Chapter Sixteen (Part One)

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Dorothy couldn't draw a breath and couldn't move. Her eyes burned and her ears rang. The inside of her head was threatening to explode through her skull

After the blinding light had come heat and pain and chaos rushing at her, and then there was nothing but blackness. Nothing around her smelled right. She could see no light.

She was buried.

There was something hot near her. Burning. She could feel it on her left side.

She tried to move and discovered that the layer above her gave way, but more of whatever it was came down on her. She wriggled and pushed up, turning her face away from the debris that fell into her eyes.

A spot of light pierced through and she reached for it, pushing and shoving until she met daylight.

No, it wasn't daylight. It was something else. Like the stink all around her, the light was wrong. The sky had been blue. This was a dark fog. How long had she been buried?

The heat against her lower left side was becoming unbearable. She struggled to escape it to no avail. Her leg was pinned beneath something.

And there was fire. She could smell charred wood overpowering the stink in the air and could hear a muffled crackle. It was getting closer.

"Help," she said, and she had no voice. She swallowed hard and took a deep breath, but with a mouthful of that acrid air, she began to cough.

"Help," she said again, and again, and again until she was able to speak above a rasping whisper.

Her eyes watered. With the arm she had freed, she ran her hand across her lids thinking perhaps something covered them, but there was nothing there.

Almost nothing. Her hand came away wet with blood, and the sight of it on her fingertips shocked her.

Something bit her. Not sharp little teeth snapping, but a ravenous mouthful of fangs.

The fire had reached her.

"Help. Help. Help! Help! Help me! I'm burning!" she screamed at last, the ache in her lungs nothing compared to the scorching of flesh.

The pain was like nothing she had experienced in her entire life. She was about to be burned alive!

She kept on screaming and using her entire body to push against whatever held her down.

Three blurred shapes went past her field of vision. The debris on top of her was tossed away, and Dorothy heard the words stove and dead. Was she dead and trapped in her body? How could they have heard her if she was dead?

Strong hands grasped her and pulled her up, and she held on as someone slapped at her legs.

"Is there anyone else here?" the man who held her asked.

Dorothy stared at him for a moment, then she looked around her.

Where was this place? The grave she had been pulled from was just a pile of bricks and wood and plaster.

Home, a voice said through her ringing ears. This is home. This was home.

It's happened. This is an invasion. We've been shelled.

She couldn't believe it. All this time, she hadn't really thought it would be possible for Halifax to become the target of an enemy so far away. Now that it had happened, she wondered how she could have been so stupid. Weren't there submarines spotted beyond the harbour?

The man gave her a shake. "Is there anyone else at home?"

"N-no, just me. My brother is at school."

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