Professor Monroe wrote another chemical equation, as the lab echoed with the hiss of flames being switched on. Mary stared into the hot glow and was once again accosted with the reek of her mother’s burning flesh.
Her father hadn’t cried at the funeral and his emotionless state continued. She knew he blamed her and wished he’d get angry…yell…something…but he simply never mentioned that day or her mother again.
Someone jerked her away from the flame that had scorched her right hand.
An hour later, hand bandaged, she was sitting in the principal’s office with her father.
“Did you do this on purpose?” he asked softly.
Mary looked up.
“I…no…I just…didn’t feel anything,” she stopped, knowing how ridiculous this must sound, but she actually hadn’t felt the flame burning her hand…she just didn’t know why.
Suddenly, her father reached over, hugged her tightly and started crying.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry too.” Tears trickled down Mary’s face. “It was my fault.”
“No! It was an accident!” he held her firmly by the shoulders, “Do you hear me sweetheart? It was not your fault!”
She collapsed into his arms, sobbing but grateful. She’d got her Dad back.