It was raining, and what started out as a fine drizzle, soon became a heavy downpour. The lightning flashed and the thunder roared, depicting the exact same scene I had experienced before. I was in my Grandfather's room, staring out at the gloomy sky, looking ... I was remembering the events that happened that day. With the rain as their stage curtain, the ticking of the clock, their sumptuous marching beat, the events of that day crept back into the dim light of the room, playing that exact same film in front of my eyes ...
It happened 2 years ago. I was 13, still and I was still attending secondary school.
It It was an ordinary day, like any other, school had just ended and it was the beginning of the June holidays. And on that particular day, I also received the SA1 examinations results: I had gotten 8 A1s! I was feeling happier than ever in my life, although my teacher kept nagging at me for that one question in my math paper that was worth one mark, which resulted in getting 99/100 on my math paper. I tried to keep that thought at the back of my mind so that it would not ruin the happy occasion, but little did I know that the "happy" occasion would end sooner than I had expected...
When I reached home, I immediately told my parents about my results. My mother let out a shriek of happiness and gave me a hug while my father gave me a thumbs up. Both promised they would get me a really nice present. Then, at the exact same moment, the phone rang.
My mother hopped to the phone and answered the receiver, and then she broke into tears. My father was confused that such a happy moment would turn into the opposite and quickly ask her what had happened.
"Your father...", she sobbed, looking at my father., "His house is on fire and ... and..."
My heart skipped a beat; stopped for a moment and just at that particular moment, my older brother came back from school, his hands holding his result slip which showed 8 A1s too. My brother, Khai, was grinning from ear to ear but when he learns about the news, I watched his grin disappear. My father wasted no time and we quickly head to our car. Within minutes we were already driving on the highway to Grandfather's house at 80km/h. The rain was pouring but we had no time to lose. I just hoped grandfather would be alright.
When we reached the scene, we were shocked at our of what we were seeing. Grandfather's house was on fire! The flames cackled as pillows towered into the air. The flames were growing bigger, yet grandfather was nowhere to be found. Firemen were trying to control the fire and to make matters worse, the rain turned into a thunderstorm, making it harder to see. My father quickly asked one of the officers where Grandfather was, but no one was reported being seen in the burning house. It then struck me that Grandfather was still in the house. Without thinking, I rushed into the house, ignoring my family's screams.
I was foolish and stupid to think that finding Grandfather and carrying him out unharmed would be a piece of cake. When I rushed in through the broken door, I was surrounded by massive seas of flames. I was feeling the heat more intensely as I made my way to Grandfather's room. When I running, I was already very tired, but knowing that giving up would be a stupid decision, I kept moving on.
When I reached Grandfather's room, I was horrified by what I saw. Grandfather was lying on the floor, unconscious. Approaching him, I noticed his smeared hands. Around his mouth corners, a similar smudge was drying. It didn't take me long to realize he had been coughing blood. I rushed in attempt to carry him despite the intense heat. Boy was he heavy! I finally managed to lift him up as smoke curled to my face and shrouded the entrance.
The heat was unbearable now and my lungs were desperate for oxygen. I couldn't see nor think properly. I tried to concentrate but with no avail and fell down. There was a sharp pain in my knee and I heard a 'thump'. At that moment, a part of me was thinking that I should just leave Grandfather and save myself, for I was desperate for oxygen, while the other part of me wanted me to save Grandfather and get out this burning Hell. The heat was getting unbearable and I felt hot rain water dripping to my face burning it.
Without further hesitating, I had made my decision. My mind started flashing images of me and Grandfather together. I had realised that I could not live without him. I did not know whether this was my brain's fault or what that was causing this hallucination, but one thing was for sure, I couldn't leave there! I quickly stood up and attempted to carry him, but I quickly fell down again probably due to exhaustion. My mind went blank and fell into a bottomless void as I heard someone rushing in ...
When I awoke; I was lying in the hospital bed, with my family around me. I could sense sadness, but instead of receiving the applaudse a hero deserved, my father spoke first.
"Your Grandfather did not ... make it ... Your brother had to rescue you ...", He said quietly.
I looked at my brother. Anger and despair was rising up in me, why did he have to rescue me? I did nothing useful - But he gave me a sad smile. I realised that he was doing the right thing, I mean, what could I have done? Could I really just stand up at that moment and brought grandfather out? I couldn't stand it anymore. In my chest, the urge to scream was boiling. Soon, the quiet corridors of the hospital echoed my drab cry.
The rain subsided. But there were still dark, grey clouds on the sky, the colours which represented my mood. I looked at grandfather's clock and thought of him. "Why ... Why am i so useless? Your grandson is useless ..."
And at that moment, I could have sworn that I saw the silhouette of an old man next to the clock.