Here’s a short story I wrote a little over a year ago. It was for a creative writing class. I could write a story about anything, so I decided to write about an arsonist. What fun! I wrote a bit more than I should have actually. The teacher said the most he wanted was a little over 20 pages. And being me, I wrote a 30 page story! I think this is pushing the boundary of being a “short” story… Oh well. Oh, and about DLO…. Chapter seven will be posted next Friday, I PROMISE!! The new characters in that chapter however… I don’t think I’ll have both of their drawings done in time, so expect them to appear on the Character Profiles in the week following.
Colors. He had always liked colors, especially the warmer hues on the spectrum. Reds, yellows, oranges. He loved seeing them at night in the open air, the bright colors illumining the dark sky. He could spend hours on end simply watching the colors dance, the hues slowly transitioning into each other. Nothing satisfied him more than creating and viewing such wonderful colors. And the art was surprisingly artless to make. Just one small can of kerosene and one solitary match. Combine the two and an explosion of color would ignite, consuming all in its wake, morphing something plain and dreary into something bright and beautiful. It was one of the few things that made Aiden feel alive.
He was standing on the top of a hill overlooking his latest masterpiece. A boarded up house in a district no one seemed to care about. The flames lit up the sky, flickering back and forth. Aiden took a deep breath, sighing as he heard the faint whine of sirens in distance. The fire department would soon come and begin their process of defiling the art Aiden had crafted. Nothing ever lasted long. The man had learned that all too well. He turned his back, away from the fire that would soon dissipate at the hands of others. Aiden left the hill and walked into the browning wooded area behind him, not wanting to watch the destruction of his creation.
Aiden was at the counter, the TV in front him. News reports of another fire were filling the stations. The string of fires recently hitting the area grew to five. While the fires were nearly one month apart, the authorities were assuming that someone was behind the string, but the person or people behind the series of arsons was still unknown.
Aiden stared blankly at the screen in front of him. Another one of his color creations was demolished. They never lasted. Aiden was fully aware of this fact, but still could not accept it. He clenched his fist, letting out a groan. No time to dwell on the harsh reality. He had to prepare himself. Aiden was expecting someone in a little while.
Coffee was quickly prepared for breakfast. He would go out for lunch later. Aiden went back upstairs to shower. Looking in the bathroom mirror, the man gazed over his appearance. Unkempt dark brown hair, bags hanging under his eyes, stubble covering the entirety of his chin. After a quick wash, Aiden got dressed, putting on thin black slacks and a polo that clung loosely to his body. The doorbell suddenly rang. Returning downstairs, Aiden opened the door, seeing a young girl standing on the porch.
Aiden smiled, mostly because of surprise. “L-Lissa… What are you doing here?”
“Mom had to drop me off early,” the girl answered, her green eyes fixed on her father.
Aiden looked up, Lissa’s mother standing in front of the porch. His smiled disappeared. “I wasn’t expecting her now.”
The woman crossed her arms. “I was called into the office, so you’re getting her now. I’m gonna be coming to pick her up earlier too.”
“What? I’m supposed to get her for six hours every weekend! You can’t just change things at the last second Jamie!”
“Look, you should be grateful you’re seeing her at all, okay? If it were up to me, you wouldn’t have any visitation rights.” Jamie looked over Aiden’s house. “I mean look at this dump you live in! How can you care for our child if you can’t even care for yourself.”
Aiden patted Lissa’s back, motioning for her to go inside. “Don’t deride me in front of my daughter,” the man hissed as soon as the door closed behind him.
Jamie let out a sigh. “Your daughter? Geez. Just have her ready to go by four.”
“Four?! That isn’t even five hours!” Aiden yelled.
Jamie ignored the man as she turned to leave. And make sure she doesn’t eat too much. I’m taking her to dinner with Cooper.”
Aiden walked up to Jamie, grabbing her arm before she could enter her cat. “I’m taking her out for lunch like I always do! You can’t fuck up my plans just to have dinner with that asshole!!”
Jamie tried to pull her arm away, but Aiden’s grip held tight. Her eyes struck the man. “If anyone’s an asshole, it’s you. Hell, you’re worse than that. For the eight years we were married it felt like I was living with nothing more than a soulless shell of a man.” Jamie pulled harder, finally yanking her arm away; her eyes still intent on her former husband. “I’ll be back at four.” With that the woman left, leaving Aiden alone on the yard.
