The Lantern and the Great Fire
Felicity MacDougall | 27 March 2017

Walking back from the bakery at night made London’s back streets seem desolate and abandoned. In the pitch black the only thing I had to guide me was the faint, eerie glow of the lantern I was carrying. All my life I had lived in London and still I did not know my way home. London had mysterious ways of changing its appearance every night, making itself a stranger to those who lived amongst it. My light was dying, so I tried to make my way home quickly.

 

 

As I opened the front door of my small, wooden abode, a strong wind kicked me in the back, sending me crashing onto the wooden planks. The glass shattered around me sending embers flying across the room. They grew from embers into quivering flames, from beams of light to one raging monster...

 

 

I didn’t know what to do. My head was pounding. Pain rushed through my skin as I felt the searing heat stick to me. My cries for help quickly turned into rasping breaths as the smoke started to flood my lungs. I sprinted for the door but met a wall of fire. I was surrounded. I took the jump through the fire, not knowing what I was likely to face on the other side, not knowing if I could make it through.

 

As my feet landed on the cobbled street, I knew I had to run. The fire was spreading from house to house and soon the entire city would be engulfed. I started to run alongside what seemed to be thousands of people trying to escape with their lives.

 

- Felicity MacDougall

James Routledge 2016