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Baptism by Fire

An Emergency Story by

Mypiot
 

 

                                                                            

         Baptism by Fire

By Mypiot

 

Johnny Gage walked into the locker room with the damp towel still wrapped around his waist. He glanced up at the clock and noticed it was now past eleven o’clock and, as usual, he was going to be the last man in bed. Being the only Probie at this station meant he always ended up being the last man to get his shower after a fire.

This evening’s fire hadn’t been all that remarkable as far as fires went. It had started in the attached garage of a large sprawling home, and thankfully they had been able to contain the flames to the garage. They had all returned to the station ready for a shower and a good night’s sleep.

Johnny removed the towel from his waist, dried off his hair with it and then tossed it into the laundry hamper in the corner of the locker room. He reached inside his locker for a fresh pair of boxers and a clean white t-shirt and quickly slipped them on.

He gathered up his soiled clothes and grimaced as he picked up his discarded uniform shirt. It reeked of soot and stale sweat. He pulled out his own duffle bag and shoved the offensive smelling garment, along with his soiled t-shirt and boxers, inside the bag and zipped it up.

Once he had taken care of his personal laundry, Johnny closed his locker and sat down on the bench with a sigh. He knew he should probably head up to bed, but Los Angeles was currently in the middle of an oppressive heat wave, and even though he had had his shower, he still felt hot and sticky. Somehow it always seemed to take at least two showers before he really felt like he had rinsed away all the grime he accumulated when fighting a fire… especially in this heat. The thought of climbing into bed now only made him sweat, so he grabbed his turnout pants and his boots and got them ready, just in case another call came in while he was still downstairs. After completing that task, he tiredly made his way out of the locker room.

Quietly, he slipped into the kitchen and made his way over to the fridge. He opened the door and was rewarded with the sight of half-full pitcher of lemonade sitting inside. He grabbed a glass out of the cupboard and poured himself a tall cool glass of the beverage and headed outside to the parking lot of the station.

The full moon had now risen high enough in the night sky so that it cast long shadows across the parking lot. Even though the temperature was still in the mid-seventies, Johnny found the night air refreshing after the scorching furnace type of heat from the triple digit, mid-day temperatures.

At eighteen he was the youngest man working at Station 10. He was also the only Probie on C shift.  Johnny had graduated high school with honors at the age of 17 the previous June, and over the summer he’d celebrated is eighteenth birthday. Four weeks after his birthday, Johnny had entered the Fire Academy and started his training for his chosen career.

He had worked hard, and hadn’t hesitated to take everything that they threw at him during his training. He’d spent hours poring over text books, working out at the gym to improve his physical stamina, and practising drills. He looked for every available opportunity to listen to the advice of any senior fireman he could convince to talk to him… especially when it came from his mentor, Jack Flynn.

It hadn’t surprised anyone when he had graduated first in his class… after all, he had spent every hour God gave him studying and learning everything he possibly could about being a firefighter. And it also hadn’t been a huge shock when he had been assigned to Jack Flynn’s station. Johnny was currently working on the pumper under Jack’s watchful eye.

Johnny had been at Station 10 for over six months now, and he was half-way through his probationary period. In two more months he would turn nineteen, and Johnny had every intention that, as soon as his Probie days were up, he was going to immediately switch over and train for rescue work.

But for now he was enjoying his days on the engine. He was learning a lot and he especially enjoyed working with Jack. He hoped that someday he would be as good as Jack was… Jack was a legend in the department and Johnny had been honored when he discovered that Jack had pulled a few strings to get him assigned to his engine.

Johnny smiled to himself as he sat down on the step outside the back door of the station and gazed up at the night sky while he enjoyed his glass of lemonade.

                                                   ~                         ~                         ~

Jack Flynn was lying in his bunk, trying to convince himself that he wasn’t as hot as he felt. He had heard John exit from the shower and he was waiting for him to come on up to bed. When ten minutes passed with still no sign of his young charge, he decided to get up and make sure that the kid was okay.

He made his way over to the center of the room and instead of using the stairs he simply slid down the fire pole. When he didn’t find Johnny in the locker room he made his way out to the kitchen and found the back door wide open with the young man sitting on the step drinking a glass of lemonade.

