I stare at the old barn through the thick mist. My heart pounds. That barn burned down thirty years ago. Police thought a dropped lighter and moonshine turned that tinder-trap into a lethal blaze. But that wasn’t the cause. I grasp the doorframe; listen to the echoes of the past.
Popular kids like them didn’t ask girls like me to parties, but I was too desperate for companionship to see the warning signs. Besides, Brenton was cute. I sipped my soda while they swigged booze and studied how everyone stumbled through the barn. Drunk was ugly.
I didn’t realize just how ugly until a few more sips into my drink. The walls started to spin. I sank to the ground, limbs heavy and numb. Brenton loomed over me, a strange grin on his face. Before I could get up two of his friends held me down and started to cut away my clothes. I screamed, told them to stop, let me go. They laughed. Nobody could hear me. No one was coming to my rescue. Brenton climbed on top of me.
I don’t remember anything else after that. My clothes vanished. I woke up in my bed, neatly washed and wearing my fleece jammies. Police found three bodies in the charred remains of the barn, toasted from the inside out.
There’s a good reason I stay away from people, hunt alone. Smoke rises from the doorframe. Flames shoot skyward, engulfing the structure again. I’m unharmed. I never am.