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Danny Allerton crept into the burning two-story home, wielding a water hose, amid the crackling sounds of smoldering flames, in search of a trapped, terrified child. It was his last day of service as a firefighter and the next day meant exhaled relaxation of retirement. His mind spiraled with fear of not reaching that day, as the house was crumbling under the fire. Screaming cries rang as he encroached further in, dodging alit building materials falling from above.

Emergency units were summoned in from across county lines as the fire raged on. Danny could now see the child through the smoke, shaking uncontrollably, wrapped in a rug, and pleading to be saved. Danny reached the boy and swooped him into his arms, as a truss from the second floor collapsed on him, sending him staggering into a fire engulfed wall. One of the firefighters from the other station caught Danny’s stumbling momentum and prevented him from dropping the child. The firefighter exerted all his strength serving as a crutch for Danny and the child as they snaked around patches of flames, frantically exiting the building to safety, and into the waiting arms of paramedics.

After his health stabled, Danny approached the firefighter and thanked him for his efforts. “Can you believe this is my last day until retirement?” asked Danny, wiping away soot from the bags under his eyes.

“Can you believe this is the first day of my career?” asked the firefighter, surveying bloody scratches on his pimpled chin.

Jon Moray has been writing short stories for five years and his work has appeared in several online markets. His current writing goal is to publish a collection of short stories inspired by his dearly departed father's abstract paintings. When not working and being a devoted husband and father, he enjoys playing basketball and training for marathons.


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