Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation

JANUARY 2008  

Out of the Fire 3

by Susan Pomeroy

[This is a piece of pure fiction begun in August, long before the fires that ravaged Southern California this past autumn. Although Daykeeper hasn't featured fiction before, given our global and environmental concerns, it seems appropriate to run this piece now. The story is written in installments, which we'll publish regularly.]

"I've got to go too," I said in a dull, blank voice. Our eyes met and Judy stepped towards me. We clasped each other's shoulders in a quick unplanned hug.

"Be well," she said, slipping out the sliding door to the yard.

For a few moments I ran around the house like a demented dervish, grabbing the kids' jackets, my jacket, a bag of apples and a block of cheese, a bottle of water, and, at the last minute, the duffel Josh kept packed for emergencies and natural disasters, and the hatchet we kept by the fireplace for splitting kindling.

school bus evacuationWhen I pulled up to the school, the parking lot was in chaos. A dozen big yellow buses, kids lined up looking angry or apathetic, a few girls crying. Parents yelling. At the far end of the lot I could see a police car parked. At this end, Jim Petrakis, the Vice-Principal, was standing on the pavement almost shoving an older man who looked like a parent. I could hear Petrakis was yelling, his beefy face bright red.

"I told you that all the kids and staff are ordered onto the busses. We don't have the authority to release a child to you."

The parent gave Petrakis a shove, trying to get by. Petrakis shoved back. "It's not going to happen," he said. "Go home."

I drove right over the curb and parked on the lawn in front of the administration building. I couldn't see my kids among the crowds shuffling onto the school buses. "Let them not already be inside," I prayed. "Please God let them not already be inside."

At that moment, Ben ran up to me. "Mom! They told us to get on the buses, they wouldn't let us phone. They said it was an evacuation and they were taking us to PacCom Arena and that all the parents would be there. But I knew you and Dad wouldn't want us to go like that."

"You're right, Ben," I said. My hands were trembling with an unsettling mixture of relief and terror. "Now we have to find Katia."

"I'll get her," he said, and darted back into the crowd.

I stood waiting as kids and teachers hurried past me, some running one way, some another. Ben suddenly burst out of the crowd, Katia after him. Katia's best friend Marie followed. "Mom!" said Katia, running into my arms and clinging as tightly as a six-year-old.

"It's okay, honey. Come on, guys, let's get out of here."

But it was too late. As I turned, I could see Petrakis heading towards us. My mind was suddenly racing a million miles a minute.

"Ben," I whispered, slipping the car keys from the front pocket of my jeans into his hand, "go get the car right now and come get us."

He looked at me while his left hand tightened around the keys. I could see fear in his eyes, then resolution. Then he was running across the asphalt making for the lawn.

"Jim," I said, as Petrakis walked up to the girls and me.

"We can't release any students, ma'am."

"I know that, Jim," I said. Behind Petrakis, Ben had reached the minivan and was climbing in.

"I just wanted to say goodbye," I said, feeling like an idiot.

Surprisingly, his face relaxed. "That's fine, then," he said, and turned away.

Ben nearly ran him down gunning the van over the curb, but by then Petrakis was too far away to stop the girls and me as we climbed into the car. "Scoot over, honey," I said to Ben, and took the wheel. We were on our way.

To be continued...