The flames seared my clothes, my skin, my hair. My eyes were satiated with the dense black smoke billowing from the floor and my lungs were choking, gasping for clean air that wouldn't come. But I didn't feel like I was going to die. I had the strength to do this.
"Is anyone in here?" I yelled over the deafening roar of the blaze. In the last few seconds the sounds of screaming had died away. Horror shot through me as I realised it could mean people were dying in here. I called out again, stumbling through the wreckage, panic pulsing through my veins.
I heard a faint cry from the far corner. Just one solitary voice, barely audible.
I tore through the burning rubble and managed to reach the person who had called out in seconds. He was a guy I recognised from my Maths class. He was one of the tallest guys in the year, but here he looked so small as he cowered away from the fire. His limbs look contorted as he tried to shield his face from the heat and edge his way over towards me.
I had to do this quickly, this guy was going to die if I didn't hurry up. I wasn't the strongest kid around, but I'd done my fair share of working out so lifting him wasn't too difficult. I carried him out of the room, the fire licking at my ankles and weaving up my legs like poisonous snakes. The pain was like a thousand needles stabbing continuously into your legs, ripping off your flesh, scraping your bones. The feeling was accompanied by the sound of wild animals tearing up their prey. Fire was a predator. Everything was its victim.
I put him down when we were out of the room, shutting the door behind me quickly to stop the flames getting us. He was in shock and in a horrible condition. His hair had been completely burnt off, his body was littered with burn marks. Parts of him were unrecognisable.
"Are you okay?" I asked him, leaning against a wall. It was a stupid question, but it was what everyone said in these situations.
He nodded once, staring at me, his eyes dazed and full of freight. I helped him down the stairs, not bothering to examine what the fire had done to me. All that mattered was getting him to safety.
I stumbled out of the building just as the fire engines began to arrive. Paramedics ran out of their ambulances to see if we were okay. Several swarmed around the guy I'd saved - Jeremy. I was relieved to see him getting the attention - I wasn't sure how much longer he would've lasted on his own.
"You were very brave, son," said one of the paramedics to me, as he checked me over, "This is... how do you feel? Did you go in the fire?"
I nodded, "Yeah... can't you tell?"
He stood up and frowned, "Well no, not really. Your clothes are burnt... but there's not a mark on you."