Grabbing onto Jordan’s still passed-out body, I drag him away from the stairs, deeper into the hall in case the fire makes its way up here before I can get back to him.
Bringing the neck of my shirt back up over my nose and mouth, I try to breathe in as little of the smoke-filled air as possible as I kick down the second door. Just like before, I immediately drop to my knees and start feeling around the room, shouting for Finnley.
Right when I start to lose hope and my body starts to shut down, reacting to the amount of smoke I’ve inhaled and the adrenaline slowly leaving me, my hand brushes against the warm, smooth skin of a leg.
“Finnley! Baby, can you hear me?” I shout as I quickly move my way up her body, my hands sliding up her legs. I wince when I feel rough, blistered skin every so often along the outside of one leg and I can’t stop the sob that escapes my lips knowing she suffered burns.
My hands continue moving upward, realizing she’s naked and there are more burns peppering most of the skin of her upper thighs, hips and waist. I want to scream and cry for her and what she went through before I got here, but I don’t have time. I have to get her out of here. I have no idea how long she’s been unconscious and no idea the amount of smoke she’s inhaled.
I make it up to her face when I hear a loud creak and the sound of the floor on the other side of the house caving in. I can hear muffled screams and shouts from outside and I know I need to hurry.
Ripping the air tank off of my back, I quickly unhook the mask from the side of the tank and press it down over Finnley’s face. The light from the moon coming in the window right above her is enough for me to just make out the features of her face and to see that the clear plastic mask isn’t fogging up with the heat from her breaths and her chest isn’t moving. These air tanks are demand valve, which means the person needs to be breathing in order for the air to hit their lungs.
“No! Oh Jesus, no! Finnley!” I scream through my tears as I lean down, pressing my ear against her chest to listen for her heartbeat, my own stuttering when I hear nothing but deadly silence.
Just then, the window above my head shatters. I quickly cover Finnley’s face as pieces of glass rain down on top of us. I look up just as D.J. sticks his head inside the now open window.
“Can you lift her to me?” he shouts into the room, the sound of the house burning down around us so loud that I can barely hear him.
Getting up as fast as I can, I slide my arms under Finnley’s back and legs and bring her up to my chest. I can just make out the red splotches of burned skin all over the lower half of her body as I bring her close to me and I feel something inside me break into a million pieces. I cradle the warmth of her body tightly to me, kissing the top of her head as I lift her through the broken window and into D.J.’s waiting arms. He moves her up and over his shoulder to make it easier to climb down the ladder, her head and arms draped down his back with his hand clutching firmly behind her knees.
Before he disappears from the window, I turn and yank the comforter off of the top of the bed, racing to the window and draping it over Finnley’s naked body.
“She’s not breathing, D.J.! Fuck! Just hurry!” I yell after him as he moves down the ladder with the ease of someone who has done this a million times. I see men from two additional fire departments battle the blaze together all around the ladder now that the tanker has arrived. They’re able to keep the fire away from this area for now, but I know it won’t hold much longer.
DJ looks back up at me one last time before he gets to the bottom. “I’ll take care of her Collin, just get your ass down here before the entire place blows.”
Once the two of them are safely on the ground and I see D.J. racing towards the ambulance parked in the street, I turn and quickly make my way back through the room, trying not to slam into furniture since visibility in here is nil. The only thing keeping me sane right now is the knowledge that D.J. is a trained paramedic and so f**king amazing at it that I always ask him why the hell he never became a doctor. If anyone can help Finnley, it will be him.
The smoke has gotten impossibly thicker and I know I don’t have much time. My lungs burn with every breath I take and I’m starting to get lightheaded from not having any good, clean air in my system for so long.
Jordan is still unconscious out in the hallway and doesn’t even budge as I grab both of his wrists, pull them up over his head and drag him back into the room I just came from. As soon as I get to the window and crouch down next to him to heft him up over my shoulder, his eyes suddenly pop open and he shoves me roughly away. My body is so weak that I immediately fall backwards, my ass slamming into the ground.
Jordan begins coughing violently as he crab-crawls away from me, screaming at me as he goes. “STAY AWAY FROM ME! STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!”
I dive forward, grabbing onto his ankle and yank him towards me.
“Stop being an ass**le! I’m not going to hit you again. We need to get the f**k out of this house right now before it collapses.”
He kicks his leg out, his foot connecting with my chest and I drop my hold on his leg while he scrambles up to his feet.
“No, no, no! Leave me, just f**king leave me!” he shouts.
I jump up to my feet and charge him. This motherfucker is the reason all of this happened. He started this fire, he hurt Finnley and now he won’t f**king cooperate so I can get us both out of here without being killed.
I grab onto the front of his shirt and pull him towards me as hard as I can. He loses his footing and stumbles to the ground. I don’t even bother trying to get him back up on his feet. While he screams and struggles against me, his feet digging into the carpet, I pull him towards the window using every last bit of energy left in me.