Cold Fire

 

The car crept slowly across the darkened concrete, when it passed under one of the few lights the word taxi could be seen. The car slowly drew to a halt outside an old abandoned warehouse.

The driver looked at the passenger with the use of his rear view mirror, “Are you sure Miss, this is where you want to go? Especially since it’s after midnight now.”

The young woman in the rear was checking her makeup in her hand held mirror by the dome light of the car.

She snapped the compact shut and replaced it in her handbag. “I’ll be fine. This isn’t the first time I’ve met my friend here.”

The driver nodded, ‘I bet it isn’t,’ he thought as she climbed out and paid for the fare. He watched her walk away, it’s a shame he didn’t make more money.

The car’s headlights came back on and the taxi slowly moved past her and headed for the gate.

 

Carrie Lynn stood looking at the dark forbidding building in front of her. She hated coming here. Most of the interior was poorly lit and she had to step carefully to avoided the many lose floorboards and the dusty tottery furniture. The building was actually condemned and three quarter of the place looked it. Her friend had fixed up a small office for the two of them. A light wind blew across the old car park, the woman’s long honey colored hair floated mysteriously about her nicely shaped face. With her narrow waist, her full breast and firm long supple legs, the short, mid thigh blue skirt, and the tight, light green blouse looked fabulous on her. She shivered in the cool breeze. She carefully picked her way over the weeds and cracked pavement in her high heels, careful not to fall. Her tanned legs brushed against some of the taller weeds. She looked at he slim banded gold Rolex, on her graceful wrist. It was 12:20. She hoped this wouldn’t take to long, she had class at 10:00.  Carrie whistled lightly, happy birthday as she carefully picked her way to the door. She was 21 today and in a few weeks she could finish this distasteful five-year part of her life, as she would graduate from med school.

 

Carrie stopped near the door, her hand resting on the rusted lever. Her heart was actually beating faster and the palms of her hands were moist with sweat. She chided her self for getting attached. But in spite of herself she couldn’t help it. She had been seeing him here now for almost five months. Even though he paid her extremely well he never made any demands on her she wasn’t willing to meet. She thought last week was the finish of their time together. He had said the project he had been working on was finishing up and he would be leaving shortly. Then out of the blue he called and asked to meet her one last time. Carrie jumped at the chance. As was his usual request, she wore the heels and no under cloths. Now she un-tucked her blouse, and undid the top three buttons, her breast strained against the few button left and then eased open the squeaking door.

 

The door opened up to some kind of main floor and there where bit of rusted machinery, broken crates and garbage were scattered around. She jumped and almost screamed as a rat ran from her into the darkness, she hugged herself shivering, she hated rats. Carrie could see the light on in the room they shared and with a smile she hurried forward. She got half way across the floor when she heard movement in the dark. She froze as the fight or flight adrenaline pumped hotly through her system. Then a voice in the darkness called to her.

“Carrie, you there?”

She relaxed instantly it was her friend. “I’m here,” her voice husky.

Carrie kicked herself; get a hold on yourself girl.

 

A tall man, with dark black hair came out of the shadows. He was wearing black overall. He was so tall and good-looking Carrie felt her heart beat faster thinking about what was to come.

“I thought we would do something a bit different tonight.”

She smiled. “Anything you want,” she was almost breathless in anticipation.

She involuntarily looked at her watch.

“I know you have classes so this won’t be long.”

He came to her and held her close and gently kissed the nape of her neck.

“Don’t worry, if I’m late, Jenny will cover for me.”

Mr. Smith smiled and took her by the hand and gallantly led her to another part of the warehouse.

 

There she found an area cleared and two up wooden rights had been built on a small raised platform.

Carrie looked at him curiously Mr. Smith grinned playfully. “Trust me?”

She couldn’t help but smile. “I trust you with my life.” Her voice trembled a little.

The woman looked surprised as a flash of anguish swiftly crossed his handsome face.

He led her to the platform and still ever being the gentleman helped her up the stairs.

Now Carrie could see two bits of satin ties hanging from the wooden post.

So this was going to be one of those nights she thought, but the idea strangely excited her.