Deciding that maybe the kid had the right idea, he went over and poured himself a frosty glass of lemonade, and made his way over to join Johnny. Jack was more than proud of his protégé. He had not only finished first in his class at the academy, but by all accounts, he had all the earmarks of being a first-rate fireman. The kid seemed to have all the right instincts. He also had just the right amount of courage, as well as a healthy respect for the dangers involved, when it came to dealing with fire.

His positive vibe had certainly been a breath of fresh air for this Station of seasoned and somewhat jaded hose jockeys. He was full of energy and eager to please, without having a big ego. He took the job seriously, and he had a first-rate sense of ethics. Even the Cap was impressed by the way his Probie conducted himself.

Johnny always got up and slid down the pole every time the klaxons sounded… even if the call wasn’t for the pumper. Johnny would still get up and help the others on with their gear, or just simply close the door for them after they had left. He was always willing to help wash down the rigs… even if it wasn’t his. He was social and well-liked by everyone. He rose early and made coffee, and if he saw a task that needed to be done, he took the initiative and went ahead and did it without waiting to be told to do it.

Another plus about Johnny was his almost photographic memory when it came to maps and street names. As soon as John had been assigned to Station 10 he began to study the maps until he knew them like the back of his hand. Even on his days off he could be found riding his motorcycle around the side streets and alleyways, familiarizing himself with every nook and cranny… every single landmark, park and school in their area. He hadn’t been at the station very long before everyone had become aware of Johnny’s knowledge regarding the layout of the area. Whenever they got a call, everyone, including the Captain, deferred to Johnny when it came to mapping out the quickest route to get to the scene.

 Yes sir, John Gage was going to be one hell of a fireman, as well as a great team player. The only thing he hadn’t experienced so far was a really dangerous fire.

Oh, he had been in some big fires, but he had yet to experience one of those huge out of control…really hairy situations, that could either make or break a Probie. So far his only frame of reference for those kinds of fires had all come from text books, or had been under controlled conditions at the academy. Text book scenarios, and the real thing were like night and day, and Johnny had yet to test his mettle up against a true monster.

It wasn’t easy to lay aside your survival instinct and put your life on the line when it came to running into a burning building. When it came down to fighting fire, age didn’t come into it as much as your intestinal fortitude; for as much as they talked about being a part of a team, or the brotherhood of the firefighter, there would also be times when you were inside a building, or perhaps even separated from your crew, when you would feel very much alone and on your own.

Jack had no doubt the kid would do well… but he still couldn’t help but be anxious over how the kid would handle his first life and death situation on his own… How much of his training would he retain under such a harrowing situation?  Only time would tell. … If only Jack had known it, that time would be coming sooner than he expected.

Jack took his glass of lemonade and walked over to the open door. 

“You having trouble settling down tonight kid?” he asked.

Johnny turned around and grinned. “Naw, it’s not that. It’s just too hot and stuffy up there in the dorms … I figured I’d come out here and cool off a bit before I tried to get some sleep. I got my bunkers all ready for a call, and just decided to sit out here and enjoy the evening breeze.”

Johnny shifted over to make room on the step for Jack before he returned to his star gazing. Jack sat on the step observing the young man for a minute. He could tell Johnny was working something over in his mind.

“Penny for your thoughts?” he asked softly.

Johnny glanced over at his friend and mentor and smiled.“I was just thinking ahead to when I’m done with all of this Probie shit. Once my year is up, I want to put in for training as a rescue man. That has always been my goal. I was just kinda workin’ out the timeline inside my head.”

Jack chuckled at his over-eager boot.“Relax son, you’re not even nineteen yet. You’ve got plenty of time. You’re already one hell of a fireman John, and you’re gaining invaluable experience while you’re working on the rig. It will serve you well later on in life. Don’t be in such a rush to leave the rig for rescue; you’ve got all the time in the world… besides, I hate the thoughts of losing you to rescue just yet.”

Johnny looked thoughtful before he shrugged his shoulders. “Hey…I’m gonna miss you too…” Johnny stopped speaking for a moment, while he tried to put his feelings into words. “I guess I was just thinking of Kyle Armstrong over at 29’s. You know he was a Probie just like me… in fact we were in the same graduating class. His dream was to go into rescue too…” Johnny let the sentence trail off into the night air.

Kyle Armstrong was a young firefighter who had made a classic rookie mistake at a brush fire and had paid for his error with his life the month before. Jack and Johnny had gone to the funeral together. It had been a sobering lesson for the young man, on making sure you kept your wits about you, and not to panic.

