by Linda Jordan
writing as LJ Wolfe
Copyright 2011 by Linda Jordan/LJ Wolfe
Published by Metamorphosis Press
Cover Photo licensed by Dreamstine
Photo by Dzimitry Valiushka
I arrived at the homeless shelter, tired and starving and soaking wet; the water sizzled on my skin. All the clothes in my pack were soaked as well. I’d only been on the streets for two weeks and hadn’t worked a lot of things out yet. Like staying dry. The shelter had run out of dry clothes.
So I sat on a chair and turned on my own heat to at least dry out the clothes I wore. Now, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I’ve mostly perfected it and I never get cold anymore. But I’m thinking the combo of tired, starving, stressed out, made me lose control.
I set my clothes, the chair and a nearby table on fire. And people saw it. One woman just screamed and pointed. Another called 911. Everyone panicked. I’m sure they thought I set the fire on purpose, although most hadn’t seen exactly how.
I never told anyone what I could do. When I was little, I must have set things on fire by accident. Mom and Dad, and Gram when she was alive, thought I was playing with matches or lighters. And they beat the crap out of me. But that didn’t stop me. I just became more careful. And always did it when I was alone.