Sarah crawled out of bed, ignoring the cold floor as she pulled her tattered blanket and stuffed giraffe along towards the door. Sam had sent her back to bed more than once, but it wasn’t just the noise keeping her up anymore. There was a strange smell tickling her nose and making the tiny hairs on her arms stand on edge.
Her feet were silent as they found the top of the stairs, her nose wrinkling up even more now that she was out in the open. She moved cautiously down the stairs, the smell growing stronger as she went. Sam caught sight of her halfway down and jumped off the couch quickly, the look of embarrassment on his face almost as much as the anxiousness.
“Sarah,” he groaned, shooing her up the stairs. “Why can’t you just stay in bed? I mean it’s bad enough I’ve got to babysit, but–”
“But I smell smoke,” she said, wrinkling her nose up again.
“What?” He whipped his head towards the downstairs and took a deep breath, his eyes widening in recognition. He pushed Sarah the rest of the way to her room and then ran down the stairs, yelling to his friends the entire time.
Sarah stood in her doorway pushing her giraffe against her nose, attempting to block the smell while consoling her favorite stuffed friend. She could hear the windows being wrenched open and some of the kids running outside. The smell was getting stronger now, and no matter which way she turned she found it was the same. Her head flipped around at the sound of the pipes coming to life, the quaint but old house allowing just as much noise as draft to creep in.
Her parents never ran the hose during the winter, but there was no mistaking that familiar sound. She pulled her blanket around her face, wrapping both nose and animal up tight. Her parent’s voices soon added to the many others, and sounding even more upset than her brother Sam’s.
Sarah crept back into bed, but was only there a few minutes before her mother came in to check on her.
“Am I in trouble?” Sarah asked, hiding her giraffe so that at least one person wouldn’t get yelled at tonight. “I know I got out of bed, but–”
“No!” her mother exclaimed, taking Sarah in her arms and hugging her close to her chest. Sarah smiled as relief spread through her body, knowing her giraffe was safely secure beneath the blankets. Her mother always hugged her too tight. In fact, she was struggling even now to breathe when she noticed the air wasn’t quite so smelly anymore. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” her mother assured her. “In fact, you did something right. Your brother was too busy with his friends to notice the smell, and there was a spark from the fireplace that caught the roof on fire. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been here to warn him. He’s very grateful. We all are.”
Her mother tucked her back in and kissed her forehead, offering another one to her giraffe which he accepted gratefully. Her mother’s kisses were always soft.
Sarah had almost drifted off when a light knock sounded at her door and Sam poked his head inside. “Sarah? I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten upset, but when….well….when my friends act like you’re cooler than me I guess I get a little jealous. Next time my friends are over, would you like to hang out with us?”
Sarah smiled and held her giraffe out to Sam. “Can Sam come to?”
“Your giraffe’s name is Sam?”
“Yes. He’s my very best friend. Just like you.”
“Love you too, Sarah.”
Next week’s prompt: A pink sock comes through the wash and sends the whole house into a hissy fit.
Awww, that was such a sweet story! I enjoyed it. Have you thought of submitting to The Friend? This would be a great story to try your hand at getting it published.