Inferno (A Short Story)

Vertex – Vertex


The scars on my arms constantly remind me of a night I would rather forget. A night that left me mad at myself for putting lives in danger.A night that I wish had a better story but this is as good as it gets.

I usually spent evenings with my little brother, Jo. Just the two of us in our family house. I liked being with him but if we’re being honest a 2 year old isn’t the best company. My evenings were full of “No! Don’t do that.” or “Get down from there.” He seemed to enjoy it. The yelling and being around me that is. Our routine usually involved me preparing dinner for us and my parents, feeding Jo then bathing him and putting him to sleep.

The night I earned my scars wasn’t any different. I was exhausted from a long day I had earlier but I started preparing dinner as usual on the stove and when I was done, put food aside for my parents to find whenever they decided to show up. I fed my brother and gave him a bath. I decided to let him play a bit before putting him to bed.

As he was playing with his toys and I was browsing through Netflix, trying to find something entertaining to watch, electricity went out. My brother started to cry immediately because it suddenly became dark. I picked him up and lit a few candles to light up the room. He stopped crying eventually and I cuddled him until he fell asleep. Usually I’d wait up until my parents got home but I was really tired and somehow ended up falling asleep with him by my side.

I’m not sure how long I had been sleeping when I started smelling something burning. I initially thought I was dreaming but then I remembered the candles. I jumped up immediately only to be greeted by bright flames in the kitchen. The door there was our only way of exiting the house.

I don’t know what I was thinking but my first thought was to get a wet cloth to cover Jo with. I had seen people do that in the movies. So I picked him up carefully, because I didn’t want to deal with a crying toddler too, and rushed to his room to grab a small blanket and a ready made bottle. By this time, the fire had started spreading passed the kitchen and we needed to get out of the house quickly. I grabbed my phone and started making my way out. I got to the kitchen which by now was up in flames and I was starting to choke.

I wrapped Joe in his blanket and held him close to my body to protect him from the flames. Without thinking twice, I started running through the kitchen because that was the only way of getting out of the house. By the time I was getting to the door, I was light headed and could barely see or move. All I knew was I had to make it out of that door.

Eventually I made it outside and dropped softly to the ground. I looked at Jo and by the time he woke up I was dying. At least I thought I was. I heard the sound of the siren in the distance and heard Jo’s wailing. I tried to hold him but my arms were in so much pain I couldn’t move them. Everything then went dark.

I woke up in a white room and started panicking asking for Jo. The nurses told me he was okay and playing in the children’s ward. I looked down at my hands and saw the burns on my arms and started crying because I was so overwhelmed with everything. My parents made it to the hospital a little while later.

Today Jo and I are inseparable. Even though looking at the scars makes me angry, I’m happy he is alive. I have no idea how but I’m glad he is. Being an older sister, I make it a point to remind him that I saved his life whenever he tries to annoy me. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.


Hey everyone! The prompt for this post (Day 18) was “By the time he woke up I was dying… write a creative short story including this line.” This story is purely fictional but reminds me of the time I almost burnt the house because of load-shedding in Zambia and another time I burnt my hand and didn’t realise it was burning. It’s funny now but it was far from funny then.

I’m running slightly behind with my Afrobloggers Challenge posts because last week wasn’t the best week for me but I’m back now and I will get to the end! So be sure to catch up on all my posts when they go up.

Stay safe. Black lives matter. Stop sexual abuse.

Thanks for reading and don’t use candles when you’re tired!


Wonani Xx

6 thoughts on “Inferno (A Short Story)

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