Peer Review by LyraLynne (United States)

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The Lonely Pyromaniac

By: Harlow


    I don't remember when the burning started. Maybe after the divorce, maybe after my brother's suicide, maybe after I crumbled under the stress of life. I can’t remember the last time I saw my family.  Ma kicked me out when I burned the sitting room rugs to rags, and had me institutionalized when she found the matches. It's my own damn fault if you consider I had 'em lined up in order by burn damage on my charred mahogany desk.
    Ma forbade my friends from seeing me the month before I was institutionalized, so they all think I hate 'em. In reality, I might've needed them, but it's too late now. I’ve got friends, actually; my matches and the gasoline. They've always been there for me. Even now in a Manhattan cold alley, they're here. They help me burn bits of aluminum to throw at the alley cats and allow me to relieve myself from the wildfire of life.
    The aluminum was the only thing lighting since the old wood and paper in the dumpsters was rain-soaked. I was going to go try to sleep tonight, but that'd be useless; I haven't slept in days. I would've tucked uselessly into bed, but then I saw it. The rain poured slick on a beat up Caddy, so I didn’t expect it to light. That night, I didn’t really expect anything else to light, but I had to try. I had to. I drenched the cracked red leather seats in gasoline and poured some in the dents on the roof. I lit my cigarette first; a good smoke gave me a good mood. I lit a second match to flick at the car and watch with a euphoric delight as the orange flames enveloped the car and licked at the wet sidewalk. As I watched the Caddy burn, the fire that had burned my heart faltered. In that moment, the burn was almost bearable and that was all I needed. 

Made some changes based on comments and peer reviews. Don't forget, there's also "The Prettiest Wallflower" if you want a change of pace.


Message to Readers

Tried to add some more “umph”. I’m sorry; that was weird. Do you like it?

Peer Review

This was such a chilling piece. It is an interesting perspective with thought-provoking themes. I liked the way it was written, in this first person, reflective style, and its short but sweet nature told me everything I needed to know while still maintaining an element of mystery.

The only thing that I was confused about was the timeline of the piece. It was challenging to grasp the background of this character and to understand what happened that led them to that point in their life.

Reviewer Comments

You are an insanely good writer. I'm a little obsessed with this storyline. This is such an amazing short story; I wish I could write short stories as well as this. You are super talented, and I wish you well in your endeavors, and I can't wait to read more from you!