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and the flames went higher

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She's seven and fascinated by fire.

Despite a previous warning from her mother, Kate snatches the box of matches from the coffee table and locks herself in her bedroom mid-morning.

Her hand trembles. Her forehead wrinkles with concentration and her eyes widen in anticipation when she finally lights a match on the third try. The flame flickers with her every breath; throws shadows on the walls that are weird and wonderful and scary.



The heat licks at her fingertips, catches her by surprise, and she watches in horror as the match falls on the carpet, a small flare in a sea of brown.

Her heart beats in her throat.

She stomps it out with her red high tops and pours the glass of water she keeps by her bed on it for good measure; covers up her sin with a book when it cools.

Wayne's asleep on the couch and doesn't wake up until later.







She's twenty-four when he doesn't wake up at all.