I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how long I was unconscious. All I know is that I woke up all alone in the smoldering world. I tried to breathe in deeply and was punished with thick black smoke going up my nose and into my mouth, choking me. I tried to cough it out but it was everywhere. I blinked my eyes a few times and my vision finally adjusted enough to make out gray shapes all around me. Thick boulders and concrete beams lay in heaps and I realized with horror that one of those beams lay across my lower body. I tried to move, expecting pain. But all I could feel was chilly numbness. I could not feel my legs. Terror twined its icy tentacles around my heart.
I tried calling out but my throat was dry and all that came out was a horse squeak. Blackness wrapped me up once more. Something tugged at me as I slowly came back to. I heard a low growl and saw a large brown dog standing over me. It was doing something with my legs. The dog was a giant; I’ve never seen such an animal before.
Was he chewing on me?
“No, get away!” I yelled. Or at least I thought I yelled. A whisper was more like it.
The dog turned its yellow eyes on me and I thought it smiled. I was having hallucinations.
I must have blanked out again.
When I opened my eyes, there were two men with axes. They raised them over my head. They were going to chop me to pieces. I shut down.
The next time I woke up, the dog and the men with the axes were gone. I was lying on the grass outside of the ruined building and the sunshine produced black spots in front of my eyes. A kindly face of a middle-aged man in firefighter uniform leaned over me, gently soothing my horror.
“There was an explosion in your building,” he said when I gave him a questioning look – I still couldn’t talk. “You were the only survivor. And you will be ok.”