Aiden went inside, finding Lissa sitting in front of the TV. The girl looked up at her father, smiling weakly. “Sorry… I told mom I wanted to spend more time with you, but…” Lissa’s gaze fell to the floor.
“I know,” Aiden began. “I’m sorry about this.” He sat on the couch, reaching his arm around Lissa’s back, pulling the girl closer. After a minute of nothing but the TV filling the house with sound, Aiden spoke up. “Are you hungry?” he asked.
Lissa smiled a bit more warmly. “Yeah, I could eat.”
Within thirty minutes, Aiden and his daughter were at a diner in the city. The place was small and the food was mediocre, but Aiden had taken Lissa there for several years now, even before he and Jamie had gotten divorced. Almost every other Sunday Aiden and Lissa would occupy the corner booth, talking about whatever was on their minds. But since the divorce, the talks have focused more on what’s been happening in Lissa’s life. Aiden always seemed to miss the major milestones. The Sunday talks were the only thing connecting him to daughter.
Lissa bit the inside of her mouth. Her father looked dazed, almost lifeless. “Dad, are you okay?”
Aiden closed his eyes. When they opened, they were on Lissa. The sides of his lips were angled slightly downwards. “Yeah, yeah, I’m okay. My mind’s just off somewhere.”
Lissa quietly laughed, “I could tell.” The girl looked behind, only seeing orange booths line the walls. “Nothing interesting is going on.”
Aiden rubbed his hands together. “This city is pretty boring.”
“Yeah, it is. The only sort of interesting things that’s happening are the fires. I wonder why they’re starting?”
Aiden looked out the window at the dreary day. Overcast as always. “Maybe it’s an act of god,” Aiden muttered.
Lissa’s eyebrows furrowed. “What was that?”
Before Lissa got an answer, the waitress came with two plates. The woman gave both customers a wide smile. “Spaghetti with red sauce for the lovely lady and a chicken salad for the gentleman. Anything else I can get you?”
Lissa took a big swig from her drink before handing it to the woman. “A refill please.”
The waitress took the glass with a nod. “Will do. Lemonade right?”
The girl nodded back. “Yep.”
The waitress turned to Aiden. “And you sir?”
“Nothing, thank you.”
“No problem. I’ll be back in a flash with the lemonade.”
Aiden was in his cat, a couple streets down from the house of Mark Kristoff, his ex-employer. It was well into the night. Streetlights bathed the empty streets of the high-end neighborhood in light. Aiden sat silently; the chirping of crickets cutting though the air. The man couldn’t get out of his cat to face Kristoff. He had everything prepared for the nighttime exhibit, but Aiden wasn’t ready. Pressure was building his chest, colliding with inside of his soul. What was making him feel this way? Was it the fact that his last art piece was only two days ago? Or was it the fact that this was going to be the first time his color creation would contain a life?
But it had to be done. Fifteen years were burnt up in one day. In one minute. With two words. You’re fired. The words echoed through Aiden’s head. Without that job, Aiden had no way of supporting himself. No way of supporting Lissa. Kristoff had destroyed his last chance. That bastard had pretty much destroyed Aiden’s life. It was only right that Aiden would destroy his. And it was only right that Aiden would use his art as a means.
Besides, Kristoff was clearly a man of the art! His own office was filled with paintings from Matisse and Derain and other fauve artists! Kristoff was practically begging Aiden to come and show him a true man of color! A true man of the bright blazes of reds, oranges, and yellows! The man in the cat smiled. Mark Kristoff would come face to face with the burning devil himself. Aiden stepped out of his cat, prepared for the art lesson. A box of paintbrushes in his pocket and a fresh can of paint in his hand. The man was ready with his materials, and with a brisk walk, he was in front of his canvas.
He rang the doorbell. No answer. He rang the doorbell again. Again, no answer. Aiden saw a golden-yellow BMW stationed in the driveway. The bastard was home. Aiden rang the doorbell again and again, this time banging on the wooden door with his other hand. He heard a grumble inside adjoined with the rustle of footsteps.
