The inside was chaotic, what had not been destroyed by fire was broken on the floor, the stool led in pieces on the stairs, it looked like it had been used to try and break open the door. Tayna ran so quickly down the stairs that she fell, knocking her knee on one of the steps and landed onto a burnt coffee table. She screamed in pain from her knee and the burn that now ran across her arm, glistening and weeping. Her dress had caught fire at the hem and the sleeve, she frantically patted it out and continued to look around for her family.
‘Tayna?’ asked a voice, choked and shattered, ‘is that you?’
‘Mother? Where are you?’ Tayna said loudly – a black hand reached out from the mess of a fallen support, she rushed forward and used all of her strength to move it, even while the fire and heat tried to keep her back – spitting like a ferocious beast. She shifted the beams and revealed her mother, her face was dusted with soot and blood ran down over her eye from a large cut in her forehead.
‘Mother! Stay with me, I’ll get you out of here!’ Flames spat out to her right, Tayna put an arm over her face and whimpered in fear, but used her body to protect her mother, setting her skirt alight again. She shook it out and turned back to her mother. ‘Where are the boys? Tell me where they are.’ Her mother began to cry, and pointed to the overturned table, and sticking out from behind it were legs, three pairs scissored together. ‘No…’ gasped Tayna, her voice rising to a screech, 'NO!' She began to move away to get a better look, but her mother gripped her shoulder pulled her back.
'Don't,' she ordered, weeping, 'don't see them like that. You - you need to get out of here - NOW.'
‘NO, I’m not leaving you, all those things I said about leaving you, I lied. You’re the only thing I've got left, I love you, please, don't leave me.'
‘Tayna...there’s something you have to know, if it’s the last thing that I tell you,’
‘Don’t say that -,’
'You have to know!' Her voice broke and she spluttered, her throat insatiably dry. ‘Tayna, you're special. You've always been special, all of your life. I've tried to keep you safe, but I've failed.'
‘How? How have you failed?’
'These men aren't after us, they're after you!'
'Me? Why would they want me? What good am I to them?'
'You wouldn't join them, but you're the only ones who can stop them, now they want you dead!
Tayna's mind swam with chaos and confusion, 'what do you mean -,'
'Above you!' Another support beam came crashing down, ambers exploded around them and Tayna jumped out of the way just in time. She moved back to her mother, fire lapping like a scavenger at her feet. ‘You have to get out of here, Tayna! Run far away, don't let them find you! Stay alive!’ Tayna’s bottom lip trembled as her mother sighed and reached out to touch her face with a soot-covered hand, smudging black fingerprints on her cheek. 'Stay alive, Tayna,' she said softly, 'for me.' Tears streamed down Tayna's face as she placed her hand over her mother's. 'NOW!'
Tayna shook her head defeatedly and ran, pain striking up her knee as she leapt up the stairs. With a final whimper, she ran out of the barn, just before the flames reached the fuel store cupboard at the end of the hallway; and ignited everything.
The explosion caught Tayna's back and tossed her onto the gravel, the flames burnt through to her back, emotional and physical pain came to the surface, and she screamed in agony. She wept with her face pressed to the ground, her hands over her ears as she tried to block out everything that had happened, as if she could wake up from the nightmare that had unravelled in her life.