Watch and Burn (alternative ending to Frank Atanacio's "A Different Type of Torture")

Source

Well, it was my original suggestion for Frank to issue a challenge to have readers write their own version of an ending for his story. I didn't actually receive notification of the actual challenge until I read Ruby's (Always Exploring) ending in response.

I apologize if this is too long. Frank stated it had to be a minimum of 300 words but didn't mention a maximum. This hub is around 1200 words all up. I hope it still meets Frank's approval.

John Farnham, arguably Australia's greatest male vocalist.

Watch and Burn

by John Hansen © 2014


Detective Laura Kimber was right with her assumption that the Department would only initiate a basic investigation into this latest arson. Oh, they performed the obligatory tasks of identifying the victims and interviewing any possible witnesses, but after that the Chief was anxious to move on to more 'important' cases. After all the arson scene was a known crack house in an unsavory part of town.

The victims were identified as Leroy Jackson, a 25 year old African American male, dealer and part-time pimp, and Mia Hernandez, 22 year old female Puerto Rican, crack head and prostitute. It was an unspoken view by the top brass that valuable police resources could be better spent on more worthy cases. Let the low-life's sort themselves out.

Kimber was determined that there was more to this case than met the eye however, and she was determined not to let this one be given the quick sweep under the carpet. Besides, she knew her colleague Nathan Chambers was with her on this one.

There was another case they had been assigned to but in Kimber's eyes it was a lower priority and there were already enough people working on it. Besides, Peter O'Brien had agreed to cover for her and Chambers while they contnued the arson investigation. She'd owe him one.

Arson is an addiction, and fire starters never stop at one.

Source
Source

Kimber asked Chambers to check out other arson cases in the Bridgeport area in the last two years. Arson is an addiction, and fire starters never stop at one. Besides this perp was a sadist the way he'd wrapped the victim up in a plastic tarp, immobilizing him so that he was forced to watch himself being burned. She felt sure he'd done this before.

Chambers was at his computer for a good hour before returning to Kimber's desk. She had been trying to contact family and friends of the victims to determine who'd want them dead, and trying to tie in the two deaths.

"Take a look at this," Nathan said, placing a print-out in front of her. "19 fires in the city in the last two years. Four of these burnt by the owners for insurance purposes. Three others solved successfully and the perpetrators jailed."

"Ok, that still leaves us with twelve," Kimber said, "Do you know how many involved victims?'

"Sure do," he smiled, "six deceased, and you'll like this...all wrapped up in plastic tarps like human doner kebabs. Looks like the girl who sky dived from the window was the only exception. Maybe she jumped to escaped the fire, maybe she was pushed. It does appear she may have tried to dive for the big old pine tree, but missed."

"Good work Nathan," Kimber replied. "Well, that makes six related homicides and it looks like we have a serial arsonist in our midst. I think that's more than enough reason for us to see this investigation through, don't you?"

Chambers nodded in agreement.

One victim had been dragged struggling to the gas stove..

Source
Source

As they delved further, Kimber was surprised to find that all the victims had been drug dealers or addicts and all of the torched premises well known places of procurement. The connections were unfolding. However, the most interesting aspect was the Fire Department reports.

Each of fires in which there had been deceased had been started by setting fire to the victim, however in each case different accelerants were used.The latest had an obvious pour sign and tests had shown the residue to be gasoline. In one of the earlier cases plain vegetable oil had been used, and others by kerosene and whiskey.

One victim had been dragged struggling to the gas stove and partially stuffed into the oven before it was ignited. He literally had to watch his legs and lower torso being roasted before him.

They had all been forced in various ways to watch themselves burn, and all died in excruciating agony.

However, the most intriguing fact of all was that the Fire Investigator in of these case had been Fire Marshall Robert Ackerman. The Bridgeport, Connecticut Fire Department employed four investigators throughout the precinct. What were the odds of the same guy being responsible for all six where homicides had been involved? Not likely, thought Kimber.

Kimber had not been impressed by his attitude at the latest fire scene, and the way he dismissed it so easily as just routine and seemed to have no concern or compassion for the victims.

"Let's have a closer look at Fire Marshall Ackerman," she said to Chambers. "Check if he has any history."


.. Thomas died three years ago from a suspected heroin overdose.

"You are going to like this!" Chambers said sitting on the corner of Kimber's desk. "Robert Ackerman's son Thomas died three years ago from a suspected heroin overdose. Not a bad coincidence with all these homicides being dealers. Ackerman put a lot of pressure on "Vice and Narcotics" to find and charge whoever sold him the drugs, but of course that was an impossible scenario. Since then he quickly worked his way up in the Fire Department."

Kimber nodded, "What better job for a serial arsonist than firefighter, and better yet, Fire Marshall in charge of arson investigations. The perfect way to cover up your own handiwork."

She stood up and grabbed her jacket, "Let's go get our man."

