My name is Felicity Jones. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Alexandra and Henry Jones. My childhood was not one you read about in books or see in heartwarming movies. It’s filled with anger, violence, and hatred.
St. Louis wasn’t my home for long. I moved in with my Aunt at a very young age, but not by choice, by necessity.
Let me tell you my story.
The year was 1995, my father just got home from work, but I could already smell the whiskey on his breath. I watched television while my mother was rushing to finish his dinner when I heard my father yell at my mother from the other room.
“All I ask for is a hot, home-cooked meal waiting for me when I get home. But instead, you’re scrambling to get it set out, and what is this? It looks like garbage! Are you trying to poison me bitch!?”
The food my mother was holding hit the floor. I heard the glass shatter, and it made me jump from my seat. Why did he have to hit her…
“I’m sorry, Henry! I was running errands today and lost track of time. I didn’t mean to overcook your food. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me, baby.” My mother said sobbing. I never understood why my father always yelled at her. She did so much for us.
“Apologizing doesn’t fix my dinner! I work my ass off to provide you and Felicity with a roof over your heads, beds to sleep on, and FOOD TO EAT! How HARD IS IT to do this ONE THING!?”
This was starting to become our new routine. My father always expected the food to be ready when he came home, but my mother worked hard to make sure the house was clean, groceries were in the house, and even stocked his whiskey every day. The thing that always bothered me was that they never seemed to wonder what this was doing to me and how this was affecting me. How could they continue to argue like they did with their daughter within earshot? Did they ever notice or care? Doesn’t matter.
Something was different in the way my father was acting that night. I couldn’t tell if it was because he had a little too much whiskey or if something just set him off. Either way, I’ll never forget the sounds that followed that argument.
“There’s only one way you can make it up to me, and you know exactly what I mean.”
“Henry, please don’t! I’m sorry, get off me, please! You’re hurting me!” she whimpered.
I’ll never forget what he called her, how he forced himself on top of her. My mother wasn’t a strong person. My father was. He was a union worker, so he spent most of his days lifting heavy objects. I didn’t know it was happening until I heard my mother cry out.
“AH! Henry! Stop it please!”
I was only 12, but I knew what he was happening. It happened almost daily. My father was forcing himself on my mother. Why? I don’t think anyone truly understands. No one expects it to happen, and when it does, how do you keep it from happening?
I turned up the television volume to drown out the sounds, but it didn’t work. It was all I could hear. It made me sick to my stomach, so I went to the bathroom to throw up.
I must’ve been gone for a while because when I came out of the bathroom, everything was quiet. There were no more screams, no more terrible sounds, just silence. I was nervous about going to the kitchen, but I did anyway.
As I crept from the bathroom to the kitchen, I heard my father breathing heavily. That’s all I heard. My heart started pounding so hard. I quickened my pace, and when I got to the kitchen, I saw her. She was lying there, motionless, tears still running down her face, cuts all over her torso and arms, and a knife sticking out of her chest. He killed her. My father raped and killed my mother.
All I could do was stand there, staring. I didn’t cry – I didn’t drop to my knees – I just stood there in shock.
I don’t remember how I got to this point, but I remember standing over my father with a Zippo in my hand. He was tied to a chair with duct tape and a rope. Did I blackout and have an adrenaline rush? That’s the only way I can explain how I was able to subdue him.
Why was I holding a lighter? My father was yelling at me not to do it.
“Felicity! Put down the lighter and let me go! You don’t know what you’re doing! Your mom deserved it. That bitch never listened to me! But you do; you’re a good girl. You know I would never hurt you.”
“Wouldn’t listen to you?” I whispered. “You raped her…and killed her. You’re a monster. I don’t even know who you are anymore. How can I trust you?”
“It wasn’t me; it was the whiskey! It makes me crazy; you know that!”
“You’re right; I do know that.”
This man who called me daughter and raised me just tore my family apart. He doesn’t deserve to live. Monsters don’t deserve to live. So, I flicked on the Zippo and held it in front of my dad’s face.
“I read somewhere that whiskey is flammable. I’ve wanted to try it out, and you just gave me the perfect opportunity, dad.” I put so much emphasis on “dad” that I felt chills run through my body.
It happened so fast. Much faster than I thought it would. I took a few steps back, dropped the zippo, and watched the flames dance their way towards the chair. It didn’t take long for them to climb my father. He was screaming. It was so loud, so horrible sounding. But the way the flames danced around his body was fascinating.
He was surrounded by fire in a matter of seconds. I poured out all the whiskey in our house on him and my mother. I didn’t want anyone to see her the way he left her. The sight was too horrible, and I didn’t think anyone should be seen in that state.
That was the start of it.
I didn’t know it then, but my fate was decided the moment I dropped that Zippo. As soon as the flames were ignited, I felt a rush pass through me like I had never felt before. As I got older, I came to realize that feeling was triggered by justice being served. Justice for my mom – who endured torment my whole life – just to end up raped and murdered by someone she loved and trusted.
He was an abuser and he knew he had full and total control over her. Now it was my turn to take control. I was serving justice to victims, just like my mother. No one deserves the fate my mother was handed. Anyone who thinks they can control and dominate women the way my father did deserves precisely what was coming to them.
I moved in with my Aunt shortly after. I had nowhere else to go; after all, I was only 12. I spent the following years learning about fire and what made it burn. It inspired me to get my degree in Fire Dynamics so that I could genuinely understand fire. It became my passion and mission to rid the world of scum like my father, no matter how long it took. No matter how many lives I took.
Like my father, they would all burn.
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