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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2181703-Stelsong----Episodes-1-4
Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2181703
Alien ship crashes to earth with only one survivor an episodic adventure
STELSONG


Episode 1


Mid-eighteenth century a large oval-shaped spacecraft sits in a high orbit above the earth. Inside the craft, two humanoid aliens gather information about the planet, human beings and their level of advancement. They observe and study the differing nations, cultures, languages and way of life. The complete ecosystem and biodiversity of the planet are fed into the crafts databanks.

The tall pale skinned alien glanced at his sister with curiosity. “Isn’t it time we left this planet, Stelsong we have the information we need. They are a primitive species and warlike, not worth further study.”

Stelsong looked up from the display screen with a questioning look. “ Hmm, what did you say brother?”

“I said it’s time we left this primitive world it will take thousands of their years before they reach our level of advancement. More likely their self-destructive tendencies will lead them to extinction before that happens.”

Stelsong touched the lower part of the display panel; the screen went blank. She turned to face her brother. “Perhaps, but they have potential don’t you think Pelaris?”

Pelaris shrugged his broad shoulders, “Maybe, are you ready to leave orbit?”

Stelsong sighed, “Fine we have enough data prepare to leave orbit.” They both took their seats on the crafts bridge.

Pelaris pressed a button in front of him and waited for the sound of the engines. “Engines online.”

“Readouts all green computing escape velocity,” Stelsong said, concentrating on the display on the screen in front of her.

A warning alarm sounded!

“What’s going on? All systems were in the green a moment ago”

“Not sure checking readouts now,” Pelaris answered calmly.. "An unexpected event, not enough time to avoid. Execute escape velocity now thrusters to maximum.”

“Now! We are not at full power yet. What unexpected event?” Stelsong snapped back.

Pelaris gritted his teeth turning his head to face Stelsong with an agonised expression. “Sun flare! No time, I’m sorry sister; I was careless. I should have seen it.” Sparks came from several displays one by one the ship's systems went dead. A shockwave buffeted the craft knocking it out of orbit; the ship spiralled downward on the outer edge of the shockwave.

“We still have power firing thrusters, trying to level out,” Stelsong said as the whole craft shuddered steel rendered, cables burst to fall with electricity still flowing through them to hang dangerously. Fires broke out everywhere; bulkheads blew metal buckled and warped A large piece of overhead plating fell on Pelaris crushing and trapping his legs and lower body.

“Pelaris!” Stelsong shouted her eyes wide with shock.

Pelaris yelled in pain, then steadied himself he spoke in a faltering voice, grinding his teeth. “I’m fine Stelsong don’t worry about me. We are not going to escape the planet's gravity... We have to land concentrate on getting the trajectory right, or we will burn up on entry.”

Stelsong tapped the flickering screen display. “We’re really going to do this--- land on the planet?”

Pelaris tried to move the effort causing more pain sweat breaking on his brow. “No choice now... it’s what you always wanted anyway isn’t it.”

Stelsong shuddered tears coming to her eyes, “Not this way Pel, not like this. Hold on we will soon be on the ground then I’ll fix you up in no time.” She doubted either of them would make it as she struggled to maintain control of the ship.

Pelaris couldn’t feel his legs, realising he was becoming feverish, and would likely lose consciousness any moment. “I’m sorry Stelsong I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

“Don’t say that you are going to be okay just hold on,” Stelsong said, her voice shaking with emotion. She glanced at her brother seeing his face even paler than usual blood matted his blonde hair and trickled down his forehead. She turned back, concern for her brother clouding her thinking as she squinted studying the dimmed display. Stelsong blinked away tears as she tried to concentrate.

The ship entered the atmosphere!

“Hold on a while longer please Pel,” Stelsong pleaded not taking her eyes off the screen. There was no answer. Flames engulfed the outer hull of the ship the temperature inside rose to an almost unbearable level. The entire ship shuddered and vibrated small sections being torn off to burn up as the ship plummeted. Stelsong wrestled with the controls trying to pull the craft level her vision blurred, and she blacked out.

