Her mates had laughed as hard as she had as they’d watched the flames take the house. That weird house with its weirdo occupant. She deserved it. Stupid bitch.
The day before she’d screamed at them to get lost from her porch, threatening them with some law or other, which they’d laughed off. They’d threatened her back and she’d huffed at them before slamming the door, as if she didn’t believe they’d do it. Ha! Silly cow. Now she’d know what they were capable of. They’d ran to the fields as the fire engine had approached. Too late, as it turned out.
She remembered now how she’d felt then. No remorse. The joint satisfaction between friends at a job well done. How her mangled body would have been burnt to a crisp in her dilapidated house. How they’d justified their actions to each other, made up their alibis, and vowed to keep quiet. She had deserved it. Stupid bitch.
But as she lay in her bed, unable to move, unable to cry out for her mum, unable to defend herself, she realised there was no way she could make amends for what she’d done. The smell of it permeated the bedroom. The smoky waft of crispy skin. The scratchy sound of its half burned bones as they creaked around the bed. As it hovered above her she could see the charred form in the bright moonlight. The red eyeballs bulged from the still glowing blackness of its face. The body was still burning, but from within. The fire, fuelled by rage, wanted its next victim. A charcoaled hand reached for her. An ember fell from the tip of its finger and landed on her throat. She tried to scream but the shock caused a delay long enough for the ember to burn through her skin and onto her vocal chords, through her neck, her spine, and onto her mattress. Terror filled silence was all she could make. The figure’s skeleton cracked as the jaw widened and it laughed with a croak and a wisp of smoke, “Stupid bitch,” it said.