These entries from March's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "March Writing Challenge."
Her lungs were burning, but she couldn’t stop now. The fire climbed the walls the same way painters brush the canvas. Quick and unpredictable. She had to move fast if she wanted to prevent herself from becoming one with the smoke. Her arms were tight around the small boy. His clothes were ripped, and his skin was grey from the ash. Her breathing apparatus was already on the fragile child. Her steps were light and quick on the wooden floor which could collapse anytime.
Her co-workers told her that it was a lost cause, but she did not want to listen to the harsh words of the exhausting truth. Moreover, it was their truth not hers. She knew that her heart couldn’t bear another terrible news about a death of innocents. She wasn’t supposed to be here at all. She wasn’t supposed to be a firefighter. Still here she was, risking her life because there was no one else to do it. She had been hoping for the war to end since the day it began. Yet there was no sign of peace in sight. The oppressed shouted loud enough not to hear the real victims of it all, the children. The two cities collided, causing blood to wash the streets, leaving almost no one to live for. The rich fled to other countries but continued their bets on them. It is a cruel game where the people don’t even get to roll their own dice.
However, she didn’t believe in fate; she never let others write her story. So, one day she put her framed legal certificate into the drawer and enlisted into the firefighters. Sometimes our dreams must be put aside for the greater good. Many of her friends have done the same, choosing a profession where they can be out there saving lives and helping others. She could hear the mother’s cry as she walked out. She couldn’t understand what others were saying, and every pat on her back throbbed with pain. She was guided to a car which drove her fast towards the nearest hospital that hadn’t turned into debris yet. She felt reality slowly drifting away from herself as she fell into the realm of dreams.
She had no idea how long she had been sleeping, but her body felt tense when she woke up. Her arms were wrapped up in bindings. Her eyes felt like melting from the bright lights, but somehow she managed to sharpen her vision. A small boy stood at the end of her bed, holding withered blue flowers, she guessed that they were picked from the street nearby since they still had roots. She looked up from the flowers to see a smile wider than the whole galaxy. A smile that made it all worth it.
Her lungs were burning, but she couldn’t stop now. The shouts of the crowd were drowned out by the thundering beats of her heart ringing in her ears as she ran. And ran. And ran. Tears falling down her face as she did.[ 6:47 A.M.]
The streets were still empty when she made her morning run around the neighborhood. Sweat beaded her forehead, her legs were burning, and her clothes clung to her skin.
The cold morning air that kissed her skin wasn’t enough to hinder her. She had to train one last time. It was the day.
After an hour and a half, she’d be speeding up around the school field, racing against five other contenders.
It was a small town, and it’s rare that she gets to represent her hometown, especially in the Athletics Meet, the most-awaited sporting event of the season.
She made a final run around the neighborhood. When she reached their street—out of breath and sweating— she almost slumped to the ground as she saw the flashing of blue and red from the ambulance parked in front of their house.
She raced past curious neighbors woken up by the wailing of the ambulance she somehow missed to hear.
She stopped on their yard, and there on the stretcher being brought inside the vehicle was her mother, pale and unmoving.[7:43 A.M.]
Pills… Suicide… Dead on arrival…
Her eyes were red, her cheeks blotched with tears, and her whole body was trembling as she sat on her school’s bleachers half-filled with giddy students.
The meet was to start in 20 minutes. But here she was, still stuck in the moment at the hospital when the doctor painstakingly told them that her mother had taken too many sleeping pills. She and her father were dumbfounded.
Her mother would do no such thing. She was always smiling, and she would always tell her daughter to never give up.
She would always tell Anya to go on, even if boulders were blocking her way, even if the ocean raged against her, even if an abyss loomed before her. She would always tell her that there’s a way.
Anya fell to her knees as she tried to take in the news that her mother was gone, that her hero had died. If it weren’t for her father pushing her to fight this storm for her mom, she’d still be in the hospital, sulking in a corner and drowning herself in her own tears.[8:03 A.M.]
Her lungs were burning, but she couldn’t stop now. The shouts of the crowd were drowned out by the thundering beats of her heart ringing in her ears as she ran.
And ran. And ran. Tears falling down her face as she did.
She finished the race. First.
The crowd roared in awe and pride, but Anya couldn’t hear anything
She sank to the ground, breathing heavily as she poured her heart out. People rushed to her, but she didn’t care.
All she could hear was her mother’s sweet voice whispering in her ear from last night, saying, “I love you, my child. I love you.”
Now, she could only close her eyes and say, “For you, mom. For you.”