The Fire of the Gods
Once, they’d considered fire a gift from the Gods.
Things have changed, Conn mused, staring sightlessly forward. In his hand was a wrench, and slowly, deliberately he placed it upon the workbench in front of him. An old beat up Jeep he’d been toying with the past week and half sat on the floor of the barn, useless. He’d need to replace the fuel pump, and the brakes needed some tweaking. It was a half-rusted out piece of crap, but he specialized in half-rusted out pieces of crap. Putting them back together and breaking them apart again. To hear the roar of an once dead engine come back to life made a huge grin break out across his face.
If things went as planned, though, he’d never hear the purr and groan of this engine.
“I’m surprised you haven’t done it yet,” he said quietly, placing the palms of his hands on wooden bench in front of him. He sagged against it, hearing a footstep behind him. “I’m surprised you’ve come so far in.”
“You’ll never get out—,”
“Alive,” he finished for her. “I know.”
Silence descended upon the two of them. She felt emotions choke up inside of her, that pack of matches in her hand a lead weight. Her head felt like a swarm of bees condensed there—buzzing. They wouldn’t stop buzzing in her ears and around her face. Drops of sweat clung to her forehead, dampening her dark hair against her face. Her blue eyes stared at his back, the slight indent of muscles pressing against the simple shirt. He wouldn’t look her in the eye. He wouldn’t give her the honor, she would kill him when his back is turned.
“Face me,” she demanded, fingers tightening.
A trail of dark fluid stained the ground, a large circle that soaked the pale yellow straw spread out in the corners of the barn. A puddle of the substance gathered at her feet, her hand hovering over it. Words caught in her throat, so many different things to say. How to explain the reasoning of this? She couldn’t. Nothing would make it easy to understand, nothing would clean her conscience.
“No, you’re not.” He was truthful is those words, and she blanched at the truth. “You’ll do whatever it takes.”
“I have to kill you if I want to join.”
“Who would’ve thought, a cult of murderers in such a small town as this?” His dry tone struck her.
She let her eyes drop from his back to the ground. “They killed my father.”
“And the only way to figure out which one of them did it is to join them. The only way to join them is to have an initiation kill. An initiation kill that involves someone the new member knows and loves, someone chosen by the group. I helped you research them, remember?”
“You knew the chances that they’d choose you.”
“I knew it from the start.”
Her heart climbed in her throat. “Then why?”
He shrugged. “I loved you. I’d thought that maybe you loved me back enough to realize the madness in your obsession. I now know I’m wrong.”
“I do love you.”
“But not enough to stop this.”
She paused slightly before saying, “No.”
The flames would consume him and kill him within five minutes. Those matches would spark the gas on the ground, trail into a circle around him. On his foot is where he stepped through the puddle she had laid out. He knew from the start, did nothing to prevent it. He moved slowly, his body seeming to be creaky with age. Time wouldn’t get to age him, but this grief and betrayal would. He was only twenty-three years old, working in a barn messing around with cars. A man with a bright future when he graduated from college in the upcoming fall. Yet, now he wouldn’t make it to then. Funny how life turned out.
A warm breeze trickled in through the door she stood out. He faced her, staring at her with green eyes. Dirty blond hair fell a little too long around his face, and he lifted his hand to shove his fingers through it. She stood there, in all of her glory, a match in hand, tears on her cheeks.
“I do love you,” she whispered.
“No, you don’t.” The tone was soft, broken, torn. He wouldn’t fight. “No, you don’t. You’re too selfish, too set on destroying yourself on a helpless matter that cannot be changed.”
“He was murdered!”
“What does that make me in a few minutes?”
She didn’t have the words to answer that question,
“Get it over with,” he said, turning away from her again. Picking up the wrench again only to put it away. He picked up some stray nails off of the table, pocketing them. “Or I’m leaving.”
“Face me again.”
“No. You’re killing me with my back turned, or not at all.”
Hair dipped over her shoulder as she flicked the first match across the back. The fire lit, lifting that smell up towards her nose. Her heart pounded in her chest.
“I thought I told you to stop smoking,” she said.
Fear had his knees going out from underneath him. “You did.”
She dropped the match, and the fire, the gift of the Gods, stole his life with a scream.
Written for the Terribleminds Blog.