#tuesdayuseitinasentence: When the blaze started

Silhouette of a chair in front of a fire

Image: Pixabay

 

I relax my hands, let each finger settle before I speak. ‘Where were you when the blaze started?’

The boy’s fifteen or so, judging by the greedy, grabby little buggers my daughter’s smuggling into her room these days. He’s not said a word since uniform bundled him into a squad car and he had nothing on him when he was charged – no wallet, no phone – only that single slip of paper.

He’s thin – long bony wrists, spidery fingers with the nails bitten so low blood crusts the tips. Eyes are large in his face – bush baby big. Abused by family, maybe, or a gang standing in for family. So many used people out there.

Sitting either side of him are a bulldog of a woman from Social Services and a legal aid solicitor who looks one Scotch away from the grave and smells of dirty linen and pickled onions. A dream team. Poor kid.

The boy doesn’t speak. I don’t expect him to.

I heave the sigh of the world weary lawman. ‘Just tell me why you have a note in your pocket with the address of the warehouse on North Street and the time the fire started.’

The paper bugs me. No casual arsonist carries a note telling him where and when to start a fire.

Then I feel it – the slightest tremor, passing through the table tickling my palms like static. Windows rattle in their frames. Then the floor is hopping under my feet, my heels knocking. Bulldog woman stands up, looks around as if the blank walls will tell her what’s happening.

‘I’m.’

It’s the boy.His voice is lower than I expected, as if reverberating through a broader chest. He looks at me properly for the first time and he’s terrified, but most of all, he looks sad.

‘I’m sorry,’ he whispers.


Written for My Loving Wife’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Take the prompt word – today is BLAZE – and write post around it. See here for full Ts and Cs.

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22 thoughts on “#tuesdayuseitinasentence: When the blaze started

  1. Such rich description and characterization! Bush baby big… so many used people… one Scotch away… Really felt I was there.

    I don’t quite get why he has the paper in his pocket, or what exactly is happening, but a little mystery is good too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Not sure I know why either. I have a feeling there’s a plot afoot that’s bigger than one burned building, but not quite sure what it is. I do know it was very important to detroy that building at that time, though. Maybe I’ll work out why one day 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments and for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That poor kid had my sympathy from the start, and the duty solicitor is perfect. Looks like the lad’s going to have a rough time for a while, but I hope it all turns out for the best – not that you care, you just leave these poor victims hanging all over the place. It must drive your husband crazy finding them wandering around your house like zombies – probably with little idea of who they are or what they’re supposed to be doing – when he comes home from work 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! Yes, it is a bit like that, isn’t it? Pick them up, spin their tale and promptly drop them like a brick. Poor things. Maybe one day, I’ll spin them all together into one huge novel spanning millenia. Though I have just thought this boy could be the one who was escaping his home life, sheltering in the derelict building the other week. Hmm. There’s a thought 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jane

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s interesting – maybe tyou only have two characters kicking about the house – one male and one female, at various stages of life, but keeping them all together like that could create a paradox, or a hole in the space/time continuum or whatever :0 so you need to make sure they don’t meet themselves 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do wonder if I only have a handful of stock characters knocking around my head. I’m not bothered, so long as they don’t make too much of a mess and don’t drink all the milk. And as for the space time continuum? Dr Who seems to manage – I’m sure it’ll be fine 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s definitely the safest way to do it, but that way you can’t go back to the 19th century with a few old ten bob notes, put them in a bank account in your name, and return to the 21st century to grab the interest 😦 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I hadn’t thought of that, but it wouldn’t be a problem – you’d work out the most profitable time to withdraw your money, whizz there, fill your pockets and get back to C21 sharpish, buy a load more ten bob notes, or pound notes – whatever’s cheapest, and return to C19 with them.
        Sorry – no time to chat – have to go back to the cellar and finish building my time machine 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. What? Oh, yeah, ofcourse, that there flux capacitor thingy. I printed off a picture of a woman’s fallopian tubes and glued it on to the front of an old radio. It looks the same so it should work, and if it doesn’t last long it will be easy to make another 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie. Really lovely of you to say so. I enjoy taking part tremendously – love the choice of words which give a focus but which aren’t too restricting. A part of my writing week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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