 

The man carefully tied her hands, so her arms weren’t unduly hurt, above her head. He kissed her and caressed her body as he secured her with the silk. He stopped in front of her and stared at her for a long time. Carrie smile went to a silly grin, something wasn’t right. He was looking at her as if he would never see her again. Carrie looked up guilty as booted steps rang out across the dirty floor. Two more men in black overalls came into the light carrying a container that by the way the men groaned was heavy.

Carrie turned to look at Mr. Smith her grin slipping a bit. “You didn’t say there were going to be others.”

Smith came closer and reached for her neck and running his fingers lightly between her breast through her unbuttoned shirt, and then lifted her chin, kissed her gently. “I’m sorry honey.”

 

Now Carrie could feel the knot growing in her stomach. She looked quickly to the two men who were setting up some king of machine. Fear quickly turned to panic.

“Honey, what going on?” her voice cracked. She stood up straight and pulled on the silken ties.

“This isn’t funny now. Untie me.” Fear made her voice sound harsh.

Smith went to help the other men with the equipment.

“Has the call been made?” one of the men asked.

The other looked at his watch and said, “It is being done now even as we speak.”

Smith sat back on his heels. “Guys, do we have to use her?” he asked nodded to Carrie.

“Did she get to you?” the first man asked.

Smith nodded slowly.

The second, leered long and hard at Carrie and her amply exposed body, “I bet is was really hard screwing that all the time.”

Smith flared, “It wasn’t like that,” he jumped to his feet, fists clenched, breathing heavily.

“Easy lover, I didn’t mean a thing.” The second man hastily assured him. Smith would be able to tear him limb from limb.

 

Carrie began to twist and pull at the ties as desperation started to set in. The ties cut cruelly in to her wrist and blood slowly seeped into the satin.

Tears filled her eyes and the cried out, “Help me, don’t leave me!”  Suddenly reality burst in on her, “I don’t want to die!” she cried out in desperation.

Tears ran unheeded down her face causing her make up run leaving black streaks down her face.

The second man flipped a switched and stood, “We have three minutes. We have to get out.”

Smith stood looking at the girl. “I can’t leave her like this.”

The first man stepped quickly forward grabbing his arm. “What are you talking about?”

Smith angrily turned on him, “I know the powers to be wanted her to be awake, but I’m not going to. Its bad enough what were doing to her.”

Smith stalked up to it he platform.

The first guy moved to stop him but the second grabbed him and shook his head. “He’s right. Let him go.”

The first man stomped off. The second man left too when Smith stopped in front of the woman.

 

Carrie hung between out stretched arms, her shoulders hurting cruelly, her head sagging onto her chest. Smith grabbed her head by her hair; he had to make the show look good for the watching men, and lifted it up so he could see her face she gasped in pain. Out of the coroner of his eye the man could see his partners leave.

She looked at him pleadingly. “Help me,” she whimpered beseechingly.

Smith pretended to do a quick check of the binding and swiftly slipped a small open penknife in her clenched hand.

“Forgive me Carrie, I can’t do as they asked. I never meant to fall in love with you. Wait till I’m gone and then cut yourself free. You’ll have to hurry you don’t have much time.” His voice was insistent, as it was quiet with sorrow.

She looked at him though tear filled eyes. “Why?”

“It’s too hard to explain. Now pretend to be knocked out when I hit you.”

He quickly kissed his fingers and then touched her lips, then threw a punch that hit her chin.

Then he turned and leaped from the platform and ran for the door.

 

The second man waited at the door watching the two, then he too followed Mr. Smith to the front door.

The first man had a drawn gun. “Okay Mr. Smith what was that all about?”

Smith shrugged. “It had nothing to do with you.”

“You bastard, you let her go.” The man turned to go back when Smith grabbed him. The gunman turned and fired all in one motion. Smith clutched his stomach and a look of shocked incomprehension filled his eyes. He slowly sagged to his knees and fell forward.

 

Carrie looked up from the second tie she had been cutting when she heard the gun shot. She sobbed once and frantically sawed faster. The silk parted and she turned, kicking off her heels sprinted for the door she could see along the back wall when suddenly her world fell apart.

 

*                         *                           *                        *

 

The patrol car stopped in front of the warehouse. The two uniformed offices slowly climbed out surveying the dark quite place.  They put on their peaked caps and slid their battens into the hoop on their belts.

