Famous Last Words
I inhale a pungent mix of stale sweat, upholstery cleaner, and hot metal. Blue and white lights strobe above and around me with flashes of red. Sirens wail in the distance.
The more the merrier, I think as another fire truck skids to a halt.
Men wearing heavy coats with reflective bands across their chests, backs, and arms jump from the truck. Orders are shouted and hoses pulled. Water seeps from around the hastily made connections to hydrants, forming tiny rivers that twist and creep their way over the broken asphalt.
I watch one of these rivulets as it passes beneath the police car in which I sit. I'd asked the cop to leave the door open because the air inside was stifling. The air outside isn't much better.
A loud crack and shouts of caution draw my attention. Orange and yellow flames jet through a new opening in the roof, seeking oxygen to fuel its anger. Embers and flaming timbers tumble from the covered bridge's weakened supports. They sizzle and pop as they splash into the churning river. Superheated air beats against my soot-streaked face.
I look at the personnel from various agencies racing around the scene. I shake my head. The bridge is a goner. Everyone knows it. All that can really be done is contain the damage and keep it from spreading.
Soft bluish-white light highlights the grime covering my arms as I turn on my cell phone. I snap a picture of the inferno and tap on the Twitter app. While it loads, I think of what to say, but there's really only one thing to say...
I type my message, attach the photo, and hit send. I wait for it to show in the live feed. I drop the phone to floor and slip out of the car.
Everyone is focused on the fire. I round the end of the car and head in the opposite direction. Shadows grow darker with each step, the air less heated. The cacophony of sirens and shouts fades. Soon only the steady free beat of my heart and the sounds of a riverbank under the sway of a full moon's spell are all I hear. I pull of box of matches from my pocket and toss them into the dark waters.
Thinking of my last message, I smile and whisper it into the gathering darkness, "This is not the end."
A Note from Jeannie:
I've had a fabulous time being a part of the Criminal Minds blog. I feel that I've been truly privileged to know so many wonderful, loving, and talented authors. However, the time has come for me to move aside and let another voice take my place.
Sue Ann Jaffarian will be taking over my Monday post starting September 5, and the very talented Vicki Delany will be moving into Sue Ann's usual spot on Sundays.
Thanks to all the readers who have followed my posts and commented on them. I appreciate each of you. Huge thanks to my fellow CMers for making my time here unforgettable. I love you all!!!
Good luck to everyone and I'll be dropping in from time to time...just to be sure everyone's behaving. ;)
Love and luck,