Cornwall, England near the coast, a flaming object plummets from the night sky. A group of smugglers near to the shore look up to see what looks like a ball of fire. Other inhabitants inland point skyward with amazement and fear, as the fiery object splashes into sea raising a large fountain of water and steam. Some of the locals rushed to the shore peering out to sea, others went home to lock their doors and stay inside. The smugglers first there launched their small boat, though fearful of what it might be. Greed overcame their fear as they went to investigate hoping to find treasure.

The craft lay perilously on a ledge under metres of water. Below the shelf, a gaping chasm disappeared into the fathomless depths of the sea. Stelsong slowly regained consciousness the ship mostly in darkness with an occasional flickering light. She looked out the view screen she could tell the spacecraft rested precariously on an underwater ridge. She got out of the seat feeling dizzy and light headed. She had cuts to her face arms and legs, and her side felt bruised.

“Pelaris! Pelaris!” she called barely making him out in the darkness she lifted the metal plating of him carefully. The ease she raised the heavy plating of him surprised her. She couldn’t make his features out entirely but could still hear his ragged breathing. “Pelaris my brother hold on I’ll heal you.”

Pelaris breathing grew fainter by the second he spoke barely above a whisper. “No, don’t waste your lifeforce on me; it's too late.” Taking a ragged breath, he gasped coughing, blood. “Safe yourself Stelsong take the data from the computer,” he gasped for breath. Live a long life, never forget you once had a brother who loved you.”

Stelsong shook her head tears streaming down her face. “No Pel I won’t let you die I won't, you can’t die please live how am going to cope without you.” Stelsong pleaded weeping she rested her head on his chest.

Pelaris sucked in a deep breath, “You will be special here,” he paused once more gasping for breath. Stelsong put her ear close to his lips trying to hear what he was saying. “You will do a lot more than cope; go my sister and live.” His eyes closed and he gave a last gasp. Stelsong lay at his side weeping until she could no more. Finally getting to her feet, wiping away tears she stood silently staring down at Pelaris’s lifeless body lost in grief. A scraping of metal as the ship moved brought Stelsong to her senses. She would do as her brother asked and live. Seawater seeped in from several hull breaches. She waded through ankle-deep rising water to a panel, retrieving the data from the computer. The ship began to list on its side teetering on the ledge. Stelsong retrieved a life pod placing Pelaris’s body in the pod she jettisoned it into the deep.

“One day I will find away for both of us to return home, then I will come for you brother” Stelsong vowed. Making her way to the upper hatch as the craft began to fall slowly over the ledge.

Episode 2


Stelsong stripped naked before opening the hatch as seawater poured in drenching her she gripped the outside of the hatch pulling herself up and out. She took one last look back as the craft sank into the deep. Holding her breath, she kicked her feet out, her arms above her head, as she swam. Stelsong struggled to swim up. Advanced alien genetics built into her began to adapt to the environment, making bodily changes; gills opened on her back; her feet elongated, and wedding grew between her toes. Air extracted through water passing over and through the gills enabled her to breathe. Stelsong pushed upwards ever faster surfacing not far the smuggler's boat. The smugglers spotted her pointing they shouted to her when she didn’t respond they threw spears in her direction. Stelsong dove under the water swimming towards the smuggler's boat she came up under the boat capsizing it and tipping the smugglers into the sea.

“Ignorant savages.” Stelsong left the smugglers struggling to re-float their boat and swam towards the shore. She swam along the shoreline until she found a secluded area to come ashore. As soon as Stelsong reached the shallow water, she automatically began to transform back. Naked, she walked up the beach though a cold offshore breeze blew Stelsong did not feel the cold again alien genetics kept her body temperature even. The first thing she needed was to find appropriate clothing to wear. She saw light coming from a few dwellings further inland stealthy she made her way towards the lights. She could hear the sound of the waves behind her; far of a dog barked. She turned sharply hearing a noise close by to spot a rodent alarmed by her presence running for cover. Stelsong passed several dwellings before finding one with clothing hanging on a line. She crept into the yard stealing the clothing to attire herself. It was almost daylight when Stelsong found an empty old house on a hillside. “This is a secluded spot I wonder what it's like inside,” She thought, turning the door handle, the door opened with a creak on rusty hinges. Entering the house, she looked around. Dust and dirt were everywhere, and cobwebs hung from the ceiling. A few pieces of furniture stood here and there some of it broken. Going upstairs Stelsong explored the bedrooms. There were two rooms A bed stood in one corner of one of the bedrooms with a wardrobe in a niche in which she found a few more clothes moth-eaten but still serviceable. The other bedroom was completely empty

