Chapter Nine: Ashes to Ashes

Oblivious to all else, Jonrah watched the flames eat through the side of his home, until the sign that the invaders had left him was no longer distinguishable.

As he slowly drifted back to reality, he was able to hear the yells of those around him. Men, neighbours, were shouting at him. Woman had fled with children in their arms, and now the only remnants were trying desperately to put out the fire.

He eventually got a hold of himself, and was able to hear his surroundings once again. The crackle of the fire, the yells of the men failing to put out the blaze.

'Jonrah! Jonrah!' This was his neighbour, Ren, who was yelling over the sound of the others. 'Jonrah, Karlin is in there with Jodar!'

This brought it all home for Jonrah. Without hesitiation, he ran towards his front door, half of which was reduced to ashes, and using his right shoulder, barged it open.

Entering his house, he was immediately struck by the heat. It hit him like a boxer's punch, and he could already feel himself starting to sweat, despite being outside in the cool evening air only seconds ago.

Putting all other thoughts to one side, he visually searched the downstairs of his home, and was distraught to see that everything he held dear was being reduced to ash and cinders.

Picking up the rug from the floor, which as of yet remained un-singed, he wrapped it around himself to shield his body from the fire, and made his way quickly upstairs.

Heading towards the stairs, he passed his back door, which was the exit Jodar would use when going into the forest.

Rushing up the now-brittle steps, taking them three at a time, Jonrah quickly made it to the upper floor, where he saw his wife and son huddled in a corner, behind a bed.

What lay between the pair and himself though was not the most accessible path. Flaming wood lay on the ground, and a beam had obviously fallen down, blocking the room off, and bringing with it a large portion of the roof. Looking up, Jonrah could see the stars, so peaceful, watching over the action unfolding below.

Fearlessly, Jonrah wrapped the rug tightly around himself once more, and slowly made his way towards them, wary of any more falling beams that would make his life harder.

Luckily, he made it to his wife and son without incident, and, wrapping Jodar in the rug, he took them by the hands and led them out of the room.

The floorboards creaked underneath the weight of the three of them huddled together, and so Jonrah ordered them to spread themselves to prevent the floor falling through.

With Jonrah in the middle, Karlin on the right and Jodar on the left, they edged their way slowly to the staircase. The creaking continued, making Jonrah curious as to how long the floor could take their weight.

A sudden crack drew Jonrah's attention to the roof, where he caught sight of a beam breaking free of the roof, just to the right of him.

The beam fell to the floor, with it came rubble, some still ablaze, and dust fell into his eyes. But he could not draw them away from the tragedy he already knew it was too late to prevent.

'Karlin!' he screamed at the top of his voice. All that came out, however was a raspy gurgle - a result of being in the flaming house for so long.

Everything slowed down, and as a fiery beam fell to the ground, Jonrah witnessed his beautiful wife crushed underneath its weight.

He stopped moving. The world stopped.

Flame tore through the wood and through the woman trapped beneath it, and he was powerless to stop it.

The screams filled the room, and Jonrah was sure that they could be heard throughout the entire kingdom.

The End

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