THE FIRE BURNED hot and consuming in the dank black night. The
lure of its heat, and flickering dance had beckoned, and soon you were standing
outside the house, a can of kerosene in one hand, a book of matches in the
other. There was no recollection of how you had obtained the items and no will
to recall when instead you could watch the macabre dance of fire on wood.
Plumes of black smoke flooded the air, strangling out the
last breaths of life from the family within the house. When the last breath of
life had faded, you were surprised to notice how quiet it became. The family
inside had obviously been screaming for some time now while you stood outside
lost in your own mind.
The orange and red of the fire danced in the air, growing
impossibly taller until the wailing sounds of sirens cried out, and the bright
colours of the fire was muted in the dull roar of water. The last vestiges of
the fire flickered, striving to seek life to burn but was unable to and finally
died out. Silence hung heavily in your ears, no longer was the crackle and
popping of the fire distancing you from what had happened, and your stomach
began heaving in revulsion.
At last you turned, weaving through the trees as you sought
refuge from the investigation that was sure to come, as it had come the last
time, and the time before that. The problem was that the previous times there
had been no one home when you had come to yourself, but this time… the scent of
burning flesh pursued you, and you tumbled to your knees retching in the woods.
It didn’t take long before you could smell the rich warmth, and hear the
crackle and pop of a campfire. A part of you seemed to disconnect as you
pitched through the forest, without thought to the damage you were doing to your
slim body as you wound between trees, branches scraping you and thorns
pricking, drawing blood that trudged slowly over spectral skin.
Eventually, you tumbled into a clearing and paused on your
knees in front of the campfire that had drawn you ever closer. Your hands
stretched out to caress the flickering flames, and you moaned softly at the
gentle caress, the lick of pain. A soft gasp of horror brought you out of your reverie,
and you looked up into the terrified face of a young child. The voice brought
to mind the screams from earlier, and stomach heaving once more you stumbled to
your feet and ran. You ran from the memories, from the scent, from the tears
that threatened to fall, from the dampness on your cheek that reminded you of
the water that had put out the fire.
Just as the water had put the fire to rest, the tears that
spilled down your cheeks stopped you from running, and you allowed yourself to
curl up in a small ball, sobbing deliriously. It was here that the police found
you, covered in soot and ashes, and pleading that you had never intended to
hurt anyone. However, the fact is that you did hurt someone: you caused over
three quarters of a million dollars in property damage in the homes you set
fire to. Moreover, you caused the death of Mr. and Mrs. Cabrera, as well as
their three-year-old son, Jonathon, and two-week-old Sabrina. You are facing
charges of arson, as well as first-degree murder charges. How do you plead?