Her hands shook as she gazed at the heart, burned and scratched brutishly into the now scarred back door of her home. Her safe haven. Inside the heart were her initials, D.S.G. Underneath was the cross, signifying her love for another. Below, slashed deeper than her initials, more boldly, were two more letters: S.B. A third letter had been started, but apparently not finished.
Debra took a step back, her hard high heels making a dull thud on the wooden porch below her feet. Her pink dress and brunette, curly hair blew before her in the cold wind. Goosebumps rose on her bare arms and her clasped her fists tightly together, pressing them against the bare skin on her chest. The elaborate necklace, diamonds studded in pure gold, felt like a snowflakes on her pale flesh. The winds blew harder as the sun sunk long ago behind the trees the lines her property. She'd had her the young man whom had given her a ride home in his carriage drop her off at the end of the rode, for fear of the whispers of her sisters and scolding of her parents. She was old enough to conduct herself in proper fashion, but they seemed to all consider her a child, incapable of independence. She was completely alone here. She had no suitors, her family was already asleep. But how had the vandal written this on the door without their knowledge, without them hearing? Surely their ever-attentive servant would have heard the sounds of this destruction. Debra's reached towards the door, curling albescent fingers around the brass door knocker. She brought it down twice on the heavy, oak door.
She waited, trembling. She had always been afraid of the dark, though she pretended to have left this phobia behind, in her childhood. No the moon was hidden behind clouds, that uttered forth threatening thunder. She grabbed the door knocker and slammed it against the door with more urgency than before. Still, no one came. She had to get inside.
Debra took the door knob in her quivering fingertips, hands too cold to grip it tightly. She turned the knob and pushed. There was no light shining through the immaculately clean windows. The hour had slipped away from her, but she knew it was quite late; everyone was probably already asleep. She pushed on the door, but it didn't open. She turned the knob harder, wondering if it were perhaps locked. It wasn't. She pushed against the door harder, and it opened a bit, only to become jammed against something inside.
An irrational paranoia rose within her. Her breath was short, eyes darting in the darkness. She put her back against the door and pushed with all of her one hundred and twenty three pounds. The lace back to her dress got caught in the splinters of the carving on the door, slipping through the delicate fabric and scratching her porcelain back. She flinched, repositioned herself against the door and pushed harder. It slowly opened inward, the old hinges creaking with the pressure. It was completely dark inside, with the exception of the opaque beams of light that battled their way through from outside. The small bit of light caught a glimmer on the floor. The servants were not doing a very good job keeping the place tidy. What had been blocking the door.
Debra's family, the Godfrey's, kept a lantern and matches on a small shelf,left, directly inside the door. Debra reached through the partially open door to retriever the lantern. She struck a match, holding it to the short bit of wick that was left. It would need to be replaced soon. The wick was stubborn, the wind fought to keep it from lighting. The match burned too quickly, burning her tender fingertips. She dropped the match. She shrieked as the floor beneath her feet ignited in flame. The flame spread around the room in seconds, until it surrounded everything in a burning, orange circle. The fire illuminated the contents of the room.
Debra did not scream. Only let out a short, breathless cry of horror and fear. Everyone who lived in this home, her family, her servants, were lying on the ground, the persian carpet soaking up there blood, black in the juxtaposition of bright firelight and and utter darkness. Their eyes were open, wide open; their pupils were dialated in fear, creating the illusion that in their last moments, their souls had escaped and left them as ghoulishly made dolls with buttons as eyes. Their skin was flecked and splattered with their own blood and the blood of those around them. The longer Debra stared, the less human they appeared.
She was suddenly aware of a searing pain in her leg. She looked down. Fire was dancing to an unknown, heathen beat by her toes. Her stocking were beginnign to melt onto her skin. She took to quick stepped backwards, unsteadily stumbling away. Her mind was blurred and all she knew is she had to go, she had to get away. Through the open door she could see flames begin to reach farther up the wall, consuming the floral wallpaper like an emaciated child who's been handed a wealth of candy. Debra continued to step backwards. The heal of her shoe caught between two floorboards. She twisted as she fell backwards, trying to catch herself. Her ankle twisted taking away her breath completely.
When she fell she had reached the steps to the porch. Her weak wrists tried to stop her fall, but did nothing to impede her body from crashing against the shape edges of each step. She felt a crack in both of her wrists and pain comparable to that which was in her ankle shot up her arms. The shoe which had been lodged in the porch came loose and she felt herself slide down the stepped. The sides of her dress tore, leaving her flesh exposed to the rough wood, It scraped her skin mercilessly. The side of her dress caught on a nail that had been left carelessly exposed and when she tried to sit up the top of her garment was torn from her defenseless body, leaving her in only a small, white slip.
The fire began to make its way over the whitewashed porch, leaving black fingerprints wherever it could. It grew in intensity, lustfully swallowing the foundations of the massive home. It reached the sturdy pillars, which supported the porch's high roof. Debra stared at the fire. It's heat, drawing nearer with each agonizing moment, reached out and touched her numb skin, flirting apatheticly with the innocent flesh.
She knew she had to move, but when she tried to push herself back, away from the monster that wanted her, that seemed desprate to end her, her wrists limply refused to do anything but send excruciating pain through her, causing her to cry out in pain.
The tears began to pour down her pallid face, now smudge with ash and masked with dark smoke. She lay back, unblinking as she watched the flame killed everything she knew. She was going to die here. Just minutes ago she had been knocking at the door to her home, a door, a door with her initials carved into it, which was now dust and ash, floating into her lungs, blowing away from the Hell this place had become. Now she was finished. How could everything end like this? The tears running from her streaming eyes and clouded her vision brought forth images of what was inside the house. Each of them had been killed in the same way. Flat on their backs. A jagged heart carved into their exposed necks. The initials beckoning to her on the door called to her, she searched her memory for someone with a name beginning with S and ending with B. But her mind was slowly shutting down. It was only aware enough to tell her that somehow, this was her fault.
She closed her eyes and stopped trying to force air into her empty lungs. Her stiff body conformed to the ground below her and no more thoughts could manifest themselves in her mind. The screams of the bellowing fire began to fade in her deafened ears.
Then she felt a hand touch her shoulder. She tried to open her eyes, to see if this was really the end, if this was and angel or demon, waiting for her to give up and follow them to eternity, but she couldn't. She just felt two hands slip behind her scraped and bleeding back and lift her. One of the hands positioned itself below her bent knees cradling her gently, but firmly. It felt like when she was a young girl and her father would carry her to bed after she had fallen asleep on the sofa. A body bent over her protectively and she felt it moving away from the heat. She opened her mouth, tried to speak, but her jaw just went slack her head leaned back against a firm shoulder.
With all the concentration she could summons she opened one blue eye half way. Was this a vision, was she already dead? No, he was there. The man from the dance she had attended months ago. The one who had watched her silently, before talking to her for hours on end. The one she had gone to town to meet every day since. The one who had become her secret lover. The one who had taken her home. The one with the black covered carriage and the cobalt and white horses. The one who was now putting a scratchy cloth bag, that reached of urine, over her head.