“Beats me why kids run away from a warm bed in the middle of a cold night.”

The younger of the two reached into the back seat and grabbed his coat. They walked slowly forward scanning the area as they went. The call said a runaway child, but it wouldn’t be the first time that officers had been ambushed in lonely places like this. So they went carefully, while not looking for trouble, ready for it.

“What is this place?” the officers name badge had Anderson engraved on it.

“Some king of a storage place for the airlines.” His partner muttered scanning the area his flashlight illuminated.

The passing roar of an airliner taking off seemed to lend credence to the statement.

“Jerry, look around back. If the kids are here we don’t want them bolting.”

Anderson nodded and moved off with his flashlight probing ahead.

 

The older of the two men and the cars driver started forward to the door he could see in his light. The man pulled his hat tighter over the blond graying hair and like Carrie had done only minutes earlier, picked his way to the front door, his light picking up the rusted lever type handle. He turned to look as he heard a car accelerate quickly away, working it way quickly through it’s gears.

He keyed the mike clipped to his coat. “Jerry, can you hear me?”

His partner around back stopped and answered his radio, “Yea Sam, I read you.”

“A car just left here at a high rate of knots. Be on you guard.”

“Roger”

Both cops now moved with caution, both had the luger pistol out. They carried them in both hands with the light held under the barrel.

 

Jerry moved to the rear door and reached for the handle. It jerked his hand back in alarm. The metal was hot, real hot.

He quickly keyed his mike. “Sam we have a fire inside.”

Sam was kneeling just inside the front door looking at the bloodstain on the warped wooden floor. It was still runny when he toughed it with his finger.

“Jerry, hold your position, something is wrong, I just found fresh blood.”

            “Roger”

Sam ran back to his car his light bobbing erratically over the weed shrouded car park and leaned in and grabbed the radio. “This is One Adam Twelve, respond a fire unit and ambulance to my location. We have a possible fire and an injured person. Do you copy?”

The metallic sounding woman’s voice came back, “Roger Adam Twelve, fire and rescuer units are responding to your location. Do you require back up?”

“Roger, requesting backup, we may have injured to search for.”

 

*                              *                          *                       *

 

Carrie was terrified and totally confused. After the initial explosion, which knocked her off her feet she was now uncertain what to do? She could hear a roaring in the room and the heat was making her sweat. But as she sat with her legs drawn up under her, her arms up to try and shield her face, from what? She could see the trash on the floor blacken and then dissolve. The silk that still dangled from the post was melting, and the wooden post was turning a charred blackened color. She started to cough and her eyes watered. Carrie instinctively drew away from the platform. She scooted across the wooden floor scratching and cutting her bare legs and button. The roaring became loader, and then screaming in terrified panic she jumped up and ran. She got ten feet when the lights around the platform blew plunging the whole warehouse into darkness. She ran into some object that knocked her to the floor cruelly cutting into her knees. She fell hard face down, her feet flopping up in the air. Carrie knew her nose was broken. She struggled to her feet holding on to the box for support, her legs numb, and could hardly support her weight. Blood from her broken nose ran freely onto her bare chest and the torn and dirty blouse. She moved toward the door that she came in the first time and again stopped in panic as heat forced her back. Her mind cried out, ‘what was happening’. She stumbled and fell again; her skin was hot, beginning to redden. The roaring was deafening and the heat was making her light headed. Sweat ran freely from her matted hair to mix freely with the blood from her nose. She turned and blindly ran the only other way she hadn’t gone yet. Suddenly the room shook and rafters and parts from the second floor, dirt and debris flew in all direction as a massive explosion shook the building and literally blew the glass from the windows.

She sobbed out loud, “Please God, don’t let me die!”

 

Sam hearing Carrie’s scream ran through the front door his gun ready. The room was now in darkness but he could hear a deafening roar coming from somewhere close. He cried out in agony as something hot seared into him. He threw up in arms in defense and watched horrified as his hand reddened and blistered and the sleeve of his jacket blackened and melted around his arm. Sam screamed in agony and stumbled back out side. He whirled and flailed his arms about, as his clothing seemed to blacken. His hair shriveled up and with an anguished yell he dropped to the ground, feet from his car. Sam’s body kicked once, and then twice and then lay still. In the distance the wail of sirens and the flashing red and blue lights went unnoticed by the wide staring eyes, which seemed to shrivel as the rescue vehicles roared up with a hiss of air brakes.

