‘Next door’s on fire,’ she said. ‘I got Elliot out, but he’s in a state. There’s flames and smoke and I don’t know what to do. Please get help.’
As she said this, in one long garbled breath, the man dashed to the phone to call the fire brigade.
His wide-eyed wife started asking Lisa questions, but it was too much for her to handle. Her legs gave way and she crumbled on to the doorstep, erupting into a coughing fit.
Kneeling down and helping her into a sitting position against the door, the woman said: ‘You poor thing. You’re shattered. Come on, we need to get you inside.’
‘No,’ Lisa panted, trying but failing to stand up again. ‘First Elliot.’
In desperation, she pointed at her friend’s body slumped in the garden; the woman, noticing him for the first time, held her hand up to her mouth and gasped.
‘Don’t panic. I think . . . he’s just drunk,’ Lisa said, hoping she was right. And then, without warning, the tears started to flow. ‘I couldn’t wake him up,’ she sobbed. ‘I was so scared, I—’
‘The fire brigade’s on the way,’ the husband said. ‘Any idea how it started?’
‘I’m not sure,’ Lisa replied. ‘I just turned up, saw all the smoke and ran in there to get my friend out.’ She remembered seeing the kitchen bin well ablaze and had a bad feeling it might have been something to do with El smoking and leaving a fag butt in there, but the last thing she wanted to do was point the finger of blame.
All of a sudden, Lisa felt dizzy and nauseous. ‘I think I’m going to . . .’
Everything went black.
You can buy Stand By Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
If you would like to me hear my thoughts on ‘Stand By Me’, then read my review.