Before I go to sleep Friday night, but after I say goodnight to Aunt Sandra, I crawl out of bed and pull out the faded red and green plaid suitcase from underneath it. My sneakers, the purple and black ones, are the only thing left inside of it. The shoelaces are wrinkled and crusted over with dirt, the outsides scuffed, and the insides torn and ragged, but just holding them in my hands brings a flood of memories back. Even though they hardly resemble themselves in a past life, the day I got them and the reason rings clear as a bell.
After gently laying them down in the suitcase, I climb into bed, a peaceful feeling washing over me and softly rocking me to sleep.
"BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP," is the blaring noise I wake up to. The shrill, piercing sound is coming from the kitchen, and so is the smoke.
"Smoke?!" I yell as I jump out of bed. It is coming in through the crack between my door and the floor, and I am cautious to feel the door before I open it and step into the hall. There is no fire, but I almost can't see my hand in front of my face, the smoke is so thick. "Aunt Sandra?" I shriek into the clouds. The only reply is the beeping of the fire alarm.
"Aunt Sandra!" I keep yelling as I make my way downstairs and into the kitchen, where the smoke is so dense I trip over an invisible chair and crash onto the floor. I pick myself up and crawl over to the counter, feeling my way along the cabinets.
"Washing machine, sink, refridgerator," I begin listing the appliances my hands touch. Finally, I make it to "oven", and the knob is burning hot. I grab it anyway and turn it to the right, and I hear a soft hiss as the machine shuts off. The smoke is too concentrated, and I cannot see anything now. I know there is a window to my right, and I feel around for the base of it. In a second my fingers touch the cool window frame and I lift it up, having to exert all my strength because the sliders are rusty and uneven and try to prevent the glass from moving.
A rush of cold autumn air breathes into the kitchen, and the smoke is pulled out. Though I can still barely see anything, I can make out shapes. One shape in particular. Aunt Sandra is lying still on the couch.