She called it “her finest hour”, that time between day and night.
Cranky kids, messy house, food to prepare, when all she wanted to do was sit on the back veranda with a drink, and watch the sun set…
She consoled herself with thoughts of dinner; lamb cutlets, Greek salad, home-made dips, and Turkish bread.
The bench-top griller was on, the cutlets placed neatly in rows, when Mikey shrieked from the down the hall. It was one of those cries that turn a mother’s entrails to water.
Sally dropped the lettuce in the sink, and sprinted through the open-space of the living room to the hallway. There was Mikey, still shrieking, his hand stuck in the closed door of Jane’s bedroom.
“Open the door, Jane!” screamed Sally, as her foot slipped on the skateboard, and she sailed past Mikey to crash into the wall. Semi-conscious, she heard the kids as if from a great distance.
“He called me a fat pig!” yelled Jane from behind the door.
“She’s pushing on the door. My finger’s stuck!” wailed Mikey. “Owwww.”
It was the smoke that roused Sally from the floor. Head spinning, left arm hanging limply at her side, she stumbled past the kids to the kitchen.
Flames leapt up from the griller, searing the bottom of the new cedar cupboards. Thick, unbreathable smoke billowed through the room in choking clouds. Finally, the smoke alarm started to shriek.
Just as Sally fainted, she heard Paul opening the front door, home from work to spend quality time with the family.