Jack knew exactly how Johnny was feeling … Hell every firefighter had felt like that at some point in their career. He drained the last of his lemonade from the glass and then put his arm around the younger man’s shoulders in a fatherly gesture.

“Look, John. We’ve all been where you are at some point in time. We’ve all struggled with this same dilemma about the dangers of our job. That is what having such a dangerous job does to you, John ... It makes you want to get in all the living you can, to reach all your life goals as fast as possible … just in case.

“We make a point to cherish every single moment we have with those we love. It makes you appreciate all the good things you have in life…. You find yourself stopping more often to notice more sunrises and more sunsets. You begin to smile at all the simple stuff. You just don’t want to miss a single turn on the path of life… just in case it suddenly ends. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, and I understand that. We all do, and it’s not a bad philosophy. But just give yourself some time kid. You’re only eighteen. Rescue will still be waiting for you when you’re 21. Besides, I was kinda hoping you’d be happy to stay working with me for a few years first.”

Johnny blushed at Jack’s obvious affection for him, and he had to admit, it felt nice to think that Jack thought of him as a kind of brother ... or son.  He also appreciated the fact that Jack had never been judgemental about his age. Like the Cap, Jack judged him on the merits of his abilities and how well he handled himself on the job. He turned back to face the man beside him and nodded.

“Okay, Jack, I guess putting if off for another year or two won’t kill me,” he allowed.

Jack leaned back and tipped his head up towards the stars and smiled. He had to admit, he had kinda taken on the role of surrogate parent now that Marion had moved out of Los Angeles. Having Johnny on the rig just made him feel better. He shifted his gaze back toward Johnny and decided to change the subject.

“So, did you get Marion all settled in up in Sacramento?”

Johnny nodded his head. “Yeah, I met her friend Clar,a too. I think she’ll be happy in her new place. It’s smaller and less hassle, plus I think she was ready to go back home… I think she’s finally come to terms with Phillip and James’ deaths.”

Jack patted Johnny affectionately on his shoulder. “I think you had a lot to do with that John… you were good for her.”

“We were good for each other,” Johnny corrected.

Johnny was just about to say something further, but his comment was cut off by the sound of the klaxons calling them out to a large factory fire. If the amount of manpower being summoned over the radio was any indicator, this fire was already huge.

                                          ~                                     ~                                       ~

When they arrived on the scene, the first thing they noticed was the heavy smoke pouring out of the first floor windows. It was a large three story building that had been built in the dying days of the last century. Its outer shell was brick, but inside it was full of large square cut timber supports that had had over six decades to dry out.

Inside it housed a family-owned furniture factory. It had been handed down for over four generations from father to son, and they prided themselves on being one of the last bastions of traditional handmade wooden furniture. That meant the entire building was full of fuel for the fire that was raging inside.

To make matters worse, the factory also had areas that were dedicated to painting and staining the products it made. It was a firefighter’s worst nightmare. Somewhere in the bowels of the building were stored gallons of paint, stain and paint thinner, all of which would explode once the flames reached them.

Johnny was standing beside the pumper pulling on his SCBA gear. The air outside was already sultry and oppressive without adding the heat from the fire on top of the added layer of his turnouts and breathing apparatus. By the time Johnny had everything on, it felt like his gear weighed more than he did. But to Johnny his equipment gave him a sense of security. To him it felt like he was putting on his suit of armour. The flames were the massive fire-breathing dragon, while he was the dragon slayer. His hose was his sword and his gear was his shield.

As he and Jack made their way over to the incident commander to await their instructions, Johnny took in the sights and sounds all around him. He could feel the intense surge of adrenaline building in his body.  Somewhere behind that thick curtain of dense smoke the fire lay hiding. He watched in awe as a sudden burst of fire shot out of the first floor window, almost as if someone inside had been aiming a flame thrower at them.

The two of them had been assigned to take an inch and half and tackle the southeast corner at the rear of the building. Jack tapped Johnny on the shoulder and pointed to the nozzle, indicating to Johnny that he was going to let him take the lead on this one, while he would be supporting him from behind. Johnny grinned back at his partner and nodded his thanks at the show of trust Jack had in him.

As the two men attacked the blaze, Johnny couldn’t help but notice that the fire was almost mesmerizing, as the flames swayed and danced in reaction to the steady spray of water he and Jack were aiming at them. It was as if he were a snake charmer. His hose was the flute and the flames were the cobra, changing their directions according to his movements.

