THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 357

Falling In

In my incredulous silence,
Maddy took hold of my arm.
Her fingernails dug into my skin,
leaving red marks.
I pushed against her,
but Amanda gripped my other arm.
I yelled and thrashed,
but the force of their wrath
made them stronger than me.
“I know you’ll tattle
to the guidance counselor
or somebody else,” Maddy said.
She sounded so calm.
They shoved me
against the door
of the storage shed.
Smoke filled my nostrils.
I could still hear a weak voice
calling from inside.
Or am I imagining it?
The door broke, weakened by heat.
I fell in.
They ran.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 356

We Did It

“Get away from there!”
someone shrieked in my ear again,
and I jumped.
Maddy and Amanda
were right behind me.
“What did you do?” I demanded.
A sly smile
crept onto Maddy’s face.
“We made her do it,” she said,
“but she didn’t want to.
So we did it for her.”
“Did what?” I stared at them,
my mouth open, tasting smoke
from the burning storage shed.
Where is the fire truck?
“She wouldn’t kill herself,
so we did it for her.
We pushed her in.
We locked the door.
We set fire to the shed and the library.”

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 355

Mirage

It could have been only a rumor.
If I had learned anything that year,
it was that the majority
of what people talk about
is totally insignificant
and may not even be true.
At this point, I didn’t care.
I tumbled down the hill,
shoved through the crowds,
and moved closer to the smell
of smoke
coming from
the storage shed.
Flames shot from the back.
The air around it shimmered
with heat like a mirage.
Where is the fire truck?
“Get away from there!”
someone screamed at me.
I ignored them.
I thought I heard someone
calling—screaming
from inside the shed.

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