Thrown Into the Fire: Flashpoint Chapter Excerpt

flashpoint cover

Ellie felt disoriented as she started coming to. Her mind spun sickeningly while her head throbbed painfully. Where was she? What happened?

Her eyes flew open when she suddenly remembered what had happened. She winced against the bright light from the rafters above her and she tried to move, but she was tied tightly to a chair, a gag wound around her mouth.

“Jared,” one of the men who she couldn’t see said. “She’s coming to.” Ellie opened her eyes even further, counting six other people in the room with her.

“Well, look who’s awake,” Jared commented as he stepped from the shadows into the light where Ellie could see him. His arms bulged out of his shirt with a tattoo running up his forearm. He had close-cropped brown hair and took a long breath of his cigarette, blowing it out in her direction. “We wanted you to be conscious for this part. This is the only fun we get to have before we kill our victims. Alright, who wants to do it?”

Ellie tried to shout something to her captors, but the gag bit back her words. In response, someone came up behind her and pulled the gag even tighter, causing tears to spring to her eyes with the pain. Nothing in the world could describe how terrified she felt. She was normally one for adrenaline pumping activities, but when it had to do with people like this, there wasn’t a speck of anything she liked about it.

Even though her hands were tied tightly behind her back, she did her best to try and free herself, but it was no use. No matter how much she squirmed in her bonds, the ties just wouldn’t loosen.

Tears involuntarily started dripping out of the corners of her eyes and running down her cheeks. What were they going to do to her? Someone said something about killing her. But if so, why haven’t they yet?

“It’s all part of the game,” Jared said as he leaned casually against one of the metal pillars, almost as if reading her thoughts. “We’re really good at killing people and making it look like accidents, but it’s all about the art of it. We don’t know how you’re going to die until we spin the wheel.”

As if on cue, one of the other men pushed out a brightly colored spinning wheel in the dank, dreary darkness of the warehouse. He grinned at the reaction on Ellie’s face as she read the different triangular sections on the wheel. She counted about nine different sections, each section revealing some colorful way to kill someone. Just from what she could see, she read death by drowning, death by fall, death by suffocation, death by strangle, and she couldn’t read the rest before the man started spinning the wheel, Ellie watching as it spun around and around. Her heart tightened uncomfortably in her chest as the wheel began to slow, and finally it stopped on death by fire.

“Please don’t do this,” Ellie tried shouting, but the gag around her mouth only muffled her hysterical words.

The man grinned. “Death by fire it is.”

“No!” Ellie screamed fearfully through the gag as she began to struggle. The chair ended up tipping over, bringing her down with it. From her awkward position on the ground, Ellie could see Jared approach her with a needle full of clear liquid in his hands.

“Can’t have you trying to run away now can we, princess?” he said as he roughly took a hold of Ellie’s arm and injected the clear liquid into her vein. “When you wake up, you’ll wish you never did what you did.”

Ellie’s consciousness began to fade, and no matter how hard she tried to fight it, the darkness still managed to drag her under.

***

The first thing she noticed when she woke up was a blindingly pounding headache. Ellie put a hand to her head and moaned as she sat up in the darkness. Her head throbbed so badly. How hard had they hit her?

Something brushed the top of her head, causing Ellie’s eyes to jolt open in panic. Where was she? Where had the men taken her?

Ellie scrambled to her feet, but in her haste, she knocked several items to the floor. She picked one of the items up and her stomach knotted in confusion. A dress on a hanger? Where was she?

She continued feeling around blindly until her eyes adjusted enough to the darkness to see that she was in a small, double door walk-in closet. Reaching out, she rattled the doors, and not only was it locked from the outside, but someone had strategically leaned a chair against the door handles, effectively trapping her inside.

Panic spiraled through Ellie’s heart as she pounded hard against the doors and began screaming for help, but nothing happened. A faint smell of smoke wafted in through the crack in the doors, so she peered out into the next room, but what she saw absolutely terrified her.

Fire climbed up the walls, growing steadily by the minute. The flames licked the old, crusty bedspread and then crawled over to the bedside table, something inside exploding in a wave of heat, causing Ellie to scream.

“Oh, gosh,” Ellie cried hysterically as she scrambled along the closet to find anything that might help her escape. There wasn’t much in the closet. Moreover, it seemed as if everything was old and musty, almost as if this place had been abandoned long ago.

Finally, her fingers closed around the handle of an old, gigantic sewing machine and she heaved it off the ground. Again and again, she smashed the sewing machine against the doors and she heard a slight crack as the door started to give way, but no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t get the chair to budge.

She dropped the sewing machine to the ground with a crash and it broke into pieces, Ellie breathing hard against the effort it took just to do that much. But she didn’t give up just yet. She kicked the door again and again with her foot, feeling each impact course up her leg, jarring to the bone. But she didn’t want to be stuck in here when that fire spread.

Ellie kicked one last time before the smoke became unbearable. Her lungs filled with the toxic gas, causing them to burn in an uncontrollable coughing fit. She backed as far as she could into the corner of the closet, grabbing a sweater from a hanger and wrapping it around her face to give her a little bit more protection from the fumes. But now she was trapped between a rock and a hard place. Soon enough, the fire would enter, and she would have no room for escape.

Tears threatened to roll down her face, but they were quickly quenched from the heat that entered into the tiny space. By now, Ellie’s heart hammered uncontrollably, every fiber of her itching to run, but also knowing that there was nowhere for her to go. She was trapped in this small, confined space and there wasn’t a single thing she could do about it.

Ellie sunk to her knees and offered a silent prayer, begging for a miracle that she wouldn’t have to die today.

She screamed in panic as she heard part of the floor of the next room give way, crashing below to the next level and sending a suffocating plume of smoke through the crack between the doors.

“Please help me,” Ellie prayed again with all her heart as she hugged the corner even tighter with her back to the fire. “Please help me.”

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