SILHOUETTES - Twentieth instalment - Chapter thirty-seven. For more information on this novel, click Here.
From the front room of an empty tenement across the road and down the street, as dawn was breaking, he watched the fire take hold through the gap in the plywood boarding over the window. Setting the fire was easy, making sure it spread furiously was simplicity itself. Drawing up the will to take the action though, that had been hard. Even though it had been spelled out to him by Tennyson. Later though when Tennyson had gone and he went over and over the words and actions of the master of verse, he knew this was the way it had to be.
"Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,"
But Suzi, the lovely and heavenly Suzi who he had spent so much time in the planning over, and detailed so intricately her resurrection and his godly mastery over, that she had to go, so suddenly, when he was almost within reach, but, ah, there will be time again, there will be another, and he knew this to be the case. It was a setback, but it was a setback of his own making due to his ineptitude and errant irresponsibility. He knew this, and with this knowledge, he watched the flames, but realised this was only a temporary measure, Rome wasn't built in a day, people were not created out of thin air, time and patience and purpose had to be taken, along with intricate planning and execution. Suzi would rise again, though not as Suzi, but he would have his creation and woman and slave and partner and lover. The plans were already forming in his mind as a loud crash came from across the road. The windows exploded out sending shattering shards of glass high and far, and the flames licked the sky.
As the flames shot out and up and over the roof of the building, he was oblivious to the sound of approaching sirens, the cries of neighbours from above and to the side of his home, panicking to escape the inferno. The growing crowd of people in the street, in various states of undress, with looks of shock and horror about them, were nothing but a blip in the periphery of his vision, he was watching the spirit of Suzi rise through the flames, she was his angel, and he would see her for the last time before she ascended. There was another wild roaring of flame, the crash of what may have been the boiling gas within finally escaping as the gas cylinder burst apart and launched itself through the ceiling above, carried on with urgent momentum and dreadful force through the next ceiling and out through a shatter of roof tiles into the air, and finally spent of energy, crashed down in the middle of the road scattering the viewing crowd further afield.
The fire-fighters had arrived now, as three fire tenders turned into the street, closely followed by two ambulances and a number of police cars. He flicked the top of his Zippo lighter open and shut, no need to panic, he thought, everything would be alright as long as there was no panic. He remembered the last time, it seemed so long ago, but was as much a living dreamscape as the scene before him now. He half expected his father to appear at an upstairs window, lungs gagging for air, and craving respite of coldness to cool the heat devouring at his heels. Then his mother came into view, her face racked with pain, and his father pushed her out the window, with a desperate look, yet a tenderness in his aspect, from the window of his bedroom, where they were, he realised, hoping to save and rescue him. He was already safe though, across the way and shielded by shrubs and dark, watching. His father leapt out after his mother, already his clothes were aflame. They were both dead. He knew this by the way they landed, heads angled unnaturally, his mother and father, burnt and broken and lifeless, on the blood soaked concrete, and he flicked the top of the lighter open and shut as he watched.
Firemen suited up, with breathing apparatus, and axes, broke down the front door and entered. Jets of water now sprayed the upper windows and roof. Enough damage was done though, he had no need to panic. They would eventually find the charred remains of Suzi, but would spend days discovering exactly who she was. He had to get back to work, he could make plans for Suzi Two in the time ahead, but no more procrastination and no more slip ups, he would find Dave Stuart and do what he should have done from the start, what no doubt he had been endlessly ordered to do, though he had let the distractions of his own ambitions with Suzi detract him. He would find Dave Stuart and eliminate him. That was the priority now. He placed the meat cleaver he had kept handy, ready at his feet in case of discovery, in his backpack, then turned away from the window and made his way down the hallway to the back door. No one noticed as he snuck out in the fresh morning light, climbed the fence at the end of the backyard, and hood up, backpack strapped on, he made his way, head bowed, for Grimeforth Street.
Next instalment coming soon...
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