“Well, it’s not what I’ve been used to, but a start anyway,” Stelsong sighed. Settling in at the old house, she gave some thought to how she would live. Stelsong studied traditions and the way of life on earth. What people did for living and local suspicions. She decided to collect herbs first to sell; she cured a couple of people when asked. The locals began to trust her. They came to her for herbal remedies and healing. Stelsong used her abilities along with the herbs to help heal, cure illness and treat wounds. The people would pay her with money or food, anything else they could spare in return for her services.

In time she was able to renovate the house and make it a comfortable home. She began to diversify because of her advanced knowledge and know-how, she gradually accumulated wealth. Although she led a lonely life, making few friends. She did not want to get close to anyone; less they found out she who she was. Stelsong, for the most part, preferred not to interfere in human destiny.

Present Day

Location - Welworth a suburb of SW London

Place - Welworth Infant & Junior School


“Okay children put away your things its home time,” the slender blonde-haired woman said. “Your parents will be here any minute.” She looked around the classroom smiling as she watched the children pack away the toys and books. After the children left, she checked to see if they left anything behind.

She was about to leave when the headteacher came by, “Miss Song, can I have a word before you go?”

Stella turned to face the headteacher brushing back a strand of hair from her face, “Yes, Mrs Santurs. What is it?” Stella asked.

Rachel Santurs looked every bit the headteacher dressed in a two-piece navy blue top and skirt with matching shoes. She stood ramrod straight and carried a ledger under one arm. “I hate to ask this as tomorrow is your day off, but Miss Albrite has phoned in sick for the next two days; can you come tomorrow and take a day off another time?”

Stella frowned she planned to go and visit the old house and pay her respects to Pelaris, “I suppose it can make time at the weekend,” she thought. “Yes, I can come in tomorrow if you need me Mrs Santurs.”

“Oh, thank you, dear, I’ll be ever so grateful. Thank you so much,” Mrs Santurs smiled and waved as she left.

Stelsong drove along the busy road; her thoughts strayed back to how she became stranded on this planet. It took time, but she adapted to life on earth, even changing her name to fit in better. She watched with fascination at the rapid progress humanity made. They still had some way to go before becoming advanced as her race; she doubted they ever would. Stelsong sighed, turning her mind to the road ahead the traffic moved slowly with frequent stops and starts.

Stella spotted the flashing blue light of a police car ahead, and an ambulance attended an accident between two vehicles. A policeman directed traffic at the scene. As Stelsong slowly drove past, she glanced across at the scene. Her enhanced vision and hearing enabled her to see a man trapped by his legs in his vehicle a paramedic attended him. She overheard a police officer say they were waiting for the fire brigade with cutting gear to cut the roof and parts the car to release the man. Stella could quickly get the man out herself, his legs looked severely injured, and if he wasn’t freed and appropriately treated soon, he might end up crippled the rest of his life. Stella shook her head; it was not for her to interfere besides there was no way she could help without giving herself away. Whatever happens to the trapped man is his fate and meant to be, she told herself.

Stelsong listened to the report on the car radio about the accident as she drove to school the next morning. The man trapped in his car had been drinking beforehand and caused the accident; was now recovering in hospital. Doctors were not sure as yet whether he would be able to walk again. The incident troubled her, but she put it at the back of her mind. “Humans can be so stupid! Drinking under the influence,” she shook her head, feeling more at ease with herself. She forgot about the accident as she began her day teaching. Miss Albrite’s class were a year older than the children she usually taught and could be a bit of a handful, but Stelsong had no trouble getting along with them.

Stelsong looked at her watch, another hour and a half to go before school ended for the day. She gave the children an exercise to write walking around the classroom glancing at the children's books to see how well they were doing. Suddenly the fire alarm rang. Stelsong stopped seeing children look to her in confusion she sought to reassure,

“Alright stay calm children wait a minute while I check it may just be a fire drill or a false alarm.” She went to the door looking out one or two teachers were also in the corridor, looking confused.

