I have yet to edit this story, so there might be a bit of typos here and there.
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A single imperative that she knew she must execute, yet no matter how hard she tried, her legs simply wouldn’t move. Her mind was too consumed by terror for her to think, and her body turned numb from trepidation.
All she could see were the images of her friends and families falling in front of her. All she could hear were the frantic yells of help. All she could smell was the stench of death and blood. All she could feel was the heat of the licking flames that surrounded her.
She felt a strong tug on her hand, but it did nothing to grab her attention. Time itself had slowed down, ensuring that every single small detail was imprinted deep into her mind.
She raised her hand. A sticky substance coated her arms. She tried to move her fingers, but her hand trembled uncontrollably. The image of spears impaling into women and children played itself repeatedly in her brain.
“Aurora! Look at me!”
Memories of those creatures with burning blood-colored eyes looming above her, sneering at her, entered her mind. She tried to block them, but all she could see was more blood oozing out of those eyes.
“AURORA! Aurora! Look at me! I’m Jasper! Aurora!”
Why did that name sound so familiar?
Aurora’s eyes snapped open.
The raging inferno licked and twisted, blackening the already dilapidated walls and ceilings. The wooden chairs and tables were ablaze. The shelf that she adored had collapsed, and books lay scattered on the floor. No, they were no longer books. The fragile papers stood no chance against the growing fire, having no choice but to turn into worthless soot that would eventually be carried away by the wind. Before Aurora’s very eyes, her entire home – her only home – was being burnt to nothing.
The heat besieged her in a scorching cocoon, and sweat trickled down her neck. The scent of the smoke prohibited her lungs from getting the required air. Aurora’s hand flew to her neck, gasping for air that she could not inhale. She felt asphyxiated.
She felt another powerful shake, and she saw those familiar deep green eyes. They were the same green eyes that had stared into hers whenever they played hide and seek.
“J-Jasper?” she whispered.
Sweat covered her forehead from both fear and the heat surrounding her.
“Jasper!” she hollered as she scrambled to her feet. Recollection of her situation came to her. “Thank god! Jasper!”
“Aurora, can you move?” her brother’s soothing voice asked. His calmness startled her, but that same calmness helped Aurora to focus and not lose her mind.
“Good because I need you to run -”
“What about you?”
Aurora’s gaze lowered, and her breathing stopped. She tried to calm herself down, but she could do nothing to help herself breathe. It was as if something had gotten stuck in her windpipe, choking her. That something had nothing to do with the smoke surrounding her.
She hurried over to Jasper’s side and pressed her hand on the wound, willing it to stop bleeding. No matter how hard she tried, the crimson blood continued to pour out of the gaping wound in her brother’s chest.
“No!” she screamed back. “No! I can’t leave you here! I can’t leave -”
“I’M GOING TO DIE ANYWAY!”
Aurora’s mind went blank.
It was such a simple word. It was something that Aurora had thought about countless times, but nothing she had ever done prepared her enough for this. Tears that she had been holding back spilled over and poured down her cheek. Staring at her brother, who had always been stronger than her, she couldn’t believe that he was going to die before her.
“Jas, you can’t,” she choked. “You can’t die before I do.”
“Remember what you promised? You would do whatever I told you to.”
“Not both of us,” Jasper grumbled. “We can’t both die.”
A loud bang sounded from the outside, and her brother’s grasp on her wrist loosened.
“Go,” he urged her.