Currently busy working on the sequel, but for those who haven’t yet read Perfect Intentions, here’s a taster…
He blinks, snorting up the combination of blood and mucus running from his nose he; attempts to cry out, no noise. He tries to inhale again, but it becomes apparent the gesture is a futile one. He starts to retrieve his feelings, pain courses through his body as his befuddled mind struggles to grasp the reality of his situation. Remaining calm, he tries once more to inhale; he can smell something, something underneath the smell of blood and his own fear, something vaguely familiar. Once again he tries again to inhale, the gag still foiling any other attempts to breathe. He can the feel panic rising in his chest, so he decides to try a different tack. Using all his remaining breath, he blows out, and a stab of pain shoots through his face and up into the back of his eyes. Now finally free to breathe, he tries to sit, no luck. His arms and legs are bound. He knows this by the dull aching cramps emanating from them he struggles into a kneeling position. Then a wave of nausea hits him as he pinpoints the smell—petrol. He blinks rapidly, trying to bring his surroundings into focus. A dark open space occupies the area around him.
I must be in some sort of warehouse
Far in the distance, a small flickering light emerges, and he strains his eyes trying to use the tiny pinprick of light as a base.
Christ, I’m not alone, there’s a shadow…
Or my imagination
As the light draws closer, he realises his first guess was accurate. The shape starts to move closer, then suddenly a flash of bright light. Momentarily he’s stunned, as the sudden brightness assaults his retinas. He closes his eyes to give them time to adjust; he opens them once again as the heat starts to bear down on him. Looking around, he contemplates his changing situation.
Inside a ring of fire, bound and terrified, he can swear he sees a malicious face just through the flames; it seems to be laughing. From behind the mask a voice spoke.
“Next to you is a knife and a box of explosives with a timer, the timer is set to go off in three minutes, if you make it to the door on your right you live, if not…”
The sentence hadn’t needed completion. Moving quickly, eyes trained on the timer, he scrambles for the knife. Struggling to control the violent shaking of his hands, holding the knife between his two thumb joints, he focuses all his attention on working the serrated blade up and down against the tight rope. Sweat builds on his forehead and rolls down into his eyes, blurring his vision as he screws up his eyes in consternation. This temporary blip in concentration combined with his profusely sweating hands causes him to lose grip, and he drops the blade. The sound ripples through his awareness over the sound of the flames and his eyes flicker uncontrollably over to the timer.
Two minutes ten seconds.
Grabbing unceremoniously once more for the blade, he resumes his work. The first few threads of the rope start to shred, and spurred on by small victory he quickens his pace, sawing faster and faster. He is rewarded to see a few more of the rope threads shred; he glances once again at the timer.
One minute thirty seconds.
Faster and faster sawing, sweat stinging his eyes and hindering his progress, until finally the last of the rope threads cuts through and his hands are once more his own. Glancing at the timer, he realises he has only a minute to vacate the building. He looks down at his feet and sees that they’re cuffed. His eyes move quickly around his cell of flames, and it occurs to him that his captor hasn’t been so benevolent as to leave the key.
Standing up, he barely registers the cramping pains shooting up and down his legs. Summoning the last of his strength, he glances once more at the timer.
He jumps toward the edge of the ring of flames. As he reaches it, he closes his eyes, and, taking a deep breath, he throws himself towards the wall of flames and freedom on the other side. His desperate bid is accompanied by a loud whooshing sound in his ears.
His mind casts back to when he’d woken there and how he’d barely registered the fact he was wet. At the time he had been preoccupied with trying to take a breath. The realisation had come too late; he had been doused with petrol before he’d woken.
For a few moments he feels nothing. Then he can smell it: the stench of fat catching in a pan, the smell of human skin burning—his skin. As the flames continue to ravage his exterior, he falls face first onto the ground. His eyes are set, staring in the direction of the circle of fire. Behind his eyes, his mind races frantically in its last conscious moments.
His three minutes are up, and there was no big bang, no explosion of whiteness—just the gentle flames of his earlier incarceration starting to ebb away, and lying there in the waning light, he takes his last breath.
Perfect Intentions is available through the Amazon Kindle store.