Amber Sparks

As the congressman on television started his stump speech, his wife set fire to the furniture. It was a slow process, despite the gasoline, despite the extra lighter fluid she'd purchased. She had to light the curtains in five different spots. Had they purchased flame-retardant curtains? She couldn't think why she would have done such a thing—unless his mother had bought them. That was entirely possible; the mother-in-law liked buying things to keep the wife married to the house, things like curtains and crock pots and linens. Things like alarm systems which were not, the wife had discovered, particularly difficult to disable.

The fire trucks showed up just in time for her to catch the last of his speech. The flames were shouting obscenities by then, burying his weak, slick words. She could see he was in a park somewhere. She could feel her lungs packing it in.

She stumbled to the front door, singed her hand on the knob, wondered whether to make her way to the kitchen and grab a potholder but decided against it. Decided to let them find her crisped in here rather than crumpled and sorry on the driveway. She coughed, crouched down in front of the television to find a little more air. Her anger was her home; let it burn hot and clean through the drywall, through the insulation, through the grass and trees and houses and all of the human debris scattered like dead leaves over the surface of the world. Let anger fry the face of god.

Amber Sparks has stories in or coming from Unsaid, New York Tyrant, The Collagist, matchbook, PANK and others.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of viamoi.

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