Source

My Background Experience

I am currently a member of the Ballogie Rural Fire Brigade. Until recently I was an active firefighter and secretary of the brigade. Last year there were a series of unexplained fires in the area. Initial investigation found them to be arson. Eventually the arsonist was caught and it turned out the perpetrator was actually another firefighter.

The police said this is quite a common occurrence. The fire brigade attracts people who have an interest in putting out fires, it also offers training and opportunity for those who like to start them.

Challenges

What is your opinion of challenges issued by other hubbers?

  • I enjoy taking up the challenge?
  • I like to read what others come up with.
  • I'd rather leave them to others. I know my limitations.
  • They are good for trying your hand at different forms of writing.
See results without voting

© 2014 John Hansen

More by this Author


Comments 57 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Jodah I could swear... I wrote this version.. perfect in every since of the word ... a few mispelled words but that doesn't take away from... the dramtic freeze this hot flash fiction gives. Amazing and such flattery for Kimber, Chambers, and I noticed you included O'Brien. I like the way you took this crime and twisted in some based on fact... Voted awesome


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

You did an awesome job on this. I like yours the best so far.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, so glad you approve and it measured up. I tried to do you characters justice. Thanks for the vote up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Becky, thanks for reading this and your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed my version.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Brilliant, John! I love the way you used your own experience and knowledge as a base for this version. True detective work and some gory bits too!

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you very much Ann for reading my ending to Frank's story. I thought it would be a good one to add to. I appreciate your comment. Glad you enjoyed the read.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Superb job here on the alternate ending to Frank's story! I like the recap at the beginning and all the background, video and imagery are great. You have given this an appropriate ending, John. This same thing happened here where it was a firefighter who was burning down old abandoned buildings in the city where crack dealers were hanging out. I do not think anyone was killed, but it actually spurred on the city to do something about the abandoned buildings and lowered crime in the area. Although, I am sure he went to prison for a long time.

Voted up +++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

Blessings for a wonder day. Enjoyed this read.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

I may never be able to say this again in a comment, John.....but--

YOU ARE ON FIRE, my man! You are one of a handful of writers in this community that I do my best to 'stop everything' to see what the heck you are up to when you publish...and you never ever disappoint.

Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for that wonderful comment Faith and for sharing about the firefighter burning down old abandoned buildings. Luckily no one was killed. So glad you liked this ending. Thanks for the vote up, share and tweet.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Maria, yes this was an appropriate hub to make that comment on :)

I appreciate your kind words. Glad my hubs don't disappoint.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Excellent job, John. You tied it all together beautifully. It's frightening to know that this happens all too often!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Shauna. Yes it is scary that those who are there to protect us can also be those committing the crimes.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Exceptional writing! I didn't know Mia was a prostitute. Hee..Your knowledge of the fire department was evident in your story. I loved your version. Tweeted..


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great as always you know how to surprise me with another wonderful write. I like the way you put this all together in such a perfect way. Voted up, and interesting.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

John, we have to find a way for talented, creative writers like you to make a ton of money. It just doesn't seem right for you to make pennies when recipe writers make dollars. You are talented.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for those kind words Bill. Much appreciated. If something is meant to be...a way will present itself...maybe :)

Can writers be buskers...?


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Ruby, glad you liked my version of an ending. Hope you didn't mind me using Mia's name (the one you came up with) for my character. Yes, knowledge of the fire department was certainly a help for this one. Thanks for tweeting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading another of my hubs DDE. Glad I can keep them all interesting for your reading.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was another great version John. This was great! (I did not know that you were a firefighter.) Your Hub reminds me of a show I watch - Emergency! I love that show and I loved your Hub. I voted up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Kevin for your kind comment, vote up and pin. I haven't seen "Emergency" for years, but it was a good show.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great how you wove in a justification in the early part -- fantastic ending.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Do not tell me, "Emergency!" was one thing that pointed you towards firefighting?

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Eric, I always value your comments.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Not that I know of Kevin, though it could have left some sort of subconscious effect during my childhood.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Just had to tell you that folks on " On The Dime Fiction " Group raved mostly over this paragraph

One victims had been dragged struggling to the gas stove and partially stuffed into the oven before it was ignited. He literally had to watch his legs and lower torso being roasted before him.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Jodah, great job! You turned into a Frank. You both depict real human traits through your story telling, and I like that.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey thanks Frank, you did say "the serial killer had to have committed at least one crime that made the readers' skin crawl". This was my such crime. Glad they liked it at "On the Dime Fiction".


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Ms Dora, thank you for the compliment. A writer needs to be able to capture real human traits in their characters. To be compared to a "Frank" is high praise indeed.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

This ess a great ending that flowed smoothly from Frank to you. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading more of your hubs! Up+


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks so much btrbell, glad you enjoyed this. Frank gave me a great compliment saying he felt like he wrote this himself. Thanks for the vote up too.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

John, I love your alternative ending, brilliant! You've done Frank proud. Up all the way. I've just published my version, but I'm not so good with links.:)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks very much Jo. I'll have to take a look at yours and then add a link to it on mine. Thanks for the vote up too.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 24 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Great job on this. Kept me interested from start to finish.