Inside the factory the heat was building. Suddenly one of the small sealed-off offices had finally succumbed to the blaze and its windows blew out, sending a ball of flames shooting towards a fresh supply of oxygen outside. They had finally made some headway on the area they were working on when Johnny felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Cap says we’re supposed to head over to the western stairwell. The fire hasn’t reached that side of the building yet, and our team is being reassigned to head on up to the roof to ventilate, and see if we can’t release some of the heat that is building up inside.”

Johnny nodded to show that he had understood, as two other men from 118 took over their lines, while he and Jack made their way over to grab their axes.

Inside the building the heat was so intense it felt like they were inside a furnace. Sweat trickled down the back of his shirt and pooled along the waistband of his trousers. There was an almost sinister foreboding feeling that began to creep over him as he entered inside the building.

On his way up the stairs Johnny went over what he had been taught in training about ventilating a building. He knew that at all times you had to treat the fire with respect, or it would undoubtedly kill you. He could still hear his instructor’s voice inside his head… “You always walk on the outside perimeters of the roof when you arrive, not the center. Both fire and water can soften and weaken the joists, so be on the lookout for spongy areas beneath your feet. Gradually work your way toward the center. You need to get as close to the center of the roof as much as you possibly and safely can, because most of the heat is usually in the middle. It’s a tricky call, Gage, and one that takes time and experience to master, so make sure for the first few times you go up, you have a senior firefighter with you….”

Johnny made sure he did everything the way he had been taught in training, while keeping a close eye on Jack, taking his cues from the older man, watching and learning, taking full advantage of his years of experience. Quickly and efficiently he did the job and was more than pleased when he noticed Jack smiling over at him in approval. He gave Johnny a quick thumbs up to let him know that they had completed their task and it was time to make their way back down to the pumper, for their next task.

The moment they re-entered the stairwell, the two firemen became instantly aware of how much the fire had grown in intensity. Johnny could hear the flames as it roared on the floor below. It was almost as if the fire was mocking them… laughing at them as they fought to knock it back. Even before the radio crackled to life calling for everyone to pull out, Johnny knew that the fire was going to claim this building as its victim. It was apparent that the beast was merely toying with them, like a cat that had a mouse trapped in a corner, and was simply waiting until it got bored with the game before it devoured its prey.

This fire was going to claim victory over this building. No offensive strategy would win this battle tonight. No attack from the inside could save the ancient structure. The beast had grown too big and too hot.

They simply weren’t making a dent in the fire. Any headway they made in one location was simply claimed back by the flames five minutes later. This monster was simply too fierce and the fuel for the fire was everywhere. The flames had breached the barrier leading to the basement, where all the flammable bins of paint, and varsol and other solvents were stored… and no one knew for sure how many barrels there were down there… or how big they were.

It was no longer safe for anyone to be inside the building. They would now have to settle for fighting this fire from the outside and try to prevent it from spreading… they were now relegated to a ‘surround and drown’ mission.

The two men had just reached the second floor landing when they met up with one of the other probies from Station 65. Johnny recognized the man, but couldn’t put a name to the face behind the mask. He had been so intent on his studies during his time at the academy, that he had only grown friendly with a few of his classmates. The name stenciled on the back of the young man’s turnout coat read HARLOW. There was no sign of the man’s partner and he seemed to be wandering around in a blind panic.

Harlow ran over to Johnny and yelled out through his mask. “I can’t find Clayton!  We got separated in the smoke… I was sure he was in front of me, but I can’t find him.”

Jack lifted the HT to his mouth and called down to the incident commander.

“This is Flynn from Station 10, I got Harlow here from 65’s … he’s somehow gotten himself separated from his partner… do you have any information on Clayton’s last location?”

It was only a second before an answer came back.

“Flynn … Clayton was picked up on the north stairwell… other than some minor smoke inhalation he’s fine. 118’s men are bringing him out now. Tell Harlow to come out with the two of you… and step on it, this thing is getting out of hand fast.”

“10-4… we’re on the second floor landing now and should be out in 2 minutes.”

Jack looked over at Harlow and pointed down the stairs, “Clayton’s fine, but we’ve all been ordered out. You’ll have to come down this way with us.”

