I have started working on my third book in the Kaila Porter Series. I should soon have a very rough draft of the first chapter. Stay tuned.
“I want more money!” the man demanded over the phone as he flailed his arms in agitation. “You killed that man and I should be going to the police.”
There was silence on the other end before a low growl came through the line. “Don’t threaten me, you won’t like the outcome.”
The man felt a shudder travel through his body and he almost caved in. “Half a million deposited in the same account—or you’ll be sorry,” he said, and then slammed the phone down. Feeling giddy as the adrenalin left his large body, he collapsed in the awaiting chair. Tonight would be soon enough to check his account, and then maybe a trip out of town would be a good idea. Smiling with anticipation, he headed to the kitchen looking for food.
“Hurry up, Peter!” Duncan yelled, while he splashed gasoline on the large wooden kitchen table and matching chairs.
“I’m coming,” Peter hollered back from somewhere within the house.
Duncan glanced around and grimaced in disgust. The room was sparsely furnished other than the table and chairs, which were soaked in gas. Probably all he could fit in, he thought snidely.
The walls were a cheery yellow, and the white cabinets seemed to shine. He finished coating the kitchen and moved onto the living room. Maybe just a bit to ensure the flames continued their path of destruction, Duncan thought. Where in the hell was Peter? He only had one job. Just than the figure of his ire ambled in casually, like he was on vacation.
“Where the hell were you?” Duncan demanded.
“Just having a little bit of fun.” Peter grinned.
“Where’s the body?”
“I left him in the bedroom.”
“Well, bring him in the living room, we want to make sure he burns.”
“Fine, fine,” Peter grumbled. “Come and help, he must weigh a ton.”
“Gimme me a minute to finish this. Did you make sure all the doors were secure?”
“Yes. Hurry up! I want to escape before we’re spotted.”
“Now you’re in a rush.” Duncan dropped the container and followed Peter to the bedroom in the back of the house. When they entered Duncan spotted the large body collapsed on the floor and frowned.
“You grab his arms and I’ll take the legs,” Duncan commanded.
“How come you get the easier part?”
“Because I would have drugged him in the living room so we didn’t have to carry the body, you great blithering moron.”
Peter grimaced before heaving the man beneath his armpits and groaned. “We’re doing this guy a favour,” Peter said as they lugged him towards his impending doom.
“You made sure of the correct dosage, right?” Duncan questioned as he let Peter almost drag the body down the dark hallway. He smelled the gasoline and could already start feeling the smoke burn his eyes as the furniture began dancing in flames.
“I’m not an idiot. I took into account all his fat.”
“Good. We don’t want him trying to escape, but at least the doors are barred. What about the injection site, was it between the toes?” Duncan asked, looking at Peter for confirmation.
“Quit questioning me, it’s not my first rodeo. I already said I did,” Peter snarled.
Duncan kept quiet as they dropped the body and rolled him over on his stomach by the couch. Usually Peter was easygoing, but when he became angry, you’d better watch out. That guy had an explosive temper and let his fists do the talking. The last guy who worked for the boss ended up on the wrong side of Peter and ate through a straw for quite a while. Duncan peeked through the thin striped curtains and cursed the full moon shining through. Hopefully no one saw their escape. He looked back and saw Peter giving a couple of kicks to the prone body, a grin playing on his lips. Duncan sighed before motioning him to follow to the back door, bending down for the jerry can still half filled with fuel on his way.
“Do you have the matches?” Peter asked.
“Yeah, they’re in here,” Duncan answered, fumbling in his pocket.
They stepped up to the kitchen doorway. Duncan swiped the match and stared at the flickering flame a minute before throwing it towards the table. They gazed at the rising flames as if in a trance for a minute. Duncan shook his head before rushing out, with Peter close behind. They jammed the nail at the top of the door as they left and then booted across the yard into the back alley. Smoke and flames were just becoming noticeable from their position.
“That’s a beautiful sight,” Peter said with a sigh as he paused again to watch.
“Come on, we can watch from a safer distance,” Duncan whispered, dragging Peter along.
Keeping low and to the shadows, they ran the couple of blocks to their waiting car. Once safely inside, they both grinned and laughed with excitement. The whole escape had taken less than five minutes, but Duncan could already hear the sirens. Damn, hopefully they wouldn’t make it in time to save the bastard, he thought. Neighbours were scattered along the street staring in wonder at the burning house. The men stopped a block away, idling as they watched their handiwork.
