The fire was the only light for miles. it consumed everything; the walls, the door, the roof, even the darkness, lighting the surrounding forest with orange and red. It was a good thing that the earth was moist and the plants healthy and green, or there would surely have been a wildfire.
Not that it mattered.
She stood alone and barefoot in the yard, feeling the heat of the inferno. She didn't care; she stood numbly, watching. She had considered staying in the house as it burned, a kind of _punishment_ for her sins; still, the rationale part of her mind (what little of it was left) told her she had commited no wrong.
She thought back as she watched. She was happy here, once; the had thought it was an ideal home. It was solitary and quiet, surrounded by the smell of pine and oak, chilled with the sharp air of the high mountains; for a time, it had been perfect.
|Image by RhowVhinz Santos|
Over the next few weeks, she had become convinced there was something wrong. One night, when she moon was new and the sky outside was lit only by the stars, her son began acting strange. He began complaining of headaches and confined himself to his room. She hadn't been too worried then, he was a teenager, he could take care of himself; but now, if she only had recognized the signs...
He had killed himself later that night.
Slowly, one by one, they had started fighting among themselves or pacing. Her husband, her twin daughters, all had one by one become so enraged with the others, with themselves. They had faught and died, one after the other.
She could still remember the look of rage on her husband face as she slit his throat and the joy she had felt as his blood soaked her shirt. She could still remember pouring the gasoline inside the house, lighting it with a match leftover from her smoking days.
And now here she was; lost, alone, looking into the inferno that had once been her happy home. She would not remember those moments; if she did, it would only make it worse.
She didn't notice when the sirens pulled up. She didn't notice the cuffs or the shocked exclamations. She didn't really care as what was left of her mind was consumed even as the fire consumed the building and the darkness.
As she slipped into madness, she smiled.
_478 words, 17 minutes_
Written for Dee Solberg