Johnny could tell by looking at Harlow that he had lost it. He reached over and grabbed his sleeve in an attempt to push him toward the stairs, but the younger man panicked. “I can’t leave without Clayton,” he screamed… “We’re gonna be trapped. Please God, I don’t wanna die!”

 Harlow pulled his arm out of Johnny’s grasp and ran back into the buildings’ interior.

“Shit!” Jack yelled as he pushed down the mic button and yelled into the HT.

“Harlow’s  become disoriented and confused  and he just ran back inside the second floor interior. I’m gonna have to go in after him.”

“You got one minute and then the two of you have to get out….” came the urgent reply.

Jack looked over at Johnny for a second, before he pointed down the stairs. “You go ahead Johnny, I’ll be right out as soon as I find Harlow.”

Johnny shook his head defiantly. “No way partner, you know the code, we NEVER abandon our partner…now let’s just find Harlow and get the hell outta here.”

Before Jack could argue any further, Johnny pushed his way past the older man and headed into the smoke filled room to find their missing man.

Johnny had thought that the stairwell was hot, but the interior of the room made him feel as if he was being roasted inside of an oven as the heat and flames continued to circulate inside the room. The smoke was blinding and he could hear the roar of the flames between the floors and walls.

Once again Johnny fell back on his training, staying close to the outer walls of the room, avoiding the more dangerous center of the floor. He could feel Jack’s hand on his shoulder as the pair of them slowly made their way around the room. The entire time they called out Harlow’s name, pausing to listen in the hopes that they would hear him answering back over the noise of the fire.

Finally Jack pulled back on Johnny’s shoulder. “We’re outta time, John…  The Chief says we gotta pull out NOW.”

Johnny started to turn and follow Jack out, when he thought he caught a faint sound off to his left. He stopped dead in his tracks and motioned for Jack to stop. Even though he could no longer hear the noise, instinct told him that Harlow was close by.

“He’s not far away, Jack… I can feel it,” Johnny yelled.

Johnny turned to his left and took his hand off of the wall as he took a couple tentative steps forward. He had only gone about six feet when his boot hit the body of the downed fireman. Johnny gave a sigh of relief as he bent over, grabbed Harlow by his turnout coat and dragged him away from the rapidly approaching flames, sliding him across the floor on his back.

He quickly made his way back over to the wall, where he was met by Jack’s grinning face. Without wasting any more precious time by radioing down, the two men prepared to exit the room and get back into the stairwell, where the smoke was less intense.

Johnny paused to lift Harlow’s body into a more comfortable position over his shoulder so he could carry him without risking injury to either one of them. He turned to make sure Jack was still behind him, and he was met by his rather amused and somewhat proud partner’s face.

“Hey, Probie ... trying to show us old timers up with you superior skills?” Jack shouted through his mask.

Johnny laughed. “I’m glad to see you recognize greatness when you see it, Gramps,” he answered as he started back towards the door.

Jack grinned as he started to follow Johnny. “Greatness my ass …. That was nothing more than beginner’s luck. They’ll be no living with you after….”

Jack never got the chance to finish his sentence. The very next sound Johnny heard was an ear-splitting explosion from somewhere beneath them…. Apparently the flames had reached the barrels in the basement. Johnny and Harlow were blown through the open door and onto the landing. Harlow slipped off Johnny’s shoulders and landed on his back on the landing. Johnny grunted as he landed hard on his hip and upper leg against the top stair.

Unfortunately Jack had still been inside the room and he hadn’t been as close to the open door. His body had been tossed like a football by the force of the blast, and consequently he had been sent flying halfway across the inner room.

When Johnny recovered from the force of the blast he gazed in horror at the sight before his eyes. There sprawled out on the far side of the room on what was the remnant of floor, lay Jack Flynn.  Before him, just inside the door, lay a wide chasm of fire made by the blast. The hole was separating the two men by almost ten feet, leaving Jack stranded on the other side and at the mercy of the flames.

Johnny could see that his friend was still alive and moving… In fact, against all odds, Jack was slowly making his way to his hands and knees. By the time he had risen to his feet, the gravity of the situation dawned on both men. Johnny instinctively took a step forward, even though he knew that he had no way of preventing what was inevitably going to happen.

