I savored the sight of the fire, watching the flames lick at the timber of the beautiful home it was greedily devouring. It was so easy to throw it all away- the designer furniture, the expensive private collections of art and wine, the clothing. . . the appearance of a perfect life. So easy to destroy that facade forever. I closed my eyes and replayed the night's events in my head.
After paying his black-haired stripper whore to deliver the divorce papers, I went home to play the jilted, wounded wife. I knew he'd come crawling back to me, telling me it was nothing, that she meant nothing to him.
"It's too bad you decided to risk our marriage over nothing," I had flung back at him, surprised at how easy it was to summon up the anger I thought had died with my love for this pathetic piece of shit philanderer. I suppose I was angry, in my own way- no woman wants to lose her man to rented pussy.
And what kind of idiot did he take me for?! I watched him spend money and time on this common street trash three times a week for a year. I listened to him lie to me about working late, weekends out of town on "business", expenses for "client entertainment"; he thought he was so fucking smart. I stifled a smile as I wondered how that was working out for him now. Being smart, that is.
Predictably, he groveled. He apologized, he promised it was over. He swore he'd change if only I wouldn't leave. Pretending to believe that bullshit almost made me physically sick. Affecting joy at being presented with the gift I knew he bought for HER for their one year anniversary fortified me for what I knew I had to do. He slipped the fifteen carat diamond choker around my neck, and I tried not to recoil from his touch or the garishness of the trinket. Then he went down to the cellar to bring up some wine.
He poured a vintage merlot into two balloon glasses and toasted the "rebirth" of our marriage. I raised my glass and smiled my brightest, most doe-eyed smile and sipped my wine, relishing the way its dryness took my breath away. We talked of the changes we'd make, the things we'd do, and I promised to call my lawyer first thing in the morning to tell him we'd healed our breach. The wine flowed like liquid love, and we drank.
Rather, he drank. I drank enough to be appropriately tipsy, but not enough to dull my wits. It didn't take long for him to pass out since he'd had so much to drink during his "breakup" with the hired cunt. I shook him vigorously, and he didn't wake. I called my neighbor, slurring my request for assistance with putting him in bed; it was a request I hadn't made in quite some time, but it was frequent enough at one point that he came over right away, wearing his best sympathetic look.
I giggled my sodden embarrassment at our overindulgence, and he Neverminded and Not At All'ed me all the way to our bedroom. I tripped over the stairs frequently enough that he planted me on my butt and then returned for me once he'd deposited my husband on the bed. He nestled me close and gently laid me on the bed next to my snoring better half. I murmured my thanks and did my best to fade out of consciousness. I heard him let himself out and I thanked him out loud for his anxiousness to gossip about this incident to our other neighbors, thus guaranteeing that my story was already in place before I even lit the cigarette.
I punched our alarm code into the wall panel above the bed, took one last drag off the cigarette, and let it fall from my fingers onto the carpet on my side of the bed. At first, nothing happened, and I thought I'd have to light another one. I was reaching toward the night stand when I saw the bed ruffle suddenly flare into life. I stared in fascination as the gluttonous little flame fed itself and grew fat, creeping across the carpet to ignite the heavy damask drapery. A small corner of my mind screamed at me to get the hell out of there and call 911, but I forced myself to be calm and let our state-of-the-art fire alarm summon the fire department for me.
I didn't expect the smoke to be so thick so suddenly. I stayed in the room as long as I could stand it, and then I went out to the top of the stairs to wait. After a few long minutes, the smoke poured after me, chasing me, accusing me.
"How do people ever burn alive in their homes?!" I demanded of the noxious fumes surrounding me, "this shit takes forever to spread!"
Irritated, I stomped back to the bedroom to check on the fire's progress and I was greeted by a roar and a blast of heat that nearly knocked me to my feet. The room was an inferno! I stood gaping at it like an idiot until the alarm shook me out of my fascinated stupor. I coughed and dropped to my knees and stayed as close to the blaze as I could bear. I could smell the hair on my arms singeing. I crept by small measures toward the stairs, the fire marching slowly after me. I couldn't breathe. Panic got the best of me, and I turned to flee down the stairs.
I underestimated how weak I would be from oxygen deprivation, and my legs gave out. I took a tumble down the stairs, and the door burst open as I hit the landing. My ever-helpful neighbor grabbed me by the arm and hoisted me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried me from the rapidly-erupting house. I screamed out my husband's name and my neighbor asked me where he was, yelling to be heard over the fire. I sobbed incoherently and pointed up to the second level. My neighbor contemplated the wall of flame angrily consuming the stairs I had only seconds ago been occupying with such impatience. He looked back down at me and shook his head, clutching me to his chest. The wails of the sirens drowned out his sympathies.
This was my final entry for Mrs. C's blogging challenge, week 10: The Perfect Crime. I made it to the final two, wish me luck!