“There wasn’t a surprise fire drill scheduled for today was there?” Stelsong asked one of the teachers. She didn’t detect any smoke or fire as yet, but she had a bad feeling.

“Nobody warned us about a fire drill,” Mrs Kendrix answered.

The headteacher suddenly appeared looking distressed, “This is not a drill everyone please lead your class outside to the assembly point quickly. Stay calm and try not to let the children see you’re concerned. We don’t want to cause a panic.”

Stelsong returned to her class the children all looked at her expectantly she could tell already a few suspected it wasn't a drill. She could see signs of alarm on their faces. “All right children pay attention leave everything where it is and line-up quickly we are going outside,” Stelsong spoke in a calm voice. The children quickly lined up as Stelsong guided them into the corridor. Teachers from the other classrooms were hastily guiding their charges along the corridor. “Don't rush children there is plenty of time,” Stelsong spoke soothingly seeing panic rising in the children. A few children in the other classes showed signs of fear, and one or two of the teachers looked very anxious as they hurried the children towards the exit.

Episode 3


Stelsong saw the first signs of smoke from the far end of the corridor and the sound of glass splintering under extreme heat. Most of the children were safely outside the last group, just reaching the entrance. Stelsong spotted a teacher near the exit looking around franticly. It was apparent to Stelsong that the teacher was missing some of her children. “What is wrong? Are some children missing?”

“Yes, I’ve just counted them; two aren’t here,” the teacher explained distraughtly

Stelsong looked back, hesitating; thoughts raced through her head, “No, I can’t let this happen – I can’t leave the children to their fate.” Coming to a decision, she turned to the teacher. “Take the children out. I’ll look for the other two,” Stelsong said. Without waiting for an answer, she headed back down the smoke-filled corridor. Stelsong moved fast, becoming a blur as she raced along the corridor from classroom to classroom, checking for the missing children. She came to an intersection to the right; there was no sign of smoke and led to cloakrooms. To the left was the older part of the building, she could see a lot of smoke and flames. Pausing, she listened using her heightened hearing. Stelsong heard not too far of fire engines approaching nearer still were the sounds of teachers and children and passers by and something out of place a faint click! Several times she heard it very close by. Then she heard children crying down to the corridor to the left. Stelsong passed through flames that burned and blistered her skin and singed her hair. She burst open the classroom door at the end of the corridor. The two girls were under a desk cowering in fear to terrified to move. As flames began to spread; the smoke and toxic fumes beginning to overcome them.

“Don’t speak, save your breath; come with me, I will get you out safe,” Stelsong said in a soothing voice. She grabbed the children pulling them to their feet and enfolding them under one arm to shield them from the flames. Stelsong knew she couldn’t take the children back the way she came. She needed to find another way out; moving again at a rapid speed, she took the children out of the classroom and found an external wall. Stelsong put her free shoulder to the wall, and it collapsed, making a hole large enough for Stelsong to take the children through. Stelsong’s burned skin healed, and the singed hair fell out and almost re-grown by the time she joined the other teachers and children. Everyone was in a state of shock to notice anything unusual as Stelsong appeared with the two missing children.

Inspector Michael Delony sat at his desk, checking his completed report on a recent robbery case. A knock on his office made him look up as sergeant Hampton entered.

Delony scowled, putting the report down regarding his assistant. “What is it, Harry?”

Harry Hampton stood casually at ease as he regarded his chief. “There has been a fire at a local school, Sir. The super wants us to investigate. ”

Delony got to his feet immediately, “Are there any casualties?”

Hampton frowned,” Not as far as we know. Uniform police are at the scene and setting up an incident room. The youngest kids have been sent home already; their parents came and were getting frantic, so we had no choice. They have kept the teachers and a few children that may have seen something until we can interview them. The fire is already out, thankfully it wasn’t too severe, but there could have been casualties none the less.”

Delony nodded, reaching for his coat, “Let’s go.”

People were still milling around as Delony reached the scene. “Harry, keep the spectators back and set up a cordon around the school. Who is in charge of the fire crew here?” He asked one of the uniformed policemen who pointed to a tall fireman. “Over there inspector, he is the crew manager.

