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This All Started With Fire

Fire. Fire was the only thing I remembered and loved. When my foster parents would have a fire, the other children would scream and go wild, but not I. I would sit by the fire and look at it until it was nothing, but ashes. Out of all their other children, I was the calm one, the silent one. The weird one. Maybe, that was why they abused me the most…

The abuse started a little after my thirteenth birthday. It wasn’t so bad at first, you know? The yelling and often hits were normal, but just Hunter got mad at me for not taking in the firewood and smacked me so hard that my nose bled. He wouldn’t listen to reason as I tried to explain that I was caring for the little ones that were sick. Hunter never apologized either, but I made sure to keep the little ones out of his way.

Mary was getting worse with her drinking. A few weeks after Hunter hit me I was caring for a little one he hurt badly when she threw her bottle of Vodka at me. I managed to avoid it, but still she scared me. She was pissed right, drunk! “I’m sick of you and your siblings’ whiny little needs! Fix your own damn dinner and baths!” she yelled angrily. Hunter would only agree with her.

So for the next several months, I was the one cooking and cleaning. There was always food, but it was hard to cook with more than five little children in the house. I was exhausted every night as I cooked and cleaned them, made sure they got their homework done and studied. I was the one falling behind in my school work. I couldn’t explain to my teachers why I was suddenly failing and covered with bruises as well as sleeping in class. They wouldn’t listen.

I remember the night it took a turn for the worse. Izzy, a little five year old was always sick. She had a weak immune system, but she was such an enjoyment. She was smart and always wanted to learn. I went out with the other little ones to town while Izzy stayed at home, sick. Hunter and Mary were home, so I thought it would be okay. They were passed out in bed anyway. I returned home with groceries and the little ones had some toys when I heard muffled screams from upstairs. I had dropped the book I bought Izzy, hearing her screams. My first reaction was to run upstairs and find Izzy, but I knew as soon as I would, Hunter and Mary would be on the other children. I quickly hid the other children in the basement, telling them to stay silent and things would be okay. I ran up to Izzy’s room where the screams could be heard. Busting down the door, I saw Hunter holding a thin, pocket knife to Izzy’s skin while Mary held her down. I attacked, Hunter first, knowing Mary was too drunk to react.

Hunter turned his anger and knife to me and swung at me. I didn’t even considered the knife, knowing my precious Izzy was in danger. It sliced my forearm deep, but I ignored the steady stream of blood and the pain. I knocked him aside the head and grabbed the knife from him, throwing it out the already broken window. He managed to scream as I threw his body against the wall. Despite living on a farm, his body was frail and weak from drinking so much. He crashed into a dresser where the lamp fell on top of his head, shattering and knocking him unconscious.

Mary stood up, throwing Izzy on the ground. I noticed Izzy was covered in bruises and small cuts on her body. I motioned for her to run and she ran as fast as she could. She would hide and be safe, I would find her later. Mary swung at me, but I ducked under her and tackled her to the broken window. Her body hung out of it and she gripped me for support. Mary was a thick woman, spoiled by her own baking. She managed to tumble forward before falling at the window with my help. I didn’t want them dead, yet. I threw her against the other wall and hit her as hard as I could in the head, hoping to knock her unconscious. I managed to, just barely.

I quickly ran from the room and into the basement. The children were in the corner, holding each other in fear. I looked at each of their faces, noting the fear in their eyes. It sickened me to have to see this in their eyes. Where was the joy we all once had? What happened to us? They shouldn’t have to live like this, I thought, my mind made up. I quickly packed the children into the van, making sure they were comfortable. I told them I would only be a minute as I searched for Izzy.

I found Izzy in the barn with an old horse. The horse was the only one that seemed to understand our pain. I remembered weeks ago, when Hunter was beating Izzy, she ran into the barn and hid behind the horse. Hunter found her and went to grab her, but the horse bit him hard on the arm and kicked him. I managed to coax Izzy out, noting the scars on her young body. She lived in torture with these monsters, she shouldn’t have had to, but now it will end. I took her by the hand and went back into the basement. She was telling me of how Hunter and Mary used to beat and hurt her when I was forced to go out. I told her with gentle words that it would end, soon.

I grabbed the lighters and tanks of gasoline. Izzy knew what I was doing before I even said a word. She helped me spread the gasoline throughout downstairs and upstairs. We didn’t spread the gasoline yet in the room where they were as she wanted to bandage my wounded arm. I totally forgot of it, too busy to save these children. She managed to roughly clean and wrap some old rag around the wound to stop it from bleeding. I promised her I would get it fixed when we were out of this Hell House, she smiled at that.

Together we spread the gasoline in the room where our abusers were. They were still knocked out and to this day, I still don’t know if I preferred them awake or knocked out. I told Izzy to run to the car as I finished my side of the room. When I heard the front door slam close I quickly lit the lighter and threw it on their bodies and floor. I quickly ran downstairs, lighting another lighter.

I, Izzy, and the other children stood outside of the van, watching the house burn down. It was a comforting sight, knowing our pain was over, knowing the children were safe, and knowing I would give them a better life. This all ended in fire, yet a comforting sight.




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