She is everyone, and no one. She doesn't even have a name, because every day she is in a new life. She doesn't know who she is...or was. All she knows is the pain of these other girls, these living girls, the suffering girls.

She wants to know who she really is...but what will it take to find out?

WARNING: This Movella contains rape, bullying, suicide, abuse, self-harm, and other sensitive elements.


12. Seraphina

    I wake in a room full of lit candles. I lie for a long time, just watching the small, dancing flames. It’s soothing to watch.

    Finally, I sit up, focusing on my host, Seraphina Enya Holt. She has a secret love inside of her that almost no one knows about. A secret that almost got her killed once, and could get her killed again if she’s not careful.

    Seraphina is in love with fire, which explains why there are candles everywhere even as the blinking alarm clock shows that there is functional electricity. Fire makes her feel like a different person, like a beautiful goddess with incredible power. She’s built up a tolerance to heat, and doesn’t even notice the small burns that frequently scatter themselves along her hands and arms. When she dies, she wants it to be in a fiery blaze.

    There have been times when she’s been tempted to set herself on fire, because it feels like her only real escape.

    I slide out of bed, moving around the room to blow out the candles. One by one, the beautiful ballerinas of light disappear from their wax stages. I don’t bother turning on the lamp that’s tucked into the corner of the room - Seraphina can see in the dark remarkably well, and the slow sunrise provides just enough light to continue through her morning ritual.

    Seraphina has beautiful red hair that tumbles down her back, and warm brown eyes that sit overtop of a small, freckled nose. I find that she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, just mascara and occasionally a bit of eyeliner. I decide to skip on the eyeliner, since I’ve never been very good at applying it. Her closet is full of greens and blues and grays. Crumpled on her desk is a dark gray denim sleeveless vest that she wears almost every day. I pull that on overtop of a soft, pine green shirt and dark gray jeans. Seraphina’s hand practically move on their own to sweep some of my hair into a small braid that loops over my head like a crown.

I look at her reflection, suddenly sad. I feel like I never pay enough attention to how beautiful these girls are. I was so plain when I was alive, if I am right about being Abigail. Just brown hair and brown eyes and pale skin, nothing remarkable.

I realize that I didn’t have a dream today.


Downstairs, Seraphina’s mother is sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee and a magazine. She look up as I walk in. “Hi, honey. Look at these curtains!” She points at some periwinkle-colored curtains that are pictured in the magazine. “Wouldn’t they look great in the living room?”

“I guess so.” I reply, shrugging. Seraphina doesn’t really know much about the intricacies of home decor.

I pour a cup of coffee for myself. Seraphina likes it black. Yeck.


“I got a call from the jail today.”


Seraphina’s body automatically stiffens.


“Apparently, your father was attacked by a couple of the other inmates. They beat him up pretty bad. He had to be taken the hospital.”


“He’s not my father.” The words pop out without me realizing it.


“...Daniel has three broken ribs, a broken arm, and apparently someone stuck something in his eye. Oh, and he has a concussion.”


“And they told you that because…?”


She sighs. “I don’t know. Must be I’m still listed as his primary contact. I thought Bradley said he had them change the records. Someone didn’t get the memo.”


I dump the coffee into the sink and grab my school bag off the table, stuffing my phone and earbuds into my pocket. “I’ll see you later.”

I practically run out the door.


When Seraphina was five, her father started coming into her room late at night while her mother was asleep. He would lie beside her, running his fingers up and down her body. After a couple of months, he started touching her in places that he shouldn’t have been touching. A few months after that, he made her touch him.

This went on for several years, escalating slowly. When she turned thirteen, he forced her into intercourse. “You’re a young woman now. I don’t want some filthy boy showing you this stuff. I’m your daddy, and I gotta teach you.”

It was another long year before she finally spoke up, but her mother didn’t believe her.

So Seraphina secretly turned on the sound recorder on her phone and let it run all night. When he came, he was angry. “Your mother told me what you said to her.” He pressed a hand against her throat. “That I’ve been ‘sexually abusing’ you. Girl, you don’t even know what sexual abuse is. I’m teaching ya, way better than any filthy boy ever could. And you’ll keep quiet about it.” He ripped her pajamas off, and shoved his way in without any prelude. He covered her mouth when she started to scream in pain. “Tonight’s lesson: punishment.”

That night was long and painful, but she got her proof, and showed it to her mother the next morning. Ashlynne was shocked. “He...he wouldn’t...he…” After spending half an hour trying to calm her mother down, Seraphina called the police. He was taken from his office in handcuffs. My evidence left no other option but a guilty verdict and twenty years in jail. My mother filed a divorce shortly after.


I’m yanked out a Seraphina’s thoughts by a loud honk. “Yo, Sera!”

I glance over. A muscly red Jeep is chugging slowly down the road next to me, its windows full of mischievous faces.

Oh, shit.

Suddenly, the windows are rolled down and there are a handful of water guns pointing at my face.

I can smell the gasoline from where I’m standing, and I swear that they’re pulling the triggers in slow motion.

“Enjoy your shower, Fire Girl!”


It’s a good thing Seraphina loves the smell of gasoline, because it’s all I can smell after they drive away. I clench my fists. There’s a lot of anger in Seraphina, and it’s starting to rear its head now. I frantically shove it aside. I’ve seen the memory of what happened last time Seraphina let that beast loose, and it’s far from pretty.

