Near 500 words: The firefighters

Marya watched the four women coming out of the fire station. They were sister firefighters. She admired them so much. All she did was be a flower girl, selling her lilies and roses. One of the women, Margarita, looked over and saw Marya. She pointed her out to the other three, Rosa, Angelica and Ingrid. Ingrid was the one that ran across the street.

“How much for your roses?” she said to Marya.

Marya told her. As she was about to leave, Marya asked, “How did you become a firefighter?”

“We trained. Do you wish to become a firefighter?”

“Yes.”

Ingrid called her three companions over. “She wants to be a firefighter.”

Rosa felt her arm. “She would have to put on some weight.”

“And strengthen her muscles,” Margarita said.

“Maybe we should help her,” Angelica said. She was the one who always came up with the solutions. She had been a math whiz in school.

“So you want to be a firefighter?” Angelica asked.

“More than anything.”

The four stepped away from Marya and went into a huddle. Finally they broke the huddle. The four looked Marya up and down. Then Ingrid spoke for the group, “We will help you become one of the Sisters if you like.”

“I like.”

“You will have to work hard,” Rosa put in.

“And it will take time,” Margarita said.

“Maybe two years,” Angelica added.

“You will help me?” Marya said, tears in her eyes.

“We will help you,” Ingrid said.

“Thank you,” Marya said, overcome by joy.

“Then it is a deal,” Angelica affirmed. Each of the four women hugged their sister.

“Meet us here tomorrow and we will begin,” Ingird said.

“And no flowers,” Margarita said.

“Now we have to go,’ Ingrid told her.

Marya watched as the four sisters walked happily away.

The next morning Marya stood in the place where she met the four sisters. They did not show. And she waited the next day. They were still not there. After a week, Marya decided that it had not been a joke the four were pulling on her. They were serious.

She walked over to the firestation. In the station house she saw a tall dark man. He was polishing the fire engine.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said.

The man turned to her and asked, “Yes?”

She told the man about the sisters and their offer.

The man held back, then choked out the words. “The afternoon after you saw the sisters they died in a fire. It was terrible. We lost seven. The sisters were four of them. They were the bravest of the brave.” Tears were in his eyes.

Marya started crying. Not only had she lost her future, she had lost her friends.

“My name is Felipe. They were my friends,” he managed to get out. “Come with me.”

He took her into the fire station. He showed her the wall of honor. A picture of the four in their gear hung on the wall. Their names were embossed in a sign below.

Marya and Felipe stood arm in arm, holding each other up. Their grief poured out. Finally they turned away.

As Marya walked out of the station house, Felipe called to her, “So you want to be a firefighter?”

“Yes. More than anything. Now.”

“Come with me,” Pedro said.

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