 'breakout' panels that you're aware of?'
Nadia looked up from her work clearing boxes of clothing away from the door. 'No. Nothing
'Could we wait it out? Wait until it burns itself out?'
Harry scowled and raised his hands questioningly. 'Dunno. What've we got to lose in trying to find a way out?'
They both stood looking at each other for a few long seconds, trying to think of what to do next; each of them willing the other to come up with a brilliant idea that would quickly remove them both to a place of safety.
A sudden metallic bang broke the moment. The sliding door buckled within the frame holding it as it pushed against the slides, having expanded beyond their ability to withstand it. Nadia spang away from it, finding herself in the middle of the room barely a second later.
'We've gotta get out of here, Nade', Harry murmured, hugging her tightly. 'I don't know if the heat near the door is hot enough to make things near it start smouldering without direct contact to it or not, but I'm guessing that the oxygen within here is going to run short pretty soon either with or without any smoke making things worse.'
'I know', Nadia replied, looking up at him. 'I'd been thinking about that myself.' Something to one side of Harry's face caught her attention. 'Harry', she said, sounding a little more positive and focussed. 'If you stand on top of one of these clothes rails, you should be able to reach the ceiling.' She took a quick breath. 'There's a sky-light up there; if we can reach that and get it open, we can be out of here!'
Harry pushed one of the clothes rails directly underneath the sky-light and climbed up the end of it, trying to push the largely opaque plastic capping away from it's housing. 'You know what,' he said, ' I do believe that this is gonna work!'
The chilly night sky was freckled with stars and, for the most part, it was getting cold. Harry boosted Nadia up through the hole where the sky-light had been and up into the darkness outside.
Nadia looked around. 'Harry,' she said, peering down into what she'd been happy to call her home. 'I think the fire's only near the door. We can climb down to the ground safely and then call the fire brigade.'
Harry pulled himself up through the sky-light hatchway and joined her on the roof. 'You know what,' he said, tapping 999 into his phone. 'I would be very surprised if it wasn't our friends Samedi and Grace behind this.'
Nadia shivered, pulling an old coat around herself. 'What are we gonna do now? If I stay here they're only gonna try again. And next time they might be more thorough!'
'I know. I'd invite you to stay with us at our house-share but, if this is what's gonna happen,
I wouldn't be happy putting everyone else in danger.'
The emergency operator came on the phone, quickly taking his details and the address and then promising that the fire appliances would be with them in only a few minutes.
As Harry ended the call, Nadia tugged at his sleeve. 'Harry,' she said. 'I think we've run out of time!'
Looking across to the sky-light, Harry saw a funnel of reddened light reaching out into the night. 'Oh no,' he mouthed. 'You're gonna lose all your clothes, at the very least.'
Looking back to Nadia, he saw the tears rolling down her cheeks and pulled her close so that her head nestled into the angle between this shoulder and his neck. 'Oh honey', he murmured.