The first engine truck squealed to a stop and Officer Norman Fast jumped out, yelling the task assignments as the second truck appeared. They needed search and rescue fighters entering immediately while the fire attack sector tried containing the flames before all the surrounding houses caught on fire.
“We have a Type 5, wood-frame construction house fully involved, sending two men in,” Norman told dispatch as the other engine officer ran up with a pad and pen, writing furiously.
Norman watched as the men from the second engine ran to the closest hydrant with their hose streaming behind. The senior hose man and his second headed to the front door. They only had minutes before the fire grew too large to contain. A shiver crawled up Norman’s spine despite the heat emanating towards him. For some reason, he knew a surprise would be waiting for them, he just didn’t know what. His anxiety increased as it became apparent the door wasn’t going to cooperate. The fire fighters had to use their forcible-entry tools, and once they broke through, the two men seized the hose and cautiously entered.
Before Norman did a quick three hundred and sixty degree assessment around the house looking for any exits or good ventilation points, he called in a second alarm to dispatch. The bright yellow and orange flames were already rolling, and at the back of the house, flames were licking out the door, meeting the awaiting winds ready to carry them towards the neighbours. Something was wrong with the door, but Norman couldn’t get close enough to inspect what was secured to the top. It looked like an extra board held the door closed, but he couldn’t make a confirmation. Hopefully it wasn’t burned away; it was looking like the fire was no accident.
The ladder crew had arrived and were pulling out the fans as Norman rounded the corner. Two other engines and the ambulance crowded the narrow streets in front, blocking the view from all the curious onlookers. But there was one nervous older looking man with a tiny dog standing off to the side of his engine truck. Must be the witness who called in, Norman thought. Dispatch probably told him to wait there for someone to question him. Before approaching him, Norman ensured that the other fire attack crews were creating a water curtain to stop the fire from spreading. Static crackled a moment before a voice came through, “We have a body in the living room.” Norman’s stomach plummeted as he glanced at the time. The hose stopped moving and seconds later the two firemen struggled through the doorway with a large body. Thick, inky smoke followed the men out, filling the entrance. Paramedics rushed forward to help the fire fighters and the ladder crew gathered up the fans.
“All crews out and try ventilation! Immediate building flashover. Sit until we mitigate the situation before anyone else enters. Chance of survivability is zero,” Norman yelled over the noise as the fans were set in front of the door. He watched as the black smoke crawled up the house and caught on fire, joining the other flames trying to escape. Even with their bunker gear on, the fire fighters would only survive for five seconds during a flashover, if there was anyone else inside, they had no chance. They needed to contain the fire now and hope they could preserve this property and the adjoining ones.
Norman stopped beside the thin, shaking witness and asked, “Sir, were you the one who called in the fire?”
“Yes,” he squeaked.
“Do you know the residents?”
“Not well. I live a few houses down,” he said, pointing down the street.
“How many people lived here?”
“Only Barnaby. I’ve never seen anyone else. He may have visitors, but not for long.”
Norman felt a small spark of hope that no other bodies were being left to burn inside.
Duncan and Peter left the safety of their car and slowly inched closer to the burning house.
“This is close enough,” Duncan whispered.
“We need to get closer to see.”
“Someone might realize we’re not from around here and say something.”
“Not likely.” Peter snorted. “People driving by stop all the time. Stop worrying. I want to make sure the deed is done.”
Just then they watched as two fire fighters carried out the body.
“Crap!” Peter snarled. “What are we going to tell the boss?”
“Don’t worry. If you gave the right dosage, even if he woke up, I’m sure the smoke got him. Even from here, he looks a little black. No way he’s talking.”
“Fine. Let’s get out of here, you get to do the explaining.”
It felt like hours before Norman could say the fire was under control and allow the three crews back into the house. The primary search still had to be completed and they needed to ensure the fire was out and didn’t rekindle. A couple years back in another city, the fire department declared a fire was out earlier on and the owner was then allowed back onto the property, but the fire rekindled and he was killed. Of course, the fire department was blamed for not doing their job, even though they didn’t have the authority anymore to stop the owner from entering. That’s why they now usually waited several days before saying the fire was out, ensuring no rekindling and that they were still in charge of the scene.
Norman now had time to secure the scene and call in the police. The paramedics weren’t able to save Barnaby; it was looking like a successful murder.