Burn It Down
"Are you sure it'll be okay, Reg?" Ron asked with worry in his voice.
"Course I'm sure. It's simple, isn't it? We do the gas 'round the edge, light 'er up, and Bob's your uncle. Place burns down, owner gets paid, we get paid, everyone wins."
"It just seems like we should check out the building first. Maybe a walk-through."
"Look. You're paranoid, mate. Mr. Logan assured us this dump's been abandoned for ages and any squatters what don't get out when they smell smoke...well, they get what they deserve."
"No buts. Pour the gas."
Ron grimaced as he hefted the can from the ground. The liquid inside sloshed heavily and Ron grunted with the effort of moving it. Reg had been extra-motivated this time and splurged on more gas than usual. Something about wanting to impress a potential repeat customer. Ron wasn't sure, but he wasn't the brains of the operation. He did the physical work which suited him fine. He wasn't much for thinking, after all.
The gas poured out in a thick stream as Ron began dumping it around the perimeter of the abandoned house. They were getting paid to destroy it. Something about a businessman wanting a new place to build. Again, Ron wasn't much for thinking. He was told to pour, so he poured. Besides, he reasoned, this place was awful. Peeling paint, rotting curtains, missing shingles. The house looked like it was ready to fall down on its own any one of these days. They were just ushering it along, right?
He finished up the can with a few hard shakes and tossed the empty can through one of the broken windows. It landed inside with a clatter. Ron knew that fire would help burn away fingerprints. He knew that much.
"All done, Ron?" Reg called out.
"Yup. Do what you gotta do."
He saw a spark and then a flame as Reg lit up his favorite ciggie lighter. That was Ron's cue to run as far as he could so he didn't get caught in what was coming. He turned, about to go, when he heard something that dropped his stomach out of his pants.
"Hello?" someone cried out - from inside - "Is someone there? Please, can you help us? We've been tied up! Someone put us here! Can you help us? PLEASE."
Ron spun and stared at Reg, who was bending down to light the puddle of gas. He tried to call to his friend but his voice caught in his throat just a half-second too long and the fumes were ablaze. Ron watched in horror as the line of fuel ignited and swirled around the building within a half-minute. The cries turned to screams and all Ron could do was stand there and feel his face crisp in the heat. A crash inside - likely the top floor collapsing - silenced the noise and all that was left was crackling agony.
Ron wanted to run. So he did.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.