Flames engulfed the small work space and I jumped back

Flames engulfed the small workspace and I jumped back. I looked around quickly for a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water, anything to keep it from spreading. The smoke was filling the room quickly and the other girls were more annoyed than worried as I frantically put out the fire. When it was finally out I leaned back against a desk knocking off a cup of pencils. It hit the floor and shattered, the pencils rolled across the floor.

"CATHERINE!" I froze and turned slowly towards the voice. I bit my lip wringing my hands, I was in trouble…again. I stared at her feet instead of my own and saw that a pencil had hit her foot when I had knocked it off the desk.

"Yes?" I asked patiently staring up at my boss. Her hands were on her hips and she was staring down at me as if I had burned the building down…which I had not done…completely.

"You have set fire to your station three times in the past week." I nodded and shrugged, her hair was a flyaway mess, curly and frizzy and in a ponytail. The bits of red that weren't held in place shot all over as if her head was engulfed in flames. I wish it would be.

"I'm sorry?" I didn't know whether to phrase it as a question or a statement. The other girls in the factory giggled to themselves as they kept their looms going. I stared down at my greased black hands and wiped them on my pants. Unlike the other girls who had a gift for sewing, I was the mechanic of this god-forsaken factory.

"You better be sorry, if you set one more fire I will have no choice, but to let you go." I gaped and shook my head, I couldn't lose this job. Not after all the others I had lost,

"Look Miss you can't I need this job, more than you'd think I do. I promise I won't set anymore fires, just don't get rid of me." I was pleading and looked like a dumbass doing so. My light brown hair was frizzing in the humidity and I had charcoal and ash all over my face.

"You have one more chance Catherine." She turned on her sharp, pointed, witches heel and walked away towards the other girls her chin held high. As she walked by each of the looms the girls heads were turn down towards their sewing. I sighed and turned back to the mess I had made, once again.

I carefully cleaned up all the ash and soot, fixed the engine I had set on fire and leaned back wiping my forehead with the back of hand, I could feel the grime left behind. By the time I had finished cleaning and fixing and doing twice the work I was supposed to have done it was already way past dark and the other girls had left for the night.

I went to each station and blew out the candles and finally went to the light switch shutting off power for the floor. I was the last one out so it was my job to make sure everything was locked up tight for the night. I checked the darkness of each of the lower floors making sure each candle was blown out and nothing could happen.

By the time I got to the Tenement house I was exhausted and didn't have the energy to clean myself up. Yet, the other girls were still up, apparently awaiting my arrival. They were each looking at each other in turn as if something had happened that I was not aware of,

"What?" they looked around at each other. Finally, Nina spoke,

"Uhm, Cate, we know you don't mean to set things on fire, but you've gotta stop…if you don't you could kill us all someday." Nina was the nicest of the girls I worked with, but that didn't stop Piper from sharing her opinion,

"Cate, basically you are going to burn the whole place down and are going to set about 100 girls on the streets of Boston all alone." I rolled my eyes and got onto my bunk glaring at the girls below me,

"Guys I may be a klutz, but not to the point where I'd let our entire factory burn down, I do need a job." Nina looked over at Piper with her bright green eyes and met Piper's dull brown ones. Nina was the best friend I had in this place and luckily she was still on my side.

Tia was the one to turn off the lights for the night a few moments later and even though they were out, I could hear the other girls talking amongst themselves. No doubt about me. I was the outcast, the girl who should've been a boy. The crazy girl who could fix engines better than could sew. It wasn't my fault I grew up with an older brother and no mother.

This was just the way I was and I was sick of the other girls getting into my business. My night ended the way it always ended, with the girls chatting about boys, dates and of course, betting when I would get fired.

It happened at three am. The devil's hour if anyone asked me, which they wouldn't. The girls in the room were woken by the sound of sirens. Many sirens. Too many sirens for it to be a simple house fire. There were already a few girls at the window who were searching the night sky for any hint to where the trucks were going. In my dazed state I could only hear snippets of conversation.

"…looks like its coming from over there…"

"…isn't that our…"

"…we are out of…"

It was the final cry of Nina as she collapsed into the hands of the other girls that startled me into full consciousness. I leaned over the bed and stared down at the girls below me. Nina was pale and shaky, but she wasn't the only one. Everyone one of the girls, including Piper, was sobbing. I quickly climbed from the bed and padded over to where they stood,

"What's going…" that was all I got out before my mouth was full of blood and I was on the floor,

"You idiot bitch!" Piper hissed her fist still cocked from when she punched me, I looked to the others for help, but they all had the same expression on their faces. That's when I knew what had happened, the building was on fire. I scrambled to my feet and stared out the window, the entire building was in flames. The smoke was billowing from the windows and even without looking at all the trucks and the water I knew it was doomed to go down.

That was the least of my problems. I turned and stared, there was a mob of angry girls glaring at me, I had ruined all their worlds. I stood their motionless, I knew there was no way I could fight them all off, Kendra held my arms behind my back and Piper took the first punch, then Liliana. Eventually, each girl that wanted to had had the chance to pummel me. Kendra dropped me to the ground and I was left gasping as they left to see what damage the fire had done.

I pulled myself up and grabbed a back pack from my cubby. It was worn and tattered, stitched by Nina when it got too torn to hold anything. I shoved all my valuables into it. The picture of my brother went in first, then my favorite shirt, and my bandana. Five minutes later I was running out of the house. I ran past the burning flames before any of the girls could see me. I was at the train station and buying a ticket before someone could yell, "Fire!" I was on a train to wherever the ticket was taking me before the train's final whistle blew. It wasn't until I got off the train that I realized I had no money, I had no job, and I had no idea where the hell I was.