Kristoff began yelling from the other side of the door. “What the in the name of the devil do you want? It’s the middle of the fuc…” When the door was finally open, the olden portly man was dumbstruck. The glare of the tall, thin man in the trench coat had nearly given Kristoff a heart attack. Once the man in the doorway came into full view though, Mark’s fear transitioned into a shocked anger. “Well I’ll be damned, it’s Aiden Bering. Didn’t I fire your ass this morning? I know why you’re here then. You’re gonna beg me for your job back, right? Well I’ve got news for you, you miserable little maggot! You’re fired! Forever! Kapeesh? Now the get the hell off my property! And if I ever see you ugly face again, I’m getting a damn restraining order!!” Kristoff then grabbed the door, attempting to slam it.
Before the door could slam, Aiden stuck his leg out, catching the door with his foot. In another motion, Aiden kicked the door back open, causing it to slam into Kristoff. The portly man had stumbled backward and fell onto his back as the assailant stepped inside the spacious estate, saying in a monotone, “I’m sorry, but I’m not here to get my old job back. No, no, I’ve already moved on.” Aiden took the paintbrushes out of his pocket and held up the paint can. “I am now an artist.”
Kristoff tried to stand but stumbled back to the ground. “The shit are you saying!? Why the hell are you holding a box of matches and a can of gasoline?!”
Aiden took several steps forward until the man on the floor backed into a wall. A wild smile erupted on Aiden’s face. “Didn’t you hear me? I’m an artist now. And I’m merely holding my equipment. Besides, this paint is kerosene.”
“You’re… You’re gonna start a fire?! A fucking fire?! That’s insane!!” A thought speeded though Kristoff’s mind. “No… You’re insane!! You’ve been starting fires all over the city, haven’t you?! You’re the arsonist!” Another thought. Kristoff suddenly shot up the wall, shoving Aiden out of the way as he rushed to the phone. He had to call the cops. He had to report Aiden, to report the home intrusion and of his arsons in the city.
Aiden staggered back, but kept his footing. With a flick of the wrist, the man of color threw the paint can, the kerosene crashing into Kristoff knocking him down. Aiden was again hovering over the fallen man. “So that’s how you wanna go about this? Good. I want you to truly experience my art.”
Aiden grabbed Kristoff by the neck of his shirt. “Let’s go get you a prime seat.” The man of color picked up his paint can and headed upstairs, the portly man in tow. In Kristoff’s great bedroom, Aiden planted his art victim in a chair facing the large bay window looking down upon the street below. Aiden then bound Kristoff with ropes taken from the curtains and gagged him with a cover stripped off a pillow. After wrapping tape around the gag, Aiden could finally begin.
A layer of paint was spread around the inside of the abode. All that was left was a magic touch from one of the brushes in the box. But before the masterpiece could come together, Aiden felt as if he owed Kristoff a few final words. Standing in the solitary bedroom in the large house, Aiden gazed out the bay window and sighed. “You truly are a lucky man,” the man of color addressed Kristoff without turning around. “Getting to see, no, getting to experience my art work up close. I envy you. I honestly do. Oh how beautiful it will be. The colors will look so phantasmal! All the reds and yellows and oranges!” Aiden finally faced Kristoff. “Seeing by your cat, I can tell how much you like yellow.”
Kristoff responded with muffled grunts.
Aiden paused. “What was that?”
Angrier muffled grunts.
Aiden was closer. “I asked what was that.”
Even angrier muffled grunts.
Aiden was even closer. “I asked you what that was!”
The hate and anger filling the muffled grunts infuriated the man of color.
Aiden ripped off the tape, unclogging Kristoff throat. “Answer me, what did you say!?”
With tears streaming down his face, Kristoff yelled, “God will strike you where you stand and send you straight to hell!!”
Aiden kicked the chair over, causing the man to bang his head on the carpet. Vibrant green eyes burned into Kristoff’s very soul. “If anyone’s a god here, it’s me.” With that, Aiden poured the last of the kerosene over Kristoff and lit a paintbrush. “And I’m sending YOU straight to hell.”
Aiden dropped the little firestarter then left, colorful flames bursting behind him. The man in the trench coat flipped the collar up and walked out of the house as the fire quickly spread behind him. Aiden paused for a moment, his eyes locked on yellow BMW in the driveway. A smile spread on his face.