 

Jerry ran along the back walls totally unaware of what happened to Sam. He too heard the woman’s scream. He had been cut a few times about the face and hands by flying glass when the windows exploded. Now as he ran he called into his partner. Again the woman screamed, she seemed more terrified than hurt. Jerry stopped, breathing hard, bothered by the lack of response from his insistent calls on the radio. Now he too could hear the sound of the sirens over the all-prevailing roar. His eyes watered and he coughed. Like Carrie he was confused by the lack of anything visual. This time the when she screamed the woman sounded in pain. Jerry raced along the knee-high weeds and finally found what he knew would be there, a fire exit. The warped wood had sprung the door and it was easily forced.  When the door broke loose the body of a sobbing hysterical woman propelled it open. She knelt on the ground crying uncontrollable. She was covered in blood and her clothing torn and singed, as was her hair. Her face, chest and exposed breast were reddened and blistering, but other than a broken nose she seemed in no great danger. Carrie crawled to where Jerry lay sprawled on the ground knocked there by her exploding bodily from the door. She clung to him sobbing; she made a few token attempts to cover her self up but stopped when she hurt herself. Jerry seeing her distressed look took off his jacked and carefully draped over the now shivering woman.

“Jerry, Where are you. This is Adam Crowley?”

Jerry felt an ‘ah shit’ coming on. Crowley was the police captain.

“Cap, I’m at the back of the warehouse. Can you send a stretcher around? I have an injured woman here. Have you see Sam?”

“I’m still at the station Jerry; we have been trying to get hold of you. Fire and ambulance and backup are around front. Something’s happened to Sam.”

 

*                        *                                    *                            *

 

The four men in the darkened control room watched the activity around the warehouse on a number of close circuit TV’s.

“Team One reporting, they have one dead.”

The man sitting in the chair behind the other three looked up sharply.

The operator went on, “One of the men became a liability and had to be neutralized.

The silence was oppressive.

Then the man said, “Dispose of the body.” His mouth snapped shut like the bolt of a rifle.

“Mr. Black, we have two problems.”

The stern man looked at another of the operators, “Yes?” the words hissed from his tight thin lips.

The man swallowed and then coughed to clear his suddenly dry throat, “The woman is alive. She is now being loaded into the ambulance. We are also monitoring the police bands, and one of their officers has died.”

“Oh shit,” came a voice out of the dark.

Black’s head snapped in the man’s direction, “Unfortunate. What is the response of the fire department?”

“They have put out another two alarms. But they are unable to do anything. They too have four men injured and have now withdrawn all their units out of the building.”

“And the warehouse?”

“Totally destroyed. The fire moved faster and burned hotter than out test predicted.”

Mr. Black settled in his high back chair and grinned pleasantly. Well for him it was, everyone in the room squirmed uneasily at the evil look on his face. The door opened and a woman came into the room. She looked at Mr. Black then nodded outside.

He got up and left with her.

“Test was a complete success. Only a few complications.”

The woman said, “We may have one more. Lord Kettering is coming.”

Black arched his eyebrows. “Does he know about the test?”

“No. It seems he is bringing part three of the devise.”

She looked troubled, “What happens if he discovers we have been developing our own version of the weapon.”

He looked off in the distance as if looking for that very answer. “If he finds out too much he can disappear. He seems to think that he holds all cards. Section 21 hasn’t done so bad with our own back ward engineering on the same devises. Cold Fire is a complete success.”

“Is it?” she asked, “Lord Kettering said their Cold Fire devise didn’t give out any heat or smoke,” the woman looked thoughtful, “We have to be careful, Kettering said on his planet that device was used as a terrorist weapon and the fires it started could only be put out with a second devise to bring the fire back into phase. We could be unleashing uncontrollable destruction if it is perfected, or we get our hands on his data to copy his bomb. What if terrorist on this world get their hands on it.”

Black shrugged his shoulders as he left. Suddenly the woman felt dirty. The bastard planed to do it all along.

 

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