People say that I was crazy, they say it was better that I died. People say it was a tragedy that she died, but that the world was done a favor when I went with her. But I'm not crazy, I saved my family from falling apart, I did the world a favor by killing that woman. It was a bright September morning the day that I first met her.

"Eliza," my father exclaimed, "Meet Mildred, your future step-mother." He gestured to a prim looking woman with a sour mouth and wrinkles on her forehead as if she were perpetually perplexed.

Step-mother? Why had I never heard of this arrangement before? I was hurt. Was I not enough woman for this household? Was I inadequate? I steeled myself and replied stiffly, "May you have a happy marriage."

I'd hoped that would be the end of it, that I wouldn't have to attend the wedding of this gold-digging wretch to my beloved father. But alas, I had hoped too soon, "We were hoping you'd be the maid of honor. . ." My father trailed off, looking for my response.

My abdomen twisted and flipped like an acrobat at a circus, but I steadied myself and agreed, not wanting to disappoint my father.

The wedding came and went, with me as the maid of honor, my older brother as my father's best man, and Virginia, my younger sister as a flower-girl.

Mildred moved into our house and I was forced to watch as my father paid for extravagant dresses, trimmed with silk and satin. I looked on as she cajoled my father into buying her gold and silver jewelry. She spoke of marrying me off, and finding a wife for Matthew as well.

As my hatred for her simmered, and slowly started to bubble I mentioned my dislike of her to my brother.

"I'm not partial to her either," he admitted as he adjusted his cravat, "Have you seen the way she looks at Virginia? She obviously hates all of us. You've heard the way she speaks about marrying us off."

I nodded, this made sense to me. "Yes," I said, "It'd be nice if she could just disappear, but sorcery isn't exactly something we can use."

"Ah," Matthew said, sitting on a plush chair, "But it is. You can make her disappear; you can save this family."

"But how?" I asked.

"By killing her of course!"

"What?" I asked, I couldn't kill someone, could I?

"Murder, it's the easiest way to get rid of someone, isn't it?" he said, "You just have to be very thorough."

I narrowed my eyes, "Why can't you kill her?" I asked accusingly.

"Because I'm the better liar of course, one of us will need an alibi, and we all know you can't lie to save your life Literally."

I cocked my head, oh, I laughed lightly, "Okay, I'll do it on Sunday next week, after church I can drag her off and kill her."

He shook his head, his mouth in a narrow line, "No! You must do it tonight, I don't care how, but kill her on the bridge, and you can push her body into the river afterwards."

I nodded, it was a good plan, and easy to get away with. "Okay," I agreed, "I'll do it tonight."

He laughed, and now that I recall it, it was a great deal more sinister than any of his other laughs.

That night I dressed in my plainest dress and begged Mildred out for an evening stroll. After my talk with Matthew I'd decided to burn her. I had hid some gasoline near the bridge earlier.

Discreetly, I tucked some matches into my dress, and headed out of my room and out the door with my much hated step-mother.

As we walked the moon rose, big and yellow-orange, a harvest moon. I smiled as I saw it.

"Pretty," I remarked, "It reminds me of a fire."

Mildred agreed, "Yes indeed, a fire. You know, one day we should host a bonfire; it'd be splendid!"

I agreed amiably and we ambled in a roundabout way to the bridge. We reached the old, rotting bridge and she tisked in disgust, "They should really knock that down and rebuild it. It's a-"

I made a growling noise in my throat and grabbed the gasoline. I pushed the woman onto the bridge, and poured the foul smelling liquid on her. She shrieked. I struck a match, its flame yellow-orange, like the harvest moon hanging in the darkening sky.

I stepped a good distance back and threw the match at her. It hit her face, and the flames spread like water on paper.

She screamed hoarsely and clawed at her reddening and blistering face, "Make it stop!" She screamed, "It hurts!"

I relished her screams. I loved them; I loved them more than I loved my own family. My murdering her was no longer about saving my family; it was about my own pleasure. The pleasure I derived from killing my step-mother. This could become protocol.

A flickering light in the corner of my eye distracted me from the delicious screams of my step-mother.

It was my brother laughing at his own deceit, holding a torch, he beckoned to me and I was about to go to him. But his face changed and hardened. He threw the torch upon the gasoline soaked bridge; soaked from when I dumped the gasoline on the woman.

She was no longer Mildred, but a nameless, faceless woman keening as the flames licked at her body, begging for Death to take her away, to save her, to take her into the dark, dank, coolness of the grave.

The bridge burned as easily as the woman burned. The rotten wood snapping and cracking apart, I couldn't run, the other half of the bridge had been destroyed years ago by a fallen tree. The flames raced toward me and caught on my dress. The bridged buckled and creaked.

And then I was falling. A sharp pain in my neck is what killed me; I broke it, my heart stopped. And I was floating, watching my brother laugh, I wasn't the crazy one. He was. I didn't burn down the bridge, he did. All I wanted to do was save our family; I tried to save our family. And what do I get? Death and a bad reputation.

A/N: Something I wrote last year for school. I'm actually quite proud of it. It was meant to be similar to the style of Edgar Allen Poe. I'm mainly proud of the writing itself. I know most of the dialogue is shit, and the plot isn't the greatest, but for something I wrote last year I don't think I did too badly.