When I get to the bus stop, the other three kids standing there stare and snicker. One girl backs away, covering her nose. I ignore them, focusing on the dawn-lit asphalt. Seraphina always keeps an extra change of clothes in her backpack and in her locker - I guess now I know why.

Once the bus comes, I sit in the first empty seat I can find and pull out my iPod and earbuds. It’s an old iPod, one with the scrolling circle on it. She's had it for years, and is amazed it even still works. I pull up her “Heavy and Sad” playlist, and start off the shuffle with a loud Linkin Park song. I can’t hear the snickers over the music, but I can feel the stares.

I ignore it all. Seraphina is good at ignoring.


I make a beeline for the bathroom as soon as I enter the school, ignoring the gossiping gaggle that’s occupying the mirrors and darting into a stall all the way at the end.

The light over this stall is broken, leaving me in dim, secondhand light. I change quickly, stuff the gas-soaked clothes in the trash on my way out the door, and make my way to first period. I slide into my seat just as the bell rings. Phew.


When the bell rings for lunch, I follow Seraphina’s memory to her secret lunch hideout, a tiny unused closet under a set of equally unused stairs in the back of the school. When I get there, however, it’s occupied by someone else. The boy steps forward.

Brenton Stern, captain of the football team and notorious bully. He’s upsettingly handsome, with caramel eyes and soft brown hair and a face that must have been handmade by the Greek gods themselves. Oh, and don’t even get me started on his body, with its overload of muscles that somehow look so damn good it hurts.

Seraphina hates Brenton with a passion.

A fiery passion.


“Hello, Fire Girl. Have a good shower this morning? I’m sad that I had to miss it.” Brenton smirks. He looks around. “Nice place you got here. I always wondered where it was you scurried off to at lunchtime. The matches gave it away when I found this little hidey-hole.” He motions towards a small bookcase, which holds several packs of matches, a couple of lighters, some paperbacks, and various old and abandoned homework assignments. “So this is where you work you fiery magic, hm? You know, I read up on pyromaniacs. Pretty juicy stuff.”

I wince at the word “pyromaniac”. Seraphina hates that word. It makes her sound like she’s crazy. A crazy little fire-girl.

Brenton picks up a pack of matches, examining it. Then he hands it to me. “Make some flames.”

I raise an eyebrow. “What?”

“Make some fire, Sera. I want to see you make fire.”

I stare at him for several seconds before slowly taking the matches from him. I take a match out of the box and expertly slice it across the ignition strip. The tip catches immediately, a tiny little dancer rises on her tiptoes. She waves and spins on the tip of the match. I’m hypnotized by her dance.

I want more.

I grab one of the homework assignments from the shelf and let my little dancer twirl her way onto the corner of the page. She grows, leaping and spinning, her beautiful orange and yellow gown swirling around her.


Brenton’s voice startles me, and I drop the burning paper. I stomp on it as a hits the floor, silently apologizing to the little fire dancer. Then I turn to Brenton. His eyes are wide. “What?!” I shout. I’m - no, Seraphina is angry at him now, because he interrupted the dance.

He blinks, gaping at me. “What is it? What is it about the fire that does that to you? It was like you weren’t even here anymore.”

“Why the hell do you care?” I spit, kicking the burnt paper aside.

“It’s fascinating.” he replies, shrugging.

“So what, I’m some kind of show to you? An experiment?”

“I never said that!”

“But it’s true, isn’t it?!”

He doesn’t respond. I turn away and snatch a lighter off the shelf, flicking it open. I let the flame distract me, calm me down. I can feel Brenton watching me nervously. I face him again, flame still flickering in my hand. “What’s the matter? Scared I’m going to do something to you?”

He takes a step back. His face is stony, but there’s fear in his eyes. He knows. He remembers. He’s seen what happens when Seraphina gets angry. She is like a fire, easily aggravated and hard to control.

His hand moves to his left arm. Even though it’s covered by a sleeve, I know that there’s a scar there. A burn scar.

“Don’t. You proved your point once already.”

“Then why are you still here?”

We glare at each other for a long time before he finally turns and leaves. He glances back at me one more time before stepping out through the door.

I wonder what he sees?

Seraphina with her flame hair, face like an avenging angel, fire flickering in her hand. Ready to attack. Ready to burn down anything that stands in her way. A creature of the sun.


Seraphina is exhausted when school is over. Three tests, plus her encounter with Brenton and an episode with a couple of mean girls armed with bottles full of ash has left her ready to collapse into sleep, and hopefully never wake up. I’m barely able to push her back home and up the stairs, just missing the bed as I crumble onto the floor. Tears suddenly burst from my eyes.

This poor girl, this poor little fire-girl. She burns her way through life only to be constantly extinguished. Someday, she’ll end up burning out completely.

I can’t do anything about it, can I? Her fire is her only comfort. I couldn’t take that away from her. But what if it hurts her? Kills her?

Seraphina is not afraid of death from the dancing flames, from the beautiful little fire ballerinas. She would happily give them her life.

    I curl into a ball and cry harder. I hate this. I hate living like this. Why can’t I just be dead, like any normal person? Why am I here? Is this a punishment? Is it a lesson? Is some greater being trying to tell me that other people have it worse, and proving it to me by making me live the worst?

    Well, I get the message. I think the point has been made. I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.

    I just want to die, for real.

    But there’s no way that I can.


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