Fire on a Hill

September 30, 2016
The building was on fire and it wasn’t my fault. Well, not entirely. It’s not like it was intentional, because it wasn’t--not on my part anyway.
She’d told me she wanted to make history, to go on some sort of adventure- -this wasn’t what I thought she meant. I thought she’d wanted to go to the park or to get fries, considering it was two in the morning. I assumed that was what she meant by an adventure. Instead, though, she led me to the biggest house I had ever seen that sat atop the tallest hill in the county. I tried to convince her to go back, but she was incredibly stubborn, like always.
She was so convinced on setting that godforsaken house on fire and I had no idea why. I wanted to stop her, but when she looked me in the eye and there were tears streaming down her face, I could do nothing aside from help her.
The area reeked of gasoline by the time we were finished. She held the matches in her hand for so long, I thought she was going to back out and run back toward the city. That didn’t happen.
With a flick of her wrist, she lit the spark that would make history. She took a deep breath, her blue eyes overlooking the house and the silence overtook us. Nothing moved or made a sound until she did, and the flame flickered as she threw it into the trail of gasoline. Within seconds, the house was glowing so bright as the oxygen spilled through the wood and the glass and the stone. The house had been completely engulfed in this storm of smoke.
A soft breath as she exhaled and when I looked to my side, she was gone. I looked to the house and there she was. She was twirling, twisting, dancing in between the flames that grew higher and higher, wider and wider.
She looked content, at peace when just an hour earlier she had been filled with so much rage, I honestly feared for someone’s life. Hopefully no one’s life had been taken when we set fire to that house. I couldn’t bear having a death on my hands. She, however, could.
I wanted nothing more than to pull her from the flames, because at that moment in time, I feared her life above all. When I went to pull her away there was a loud ringing in my ears, then glass was shattering and boards of wood were falling from the ceiling, and she was out of my reach- -she was out of my sight.
The house collapsed and she collapsed with it, and in that moment, my world imploded. She was gone. This was what she had meant by an adventure. She raised my hell from just a match. She raised hellfire from nothing.
Even this hellfire wasn’t enough to warm the ice cold feeling that I felt when I realized that she was dead. The fire was supposed to take the house - the curtains, the carpet - to fuel itself. It was not supposed to take her! But it did, and I couldn’t change that.
The next day on the news, it was described as “the brightest star on this side of the sky.” It was everywhere: the news, the newspaper, the internet--everywhere, and she never got credit for it. She never got credit, I never got blamed, and they decided that the fire had been caused by a lit fireplace that was never put out.
The fire stayed lit for the entirety of a fortnight - a whole two weeks. It was like some sort of memorial for her; the fire wouldn’t go out until she did, and I guess when it did finally go out it meant that every last fibre of her existence had gone out as well. I didn’t want to believe it, yet I couldn’t see it as a lie. I witnessed her death, there was nothing untruthful about that.
When the fire was finally forced to dim it’s glow, all that had been left was a pile of ash, which made sense, considering that was all that fell from the sky for over a month. Her body, or any body, was never found and so when nobody heard from her, everybody assumed she had simply run away like she had said she would do so many times before. They had the right idea, it just wasn’t quite so simple.
People thought she had run away and for that, nobody missed her, not even her goddamned parents. They called her selfish, a brat, an unwanted waste of space. I wanted, more than anything, to tell them that their daughter was dead, but then they’d ask why and I’d have to explain the fire. I didn’t want the credit, and I didn’t want her to just be blamed. Everything that I wanted to say was simply better left unsaid.
The fire was gone and she was gone and my entire world was gone. The house was ash. The sky was black. She was dead. I was...well, I don’t know what I was. I was extremely distraught over the fact that she was gone, but I was glad that she had achieved her definition of an adventure.
The fire left a mark on the town that could never be erased, which meant that she left a permanent mark on so many people’s lives, including mine. The hill was to be renovated. The house was to be rebuilt. Everything was to be repaired and restored, with the exception of her, of course, because humans and life simply cannot be restored once gone.
I miss her, definitely, but I’m going to join her on her never-ending adventure one day. We will set raging fires to every hill we pass by. We will twirl and twist and dance in between the flames, because we, ourselves, will be never-ending. We will make even more history than we have already. We will run away, like she had said she would do so many times before.

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