June 11

The Witch who Ended the World (Part 2)

 

[continued from June 10 entry]

 

Mitchell stared from his friend to their blindfolded captive.  This girl, who would have been a high school junior or senior last year when things, literally, blew all to hell — his friend thinks she caused it all?

“I dreamt it,” Jonathan said.  “A person I never met, and I saw her face almost every night.  In my dreams she tried to make me do terrible things.  I resisted…but other people didn’t.”

Mitchell tried to understand.  Jonathan was suggesting that, somehow, this one girl influenced that random confluence of destructive events that decimated so many cities around the world.  More destruction than could be explained by coincidence alone, certainly.

But to blame it on a young girl?  “You’re acting crazy,” was all Mitchell could say.

“Yes,” the prisoner said, and it felt good that she agreed with him.

“It was awful, the thoughts she put in my head,” Jonathan said.  “She made me feel like the worst kind of person.”  He walked to the corner of the dark basement, pushed aside a rusted lawnmower and reached beneath a work bench to pull up a red and yellow gasoline can.  It sloshed as he walked back to the middle of the room.

The girl turned her head to follow Jonathon’s movement, and again Mitchell got the impression that she could see through her thick cloth blindfold.  Perhaps she heard how the liquid sloshed in the metal can, or caught the tell-tale whiff of gasoline in that confined, damp space. “You’re not doing it right,” she said.  “We weren’t burned at the stake.  We were hanged.”

Jonathan started to unscrew the metal lid.  “Needs must.”

In his mind, Mitchell got the image of this poor young girl, soaked in combustible liquid, his friend flicking a lit match or lighter, a flame sailing in a low arc and landing in her lap…the flare and puff, her clothes and skin and hair burning, the girl screaming.

And the fire would keep going, spreading in this house they’d claimed for themselves, their home burning to the ground in a world where too much had already burned.  This time, it would be Jonathan’s fault — driven to insanity by a foolish recurring dream, an obsession that found its target in a helpless, innocent girl.

Jonathon stood over her now, liquid sloshing as he lifted the gas can over her head, began to tilt it forward.

 

[…concluded tomorrow…]