Quiet days were normal when I was a child. The only noises you would often hear were the creaking of the stairs, the distant chirp of birds, and the occasional car passing on the old dirt road. Other than that, days were silent. The old Victorian homes stood on the opposite of the trees, gaps between each for an appropriate amount of backyard space, leading into the forest. On my street, there were only three. One house on the right, vacant and pending sale, our house, and then the McKess’ house. The sun hit our house in the late afternoon, shining a yellowish glare through my window. I spent most of my time there, or playing with the McKess’ daughter, Mckenzie. My parents, on the other hand, spent their time in the study or the art room on the other side of our house. Contact between my parents and I was minimal.
“Kenz!” I shouted, tapping on the door. She opened it, head cocked to the side, her green eyes seemed to stare into my soul.
“Hi Ana.” Her voice was soft but raspy, just enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Ana was an interesting child, now that I look back. From what I remember as the 6 year olds we were, she had a twisted mind for her age. She seemed to have a desire to always destroy things, to set them on fire. She’d take me deep in the woods, taking various items belonging to her parents, and she would light them. And she’d always give the flames the same look. She’d cock her head to the side and slowly move her mouth in unison to the crackle of the flames.
At that age, I never saw her as a threat, more as a fascination to my mind. How she looked at the fire with such an amusement of it, like it hypnotized her to think beyond the orange and red tongues of serpents, bouncing against each other and hissing.
One day her fascination… A fetish… Or however you’d like to put it, was taken too far. She peered at me through her window, waving and smiling at me in an innocent manner. She slowly slid a match out of her monkey coin purse, the red of it standing out like a sore thumb. She then nodded at me, and I looked at her with such an amusement in what she was doing.
She carefully took the match and slid it over both of her hands, in such a crazy manner she had to be performing some ritual. Kenz waved a final time before striking the match against her wall, as she watched the flame spark up and hiss at her. This time, the flame made out a shape, a body. A demon, perhaps. She smiled cruelly at me before dropping the match on her floor, the room immediately engulfed by flames and smoke. My mouth was agape. I was horrified by what I witnessed. I ran out onto the porch, watching the flames swallow the house. I heated screaming, from both a man and a woman. Kenz’ parents. Had she killed them?
The fire finished off the house in fifteen minutes. By that time, my parents had smelled the smoke and dialed the fire department, but it was too late. The house was finished, and all that was left was ashes and pillars of the old Victorian home.
As my parents stood conversing with the firefighters, I had been staring at the house. To my surprise and utter shock, Kenz crawled out from under the rubble, coin person in hand. She dusted off the ashes on her dress, and she smiled sweetly at me. As her perfect blonde curls bounced behind her, she skipped into the forest. I would never see her again.
I recently talked to my mother about the whole situation.
Funny thing is, she tells me Mckenzie never lived past three.