The Fires of Hell

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

In the short story "The Fires of Hell", a group of children get what's coming for them after they create a fire so their Math test would be cancelled.

Concern crawled up Marla's spine like a venomous snake, biting her with all its might. Her skin started to feel itchy to the point of it being completely unbearable. Only with a loud shriek could she express her emotions, yet she knew it would be stupid. She was stuck in school right before the beginning of her Math class, with dozens upon dozens of classmates surrounding her. Some of them could not sit normally, just like her, but at least they attempted to conceal it as much as possible.

There was a clock in the classroom, and the ticking of that clock every lasting second unnerved Marla. She tried to get rid of her stress by playing with her fingers, which didn't work. On her desk, there were her pencils and pens, her erasers and pencil sharpeners, her rulers and triangles. She wanted to make sure she had everything that was needed for that day's test, no matter how bad her result was in the end. 

Then, someone lit a notch. It was Theo, the boy sitting right next to Marla. He had short brown hair and circular glasses, and they matched his innocent smile pretty well. Marla batted an eyebrow. It was beyond her how someone could look so carefree in his position, but not as much as the fact that no one even dared to try to stop him.

"If the worst is going to happen to us after this, why shouldn't I smile? After all, we should put every single bit of a blessing to good use. And how likely is it to happen, actually? We're going to get a scolding, but it's not like the world's going to end, so stop staring at me like the face of Death and support me in my actions like everyone else."

A strange feeling of awe struck her through the heart, causing her to nod in an absolutely dumbfounded state.

"Good. Would you like to be the one to have the honour?"

Marla swallowed. Up until this point, life has been quite great for her. She was very kind, and so the world repaid it very well. Her grades were the best ones in her class, and one of the best in the whole school. She went through puberty, having avoided zits and hormones as much as possible. While not too special, her looks were conventionally appealing. She was also talented in many subjects, and would for sure enrol in the college she wanted to go to. And she participated in a bundle of extracurricular activities, just like most other popular girls in high school.

If I do this, everything I have might as well not exist.

"I see you're afraid, Marla. But please, think clearly. This way of life must be extremely pressuring to you, right?" Theo asked, his eyes devoid of emotion.

"Yes. I too feel that way sometimes."

"Do you not want all that pressure to go away? Do you not want to be someone else, someone whose life is indicated by more than mere existence?"

"But my life matters! I am popular!" Marla shouted as if she were defending herself from someone's grave insults.

"Popularity in high school won't matter later in life. Blink and you'll be forgotten. When you grow up, you'll toil away in misery, wondering how you got here when you did everything the society would approve of. However, can a society in which politicians can barely stand against a virus truly be in the right?"

Those were words that Marla's brain didn't wish to agree with, but the opinion of her heart was the complete opposite. The flicker on the notch danced alluringly right in front of her eyes, and she couldn't ignore it. The reds and oranges weaved the most incredible creation she had ever seen. A creation so powerful, it could change everything.

"Before this flame is extinguished, I must spread it! It's the key to my happiness!" she screamed like a maniac.

"Yeah, but what about our happiness?" one kid from the back of the classroom told her, frowning.

"Yeah!" a bunch of other kids yelled.

"Don't worry, guys. Everything will be okay, trust me," she responded.

Her fellow students, although a bit stunned by her behaving this way, decided to trust her.

"Here it goes. All or nothing," she muttered, her heart beating in her chest like never before.

Before she even had the time to close her eyes, she discovered that she had already dropped the notch. She was amazed by the bravery she didn't know she had, although she knew that she was a coward. If she wasn't, she would keep fighting. Instead, she chose to make it easy for herself. By destroying school property.

Suddenly, something strange happened. The fire was supposed to be small, but it reached the other end of the classroom in seconds. Smoke appeared quickly after that, and everyone started coughing while looking for a way to get out.

"You told us it would be alright!" a furious girl hollered. Marla already couldn't see her due to all the smoke, but it wasn't needed to feel her anger and commence holding tears of utter sorrow.

"How was I supposed to know?!" Marla hollered back.

"I should have known better than to allow such a stupid thing to occur!"

She was right. That realisation made her let out a scream of terror that was so strong, it could have opened a portal to the void. And given hearing damage to a group of people who have just started living. It didn't matter, though. Marla had stopped hoping that they would get out of there alive.

"There is no exit!" Theo informed everyone once he returned to Marla's side, crying on her shoulder.

This is not what I need, but what I deserve.

"Don't worry, people! Maybe we can't get out of here right now, but there must be someone outside who will do it for us!" a student cheered with genuine joy.

"I tried calling my parents. There is no signal," Theo announced with a sigh.

"WHAT?!" several students cried out.

"What I meant to say is that someone has to notice eventually and come to save us, preferably with firefighters," the first student explained.

Just as everyone started to regain hope, the fire engulfed the entire school faster than the speed light travels by. The pupils who hadn't already fainted joined the others, and all of them turning to ash was inevitable. The building met doom as well, and whatever was in there would never walk the Earth for another second. Only one girl remained, and she gave Marla's corpse a hollow look.

Submitted: May 26, 2021

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