A fire destroys more than a building.
It's back. The terrible feeling that wells inside me, choking me, consuming me. It must be stopped. The disgusting sinners just taking up space, eating God's world, and polluting everyone around them. Their darkness leeches into society and turns it black around me. I must bring back the light in the only way that He would approve. I must purge them, each one, until the earth is pure once more, as it was when Adam took his first steps.
This is the perfect place, teeming with undesirable sinners. Drug dealers, whores, liars, and scum rule this block, and I must put an end to it. As I walk, the container full of gasoline is getting lighter, its almost done. I've walked around the block four times in the past two hours to ensure no one caught sight of my noble deeds. If they had, there would be no understanding, no one can see how I am cleansing the earth. The earth, buildings, cars, and foliage is drenched with the cleansing fluid.
My eyes itch with fatigue. It's been three days since I could sleep without the voice of God whispering in my ear to cleanse His sweet earth. I toss the last of my canisters into the pile that's been built up on the stoop of the heart of sin. Here is where they make the drugs and poison their children from birth. But no more, for now is the day they shall be judged. Drug dealers, whores...and yes, their children, must be cleansed by the fire as well. For He says it should be so.
A sense of peace settles over me as I pull out my old zippo lighter. It lost its shine long ago, yet I have never seen anything as beautiful. My thumb sweetly flicks over the wheels and the cleansing flame burst forth. “For your judgment, my Father,” I whisper as I touch the fire to my masterpiece.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The bell startled the sleepy little back-up fire station into action. Sixty seconds ticked by and the eight firefighters plus the EMT and driver pulled out of the station. Inside the engine the siren was muted enough for speech, but it woke up the passengers effectively. James Masson rubbed his face and pushed his hand up into his shaved hair. “Don' think on it, mate,” Kym Sheppard, a diminutive woman, clapped James on the shoulder.
James sighed heavily. Kym shook her head, “Ya can' let it get to ya. Natalie's gonna be fine and so's the kidlet.”
“There isn't a kid yet, Kym,” James reminded her grimly.
Kym nodded. “She's just a couple days overdue,” the little red head pointed out.
The sound of other sirens mixed with that of Jame and Kym's engine. The smell of burning gas and something else, something sinister and chemical, assaulted James' nose. “Crikey, this isn't good,” Kym mumbled under her voice as she leaned around James' much larger frame to see the sight.
Bits of information began being shouted across the engine, over the intercom, and a dull roar could be heard from the fire. Kym clapped James on the shoulder once more before hopping up and getting in line to jump off the engine. James stood, strapped his helmet under his scratchy chin, and pulled out a pocket watch from a pocket within his Personal Protective Equipment. It opened to a picture next to the face of a clock.
As the sight finally came into view, James' breath left him in a 'whoosh'. A tinge of fear entered his deep chocolate eyes. He could almost hear Natalie's voice, “Promise me, promise me, you'll be back in the morning.”
“Promise,” James growled under his voice before facing the scene as a window shattered outward when a meth lab exploded behind it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The ringing of my cell phone woke me from my deep sleep. With a foggy head I looked at the screen. Rita, great, something must be going down. Blinking hard to clear my head, “This is Samantha.”
“Huge fire, 19th and Lincoln. Get there. I want the full report before anybody else. I want your article on the front page in three hours. Can you do it?” my boss sounded a millisecond away from a nervous breakdown, which was usually.
“It'll be on your desk in an hour and a half,” I promised.
That gives me negative five minutes to get dressed and get from our little studio to Lincoln Ave. Okay, not that bad. I slap on a layer of lipstick, and I'm out the door with a notebook. There's a pen stuck behind each ear and I think my shoes are two different styles.
It didn't take long for the blaze to be seen against the sky. Immediately my heart plummeted in my chest. Jonah, my love, his disease took over again. After a moment of utter defeat, I know what I have to do. Make it sound like the fire department has no idea what they're doing, make it look like an accident.
The heat is unbearable even a block away. Flames have engulfed the entire block. This had to be Jonah. I moved to get closer and a firefighter grabbed me, “No closer, Miss.This is unstable. Explosions are coming from inside the building and we can't risk it.”
I nodded and whipped out my notebook to begin scribbling. A horrible screech reached my ears. “James! NO! James Masson, you wake up right now!”
I turned to see a tiny woman dressed in PPE's bent over a stretcher in agony. Another firefighter grabs the little woman and pushes her towards an ambulance where an EMT is doing manual CPR on a body that looks too small to belong. A child. Oh, Jonah, why?