Jamie patted Lissa’s shoulder. “Honey, how about you get in your father’s new cat. He and I have… something to discuss right now.” Lissa looked at her mother then looked at her father. She licked her lips, knowing why she had to leave. The blonde girl ultimately did as she was told and headed towards the yellow cat.
As soon as Lissa was out of range, Jamie pointed her finger up at Aiden. “You got a Beemer? You barely have enough money to support our daughter, and you get a god damn Beemer?!” Jamie yelled.
Aiden smirked. “Why yes, I did get a BMW. Aren’t you observant.”
“Don’t start with me!” Jamie barked. “How the hell did you even afford this?! Did you finally get a raise at your dead end job?”
Aiden bit the inside of his mouth. “No. In fact I got fired on Monday! And do you know what I did to celebrate? I bought a cat that shits out cats like your decrepit Jeep!”
“Wow, you end up getting fired after being stuck as a corporate accountant fifteen years,” Jamie sneered.
“Unlike you, I chose not to fuck the boss to keep my job,” the man said in a monotone.
The blonde woman clenched her fists, taking a deep breath through gritted teeth. “What the hell did you say?!”
Aiden’s eyes narrowed. “You heard me full well.”
Jamie shook her head, a long sigh escaping his mouth. “God, you’ve lost your mind.”
Aiden leaned forward, his cold eyes piercing Jamie. “God had nothing to do with it.”
Jamie accepted Aiden’s glare, meeting his intense green eyes with her pale her pale brown. “Well you’ll be praying to him come the twenty-eighth, when I rip Lissa from your hands. And with you being fired, it’ll be all the easier.”
Aiden’s pulse quickened. The court date. It was in four weeks. Four weeks until Jamie could potentially gain full custody of Lissa. He had been fighting for so long to keep whatever time he had with Lissa, that there was no way he would let Jamie destroy it all.
Jamie smirked, seeing Aiden’s eyes widen. “You don’t look so confident. You’re afraid, aren’t you? Afraid of losing Lissa, huh? Isn’t that funny. You’ve lost the first who gave a damn about you, and now you’re about to lose the last.
Now get the hell out of my house,” the woman growled. With the last word, Jamie grabbed the brunette man’s shoulder, trying her hardest to toss him out of her house.
Lissa looked out the window right as Aiden almost fell down the three steps leading to Jamie’s townhouse. The young girl climbed over the front seat, unlocking and opening the driver’s door. When Aiden came closer, he smiled, “Huh, I thought I had locked the doors.”
Lissa smiled back. “You did, but the windows were rolled down.”
Aiden got into the driver’s seat, putting the key in the ignition. “Ah, so you broke into my cat, huh?”
“That’s exactly what I did! I’ll have you know that I’m a trained thief! If this wasn’t your cat, I would have stolen it!” Lissa joked. She sat back, putting her seatbelt on.
Aiden laughed. “Well I’ll have you know that this would be a great cat to steal. It’s nice, isn’t it?”
Lissa nodded, though her father couldn’t see. “Yep, it’s really nice.”
Fifteen minutes later, Aiden and his daughter were sitting in the same booth in the diner. Their food was already ordered. Lissa leaned forward, resting her arms on the table. The TV was on in front of her, news reports of Monday’s fire. This time it was a fire in populated district, which took a life. The camera zoomed by the burnt house and the scorched cat. “Hey,” Lissa said, “that looks like your old cat.”
Aiden turned to look at the screen behind him. His previous cat was in the spot Kristoff’s cat once resided. “Well would you look at that, that does look like my old cat. What a piece of junk.”
“Yeah, that cat was terrible. It kinda smelled like gas.” Lissa then pretended to gag. Right at that moment, the waitress came with food, causing Lissa quickly sit up. The girl smiled at the woman. “S-sorry.”
The waitress just laughed. “It’s okay hun, I hope you enjoy your food.”
“We will,” Lissa answered with a nod. The waitress smiled and left as the girl took a sip of her drink before addressing Aiden. “Hey, I’ve been learning about Greek mythology in school.”
“Oh really?” Aiden swallowed his first bite before following up. “What have you been learning about?”
“Right now just the gods and goddesses. Do you know about them?”
“It’s been years since I took a history class, how about you fill me in.”