Johnny’s eyes filled with tears as his eyes met up with Jacks. He could see the resignation and fear in his friend’s eyes, as he looked on helplessly. Johnny watched as Jack removed his mask and air tank and let them slide off his shoulders, onto the floor. He looked over and tried to smile bravely as he shouted across the flaming chasm…”You better make me proud, Johnny…you become the best damn rescue man that L.A. has ever seen… I’m proud to have known you son. Don’t ever forget that…now get the hell outta here.”

It was just at that moment that the floor beneath Jack feet groaned. Johnny glimpsed the final look of terror that crossed Jack’s face as floor began to disintegrate and collapse, carrying Jack Flynn with it as the entire room fell into the inferno below.

“Nooooo!” Johnny screamed as he witnessed his friend fall to his death. He railed at the fates that had been against them this day, but he knew he still had a victim to save behind him on the stairs.

He quickly turned away from the scene, and even though his vision was blurred by his tears, he grabbed Harlow by the back of his turnout coat, and hoisted him over his shoulder once more. There was no way he could possibly use the stairs now, due to the fact that the flames had now breached the wall and were rapidly making their way up the stairs towards him… unless he moved fast, both he and Harlow were going to join Jack Flynn in death. He hadn’t noticed the pain his hip and leg before this moment, and he winced as he made his way up the stairs and back out the door to the rooftop. He limped over to the edge of the building and called down to the ladder truck directly below. In less than two minutes a cage had been raised and Johnny felt several pairs of hands take Harlow from his shoulders and then pull him into the safety of the bucket.

Back on the ground Johnny’s body felt as heavy as lead and the pain, combined with heat and exhaustion, finally got the best of him. His injured leg gave out, sending him crashing to the ground. He just lay there with tears running down his cheeks as he pictured the final look of terror on Jack’s face as he was swallowed up by the flames. Every fireman there recognized the look on Johnny’s face and they immediately knew that his tears were not caused from the fumes and smoke…they instinctively knew that those were tears of grief.

As he lay on the ground, he could only stare up at his Captain’s questioning look while his tears continued to run down his face. Without a word, he looked up at his Captain and shook his head no.

“Jack’s gone,” was all he managed to rasp out.

Two ambulance attendants were summoned over with a couple of gurneys to where Johnny and Harlow lay on the ground. Both men were loaded onto the gurneys so they could be taken to the hospital to have their injuries treated.

                                           ~                                 ~                                    ~

Four days later, Johnny stood in his dress uniform with a pair of crutches resting underneath his arms as he listened to the minister commit Jack’s body to the ground. The Chief had informed him earlier that both he and Jack were going to be presented with commendations, for saving Harlow’s life … Jack, of course, would be awarded his posthumously.

Johnny certainly didn’t feel like a hero. True he had saved Harlow’s life, but it was a hollow victory, because he had lost his friend and mentor in the process.

Harlow had spent three days in the hospital recovering from severe smoke inhalation. He had been released the day before, and it hadn’t taken any time before word had spread that he had left the fire department for good.

Johnny hadn’t blamed him. Not everyone was cut out to be a hose jockey, and when push came to shove, some of them found out that they just couldn’t handle it. He was only sorry that Jack had paid for that realization with his life.

He thought back to his last conversation with Jack, that night at the station. He had promised Jack that he would hold off training to be a rescue man for a couple of years, so he could remain on the engine with him. But this experience had cemented in Johnny’s mind the desire to become a rescue man. In his head he knew that even if he had been a trained rescue man, there would have been nothing he could have done to save Jack’s life … any more than he would have been able to save his parents’ lives that night long ago. Some situations were simply beyond human control. There came a point when you realized that once God had taken a victim by the right hand… it was time for you to let go of his left.

That had been the case in both of those situations… anything he could have done wouldn’t have changed the final outcome… but maybe the next time it would.4

Johnny turned his attention back to what the minister was saying over Jack’s casket, and made his final decision. He had five more months to put in as a Probie, but the moment his probationary time was up, he was going to switch to rescue. He knew in his heart of hearts that that was where he truly belonged.

He waited until the minister finished his sermon, and then he slowly turned and made his way back to the waiting limo. As it pulled away Johnny glanced up in time to see the clouds part and a single shaft of sunlight shine down onto the gravesite. It brought a small smile to his face. He couldn’t help but think that Jack was up there watching over him… Somehow he knew that he was going to make it… he was going to be fine.

He settled back into the rear seat of the car and closed his eyes. He made a silent vow to himself… By this time next year, he was going to be a rescue man.

The End

                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sent to Site 10/31/12

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