Harry Hampton coughed as a gust of wind blew smoke his way. “You think this might be the work of the arsonist again, Sir?”

Delony raised an eyebrow, “Don’t jump to any conclusions until we know more.” He left Harry to carry out his orders. Heading towards the crew manager, busily directing his crew, damp down remaining hot spots. Delony stopped and waited for the crew chief to finish talking to his men; he scrutinised the building as he waited. Smoke billowed from one end of the building, which seemed older than the rest. Luckily the fire was confined to just that area. He knew, however, from past experience that smoke damage would be more widespread than the fire.

The crew chief finally stopped and turned to face Delony, “Ah, it’s you again, inspector we met last time at the factory fire.”

Delony nodded, recognising the fireman, “Can you tell me yet how the fire was started?”

The crew manager wiped the sweat from his face; his brow furrowed a moment, considering. “Unofficially, I’m pretty sure it was deliberate. I’ll send you the full report when we have it later,” he paused. “There is something odd, though?”

Delony raised an eyebrow, “Odd! Like what?

The crew chief started walking and waved for Delony to follow. The two men walked around to the rear of the building.

They stopped at a collapsed section of the outer wall. The crew manager nodded towards the hole, “It could be a fault and the heat from the fire that caused it.” The chief said, frowning.

“Delony gave the fireman a questioning look, “You don’t think so, though?”

“I can’t explain it,” the fireman paused, shaking his head. “If it collapsed because of a fault and heat stress, the rubble and brick would be on both sides. As you can see, it’s all on the outside. It’s as if some force on the inside was used to make the hole.”

Delony nodded, biting his bottom lip in thought. “Well, sometimes in these situations, unexplained things happen; for now, this is likely a case of arson that could have led to the loss of life,” he concluded grimly.

The crew chief stared at Delony, “thankfully, that’s your problem, not mine, inspector.”

Leaving the crew manager, Delony returned to the front of the school. A portable cabin had been brought in and set up for interviewing the teachers and remaining children. Sometime later, after interviewing the few older children and most of the teachers’ Mike Delony wasn’t in a good mood. None had seen or heard anything suspicious that would point to the fire being a case of arson. He was lost in thought when Harry Hampton entered. Mike Delony looked at his sergeant, frustration clearly showing in his expression.

Mike sighed, pursing his lips, “Who is left to see?”

Harry took in the expression on his boss’s face and gauged his answer accordingly, “Just a couple, Sir the headteacher and a miss Stella Song,” he paused. “Oh, right, she is the teacher who went back to rescue two kids. She got them out through a hole in the wall, I believe; very plucky of her by all accounts.” Delony frowned; something in what his sergeant said struck a chord in him. Harry hadn’t finished talking as Delony contemplated what he was missing. “Something one of the children rescued said that was a bit weird, though.”

Mike raised an eyebrow. “What? Don’t leave anything out. I want to know every detail no matter how insignificant or weird it may sound,” he said gruffly.

Harry sucked in a breath, letting it out slowly as he cocked his head to one side, “Well, I’m sure it was just imagination and the stress the kid was under.”

Mike gave Harry a stern look, “Spit it out whatever, I’ll decide if it’s imagination or not.”

“She claimed that this miss Song walked through fire, and part of her face and arms were burned. Poor kid, the trauma must have caused her to hallucinate, most likely because there is not a scratch on the teacher.” Harry said in conclusion.

Mike’s eyes narrowed, suddenly remembering what the fireman told him earlier. “ I will interview this miss Song next; he strummed his fingers on the desk, thinking as Harry left to find the teacher.

As Stelsong entered the cabin, she suddenly stopped staring at the policeman. The resemblance to her long-dead brother momentary stunned her. He wasn’t as tall or as thin, and his hair a different colour. However, his facial features were almost identical—the same eyes with that sparkle of humour in them. The cheekbones and proud jawline were all just like Pelaris.

“Miss Song... Miss Song!”

Stelsong finally snapped out of it, realising the policeman had called her more than once. “Oh, I’m sorry, sergeant, it’s been a long and trying day.”

