We settled down on the couch and flipped through the channels, ending up on an old rerun of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was just the mindless action-adventure that I was looking for. We didn’t bother breaking out the bowls. Instead, Jeremy grabbed three big tablespoons and handed us each one, placing the tub of ice cream on my lap so that everybody could grab their share.
A part of me didn’t want to be eating ice cream, as nice as it was. I wanted to do something. Maybe find Kellan –track him down and bring him to justice. He was a menace to society, not just to me. If he was really the ones behind the fires today, he was dragging Max and Jeremy into things. I couldn’t let that stand. Kellan was starting to become a real pain in the butt, but I didn’t know where to start or even how to try to deal with him. I was just one tiny, small-town girl. What could I do to keep Max and Jeremy safe?
I was too tired, too weak and emotionally drained to come up with a plan.
Instead, I began to drift off right as Indiana saves Miriam from the pit of snakes. Or rather, dropped into the pit of snakes and dragged Miriam along with him.
“Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.”
Another week passed, still no sign of Kellan. As much as Max and I wanted to convince Alice to stay home where we knew he couldn’t find her, it was getting harder and harder to argue with her. She was going stir crazy, apparently, cleaning every inch of the apartment to keep her mind off things. I knew she must have been home worrying about us all day because the look of relief she greeted us with every day when we got home was almost palpable in the air. She had to go back to work at some point, and since her friends at work hadn’t seen Kellan since the altercation, we couldn’t offer any excuses to keep her hidden away. Besides, I didn’t want to tell Alice what to do. The last thing I wanted her to feel was trapped.
Regardless, we walked her to work every day and picked her up every night. I always found myself counting down the seconds until my shift was over. The sooner I was off work, the sooner I’d get to see the big ray of sunshine named Alice.
Today had been particularly grueling.
It was one of those days were every joint in my body throbbed. My muscles were fatiguing, overworked from having to respond to call after call. Our fire department was already understaffed as it was, so there was no time to take a break. Today it seemed like the second we brought the truck back to the station, yet another alarm sounded to keep us on our feet. Speaking of feet, mine hurt like a bitch. My toes were all crowded and bunched up in the front of my boots and my heels were starting to go a little numb. I was admittedly a little worried that we might have to amputate both my legs because they were both starting to become dead weight.
Would I be eligible for worker’s compensation if I did?
We arrived at the scene of yet another fire –the fifth one in that two-hour window– going through the motions. Sound the sirens, rush and weave through traffic, arrive at the scene, carry a hose, hook it up to a nearby hydrant, spray the flames at the base, rinse, repeat. There was nothing too terrible about these fires, in my opinion. They were all small, contained to one area of the building –easily dealt with. It was the middle of summer with the sun sitting at its peak in the sky, and people weren’t being as careful as they could be despite rising temperatures. But what was startling was that none of these fires made any sense.
The first fire we put out happened at exactly ten in the morning. The home owners had been out at work, and the fire had originated outside on their front porch. It was like somebody had run up from the sidewalk, doused the welcome mat with a bit of accelerant, and lit a match. The second fire was similar, except this time, the fire grew from a single spot in the backyard. The third fire happened at a small business only a couple of blocks away from the first incident. The old deli owner noticed the smell of smoke and found that their industrial sized green waste bin was smoldering on the inside. The fourth was a similar case, the back alley of a Chinese restaurant up in flames.
These fires weren’t accidents. They were deliberate. Was this the work of an arsonist on a bender? It definitely seemed like that was the case. And if it was true, was this arsonist Kellan?