Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1584903-Pyromaniac
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1584903
Word Count: 1,261 contest piece
Word Count: 1,261

"Okay, I admit it, I did it. What now?" Katherine watched as Jack rolled his eyes, annoyed with her.
          "You weren't supposed to kill him!" he complained. Kat shrugged.
          "Oh well, too late now. What do I do next?" she asked. Jack crossed his arms and leaned against the wall of the small office.
          "Set it on fire," he said. Kat grinned.
          "Yay, my favorite part," she said. She reached a hand in her pocket and pulled out a book of matches. She lit one, then threw it on the body. The man had a letter opener in his chest- it was the first thing Kat had gotten her hands on. He shouldn't have worked late, she thought. She watched at the flame latched onto the man's shirt and began eating away at it. The stench of burning flesh soon filled the small room. She stood, mesmerized by the sight.
          "Come on, Kat, stop fooling around," Jack grumbled. When she turned to face him, he threw the container of lighter fluid at her. She caught it, then began pouring it out everywhere, all over the desk, papers, books, the carpet. She crossed the room and opened the single window through the drawn curtains. She doused those too. She struck another match and threw it on the carpet by the drapes. A third match went on the desk. The fourth was by the body.
          The orange flames flared up, consuming everything they touched. Kat was addicted to these flames, unable to pull her gaze away from them. Jack grabbed her arm and began dragging her away from the burning office. She followed him out into the hallway, then down some.
          "Why can't we stay and watch?" Kat asked. "We have plenty of time before we have to go back."
          "Because it's too risky! We can't have you standing around, watching an office building burn. Boss wants us back as soon as we finish, always. Now let's go." Kat frowned at him. She turned her head to glimpse one tendril of smoke leaking out of the room. She was surprised the fire alarm hadn't gone off yet.
          "Fine," she grumbled, annoyed with Jack. She followed him down the hall to the stair well. "I'll just build a fire when we get back." Jack shook his head.
          "Freakin' pyro," he muttered. Kat couldn't stop the grin that formed over her face. Yes, she was a pyromaniac, and she was better for it. She loved the flames, loved to watch them eat away at everything they touched. They were a power that little could stop-even water couldn't put out some fires.
          Now that she was dead, the flames having finally consumed herself only a month ago, she could play with fire all she wanted. Boss had hired her on as his "pyro-technician" as he called it. She set fires to anything he asked her to, and in return, she got to keep "living". Jack was also dead, and he also worked for Boss. Jack was paranoid, and always knew when someone was nearby or someone was watching him. He kept the "employees" safe from the police.
         Kat and Jack flagged down a taxi once they'd left the building out of it's back entrance and left the alley. The return home was boring for Kat, too quiet. She longed to arrive at the sprawling house and go to the back and light a fire. Outdoor fires were her favorite- they were less controllable and had so much more power. Jack was annoyed with her- she had an obsession he had no desire to even attempt to understand.
          When the taxi stopped, Jack paid while Kat jumped out and ran to the house. She wanted to tell Boss of her good job- that she'd done everything perfectly, but that Jack hadn't let her stay to watch. She was proud of herself. This had been the first job Boss had sent her on- he'd said there wouldn't be many for her, but that he could use her for when there was a need. She unlocked the front door to the old house and went inside. She pushed it closed as she left the front area and roamed down the hall.
          Boss was sitting in the kitchen, her hair pulled back in a short braid. She had on a pink fuzzy robe. Kat sat down at the table beside her and began telling her everything she'd done in perfect detail.
          "Excellent job," Boss said with a smile. Kat smiled up at her. Boss was reluctant to tell Kat she wouldn't be needed for a while because she was so like a small child. Kat had the mind and personality of a six year old girl, but the knowledge of the twenty-two-year-old woman she was. It was a strange combination.
          "Dear," Boss said, her smile faltering, "I'm afraid I don’t have anything for you to do for a long while…" Kat's own smile faded.
          "No, no! You can't put me back in the dark!" Kat wailed, terrified. Boss "shh"ed her and patted her hand.
          "It won't be for too long," Boss said, her voice sweet and kind. "But I can't keep you around for such a long time without having something for you to do."
          "But…" Kat mumbled, tears forming in her eyes. "You won't let me back out again, will you?"
          "You've got to be crazy if you think that!" Boss said. "Of course I'll let you back out!"
          "Really?" Kat said, sniffing. Boss nodded. Kat stood up and turned away from the older woman. "Can I go build one more fire?"
          "Of course," Boss said with a small nod. Kat left the tiny yellow kitchen and walked outside. The night air was brisk and chilly. The wind whipped her hair around her face. Kat's eyes stung from the chill. She blinked her eyes, then stepped off of the porch into the tall grass. It hadn't been cut in years. Weeds came up to her knees. It would be perfect kindling for a big fire.
          Kat gathered wood from the pile against the house. All of it was dry because of the recent drought. She piled it up on the ground. She pulled some of the grasses from the ground and stuffed them around the wood. The match book was in her hand once more. There were six matches left inside. She broke one off and struck it, then held the tiny flame to the dry grass. It caught instantly. Kat lit two more matches and placed them around the logs.
          When Kat stood up, she could see the flames growing bigger beneath the logs. The logs were beginning to burn too, now. She smiled. The flames rose in the grass, catching onto some of the taller, surrounding pieces. Kat did not put them out. She let them spread around her. She loved the heat as it warmed her cold body. She was a cadaver- a dead body that had no warmth. She felt almost alive, now, the fire warming her skin.
          The grasses were on fire all around her, and the back porch steps had caught, too. She smiled. Boss would not put her back into the dark. She wouldn't let her. Kat turned around and around in the grass, the flames catching on her shirt and jeans, warming her still. Kat laughed, the flames tickling her skin rather than burning her. She would never go back to the darkness now, only be swept up in the wind and flames.
          "There's nothing more for me here," she sighed.
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