Mike nodded, scrutinising her closely, “Ah, yes, I understand, miss Song, please take a seat. I won’t keep you long,” he paused while Stelsong sat down. “It’s inspector Mike Delony, not sergeant.”

Stelsong faced Delony meeting his eyes coolly, “Oh, I am sorry, inspector.”

Mike smiled briefly, “That’s okay. It’s an easy mistake to make. I hear you are the one that rescued two children must have been a very frightening experience. You are either very brave or very foolish to have gone back into a burning building.”

Stelsong folded her hands in front, resting them on her lap as she spoke. “Well, I didn’t think about it at the time. Besides, the fire didn’t seem to bad, then I thought it would be okay.”

Mike raised his eyebrows studying the teacher closely, “She seems to calm. The only sign of any shock was when she entered the cabin. Otherwise, she seemed pretty unaffected. Surely she should be in at least a little shock!” He glanced down at her hands; there was no sign of any shaking. “Did you see or hear anything unusual before the fire; or during the evacuation of the building. Or perhaps when you returned to rescue the children?”

Stelsong blinked; she remembered the clicking sound. “Now I know what it was a camera. Her mind raced, weighing possible explanations. She understood from what the inspector was asking he suspected arson. What if it was, and what if the arsonist managed to take a photo of her rescuing the children. She couldn’t tell the inspector she had to find the arsonist before the police and make sure he has no pictures of her.” “I’m sorry, inspector, everything happened so fast I didn’t have time to think or notice anything unusual. I’m sure you understand.”

Mike stared at Stelsong a moment. He reached into his coat pocket for pen and paper, “If you remember anything later, call me on this number.” He wrote down a phone number and handed it to her. Stelsong took it standing about to leave when Delony spoke again. “I hear you managed to get the children out through a collapsed hole in the wall, is that correct?”

Stelsong faced Delony, her expression blank, “Yes, that’s right.”

Mike nodded, strumming his fingers on the desk. “Did you see it collapse or notice anything unusual when you got there?”

Stelsong frowned, staring at Delony, “No, I heard a noise that sounded like a wall collapsing. I thought it might offer a way out. I didn’t consider at the time that it may have blocked our escape; thankfully, it didn’t.”

Mike gave a slight nod of the head, thinking, “Hmm, I see, that was very fortunate for you. “You can't have been very far away to hear and find it in a smoke-filled corridor.” He paused, fixing his eyes on Stelsong. “Well, that’s it, for now, thanks, go home and get some rest. I may need to ask you more questions later. Don’t leave town without notifying myself or the sergeant first.” Stelsong left, hoping she wouldn’t have to meet the inspector again. He was far too intelligent for his own good. If she spent any length of time around him. She felt sure he would eventually discover her secret.

Episode Four


Stelsong arrived home late, showered and changed into more comfortable clothes. Sitting at her desk, she turned on her laptop. Stelsong succeeded a few years ago to finally convert most of the data she took from the sunken spacecraft and upload it to her computer. She combined the data with information from the internet. Typing the search word... Arsonist--- There were two main reasons for arson; one was to claim insurance. The second was more complicated. An arsonist who sets fires for the pleasure of watching was said to have psychopathic tendencies. These type of arsonists usually stay close to the scene and even take pictures as mementoes of their handiwork. There could be various reasons which motivate such an arsonist. By the time Stelsong went to bed, she had acquired a good knowledge of how such an arsonist’s mind worked. She was ready for the hunt!

The morning after the school fire – Location Welworth police station

Mike Delony put the report down after reading it carefully. He tapped two fingers on the desk for a moment, considering finally rising to his feet as he came to a decision. “Sergeant Hampton,” he called.

The office door opened, and the sergeant entered. “Sir?”

Mike scowled at his sergeant as he grabbed his coat, “Let’s go.”

Harry Hampton’s expression was severe as he stared at Mike. “Where to, Sir?”

Mike rubbed his forehead with a finger and thumb as he answered. “The school fire is confirmed as arson. I want to have another look over the site.” As they left the police station, it started raining. The sky darkened, and the rain came in a torrent as Mike drove along the main road towards their destination. The windscreen wipers rapidly moving from side to side in a monotonous rhythm.

