Rachel is vaguely aware that she had the dream again. She is watching her little girl Mallory playing in the front yard and then she vanishes in front of her eyes. She runs around the yard yelling her name over and over. This dream is different, though. Her throat starts to burn every time she screams Mallory’s name. Her lungs feel like they are on fire. The coughing and choking sensation wake her up.
When she awoke, she was so stunned to see her room filled with smoke that she thought she was still dreaming at first. Then she noticed the hot flames dancing all around her room and realized it was not a dream. Panic seeped through her body and for a moment she was entranced by the fire.
I have to do something to get out of here. She could see no way out. The room was quickly engulfed in flames and the smoke was making it hard for her to breath. It felt like a knife was slicing through her lungs.
Rachel kicked off the covers and thought about her dwindling options. It would be impossible to go through the bedroom door. It was already blocked by a wall of flames. She glanced at the window where the fire was starting to eat away at the curtains. Her bedroom was on the second floor and faced the beach. It would be a long drop down, but hopefully the sand would cushion her fall. Choking on the smothering smoke, Rachel started wrapping her hands around the sheets to protect them from the glass. At most, she thought she could get some burns and a broken leg or ankle by jumping. The only other option was to stay and be burned alive.
Just as she started to brace herself, glass shattered and rained down on her face. At first, she thought the intensity of the heat blew out the window. Then a dark figure entered through the window and reached out for her.
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