Three children trapped in a fire. No time. No escape. No hope. Death is certain.
But they’d forgotten about Grandpa Billy.
Here, for your reading pleasure is a short extract from Grandpa Billy….
…Then the time came, not long after, that I was cowering in my hot stuffy wardrobe, the monster licking and sniffing at my bedroom door. Its smoky breath choked me as it waited to taste me. Somebody had let the monster out downstairs. By the time the smoke woke me up, and I got out of bed in my underpants to take a look, most of the stairs were ablaze. I ran back into my bedroom, hoping in my childish way that the monster would stay on the stairs and leave us kids alone. I was wrong.
It must have taken the creature a while, but eventually it sneaked and snaked along the hallway, sniffing us out. I tried shouting out for Joanne, but she was screaming so loudly that she couldn’t hear me, or was too frightened to listen. But that didn’t last long.
The monster must have liked the taste of my sister Joanne and baby Andrew next door. The baby stopped crying fairly quickly, and Joanne stopped shouting for our mom. It was then that I got into my rickety wardrobe and snuggled myself as deep in as I could amongst the clothes then shut the door. All I could now hear was the monster’s muffled roar from the hallway. I’d been shouting for a while, but my throat was so dry that my yells were now squeaks. Even tears wouldn’t come. Where were mom and dad? They’d only popped over the road to see Mrs. Crowther; but I knew Mrs. Crowther had probably turned into the Red Lion.
Then, over the monster’s snarls and crackles, I heard the most wonderful sound imaginable. It was Grandpa Billy’s voice saying: ‘What you doin’ in there, you daft little bugger? Come out here to your Grandpa’. His voice was quiet, but it filled the room with warmth greater than the heat of the pounding flames outside. I didn’t hesitate. I was out like a flash. My tears magically turned on again, but my voice still squeaked. I stood there, coughing and spluttering, my eyes streaming with the thick smog that was crawling in under the door.
© Ian M. Faulkner