Hysterical Fiction

By Bonnie L. Schermer

Aaltje of Aurora, Indiana

1773 - 1819

The smoke had only begun to reach Aaltje in the bedroom, but Geertruyd's cries woke her instantly. She flung open the door to the lodging parlor, just as the flames reached the puddle of spilled whale oil. A wall of flame whooshed into the bedroom, and Aaltje shielded herself behind the door. Thick smoke billowed into the room. Aaltje grabbed Abraham from his trundle bed and staggered backward, choking, against the outside wall. She felt for the window frame. Built in the early 1700s, the little house had small, diamond-paned windows which were not intended to be used as exits. This particular decorative window was not designed to open. Certain that they were both about to perish, Aaltje pounded the thick glass with her fist, repeatedly, with no result...

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