It was a dark and stormy night. I was getting ready to go to bed, walking over to my window with the slightest steps, I glance over at house number 13. I had met that family once, two children and two very polite parents, I remember them buying a few pumpkins at that halloween fair. All the lights were off, assuming they had work tomorrow they had gone to bed. I decided it was pretty late too, and went to sleep.
7:00am Banging on the door woke me up, it was my sister’s boyfriend. My parents almost everyday explains how he is such a bad influence, how he shouldn’t be with a “smart” girl like my sister. Like the stubborn girl she is, the words don’t enter her pile of mush she calls a brain. I get up, since I am already up and can’t get back to sleep, And head straight to my bathroom.
4:25pm I walk into the house, and find company, the nice family from house #13 were in the living room. “Look who stopped by!!” My mom said in her “I’m so happy I could pee” voice. The parents gave me a wooden smile. From that day on we started seeing a lot of that normal family, I nicknamed them this label because of how painfully NORMAL they were. Every Christmas party, I was hanging out with their two infants, every casual dinner party, I saw them in my house. And gradually I grew to like this sweet family. After about 4 months of this back and forth, they abruptly stopped. We didn’t see them at parties or the small gatherings we had anymore. It was almost like we did something to set them off, nonetheless I let myself forget about it and lived my life.
July,15,1995 Just like I do every night, I went up to my standard sized window guarding the black night sky, to close my blinds. Expecting darkness I look outside to see house #13 engulfed in crimson flames. I screamed, as if my life was in danger “someone call the #@$%&@$ police it’s on fire!!!” I rushed down my narrow stairs, not even caring to glance at my mom’s perplexed expression. Clutching my phone and dialing 911 I ran with my rapid feet outside. The whole road was lit with the enraged flames of house #13.
1997 It had been two years since the tragedy of that normal family. Two years worth of “oh my god what happened?”. A soft knock on my door startled my dog, putting a soft hand on my dogs body and putting my bowl of cereal to the side with my other hand, I walked to the door, opening it: Detective Smith, the person who investigated the neighboring fire entered my home. after formal small talk, he explained what had happened to that “normal” family. Allegedly autopsy reports showed that every member of that small family were highly drugged with the chemical agent found in sleeping pills, at the time of the fire. Burned in the position they went to sleep in, police found that every single bed had a portable electric stove beside or attached to them. The one detail that formed a blood curdling scream inside me was, the whole house top to bottom was drenched in kerosine. It had been proven to be the case of a textbook mass cult suicide. The parents of that small family were cult leaders and had burned themselves and their two children to earn “bliss in the afterlife”. With shaking hands I ushered the detective out and grabbed my phone off my coffee table. “Hey mom, do you remember that severely normal family?” This fictional story is based on the true story of the mass suicide concerning the “solar temple cult”. This small family committed suicide along with 40 members of the cult in Switzerland and few members in France. They allegedly believed that dying of fire and/or burning would reward them “bliss in the afterlife”.