She stares out the attic window as the whole world floods. Orange hair like the fire of angels. Eyes dead. Tears like ashes drift to the floor. No expression. Porcelain face, smooth, spotted. Freckles. White dress. White high heels. A lighter. Gasoline in a red tin can. Rain on the roof. Her father has patched the roof a week before. The attic is bone dry with the lingering smell of chemicals in the air. This is important.
Up here in the heavens of the house she can see the creatures of the sea moving among the weeds of the earth. The more beautiful plants have drowned in the rain, like the roses in their garden, although some dirty pink petals have blown against the white walls of the house, thrown there by the wind and stuck there by the water. She does not see these.
She sees eels slithering through the overgrown grass; she sees crabs scuttling in a swarm on top of the huge white mailbox; she sees silver fish flit through the slits in the fence as the moonlight strikes their scales; she sees turtles. She sees the shadows of sharks darting along the street creating their own sinister traffic. She knows that in the valleys there are whales, the spray of their desperate respiration glinting like diamonds in the night, wailing a funeral tune for the human race she hopes they know will die. She has seen them on the news. She wishes she might see them with her own eyes. But she knows she will never leave this house.
Nor does she wish to leave.
Lightning flashes, as it often does. She imagines the spray of whales catching in the wild brilliance, and in that wild brilliance she has no more tears to catch the light, for she is sure again that her place is not the sea. In the brief light, one could never tell that she has cried. Many appear ugly when they cry. Some beautiful but marred with pain. She looks no different. This angelic beauty with hair like the feathers of a phoenix has no wrinkle in her face, no red in her eyes. Perhaps her face shows resolve, but one would have to know her very, very well to be sure.
She is the only life in the house. Her parents lie in bed together looking beautiful in their death. She has killed both of them and feels very happy about it!
"We are all going to die anyway," she told them. "But this is more beautiful."
She had poisoned her mother's tea, but it took effect during sleep and therefore caused no pain. Her father, she strangled with her soft hands. It was lovely. He slept very heavily and did not even struggle! It was very intimate. She did not have to close their eyes as they were already sleeping, but she did kiss their eyelids, situate them both on their backs hand in hand, and straighten the deep purple silk bedding to be free of wrinkles. She created a beautiful picture. Her parents, with dark and curly hair, lay motionless in a vampiric sleep. She does not look anything like them, but this has never bothered anyone.
She is pleased that her parents died in this way instead of drowning. She knows that God will understand because He is merciful and she has committed an act of mercy. It's that they thought it was a rainstorm while she knows that it was a great flood. Hadn't they read the signs? Giants of the earth, men laying with fallen angels, demons drinking beer freely in the bars with their red skin and leathery wings and shamelessly dangling members?
"It's just a sign of changing times," said the mother.
"We must be patient, and we will understand," said the father.
And then it began to rain, and they still didn't see!
Well, nothing. In heaven they will all understand together, and feel happy. Does she hear the song of the whales? Or is it just the howl of the wind? She picks up the red tin can in both hands. It is large and heavy.
She knows that somewhere in the night a large wooden boat is floating. She has read the story of Noah, and believes it. She believes in all the stories of the Bible. She believes, also, in the fables of her girlhood, the witch in the hut, the lupus en fabula, for she believes in the poetry of believing in fables, but the stories of the Bible she believes, she really believes, because she knows to believe in nothing else. This she knows and feels is right: to believe because there is no other way. Perhaps the ark has been built far away. Perhaps it floats behind the house now. But it will never find her. This she knows because she has doubted her faith and therefore does not deserve a spot in the ark. This makes her sad, and she has asked God many times for it not to be so, but even in her prayers then there was doubt and in this she knows she has failed.
She lifts the red tin can over her head and pours. Normally she does not like to be wet; she is like a cat. But gasoline is warm and dusty and seldom feels like the cold rain outside. She lets it drip on the floor around her as she drenches herself in it. The yellowish liquid plasters the dress to her body, and one could see her lovely breasts in the flashes of the lightning. She is aware of this and though nobody sees her she feels guiltily excited by this fact. Languidly, she picks up the lighter from the floor. She does not try to appear sensual as she knows God is watching, yet she knows that this act appears sensual, and this also excites her. She ignites her dress from the bottom and cannot wait to begin screaming.
Somewhere in the night an ark floats where animals are forced to procreate whether or not they are attracted to their predetermined mates, and in other houses families huddle around television sets watching whales spray glitter into the air hoping to learn where the rain will stop, but here it is silent. A girl with orange angel hair waits a split second before her skin begins to burn. Finally she lets out a pure, wild, delighted, searing, anguished, righteous scream. She feels holy. She is, therefore, a martyr. She continues screaming until her lungs burn. This does not happen until the dry wooden floor catches fire and she falls down in her pain, because there is not enough gasoline to burn her until she dies. But she does die, as we all must.
As the whole world floods there stands a candle in the night, a city on a hill. The light of the Gospel, it is said, must not be hidden under a bushel. This house does not hide. And as the girl with the hair like an angel burns to death she hopes that she, too, will rise again.