Scars

By: Vivian Ward

 (A BWWM Single Parent Romance Novel)

Chapter 1

Mia



Pure adrenaline pumped through my veins as I crawled across my bedroom floor with a thick cloud of smoke swirling above my head. The echo of the crackling and popping from the scorching fire made it near impossible for me to hear Lil’ Boo-Boo. I would normally put him in his toddler bed, but with his head cold, I left him on the couch where he fell asleep. Coughing and choking on the limited air supply in our two-bedroom apartment, I frantically searched for him as I felt with my hands, arms, feet, and legs. Everything was so dark that I couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of me.



“Lil’ Boo-Boo!” My army crawl slowed as I got near the couch and began feeling for him with my hands. “Brayden! Answer mommy!”



Flames were everywhere I looked, and I became terrified that maybe he was hiding someplace to escape the fire. My heart dropped as I thought about all the hiding places that he could be in. He could be in a closet, one of his two toy chests, under the couch, in a corner, in a cabinet—the possibilities were endless. I was beginning to think that I might not find him in time.



“Brayden!” I kept crawling and feeling around. “Come on, Lil’ Boo-Boo! Where are you?” I already knew that once I found him, I was going to have to figure out how to escape from our second-story window. “Mommy needs you! We have to get out of the fire!”



The thick smoke was choking me, threatening to deplete any molecule of oxygen that may be near me. It was so hard to call out to him since I could hardly breathe. I knew he had to be just as scared as I was. What three-year-old wouldn’t be? At that moment—probably the only moment ever—I was glad that our apartment was tiny. The only rooms left to search were the bathroom and kitchen; I opted to check the bathroom first. I continued calling his name as I crawled on the floor, hoping he was lying low, too.



“Mommy’s looking for you, baby! Please, come out!” I wanted to cry, but I knew that would only make matters worse. Keep calm, Mia. You can’t let him see you get upset because it will only scare him. I stretched my arm out in front of me and felt for the bathroom door.



After waving my hand around a few times, I felt the wood door and pushed it open. “Lil’ Boo-Boo, are you in here?”



A booming crash prevented me from hearing him if he did answer. “Boo-Boo! Answer me!” I hope he didn’t run out the front door and go into the main hall between the apartments.



“Mommy!” I heard him cry. For a split second, I was relieved that I found him in the apartment with me, but we still had to get out.



Fanning the smoke from in front of my face, I squinted my eyes as I tried to see where he was. “Where are you, Boo-Boo?”



“Over here,” he shrieked. His shaky voice melted my heart. I knew how scared he was.



Feeling around, I located the sink, toilet, and clothes basket without running into him. He must be in the bath tub. “Are you in the tub?”



“Uh-huh.”



I raised up and sat on my knees in front of the warm, porcelain bath tub and waved my arms around until I felt the trunk of his body. “Is this your arm?” I asked as I grabbed what I thought felt like his arm. The instant I touched him, I lost it. I was so relieved to have my hands on him that I began to sob. I knew that making it to him was only half the battle. His tiny life was in my hands, and it was up to me to get us out of there. He tightly wrapped his arms around my neck and held onto me for dear life. If the smoke wasn’t going to choke me to death, he would. “Boo-Boo, loosen up your arms, baby. Mommy can’t breathe.”



Once he loosened his death grip on me, I positioned him on my back as I began crawling out of the bathroom. Half-way across the living room floor, a ceiling beam fell and nearly missed our heads by inches. Brayden began crying as he tightened his grip around my neck again. Tapping his arm, I told him to loosen his arms as I continued my army crawl towards the front door. It was our only hope of escape, and I was praying that the stairwell would still be intact so that we could make it down them. Please, God. Don’t let us get trapped. I don’t want my baby or me to die.

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