Watch and Burn (Alternative Ending to Frank Atanacio's "a Different Type of Torture")
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.
The Original Story
- A Different Type of Torture
The fire marshal was showing Kimber a dark splotch on the living room floor in apartment 1636 B calling it a textbook example of a pour pattern. Sure enough, when they cleared all the soot away, the splotch really did look darker than the surrounding
- A Writing Challenge for you
Write an alternate ending for A-Different-Type-of-Torture
Watch and Burn
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.
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..
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."
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.
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