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Let Them Burn

By E.N. GusslerPublished about a month ago 4 min read
Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

The deafening thrum of my heartbeat echoes in my ears, my gaze frozen on the shards embedded in my arms and scattered around me.


A whisper floating on the slowly fading ringing, pulls me back to reality.


My head swivels, searching for the disembodied voice. Heart racing, I force my feet to move, gathering my strength and setting my eyes on the nearest potential exit.


The ground beneath my feet shakes, knocking me off balance. The ringing wails louder, ripping a scream from my throat as the pain in my head grows. Voices carry up the stairwell and through the door, ripped from its hinges, snapping my head into that direction.


My feet move, almost of their own accord, as my eyes remain glued to the stairwell across the room. Thundering footfalls echo among the frantic voices and the shuddering building. People are running down the stairs, flooding out to the pavement. The harried voices of gritty men ricochet through the doorway as they clear every floor below me.


My hand grasps the cold steel handle as I pull the heavy door. Adrenaline increased strength coursing through my veins, the door bounces off the wall, spraying the floor with more plaster bits. My feet pound the metal staircase, catapulting me up the dark incline. My body slams into a barrier. Blind fingers feel against the pitted walls surrounding me until reaching above my head, my hands meet the warmth of a metal hatch. I grip the handle with aching fingers and push with all I can muster.


The voices swell up from the room I fled, the doorway filling with a large frame just as I slip through and slam the hatch closed. Searing light floods my vision. Blinking, I search the roof as the walls quiver and the remaining windows shatter.

The hatch flies open. Three inhumanly large figures emerge, scanning the rooftop. I step back, my calves meeting the raised ledge as I risk a glance over the edge.

“Found you.” A sinister smirk stretches across his weathered face.

“Nowhere to run now, little mouse.” The smaller one sneers at me as they fan out, blocking any escape.

“Might as well give up now.” The squirrely one taps a blade against his thigh, drawing my attention.

Breathless, I scan their gear. Dagger tucked into the boot, pistol on the hip. Worn leather boots and a generally unbathed appearance. Standard bounty hunter issue. My fingers twitch as I calculate the odds against me.

“What do you want?”

The larger one glances at the squirrely one, whispering something to him, causing him to sheath his blade. “You just have to come with us.” He lifts his hands, showing me his palms. “We don’t want bloodshed.”


I shake my head. “I don’t believe that.” My eyes flick to the pistol on the smaller one’s hip. He has unlatched the holster.

He follows my gaze, catching sight of the holster. “Fergus!” The leader grits his teeth as he bites at his comrade. “Steady your hand.”

“Uh, Cal?” Caution laces through the squirrely one’s voice, pulling our attention.

“Not now, Jerry.” His eyes stay fixed on me, palms lifted, but the shift in his shoulder tells me he’s ready to strike.

Stealing a glance over my shoulder, I spy the people scattered on the pavement below.

“Cal…” Jerry’s voice quivers as I pin him with a glare.

“What!” Cal and Fergus turn to glower at him.


The heat rises in my core and my fingers flick towards Jerry’s feet. Smoke billows from the soles of his boots as the rubber melts into the rooftop.

“Stop her!” At Cal’s command, Fergus raises his pistol. The ice coated barrel steams in the growing heat as his finger twitches on the trigger, but he hesitates.

A smirk settles on my mouth as I take his hesitation to step up on the ledge.

“What are you waiting for?” Cal calls to Fergus as he wretches Jerry’s boots loose.

“I - I can’t.”

The building flexes and shudders, knocking them to their knees. The crackle of a radio, cuts through the rumble “Team 2, do you copy?”

“Don’t.” I hold up my hand, pointing it in Cal’s direction.

The radio chimes in again. “Team 2…get the firefly.”


The thought floods my mind as I watch the flames lick at the corners of my vision. Panic disfigures the faces of the kneeling men as the roof flexes and a section crashes through the floors below.

Cal rises, pointing the pistol at my face as he steps towards me. “Times up.”

Heat bursts from my limbs, throwing my arms out to the sides as a scream tears through my lungs and flames ignite around me, swallowing the rooftop in a ball of fire.


About the Creator

E.N. Gussler

Writer. Photographer. World-traveler. Adventurer. Ohio State Alum.

A California native living in Ohio, I pull inspiration from my travels & life around me.


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  • Christy Munson4 days ago

    Fascinating writing! I'm intrigued.

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