Simon Lewes and Nasirs – he checks in on them.Simon thought he’d check in with Betty upstairs, was she okay? Did she see the news?He warned her and Patrick not to sleep too heavily, no pills or ear plugs. Just in case.
Simon was right to be wary for hiselderly neighbours.The sirens began wailing at 2am.Marley didn’t know thedetails, but all of his squad hadbeen called in immediately. Hechecked his equipment one lasttime and then left to do his duty.He saw the orange glow above thetown as he went through his frontdoor and knew it would be a longand dangerous night.
Megan saw the orangeglow in the distance overthe centre of town outof her bedroom window,and rushed next door.She asked Edward if sheand her family couldshelter in his basement.She knew it was amassive ask, that hehadn’t shown her hishideout to extend theknowledge of it to herwhole family… but shecouldn’t ask for shelterand leave her familyoutside.
Edward surprised her. He asked why she thought he had included so many bedsdown there? He wanted her safe, and would never ask her to abandon herfamily. She should go and get them right away.
For once, her family didn’t argue.Perhaps it was the sound of screamsand sirens brought on the wind...They grabbed their dearest possessionsand family portraits. Warren harvestedthe plant Megan had bought them. Itwas a blight-resistant life fruit, and hewouldn’t risk its destruction.
Warren wished hehad fireproofed theirbasement back whenhe had themoney, turned it intoa proper bunker likeEdward had.They could haveholed up on theirown property. As itwas, if the firesreached them theywould loseeverything.
Teresa was in pieces over not being able to help all their friends in the Street, herchildhood friend Bernice’s family, her sons girlfriend Annette and Ariette… but Edwardcouldn’t accommodate everyone.Warren told her to count her own blessings and hope for their friends. With anyluck, the massive fire burning Appaloosa wouldn’t get as far as them.
Megan, Edward and Allain had sent the Bailey family down into the bunker first, tellingthem they would join them when the fire got dangerously close. When Teresa heardthe Poesons shouting and Megan running down the hidden spiral staircase she senther family scuttling for their beds. The fire had reached Deasil Street.
The fire had blazed out of controland left the centre of town wherethe arsonists had started it.Not only had it spread along theroads and through gardenstowards Deasil Street in a straightline from town, it had circledround the back of them throughthe vast open spaces of the localgrasslands.The extremely sunny and dryweather of late meant the grassesof Appaloosa plains set alight alltoo easily.Ariette managed to get herdaughter of out of bed before thesmoke killed them both in theirsleep, and managed to shout toAnnette to flee with Peps. She’djoin her soon.
Annette did as she was bid, and wasrelieved to find Peps stable had notyet gone up in flames. She mountedher horse, praying her mother wouldjoin them quickly. But Peps tookfright at the heat, and gallopedaway, with Annette helpless on hisback, screaming for her mother.
Malika had headedaway from the mainblaze and waspatrolling the outerareas of town raisingthe alarm. To herhorror her youngneighbour Juliancame running up toher, terrified.He’d wanted to jointhe Kasitovas ontheir eveningout, but had got lost.
She took him downto the beach – theclosest safe zoneshe could think of.She had to helpothers, so told himthat if the fire gottoo close and setfire to the woodenpier, he was to goswim in the sea.
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