The word of the week from Girlontheedge is FORM, and we are continuing on with Lottie, who has finally slowed down long enough to look back on what she has done, and the damaged it has caused.
At first Lottie ran, and it was three months before she finally took the chance to look up her high school + arson in a public library on her way out of a small town.
There was the tragedy laid out in black and white, and she wasn’t sure what surprised her more, the fact the suspect was being described as a 6ft black man, or that the blame for the death toll was being laid of the feet of the local school board.
Lottie had always assumed that she would be caught, that one of the survivors would point her out, that people would know that she had done it, and she should have felt relief at getting away with it, but a part of her was disappointed that no one would learn, none of them would have to live with the consequences of their actions.
She hadn’t known that the school board had sealed the windows from opening more than a crack to prevent truancy, or that the last three fire inspections had been skipped due to budget cuts, or that the service form for every one of the sprinklers had been forged for years, rendering them decorations rather than fire suppressants.
She couldn’t know that the school had been leasing out space in the unused basement for storage without checking the contents closely, or that once the fire hit a few barrels down there it would turn the school into a crematorium that left her own name staring back at her on the list of dead, having been logged in for the day, but never out.
She was off the hook, she should feel free, but she was just as caged as she would have been in a prison, trapped by the guilt of what she had done, the crime she wouldn’t pay for, the small life that was now her responsibility, and so she walked out of the library, sat on a bench, and wept.