Finally

They found a body in the rubble. Everyone knew who it was.

A dozen costumed teens and a dozen firefighters saw Annalise Grisholme. She ran back into the school while smoke blocked the starry midnight sky and its moon. Flashing red and blue and a raging yellow blaze overtook the light of street lamps.

The heat sent every other escapee retreating. Everyone knew what had happened by the time the morning sun of All Saints’ Day broke the tree line.

Annalise’s ghostly face paint smeared. Her blackened eyelids streaked and melted from the heat like tear tracks. She kicked off the heels she had worn for dancing. Her feet pounded the asphalt. She knew what the melted linoleum floor of the school halls would do to her flesh.

Still she ran. She wore gloves stitched with skeletal anatomical patterns. Maybe she thought they would protect her hands as she navigated the blaze.

Annalise’s boyfriend, Mark, tried to follow her, but officers stopped him while two firefighters ran in after the girl, yelling at her.

Five minutes later the two firefighters came out of the smoke carrying Jillian and James Grisholme. Anna wasn’t with them.

Much of the building collapsed minutes later. The fire didn’t care about the screaming and desperate pleas of loved ones or the terror in the eyes of two eleven-year-olds.

The building still smoldered by daybreak, the dull sizzling filling the air like the buzz of flies around a corpse.