There was a part of him that always wondered if he really had done it on purpose. Maybe he had wanted this, maybe there was a side of him that had smiled at the smell of the smoke and loved the warmth of fire and the texture of the ash. Maybe he’d done it and hadn’t even realized it.
He should have caught it. An open flame like that, spurting blue, should have stood out as he went out for lunch, locked the classroom behind him. He should have smelt the chemical tinge on the air.
But he didn’t. He went out, sat down, and ate a hamburger while the fire started.
The police didn’t quite believe his story. The prosecution didn’t either. They threw out witnesses who described him as “a rubber band waiting to snap” and the credit card statements for trips to the therapist. A man in a suit explained so clearly that he’d started the fire that he was beginning to believe it himself.
Perhaps I did it, he thought as the jury came out to condemn him. Perhaps I’m guilty, just like they say.
That might make this easier.
Word Count: 194
This is for Sunday Photo Fiction!