I should’ve had the good sense to skip today’s writing and go to bed early. But I didn’t. At least this has given me another idea to work on.
Thanks for reading!
On the day of the May Fair dance, sixteen-year-old Miracle June set the school on fire.
She’d borrowed a dress from Harp Haven, but she went to the dance alone. Hanging back against the wall, she swayed to the music, enjoying the swish of the crinolines and velvet and the notion of dancing against her parents wishes. They’d hear if she ventured onto the dance floor. Was their anger and disappointment worth the lift and ripple of the skirt?
The next song pulled at her insides. What it would mean to give in just once!
Miracle June waited for the next pause in the beat and she swooped onto the floor and spun. The skirt flared around her and she laughed, spinning, stretching her arms over her head. How fun! To the left.To the right. Move. Spin. A hair clip came loose, but she didn’t notice. One last spin and the clip flew into the other dancers and was gone.
When the music ended, she stumbled to the wall again. Breathless and happier than she’d been in a while.
And then doubt, the merest slip of a thing, found its way into her thoughts. Things were about to go wrong. She knew this with a certainty that almost frightened her. Why she felt that way, she didn’t know, but she cautiously turned to the entrance of the full and raucous hall. Her father was there, talking to a teacher, and looking the wrong direction.
That’s when she pushed open the side door just enough to squeeze through and kicked off her dress shoes. Far quieter to run in her bare feet.
She ran down the hall, the dress rustling around her. The weight of her hair pulled the remaining clip free. She didn’t stop to pick it up.
The third door she tried was unlocked. She rushed into the science lab, a classroom she’d never been in before. Her parents didn’t allow it, subjects like physics and biology, and until that moment, she hadn’t cared.
The lab was dark except for the few security lights outside, but that was enough. There were glass things she didn’t know the name of and tubes. A wall of shelves filled with bottles and boxes and books and strange objects. A skull of tiny bird? She wasn’t sure. And shadows hid much of what was there, but the glimpses fascinated. It did feel like witchcraft, just as her mother had warned.
Miracle June walked between the tables. She peered at labels on vials but couldn’t understand most of them. The air smelled of acid and something burnt. She wished she could risk turning on a light.
She lost track of time, but every time she thought of stopping, of venturing back to the dance, something else drew her close, a bowl of pungent dirt here, an inexplicable tool there. Not one of the altars at the temple looked so interesting.
The sound of a nearby door made her jump. Someone was in the hall. A cluster of keys jangled. Someone was checking the rooms.
Miracle June spun around to find a place to hide, and she would never clearly understand what happened next. Her elbow struck a complicated tower of glass and liquids. It toppled, striking more bottles and vials and things. Glass shattered. And the light that momentarily blinded her was not the turning on of the overhead light but an explosion of fire.