Maggie, Queen of Darkness (HTML Excerpt)
There had been pain, but it had been short-lived. The smoke had gotten to her before the fire. Good old carbon monoxide, merciful at the last both to suicides and those unfortunates whose lives go up in flames.

Helpless and numb, Maggie had watched the fire grumble and lick its way closer to her across the floor of her parents’ kitchen. The flames fascinated her the way a dancing fox fascinates a rabbit. The end would be much the same, but she couldn’t find it in herself to care. It seemed to her that the fire blazed up suddenly, a bright light that beckoned. It had been beckoning to her all her life, but only now was she able to answer its call. She’d been too heavily burdened before, with her body, perhaps, with life, with worldly cares, with hope. Now she was free to make that long-deferred journey. And now the light was speaking to her, it was saying—

“You died in the fire,” said the voice, “so you shall be queen of fire. You shall receive those given to the funeral pyre. You shall be patron saint of those who burn at the stake.”

What was it saying? Maggie had the disconcerting feeling it had been speaking to her for a very long time, but only now had she begun paying attention. And still she couldn’t make sense of its words, nor yet words out of the sounds she was sensing. Queen something? Maggie had never wanted to be queen....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for June 10, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (872 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art incorporates public domain stock photography from pixabay and “Lewes Bonfire Night 2013 South Street bonfire 2” by Editor5807 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0]

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