When I was eighteen, there was a fire outbreak at what I used to call my home. We were sound asleep: my mum, my dad, my sister, and me. Then the fire alarm went off. I heard it at first, but I thought that it was just in my head. However, it began to sound louder and louder. Just then, I heard my name ringing in my ears.

“Lisa! Lisa! Wake up, Lisa!” I heard repeatedly. I wished it were just a dream, because I was so tired. “Lisa!” I heard again. This time, I woke up, but my vision was still blurry. I saw my dad in an orange glow, hovering right next to my bed. Two things came to mind. It was either I was dreaming, or I was dying (because, to state the obvious, humans do not glow!). “Lisa, there has been a fire outbreak!” Those words got to me amidst the cracklings sounding from the background. “We need to leave the house. We need to move now right now. Hurry; get up and run towards the entrance.” Dad has always been the rigid type. Nevertheless, that day, I heard his tone louder than I heard his words. I literally felt something; fear maybe.

I was still confused when he spoke to me—I was just waking up. However, he grabbed me mildly and shook almost all the sleepy scales off my eyes. Only then did I realise that it was no dream. Reality was happening.

I dashed for the entrance. Following behind were my sister, my mum, and dad. We were almost there, when a huge board from the ceiling suddenly fell down making the wooden floor around it lit with fire. This separated mum and dad, who were following behind, from sister and me. “Mum, Dad!” My sister and I screamed simultaneously. “My babies!” mum called back, stretching her hands. The heat from the burning board beneath was so much, so she withdrew her hands. “You two just go on ahead, and never look back!” Dad firmly instructed. “No! We are not leaving without you,” I said, trying so hard to discard the horrible thoughts roaring in my head. Just then, the entire ceiling started crashing down piece after piece. “Go now!” Dad shouted. “No…” sister muttered, the both of us totally giving in to our tears and fears.

As we beheld our parents, I felt two hands grab me by the top of my arms. The firefighters were finally here. As they hurriedly carried sister and me out, I pleaded with them to save my parents. “I promise to do all within my power, Miss,” one pledged. He seemed to me like the leader of the team. He kept me with some of his colleagues outside the house and attempted a rush back into the fire with his fellows. However, unfair as it was, fate had other plans. The entire building came crashing down. As this happened, I was hearing screams of mum from the inside. Sister kept screaming, calling out to mum and dad. The neighbours held her firmly, seeing she was determined to go into the inferno—as though she was going to save them. Firefighters were sprinting from spot to spot, calling out to each other, shouting out instructions and suggestions. By this time, more hands from the neighbourhood had joined the rescue mission. Finally, the men succeeded in putting the fire out.

“Mum? Dad?” I called. There was no reply. The silence everywhere became so loud. As if signalled to, everyone kept quiet and still. There were no more noises. There was no more running around the house in a rescue mission. And, most horrendously, there was no more mum, and there was no more dad