Burnt Bridges – part three

Warning:  This story contains harsh and vulgar language, disturbing descriptions, and adult situations.  This story is not for children and they should not be allowed to read it.   Consider it rated “R”.

Frank sifted through the ashes as he made his way around the burnt shell that was apartments four, five, and six.  The charred brick of the firewalls had stopped the fire from spreading further.  Franks mind processed the scene as he kicked away the debris.  The dry stench of char and dust wafted into his nostrils.  Ashen remains of a chair lay next to a sooty, soppy towel.  It never ceased to amaze him how a fire would totally consume some things while only licking at others.  The sockets on the wall were melted, but none had the tell-tale “halo” marking them as the flash-point.  Nope.  These were all victims, not culprits.

“Shit.”  Frank muttered his disappointment as he moved into the next room.

“Fuck me!” He exclaimed in surprise as he rounded the corner.

A gigantic hole pierced the floor and had almost burned a hole clear through the ceiling. Whatever had caused this must’ve been extremely hot.  Frank looked down, through the hole a moment before looking up at the ceiling.

“Well, do I go up and risk falling through or go down and risk getting avalanched?”  He pondered.   “Fuck it.”

Frank turned around to find the basement door.

The stairs to the basement were surprisingly stout.  Except for some soot, it was hard to tell they had been in a fire at all.  Frank moved down them with all the ease that his unhealthy forty-five year old body could afford.

“Shit.” He groaned, reaching the floor.  “It’s gonna be a bitch going up again.”

Ignoring the piles of rotting detritus, Frank walked straight to where the hole was over head.  Reaching down, he grabbed a few handfuls of ash and shoved them in his pocket.

“Damn that was a hot fire.  Nothin’ left.”

Turning around, he climbed back up.  Frank showed more caution when climbing to the second floor.  Those stairs had shown considerably more damage from the fire and Frank sure as hell didn’t want to fall through them.  Stepping gingerly, he made his way to the bedroom.  A charred circle roughly the size of a softball was scorched on the floor.  The fire below was so hot that it almost burned completely through.

“You’d think a god-damned Christmas tree lit up.”  Frank said aloud as he marveled at the damage.

Hugging the wall, he inspected the room.  No posters adorned the walls.  No family photos, and no keepsake pictures.  Not a single trophy to mark any moment in the renter’s life.  Cheap furniture lay scattered as a throw away blanket covered the broken bed.  Franks scooted along and opened the closet door.  The owner’s threadbare sun dresses, short skirts, and halter tops said it all.

“Fuckin’ whore.”  Frank leered as he stroked a translucent top.

He looked back at the tattered bed.  “No wonder you’re broken.  She must’ve been good.”

Stooping down, he rummaged through the piles of shoes on the closet floor.  A slight rattle came from one of the vinyl boots.  Frank tipped it over and found a ceramic bear hiding inside.  It was no great treasure.  Small and cheap, it reminded Frank of something you’d find in a garage sale or goodwill store.  Thumbing it for a moment, he shoved it in his empty pocket before heading down.

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