At 2:00 A.M. on Tuesday morning, I was awakened by an uneasiness that was being caused by the hot temperature in the room. Sweating, I thought, "Am I sick?" Beside me slept Cheyenne and below me slept my noiseless, drowsy brother on the lower stage of the bunk bed. The room was lightly lit. I assumed the lamp next to my head that had been covered with a thin blanket to dim the light was causing the glow. I began to stir, and rolled over in discomfort. I realized it wasn't the hot temperature that was bothering me so much as the toxic smell of plastic burning. Unconsciously, I pulled back the covers being careful not to disturb the sleeping child beside me, and grabbed a hold of the black metal frame of my bed. My reflexes reacted quickly, and I released my grip. The hot metal had burned my hand.
In that short second, I turned my head without taking a breath and saw that a fire was dancing up the side of the wall, trailing black ash behind it.
"Cheyenne," I whispered, not knowing whether I should be waking her up or leaving her to sleep. "Cheyenne, wake up! Please wake up!" I grabbed her arms and tossed her body until her heavy eyelids cracked open.
"What are you doing? Why did you wake me up?" she questioned, still dozy with sleep and num with warmth.
"Go get Shelley." I told her in a serious but worried tone. "Tell her to come here." The second phrase wasn't as concrete, for my voice wavered with uncertainty and fear. Cheyenne climbed down the ladder, skipping the last few notches of metal and jumping to the ground. In a hurry to get away from the heat and smoke, I did the...