Caught In The Flames
By: Robert

I know this is a little different than science it is my own version of science, literally. This is because I am the living experiment, so to speak. What I am about to tell you is completely true. It took place in Modesto, California, were I lived with my Mother and her fiance Jerry, my brothers Father. I was four years of age, at the time. Jerry often had barbecues which was fine except for one thing I was always around him. I
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would watch Jerry work his wonders with the flame where he had often showed off his flammable talents, so to speak. He thought it was cool seeing my eyes light up with excitement. Jerry was a good person, don't get me wrong, but he was a little childish though. Around three months and three barbecues had gone by. I had become addicted to fire. I was a pyromaniac. I had tried to play with fire, to play with the very same fire he had played with infront of me. Jerry had caught me but he only told me no and said that it is hot.

At the same time, I was watching Jerry, he grabbed a hot piece of steal

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by the cool end, while the cool end was red hot and glowing. He twirled it like a life saver and not the kind you eat. It was the kind from star wars. And that is how I got addicted to fire. About two weeks from then, my funeral Father had planned a camping trip for me, him and hs wife, April, that was my step mother. We had gone on the trip and it was fine, except on the last morning. I had picked up a smoldering red hot stick from the fire. My right hand was burned. It was only first degree burn. I got lucky. April and my Father poured water on the burn, which soothed the burn but I still had to go to the Doctor. He wrapped up my hand. It healed up right away with no scars. It took about a month to completley heal. I had no scars, but when my mother heard about it she was furious.

About eight months later, my Father asked my Mother if I could go with him to Phoenix, Arizona. It was going to be with him and April. After about two weeks of my Father begging, my Mother, she said yes. That was a decision that will bother my Mother for the rest of her life! About a week after that I headed off to Arizona with my Dad and April. Both were driven endless by me. You have to understand I was only four and a half years old. To my surprise, we finally arrived were we moved into a cool apartment complex. The only thing about moving there it was hotter than hell. But I lived happily there for about a month until April started to become a chronic smoker. She had cigarettes everywhere. That is how I learned how to work a lighter. My Father had noticed that I was a fire bug. He told April to hide her matches and lighters so that I would not catch anything on fire.

April started keeping them on top of the refrigerator, next to the cookies. About three months passed and I turned five. My folks through me a huge party. It was the best I had ever had. About a month later, my Father caught me lighting straws on fire. He swatted me real good. But I could not stop it. It
possessed me like this for about a month. Spanking after spanking it became. Until one Sunday morning I got up and looked around. My parents were asleep. I went into the kitchen were I climbed on a chair to the refrigerator. I reached for the lighter and then got down. I went to my room, were I tore out a piece of paper from my binder. I lit it on fire. I felt an unexplainable feeling and I looked up then I looked down at the flame. I then put the flaming paper to my shirt, were it caught like a wild fire. I watched it spread till it started to my flesh. Then I started to scream and at the same time was trying to extinguish the flames by hitting it with my hands. I screamed and screamed. Then I ran to the door, my hands burned from the flames, and I reached for the door handle. Trying to open the door after several attempts I got it open and ran down the hallway. April who had woke up, from my screaming and came out of her room. She saw me ignited in flames. April ran back into the room saying "Roger, Roger," which is my Fathers name. April then said "Roger, Robert is on fire wake up!" She then ran back to me, carrying a blanket, which she used to extinguish the flames. I was burned from my naval to my chin. All of my chest was burned badly. They were third degree burns. To be exact third degree burns are the worst degree of burns. It was so painful that I went into shock! My Father had rushed into the room where he ripped off my smoldering shirt. In anger he said to me "Why Robert, Why." I was sitting there shaking and he started crying. It was the first time I have ever seen him cry. Then April said "Lets get him to the Hospital!" Then my Dad carried me to thevan where he and April rapidly drove me to the hospital were I was treated for third degree burns. I almost died from hypothermia.

I don't remember that much because I was only five and I was in shock. I do remember being rushed to a Burn Hospital in an ambulance. My Father was leaning over me saying "I Love You Son, Don't You Die, Don't You Die On Me, I Love You Son, Don't You Die, I Love You." He was squashing my hand and crying. I could see the fear in his eyes. I thought I was going to die as the medicine kicked in. Dad sayed "I love you son" as I passed out! I don't remember that much, I was drugged or unconcious most of the time. It was nine years ago, not to mention I was in shock. But I do remember waking up in a warm pool with a nice Doctor saying "Robert you're finally up huh?" Then I passed out. It was too much for me because I was in shock. That is about all I remember. I do remember my Mother and Grandparents coming to see me, but it broke my heart, when my Mom couldn't stand to be in the same room as me or to look me in the
eyes.

And after years of grafting, scars, pressure garments, numerous surgeries, pain and suffering, I have made it through physical therapy and I am ok. I will still have to have surgeries till I am twenty one because burns do not grow or stretch like normal skin. It contracts like wet leather because it does not have the elasticity of skin and the way to correct that is through physical therapy and surgeries. Like I had done, when I frst got burned, I had the skin taken off of my leg so that they could put it on my chest so that I did not freeze to death. Because burns do not insulate very well and thats one of the problems I have, I can't sweat to cool off. My sweat glands have been burned. My burns have affected me emotionally and physically. Emotionally because I have been away from kids my own age. Since five I have been mostly around adults. I missed out on all the social skills that you experience from the start. I have also been tormented by other kids since the second grade. I do not let that get in my way. I try to fit in like everyone else. I fit into smaller crouds because I am afraid of large crowds of people. But besides it is up to me if I want to let all that superficial stuff about people bother me or not. For me being a science experiment, here is one for you, Do You Control Your Own Destiny? I control mine, How about you??????????

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