Eric Boyd 24 months ago

this was a hold your breath stop on a dime fiction. I didn't think it could get any more creative the body in the oven so he could watch himself burn. The back ground was detailed and the story, believe it or not, but believable. I salute you and Laura Kimber. EB


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the vote up and share Gypsy. I hoped this one captured the reader's interest and delivered.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this Eric and for your great comment. Glad I kept it exciting as well as believable. I enjoyed the challenge.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England

This was riveting reading Jodah, and I will never get that scene of the gas oven out of my mind so thanks so much! lol! what a great read! and I never knew that about real firemen, some like to stop them, others like to start them! Nice one! voted up and shared, nell


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Nell, good to see you. One of Frank's stipulations was that you had to create at least one scene that would unsettle the readers. I think the gas oven met that criteria don't you? Sorry if it's imbedded in your mind though. Yes it is true about firemen. Thanks for the vote up and share.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 24 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi John…

I liked the detail you gave to Frank’s story…very pragmatic in how this investigation unfolds. Arson is a compulsion; as it is with any serial killer. The connection between the arsons is very smart, and also realistic; the arsonist’s profile develops further. How the victim was forced to watch himself burn also dovetails with Frank’s story. (This is very dark!) How you integrated the Chief’s noncommittal attitude at the first crime scene was quite clever, as well as the tie in with drugs. Well done, John! Brilliantly written! :-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Genna . I really appreciate this detailed comment, breaking down how I developed the story. At first I didn't really have any idea how I was going to tackle this but as I began to write it just developed. The body in the oven was the last thing I added to the story but I think it was the "cherry on top."


Mike Jones 24 months ago

Ive just started reading these endings and I am so surprised on how good they are, its like watching a mini series great detail you have here Joda


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this Mike and for your kind comment. Frank's stories tend to leave it to the reader's imagination to determine what follows and lend themselves well to challenges to add an ending. A few of us who normally don't write in this genre enjoy having a story already set up already so that we can expand our writing and experiment in something different...crime fiction. I am mainly a poet, so I find this an interesting challenge. I am glad you enjoyed my ending.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 24 months ago from California

This is well done John! You write fiction well!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this Audrey. Your kind comment is much appreciated. I have started writing more short fiction stories recently.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 24 months ago from USA

You should consider writing more short fiction, gauging by how good this was. I liked the personal connection that you drew as well. Scary and sad that these things exist to the extent that they do.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Flourish. Thanks for your encouraging comment. I have really enjoyed these challenges by Frank and writing flash fiction. I seem to being alternating between poetry an fiction stories recently so I appreciate you saying that this was good. Have a great day.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 23 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, this is awesome! You are a very good crime story author. And I am very impressed with your background experience at Ballogie Rural Fire Brigade - that is something to be very proud of. Your experience and knowledge comes through strong in this hub. Well done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Phyllis. I always appreciate your comments. These challenges are always fun and it somehow makes it easier if someone else has already started the story (and my background did help with this one too). There had already been two endings written before I found out that Frank had issued the challenge, and some people seem to read his original story and not realise there are alternate endings I guess if you don't read the other comments you wouldn't know. The other endings are really good too, and yours just adds to the high standard.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 23 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, I meant to say thank you for suggesting the challenge. I love a good challenge. Also, when I was writing my version I knew there was another word for the " flammable liquid" I mentioned and could not find it till I read your hub. "Accelerant" is the word I was looking for. You should win an award for this hub and I do hope you continue writing short stories.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York

Great twist, I never saw it coming! I don't have to tell you it was a stroke of genius to use your own experience to complete a challenge. I came late to the party too but its definitely a fun party. Well done my friend.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I love these challenges tillsontitan, and the subject of this one was just perfect for me. Thanks for the kind comment and the vote up. You did a great job as well.


Susan Fuentes 23 months ago

This one, I read them all and I think this is the better ending, or story to complete the torture beginning. I know we all have our favorites, but I don't think they have what this story has. So yeah Tommy, Im choosing Jodah's version. ((smiles))


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Wow, thank you for choosing this ending as your favourite Susan. There are some great ones amongst them so I am honoured. I'm glad you felt it continued the original story smoothly.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 20 months ago

You make all the pictures come to life. Firefighters have a tough job. I respect and appreciate all your dedication to your job. A very creative story.Great work. We do a little fire pit in our yard in the summer. I am surprised how hot the fire gets. When there are white and bluish pieces of wood.I can't imagine how hot it is. Thank you for sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Dream On, good to see your comment on one of my hubs. I appreciate your kind comment an glad you could imagine this scenario in my story. Thanks again.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 18 months ago from Lagos

Another great write from a different view/perspective. You all have been terrific. I have really missed out. And the background story, I likey. A little twist and turn here and there. Well done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Thandi, we have missed you around here. I hope all is well.

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