The rest is pixabay or my own stock.
Laura raced through the field. Her feet, bare and bleeding, marked a red path through the snow. Despite the freezing temperatures, sweat poured down her face and pooled under her arms. Her bright blue eyes blinked quickly and she blocked the blinding light with her hand.
The ripples of the earsplitting boom still echoed through the fields behind her house and Laura stumbled through the stalks, the ringing causing an imbalance in her inner ear.
Suddenly a blast of heat jerked her to a stop and the edges of her hair sizzled as she stared across the field. Bright orange, red, yellow and black blended in an amalgamation of colors across the horizon mixed with the foggy sky, a combination of melted snow and smoke.
“What the hell happened?” No one answered her question because there was no one there to hear her. Laura was the fastest runner in her family, only seconds faster than her younger brother.
She heard running feet, close now, and a rage of sirens, further away, in the background.
“Laura! Reece! Get back. You’re too close.” Laura heard her mother screaming behind her, but she didn’t move. She was too mesmerized by the scene.
“Was that a bomb? I think it was a bomb.” Her brother finally caught up with her. A large, but shallow, depression now covered the ground and smoke billowed from ground until it grew into the fiery inferno behind her backyard. It smelled like sulfur; it was a scene from hell.
“Why would someone blow up an empty field?”
The sirens drew closer and the heat forced Laura to take a step back. A hand gripped her arm, squeezing it tight and Laura stared at Reece. “What?”
“Look.” Her brother pointed and Laura squinted through the flames. A blurry black blob rushed towards them, flames splitting in arcs behind it.
“What the...” This time Laura’s step backwards was deliberate and she pulled Reece with her. It — no, he — was slowing down, his hair streaming behind him, and the arcs of fire turned into black waves of ash that flew into the air. It was raining ash.
Laura sprinted back towards her house and waved her arms towards the fire truck that was now four wheeling through the field.
“There’s a man in there!” Her lungs burned and she finally felt prickles on her bare feet. Pain shot through her legs and she pushed herself harder.
The fire truck slowed as it approached, the extra long hose procured specifically for this purpose streaming behind it, and Alex stuck his head out the window.
“There’s someone in the fire.” Laura vaguely gestured behind her. “You have to help him!” Joe grabbed his radio, garbled some words and Jake gunned the ambulance engine, taking care not to run over the hose, and flew past her, followed by the firemen. Laura grabbed her stomach to stop the cramping and caught her breath.
“Laura, get some shoes on. You’re going to get hypothermia.” Her mom was closing in on her, walking with her father, who was staring at the fire. His eyes were glazed over and had his hands shoved in his pockets.
“There’s a guy in there.” The burning in her chest was already beginning to subside and Laura ran back towards the fire.
“Laura you’re bleeding. Go get some shoes.” Her mom’s words were already a distant noise; she had to know if he was okay. As Laura approached the scene, Jake was running towards the man who was close to her brother now. The man, clearly exhausted, reached out towards Reece but Reece just stared at him in awe. He fell to his knees, his hand still extended as he crawled awkwardly towards Reece until he finally collapsed.
Laura stared at him curiously over Jake’s shoulder. His whole body was covered in dirt and grime but, amazingly, seemed unaffected by the flames except for severe burns on his back. He was completely naked except for a pair of dirty jeans and his feet were covered in soot. He wasn’t much older than her. “Who is he?” Reece still stared at him, not moving an inch, but Laura huddled next to him for comfort.
“I’ve never seen him before.”
“How is that?” They lived in a very small town in Idaho.
She shrugged. “Good question.”
Jake, after making sure he was alive, made quick work of inserting an IV, probably with some kind of morphine for the burns, and then pulled some gauze out of his bag. When he was done, the other medics wheeled the guy toward the ambulance and Jake looked at Laura’s feet. “Oh wow, I should stay to look at those.”
Laura looked down. The snow was red under her.
She blushed. “No, it’s okay, I think I’ll just put a band aid on them.”
“I really think someone should check—“
“She said she’s okay.” Her parents had joined them and her father glared at the medic.
“Are you sure?” The medic ignored her father’s interruption and stepped in front of Laura so she couldn’t see them.
“I think I’m fine.” Laura was suddenly shy with all the attention. Jake gently reached towards the blue bruise by Laura’s eye, without touching it. “I can check this out too.” His voice was a pleading whisper. Laura blinked at him.
“I said she’s fine, now get the hell out of here.” Her father walked around Jake and put his arm around her, forcing a smile. Laura stiffened at the touch. “Look, I’m sure it’s just a scratch, we’ll take her in if she needs any help.” She could smell the alcohol on his breath.
Jake looked at Laura, who nodded, and walked towards the ambulance and her dad turned to watch the helicopter bringing in water.
“Merry Christmas, by the way.” Laura waved at Jake, hoping he wasn’t mad at her.
Jake hesitated before shutting the door. “It’s not Christmas yet.” He slammed the door but grinned easily at Laura. She relaxed; he wasn’t mad at her. He gunned the engine and, right before he turned around, flipped her dad the bird.
Her father turned towards her. “Go get on some damn shoes, Laura.”
...Just a book I'm writing...