Bev Vines-Haines

Charlie Happas started the fire that destroyed 1134 Dressay Avenue.  Not that he would ever admit that.  They did it.  The spirits.  Those bastards he pulled from the ground when their screaming got too loud.  He never kept the entire corpse.  In fact, he kept damn little, truth be told.  

A hair, a fingernail, a musty Bible yanked from bony hands.

He lined the items on a shelf he'd built for the purpose, burning candles day and night, flames meant to quiet the screams.  He knew, of course, they had nothing to scream about.  It was a joke to them, the kind of games the dead play. 

They had to be intact for the torture to work.  So he dismantled them a bit, took just enough to silence their souls, to quiet their sick humor.  At times, he felt bad for them.  That was the reason for the candles, for the altar, for his homage to those collected treasures.

Apparently the dead appreciate nothing.  He figured that was why they spawned the conflagration that stole eleven lives and seven apartments, Brooklyn's biggest fire in 1947. 

At first Charlie hoped  the voices would rest forever.  But, no.  Eleven new screamers joined the choir.  They followed his every move, gave him no rest.

Horrified, he remembered their bodies had been incinerated.  There were no graves, no hairs to pluck, no bones to find.

One night they told him to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge.

First published: November, 2012
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