It was a fire that could be seen for miles, a fire that split the community, a fire that turned families on each other, a fire that it’s still hard to get a straight answer about.
A quarter of a century ago, someone held a match to Greenwood, Texas’s cotton. Stephen Graham Jones was twelve that year. What he remembers best, what’s stuck with him all this time, is that nobody ever came forward to claim that destruction. And nobody was ever caught. Greenwood just leaned forward into next year’s work, and the year after that, pretending that the fire had never happened. But it had. This fire, it didn’t start twenty-five years ago. It had been smoldering for years by then. And everybody knew it. Getting them to say anything about it’s another thing, though.
Now Stephen’s going back. His first time back since he graduated high school, and maybe his last. For answers, for closure, for the people who can’t go back. For the ones who never got to leave.
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