Hearts on Fire 8: Saving C.C.(10)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Chapter 2

The sirens blared and the engines roared as multiple fire apparatus came onto the scene. Detective Chris Factor heard the call go out over the radio. A threat had come into the department in a local sheriff’s office in Upstate New York as a 911 emergency. The caller said that Detective Plank was next to die.

Chris’s heart was racing. Detective Pierre Plank was one of his good friends and a man working arson investigations along with him and a few others. Plank had just called him late last night saying that he had some lead on a possible suspect in the murder of his friends Banks, C.C.’s brother, and Lionel, her brother-in-law. They were supposed to meet this morning to go over things, and he had evidence. Pierre was checking out another lead in a run-down area near Red Cross headquarters and a hotel that was used to provide temporary housing for people who lost their homes in fires. He knew the neighborhood well.

As Chris came up to the scene, he felt the tears hit his eyes and the sick feeling punch him in the gut. Plank’s SUV was completely engulfed in flames, windows shattered. Black smoke plumed everywhere, as did the smell of gasoline. Chaos reigned as firefighters tried putting out the fire as well as the additional fire to a local storefront that had caught debris. It was a fucking mess.

He placed the car in park and got out quickly. He met one of the fire chiefs from Banks’s engine company.

“Tell me he got out, Chief. Tell me please,” Chris said as the chief covered his shoulder with his hand and squeezed.

He shook his head, and Chris felt like throwing up. He ran his hand over his mouth.

“They said a call came into dispatch. He was set up and killed. What the fuck is going on, Chris?” the chief asked.

“I don’t know, Chief, but I can promise that I’m going to do anything and everything in my power to find out and catch this guy.”

More sirens blared, and the echo of radio broadcasts spilled through the crowd of firefighters and police. He stood there in complete shock, his mind going blank as he watched the first responders working to put out the flames. What a goddamn mess. Another life taken, destroyed for what? Who was this guy, and what had Pierre discovered that had gotten him killed? Fuck, he prayed Pierre had left evidence someplace safe, or this was going to be hell to try and figure out. But he would do it. Some asshole had declared war on certain cops and firefighters. That wasn’t going to continue.

* * * *

He stood alongside the other people in the crowd and watched with pride. He was careful not to show any emotion whatsoever. He didn’t want them to spot him. When he revealed himself it would be on his terms, not theirs. He felt so calm it was arousing. He was good at this. Good at punishing them for what they had done to him. All of them. From Banks and Lionel to fucking Parker. He licked his lip and then thought about the past.

They weren’t any better at their jobs than he could have been. He was just trying to fit in, find his calling, and live a normal life, despite the voices in his head. They failed him. Said he wasn’t mentally stable. Really? You try being mentally stable after watching firefighters kill your parents and leave them to die in the flames of hell while you lay helplessly on the grass, burns along your belly and legs crying in pain.

He clenched his fists, tightened them, and then spread his fingers. He couldn’t show emotion, he thought to himself just as a few police officers walked by, scanning the crowd along with some detectives he recognized.

“Please tell us no one was hurt,” one woman next to him said to the police officer.

“Yes, it’s so upsetting to watch,” he added, and the officers and the detectives looked at them.

“There’s nothing to say. The firefighters have it under control,” one officer offered.

He couldn’t help but to despise them. They were so nonchalant about it. They never told the truth. They belittled anyone who wasn’t a firefighter. They had nothing under control. He did.

He had a plan. They didn’t want him to help, and even when he’d been a victim last year in the shelter blaze, he’d been pushed aside and never given a second glance. Except by her. She was beautiful, angelic, sweet, and compassionate. A pure angel, who asked him if he was hurt, helped him to drink water, and even bandaged up his arm that had a cut on it.

But then a firefighter needed help, and she’d apparently known them and left him for them as one called her over. He died because of that. His whole plan evolved into something even greater that day. He thought of her again. He vowed that she would be his prize, his reward for making them all suffer for not believing in him, for not letting him into their circle. He had what it took. He understood the minds of people who started fires. He’d done so much research, too.

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