Fire games is a nail biting, catch me if you can, crime thriller books.
Detective Alan Kendal, Melbourne homicide puts his life on the line to outplay the psychotic arsonist known as Patrick. Kendal is ordered to team up with Detective Claire Ambroso whom he’s known since school. She carries a secret and he has a grey past. Which emotion one will come forward to haunt first? Kendal grows suspicious of his new partner when she aims her gun directly at him and pulls the trigger. What’s her motive? Is she Patrick’s accomplice? If not, who is? How can Patrick always be one step ahead? Does Kendal have enough time to rescue his kidnapped twelve-year-old daughter, Tegan, before Patrick’s fiery finale? The winner of Fire Games will take all.
THE INTERIOR of the two storey mansion sounded graveyard quiet. Reaching out Detective Alan James Kendal flicked the light switch to the on position. His first two attempts his fingers only brushed the plaster. He heard a click after his third attempt.
The area remained midnight black.
For a split second, a bolt of lightning transformed the dark room into daylight before plunging it back into the colour of charcoal. The low steady rumble in the sky followed soon after.
“The storm’s seven kilometers to the south and closing,” he whispered.
In the darkness, Kendal extracted his police issue Smith and Wesson from his shoulder holster.
Outside, a dog howled and dragged its metal tether across a wooden verandah. Before Kendal, continued searching the house, he stood motionless listening to the one-hundred-year-old grandfather clock’s tireless ticking coming from the hall.
A series of blue flashes from the approaching storm caused the shadows in the room to look alive. A clap of thunder drowned the clock’s rhythmic echoes.
Kendal stepped towards the first window. Holding his gun at the ready he hesitated, noticing the curtain over the window hung heavy. He moved on, his back and shoulders scraping the freshly painted wall. A mahogany staircase loomed thirteen paces directly ahead; its ghostly outline beckoned him to climb the seventeen steps to the top.
The detective stepped silently towards the next window. The curtain puffed inwards. He froze, aimed his revolver at the window, waiting for the curtain to move again. Outside, a cat leapt onto the roof of a metal shed. Even though his trigger finger remained rock solid, he jumped at hearing the thud.
Upstairs, underneath the worn carpet, a floorboard creaked. Kendal stared through the darkness. A blue lightning flash illuminated the top step. For only a moment he saw a figure holding a gun before darkness again swallowed the room. Unblinking Kendal held the spot. His spine tingled. The hair on the back of his head stood military style.
Above the house lightning and thunder rolled together. The curtain over the window quickly inflated, flapping around him. Hail started to slide down the glass creating dirty streaks. For a brief second the top landing was again shrouded in blue. In the flash of light, Kendal spied a shorter figure standing next to the hooded person clutching the balustrade using both hands.
Kendal aimed his gun at the two ghostly figures staring down at him.
“I wouldn’t shoot if I were you,” called the taller of the two.
The detective swore under his breath. He yelled through clamped teeth.
Patrick you’re under arrest.”
“How do you figure, Coppa?”
Patrick’s bone chilling voice easily surged through the darkness.
A quick light show followed by a deep rumble in the sky intensified, enveloping the house. The windows rattled. A claustrophobic darkness swallowed the stairs and the surrounds.
“Patrick, drop your gun. Come down the stairs, nice and slow.”
“Save the negotiations. I don’t take orders; I give them. If you don’t drop your gun, I’ll shoot your kid.” The balaclava-clad figure yanked the girl’s hair, forcing her to light a match. “Hey, Coppa, have you sniffed the air lately?”
Kendal took a whiff and coughed.
“The stench is petrol fumes.”
A blue lightning flash highlighted the petrol soaked kindling stacked pyramid style as thunder broke on top of the house.
Kendal looked up and saw the horror written on his daughter’s face.
“Don’t be stupid Patrick, if that match falls, you’ll burn. Tegan, don’t be scared, blow the match out.”
Patrick leveled his gun at the girl’s head. “Who gives the orders?”
“You do,” she mumbled.
“Correct. Hey, Coppa, you forget, I have plan B. I always have plan B. Now drop your gun.”
Kendal slowly shuffled away from the kindling. “Give yourself up. The game’s over.”
Laughing a hideous noise Patrick lowered his gaze to the lit match, slapping it out of Tegan’s hand. Three pairs of eyes watched the small flame free fall towards the floor.
Kendal aimed his gun upwards into the darkness and pulled the trigger. He heard a groan. The thud made his blood run cold. Sprinting for the balustrade, he looked up and saw a figure slumped on the carpet. He heard feet running as the lit match hit the petrol soaked kindling. Hesitating only long enough to watch the fireball mushroom towards the ceiling, Kendal sprinted up the stairs two at a time. Each large step he completed his heart sank further. He cursed the reason why he was such a good shot and tried to convince himself Tegan was the one running. In his heart, he knew he was wrong.
Kendal housed his gun and pulled his mobile phone from his pocket. By the time he reached the top step he had dialed 000. Standing over the bloody body and as the fire spread quickly through the house, he sank to his knees and sobbed.