Chapter 1 : Fire

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I watched the sparkling, translucent raindrops race each other slowly down the glass. For a fraction of a second I caught sight of the rainbow twinkling through the droplet. How could something so simple be so amazingly beautiful? It's a shame, I hate rain.

Failing to suppress my automatic sigh at the miserably damp weather, I instantly regretted it. I'd breathed in the pungent smell of the backseat of the taxi, a disgusting combination of sweat and cigars, it annoyingly seemed to cling to everything so no matter where I sat in the car, I couldn't escape it.

The taxi driver fitted the scent of the car perfectly, he was about 60,greasy dark grey hair that hung long and dirty around his shoulders. His face was sun kissed and wrinkled, making him look the age printed on his taxi driving licence which dangled from the rear view mirror, which I caught him frequently glancing at me through. Even in the darkness of twilight I could tell that his eyes were oddly dark, eerily sinister. He wasn't my normal taxi driver, every Thursday night since I'd worked late I'd always have Dave, the young, happy, cockney driver.

The taxi pulled up at the corner of the street. I glanced over the front seat, the rain covered white car had stopped a few hundred yards from the end of my street. I wasn't walking in the rain!

I couldn't hold back another sigh, I just wanted to go home to bed after the day I'd had, why was he stopping this far away?

'My flat is a little further up the street, number 17,' I instructed quietly, trying my best not to be rude. Something told me that I didn't want to upset him.

'I'm well aware of what number you told me, but there's something going on up the road, not a chance of getting my cab up there. Looks like the roads closed,' he replied loudly, whilst eyeing me again in the mirror. My stomach flipped as our eyes met, the driver radiated something menacing.

I grabbed my handbag and rummaged for my purse, finally finding it I quickly pulled out a note and handed it to him.

'Keep the change,' I muttered urgently as I pulled the silver handle on the door.

The driver gave me another long stare through the mirror, as a shiver rippled rapidly up my spine, as I fought to pull myself from the car.

A burst of cold, drizzly wind enveloped me as I emerged from the car. In a matter of seconds I was soaked, my hair was now sodden, and stuck flat to my head. Sometimes my senses seem to have a habit of working on autopilot, its as if my brain takes a while to catch up. That's why I couldn't figure out what was different. What was wrong.

The smell rolled over me like a sickly blanket, the acrid burning odour stung my nose and mouth. The nauseous scent of burning plastic and wood.

I was frozen to the spot.

Shit.

The angry, dancing flames stroked the building like long shapely fingers. As though the fire had some frantic desire to devour the building, the huge, grey bricked 4 storey building, my building. The pure vibrancy of the violent orange flames hurt my eyes so much that I couldn't look at them, but the simple malevolence held within the monster fixed my sight firmly on the fire. Black smoke billowed from the fire, thick and opaquely rising into the purple, dusky sky. Against the purple, the smog looked hostile and everlasting. How long had this been happening?

Something clicked within me and my body couldn't move fast enough, I had to get closer. Only then did I focus on the people, vehicles and mayhem that surrounded me. There were 3 fire engines, lights flashed urgently, lighting up the gaunt and pale faces of bystanders.

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