The fire was horrifying. So were the screams of the family that managed to escape it.
The fire was uncontrollable, just like Monica.
It all started when she was four. It began with her finger.
Her Mummy told her not to touch the pot, but she wanted to know why.
It stung for days, the blister on the tip of her right index finger. She wanted everything to burn for how it burned her. So first she got a lighter from her father's cigarette box, and went to the bathroom. He didn't notice because he was drunk and asleep. He would never know, because he'd wake up and think he misplaced the lighter, like he usually does when he's drunk enough to fall asleep.
She burnt the whole roll of toilet paper, bit by little bit.
After that she burnt everything she could, even her mother's clothes once, and blamed her father and his smoking for the destruction. It was so easy to just pin it on him. He'd drink and forget about it all anyway.
The most fun Monica had with fire, though, was setting off the alarms in school.
She snuck into the bathroom near the chemistry lab last year, lighter clutched tightly in her hand that was buried deep inside her hoodie pocket. By the time she reached the end of the first toilet paper, the exhaust fans had stopped doing their work.
But the neighbour's house... the neighbour's house was an accident.
She only meant to burn the plant under the window, she had plucked out all the flowers and turned them to ashes already.
It started with one leaf, one dry leaf, that almost went out but touched the wood of the house before it could.
She lit one leaf that almost went out, and she thought it went out, so she tried to light it again.
The plant almost caught fire, and the house certainly did.
Her hoodie wasn't enough to put it out. She knew that, so she didn't even try.
Or maybe Monica didn't want to try.
She watched the house, engulfed in flames, slowly crumbling.
She did THAT.
I did that, she said to herself.
There was a moment of fear, a moment of sheer panic.
And then just an essence of power.
She looked across the road, and at all the other houses.
They have some pretty plants with some pretty flowers, she thought to herself.
She looked back at the fire, put the hood over her head and went home.