“Damn weather, it’s a good job most of what we need to investigate is inside. Otherwise, you would get soaked, Harry,” Mike quipped, glancing at his sergeant with a broad smile on his face.

“Erm... thanks, Sir, I appreciate you thinking of me,” Harry responded dryly.

“Oh, by the way, that teacher. What’s her name again?”

“Which teacher, Sir?”

“You know the one that rescued the two children,” Mike said, giving the sergeant another quick glance as they turned onto a side road nearing their destination. The rain began to ease, turning to a light drizzle.

“Oh, you mean Miss Song, what about her. You are not suspecting her having anything to do with the fire, sir?”

Mike shook his head, “No, but there is something odd about her. When we get back to the station, do a background check on her for me?”

Harry gave his boss a curious look, “Okay, will do, sir.”

Stelsong heard a car drive through the school gates. Luckily, she parked her car in a side street near the school. She recognised the inspector and his sergeant get out of the car from her vantage point. Moving so fast, she became invisible to the naked eye. In moments she was in her car and driving away. She cruised around the general area to locate possible targets for the arsonist to strike next.

Bending down, Mike examined the small storage room; according to the report, the fire started here. He pointed out to his sergeant a small blackened box hanging from the wiring on the opposite wall. “It’s our arsonist again for sure. He spliced in a circuit breaker to the wiring probably on a timer.” He paused, thinking a moment. “I wonder if it was meant to go off later in the evening when the school was mostly empty?”

Harry frowned, “I hope that’s the case, sir. If not, this would represent a serious escalation,” he said grimly.

Mike nodded, standing, scratching his forehead. “I hope so to Harry; we were lucky this time no one was injured.” As they walked down, the wide corridor with broken glass and detritus were underfoot. A strong smell of smoke still lingered in the air. The walls and ceiling were blackened by fire and smoke. According to his inquiries, the older section of the building was due to an upgrade and refurbishment to conform with current safety regulations. But was postponed due to council cutbacks. There were no sprinklers or fire doors in this part of the building. Mike stopped at the end of the corridor. He peered into a classroom on the left; a scorched door lay on the floor. He surveyed the scene within grimly. “This is the classroom the two girls were in when rescued, isn’t it?”

Harry nodded, “I believe so, sir.”

Mike grimaced, shaking his head, “Hmm, notice anything odd here, sergeant?”

Harry frowned, “No, nothing, in particular, sir. Why am I missing something?”

Mike scowled at his sergeant, “yes, damn it, man. The door, the door it looks to have been torn from its hinges. Though the hinges are mostly intact and not melted or buckled due to heat, Which means even though the door is badly damaged by the fire, it should have remained on its hinges.”

“Ah, sorry sir, now you mention it. It is a bit odd,” Harry said, feeling chastised.

Mike stared down the corridor to the right, lost in thought for a moment. “Wait here a minute, sergeant.” He set off walking by himself without waiting for Harry to answer. The corridor branched left ahead. Mike saw the hole ahead and stopped staring at the spot, then gathered up some bricks. Dropping them as noisily as he could on the floor, and listened. “Sergeant,” he called out; the sergeant came running

“Sir?”

Mike frowned, “Did you hear any noise before I called?”

“No, sir, why did you hear something?”

Mike pursed his lips, running a hand through his hair considering. “No, it’s nothing I’ve seen enough here; let’s get back to the station.”

Later the same day:

Mike sat at his desk, updating his notes and jotting down various points in the case to follow up on. A knock on his door made him look up as the sergeant entered. “What is it, Harry?”

The sergeant handed him a neatly printed two-page report. “The background check you asked for, sir. Miss Song’s assets are insane; she is wealthy and does not need to work at all. She owns several properties, including a mansion in Cornwall. The teacher’s pay won’t even count as pocket money to her. I guess working as a teacher must be just a hobby.”

Mike scrutinised the report carefully, finally glancing up at Harry. “Or a vocation, Harry.”

“Sir?”

“A vocation sergeant! A vocation. Something you’re dedicated to or really like doing.” Mike frowned. “None the less, it makes me more curious. Something seems off about this miss Song.”

Chapter Five

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