Only been three days since we left. We figured the fire out west might spread our way – force us to leave before we was ready… but weren’t the fire that got us runnin’. I was hoping that fire’d burn up some Deadwoods – hope they was there, lit up, runnin’ around in a frenzy before they burnt to ash. But when we saw them Flame Devils coming out of the woods I knew we’d run out of time.
Ma was struck dumb when she saw them. Couldn’t even scream to warn us. By the time Pop and I realized what was going on, we had just enough time to snatch what we prepared and push Ma out the door. We didn’t know which direction we ran- just away from those things. Pops hucked an old oil lantern at the house hopin’ to distract the creatures while we ran the other way. Worked for most of them, except one. It saw us and gave chase. Can’t believe how fast them things are. Seemed like the damn thing got closer each step we took. Ma’s ankle was slowin’ her down and it was all Pops could do to keep her going.
There was no way to save her.
At least that’s what Pop told me. Broke her ankle, he said. I want to (no, I have to) believe him. We were runnin’ up the hill when Ma fell. Pop told me to keep runnin’ as he stopped to help her. I ran all the way up the hill when I heard the scream. It didn’t sound like Ma, but I knew it was. When Pop came up over the hill shouting for me to keep going I did as I was told. My eyes filled up with tears when I saw he was runnin’ up the hill alone.
That was three days ago. Pop and I kept moving as fast as we could. The Flame Devil gave up the chase… we don’t know why. Maybe it got tired, maybe it figured they got what they wanted. I hope Ma died quick, surely she suffered though. I’ll never forget her screams; never get the smell of ash out my nose either. Each night we lit a campfire, I’d cry and shiver a little. I suppose the smell of burning wood will do that to me for a while…
I miss Ma. Not sure how I’m able to cry that much when I’ve been so thirsty. We still running low on water even when we divvied up Ma’s share. Pop is trying to be strong, but I heard him break down last night. Never heard him cry before and I never want to hear him cry again. I pretended to be sleeping, so’s he could mourn in peace.
We’ll keep on the trail towards the lake. Praying that things turn our way again. Praying that the lake has water…