Our narrator turns from villain to hero in Part 5 of Daniel Norrish’s second serial.
Let’s Burn Them
“Let’s burn them,” I said as Antonio and I were untied and allowed to face one another.
“What?!” Antonio shouted while his friends, all strangers to me, crowded around us to listen.
“I brought forty litres of petrol with the supplies in the van. Our enemies are underground in a laboratory, so let’s pour the gas under the doors and into any opening we can find then light the whole place up.” I suggested.
As terrible as the suggestion was, only a few minutes later we were pouring petrol into the facility. I knew the underground structure was huge and that the puddles of fire wouldn’t reach the sleeping quarters, but I also knew how utterly terrible it would be to see flames leaking into your besieged fortress. We were about to set every door into, or out of, the structure on fire.
We couldn’t hear any commotion on the other side of the barriers as the pungent liquid drained into the trap, so we assumed none of the residents were aware of the impending torture.
“Light it up!” Someone shouted from far away in the bush, from the other entrance. When the match hit the liquid it seemed to leap up in the air with tall blue spears that hovered above the Earth. Still, there was silence.
Then I heard the screams. I could hear the people inside yelling to one another.
“Stay back!” A frantic male warning.
“No, we need to put it out!” A woman erupted.
We could hear her painful wails.
“She’s burning,” Someone else added, “Help her!”
I couldn’t see them but I could imagine that woman, whoever she was, standing over and in the fire as she desperately tried to move it away and save her kinfolk.
I looked over to Antonio and said, “This is when you add more petrol if you really want to do some damage”.
He shook his head and swore to himself, then he tipped the rest of the jerry can over, spilling everything under the door of the facility.
The shrieks of agony were scarcely bearable as I imagined the woman on the other side engulfed by a burning curtain. Someone was being burned alive only a few metres away.
Then a new, terrified voice joined the ruckus on the other side of that locked door and I recognised it to be my friend, Eddy’s. “Virginie! Get up, no!” He cried out and I knew in that moment I’d killed the woman who saved my life.
Then there was silence and I’m sure that everyone on either side of those doors were standing quietly, watching the blaze continue to flicker and swell. The flames began to subside and it was obvious that they wouldn’t catch on anything more than the fumes of the petrol, there was nothing but metal around those doors. There was silence once again and I knew the truth. We were the marauders and our adversaries, our old friends, were innocent.
Innocent and doomed.
“Now what?” Antonio asked me.
“Now we break down the doors,” I replied as I wondered just how long I had before my new allies realised I was keeping secrets from them.