Little Ella, Little Ella, What is Your Home Like?

Hey, ya’ll!

Welcome back to PEP! I will have an art post for you this week, likely on Friday. I’m pushing myself to do a 30 day art challenge. I’ll be posting the culmination of them on here each week. They’re not going to be the best sketches ever but I’m going to challenge myself and hold myself to doing them by posting them here. You, my friends, are my accountability partners.

Speaking of accountability partners, my weight loss isn’t going too well right now but I’m doing a weight training challenge. Every day for the 30 of June, I’m lifting weights no matter what happens. I want to see what the results are after doing 5 lb. dumbbells, 10 lb. dumbbells and a 10 lbs. weight ball for 30 days straight. I’m also doing better about portions and eating better. I did great from January to March but then I got bored of the veggies I was eating. But I’ve had a bit of an epiphany, helped by the cooking/baking challenge and I’m trying some new foods. I’m always willing to try, most, anything once. I’ll let you know each week if I’m doing the weight lifting each week but, maybe, post a before and after picture at the end of the month. I love taking pictures when I’m behind the camera, am very photogenic but this kind of photo is something entirely different.

Now, however, we’re going to move onto Monday’s short story…

Men and women poured out of the houses on the street, every eye on the blaze consuming the large house at the end of the block. Mothers shooed their children back inside as they were attracted by the stacks of smoke billowing across the dark sky.

Slowly, they gathered outside of the fence around the large home, watching the fire trucks come wailing past and the firefighters pile out as if they were red covered clowns piling out of clown engines.

They pulled hoses, hooking them to the fire hydrants just outside of the fence, and fruitlessly waved them at the blaze.

The gossiping neighbors murmured amongst themselves, were there any survivors? They questioned if anyone could survive that blaze, much less the three young girls and their mother.

Suddenly, a small figure crawled out from the burning home and the nosy women were pushing their faces to the iron fence, ignoring their children who had ignored their commands and come to see the biggest fire in the city’s last 30 years, squeezing below their mothers to watch.

Shock rippled through the large crowd when they learned the survivor was young Ella, the youngest daughter of the house, all purposely ignoring that she was in fact a step daughter.

Theories passed through the crowd, at 13, she was the smallest, if she survived, might the other three have as well?

But hours passed, blaze never abating, Ella being carted to the hospital in an ambulance and no signs of anyone else emerging from the reduced to firewood home.

Dawn broke across the sky, flames finally dying out as no more material was found to burn.

Horror was clear on every parents’ face as they learned that young Ella had been admitted with not only smoke inhalation and some 2nd degree burns but also a broken arm, entire torso covered in black and blue, clearly human done.

More theories rippled through the crowd, who had hurt the littlest, prettiest daughter? Memories restarted, they wondered if it was the harsh step-mother or one of the jealous step-sisters.

Now the fire was seen as karmic, giving the young girl her freedom and her abusers their punishment. No longer was there any hope of another survivor. At 35, 16 and 15, all three were old enough to have done the harm to little Ella.

Miles away, hooked up to heart monitor, breathing implements, crystal blue eyes opened, chest seizing as she struggled to remember where she was.

A nurse happened to be in the room of young Ella and saw she was awake.

She smiled warmly, assuring the young teen that she was safe, that her abusers would not hurt her anymore, no other survivors had come out of the fire, source unknown. The doctor checked her over, before assuring her she’d be released to child services soon enough, her father’s estate now held for her when she reached of age, though the house was a total loss, nothing but cinders remaining.

Once left alone, Ella’s tremulous smile calmed, happiness brightening her eyes. Her cruel step-mother would never over-work or starve her again, her step-sisters would never beat her and no one would ever suspect little Ella of starting the fire.


©Paula Crofoot

Well, now I don’t think we saw that coming. Comment below if you saw Ella having something to do with the fire, even if perhaps not starting it.

‘Til next time!

Quick little note: I’ve also started a Medium page for my writing. As of right now, I’ll be publishing stories on Sundays and Wednesdays. Some will be repeats of what you’ve seen here on PEP but others will be new stories so it’ll be worth checking out. Here’s the link: See you there!

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