Night of fire

I know that I have to live my whole life carrying this pain in my heart. I cannot find a way out because the truth remains no matter what. And it is impossible to get rid of the truth. It was an evil night. Everyone was dreaming in their beds. The moon and the stars hid behind the dark clouds. The silent night would turn into the loudest thunder. Nobody imagined that the fluttering of my mother’s left eye was an omen. Nobody understood the frog croaking its warning.

The lights went out. A beautiful girl sat studying for her exams by the light of a kerosene lamp. Her brother, just six years old, lay asleep beside her. I slept in another room.

My mother was busy calculating the money earned from the shop that day. The lamp glowed with evil intention. The clock struck 11 and the little girl’s eyes grew heavy with sleep. She dozed off not knowing when. Her drowsy body hit the lamp softly and the oil anointed her body. The house burnt with the brightest light. Her hair on fire she ran towards the kitchen screaming in terror. My mother was frantic and without thinking lifted a big pot of water and poured it over her body.

In trying to save my sister, she forgot about her son who was burning on his bed. I jumped out of mine and started shouting and crying. What could I do? My mother managed to stop the fire but not the effects it caused in just 15 short minutes. My mother fainted on the floor, my sister and brother kept screaming in pain. The neighbours rushed in and at once they were taken to the hospital. Even today I see the clouds of fear that burnt my mother’s eyes. Both my brother and sister are teenagers now. My brother is a boy and the scars won’t affect him much but it will be difficult for my sister to live her life with the burns that mark her body. Arun Kumar Sharma, Junior Citizens Academy, Pokhara.