Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
TITLE: Rescue Me
By Dimple Suit
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Tiger, an orange tabby cat who adopted Miranda several years ago and was her constant companion, licked her hand, urging her to follow him. Miranda labored to move, to breathe. She had to get to the window. She thought of burned popcorn with the crackling and popping of the fire. The roar of the flames drowned out a coughing spasm so acute she had trouble swallowing over a parched throat. Bit by agonizing bit they made progress across the floor. Just as she should be reaching the windowsill, Miranda felt a cool doorknob. She was at the custom design walk-in closet, spa like bath, and dressing room combo.
Hoping and praying for help, Miranda crawled inside. Wanting to rest her fevered face against the cool travertine, an orange blur and hiss as Tiger ran in to the closet centered Miranda. Pushing the door closed, she grabbed some towels. Tying one around her nose and mouth, she turned on the faucet to wet another. The water was barely a trickle. Overcome with despair, she sank to the floor, moaning. Tears streaming down her face, seeking to give and receive comfort, she reached out to pet the frightened cat. Instead of fur, she encountered a jean-clad leg. Shrieking, she drew her hand back.
“Are you a firefighter?” Miranda’s question went unanswered as the mysterious man took her hand to lead her away from the door. She was frightened now, not just of the fire but also of this stranger in her home. Following him was no question for she knew behind her the fire blocked exiting down the stairs to the kitchen or front door.
“Trust me,” his soft baritone voice was comforting, settling her as they entered the bath with its huge tub. He guided her in to the tub and turned on the water. Far from the gushing deluge to which she was accustomed, there was more pressure here than at the sink in the dressing room. Settling in to the cool water, gown and all, instantly brought a comforting chill to her fevered skin.
The man petted Tiger as he pushed the cat in the door before closing it. The stranger disappeared as if he had never existed.
Moments later, pounding and the splintering of wood sounded overhead. Miranda looked up as ceiling plaster fell to the floor in the corner of the huge bath. The welcoming site of a firefighter poking his head through the opening left her giddy with relief. Dropping in to the room, his partner lowering a ladder behind him, her rescuer rushed to her and offered oxygen.
Breathing deep from the facemask, Miranda felt her lungs begin to clear. Looking around for Tiger, she found him in the arms of the other firefighter. Urgency to get out of the burning house filled Miranda with strength. Wrapping herself in the peach colored Egyptian cotton robe her rescuer had soaked with water from the tub, she required little assistance to climb the ladder. Helping her and Tiger off the roof, both firefighters joined them on the ground as the paramedics treated first-degree burns and smoke inhalation.
The hospital made an exception allowing Miranda to keep Tiger with her, placing them in a private room. A brilliant golden sun broke the horizon, with blazing coral and cooling purple painting the eastern sky. On the bedside table sat a vase of vibrant orange and yellow flowers, no card. The symbolism associated with the colors in the bouquet was not lost on Miranda, orange for passion of life, yellow for friendship, and greenery for renewal. Grateful for her life, the reward she received with the simple statements to trust and to follow, she faced the new day with peace and hope.
No one found the stranger who lead her to the tub, and directed the firefighters to cut through that specific area of the roof. He was not lost, but she once was.
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