Lissa took a big bite out of her burger before responding. “Okay, sure. So first there’s Zeus who’s like the boss of all the other gods. He’s in charge of Mt. Olympus and has power over lightening and thunder and other weather stuff. He pretty much became king by overthrowing his father and…”
Aiden suddenly heard something in the background that pulled his attention away from his daughter. There was an argument going on. A man was standing at the counter facing Marcy, the diner’s owner. He was wearing a business suit and was holding a rolled up paper. The man menacingly pointed the paper at the woman before stomping out of the diner yelling, “You have two weeks!”
“Hey dad, are you okay?”
Aiden jolted. His eyes were back on his daughter. “I-I’m sorry, I sort of zoned out for a second.”
Lissa laughed. “I think you did more than just zone out.”
Aiden sighed. “So where were you?”
“About the gods? Oh yeah, I was at Apollo. He’s Zeus’ son and he’s the god music, poetry, and art. Oh, and he’s the god of the sun. “
“God of art and the sun, huh? That’s pretty interesting. Who’s next?”
A week later, Aiden was in his house alone. Jamie had taken Lissa to the beach with Cooper. Aiden was looking forward to spending time with Lissa. The entire week had been a bust looking for a job and Aiden wanted to be with his daughter. With the approaching court date, Aiden wanted to spend every second he could with Lissa. But of course when Aiden needed something the most, it vanished.
The man slumped on the couch. The television was on in front of him. Again, the news. Cops were still investigating the death of Mark Kristoff. The charred cat found at the house did not belong to Kristoff. The authorities were now searching for a gold BMW. Aiden looked past the television at the stolen cat sitting in his driveway. He had switched the license plates, but he knew that the cops would only be thrown for so long. Aiden ran his fingers through his unwashed hair. Why had he done it? Why had he used his art for…. For revenge…. For murder…. Fire was tool of creation. Not of destruction.
Aiden shook his head. No use fretting the past. It was just one fire that ended in demise. Just one art project that ended in a lost soul. Just one. Aiden checked his watch. It was around the lunch rush. The man could use something to eat. He would go to the diner. Even if Lissa was gone, Sunday was reserved for the diner.
Thirty minutes later, Aiden was at the diner, sitting at the same booth. Half the steak set out in front of him was gone. A reddish puddle surrounded the meat, some of the liquid leaking into the mashed potatoes and steamed green beans taking spaaace on the plate. Bells chimed above the door leading into the establishment. Aiden looked up to see the businessman from last week burst into the diner. Without even looking around, the man in the suit marched straight into the kitchen. After a couple of minutes, the businessman walked out of the kitchen, Marcy following hot behind him.
“You can’t do this!” The woman yelled.
“I can very much do this,” The man responded.
“But you said two weeks! Look, just give me that one extra week and I promise I’ll pay you,” The woman pleaded.
“What I say and what I do are different things. Tomorrow the construction crew is coming, and I’d prefer it if you weren’t in the diner. I don’t want a mess on my hands.” The man left the restaurant.
Aiden raised his hand, beckoning Marcy.
Marcy came to the man sitting in the booth, smiling behind sad eyes. “Why hello there Aiden. Is there anything you needed?”
Aiden watched the man in the suit get into a colorless silver Porsche. “Who was that?”
Marcy sighed, “That’s… Henry Burch. He’s in charge of this land and… wants to destroy the diner to put up some store or another. He said we’re not making enough income and that if we didn’t pay a certain amount in two weeks he would tear down the restaurant… But now… He’s decided to just tear down us down tomorrow regardless.”
Aiden was struck. The restaurant, the last thing he truly had with Lissa, gone? No. He had already lost his job; there was no way he would lose the diner! Someone had to intervene. Something needed to be done. “Henry Burch…” Aiden muttered. “Just a quick little chat might change his mind…”
Before Marcy had time to respond, Aiden stood up. He threw fifty dollars on the table to cover his twenty-dollar lunch and walked past the woman. Without a second thought, Aiden rushed home. He had to get his art equipment ready. Aiden was convinced that if he showed Henry the power of his art, he could change his mind about tearing down the restaurant.
Aiden was sitting in chair in the living room. The lights were off; only moonlight shining in through the window illuminated the room. The man’s paintbrushes were safely tucked in his pocket and his paint can was on the carpet resting next to the chair. Aiden’s gaze was fixed on the open doorway. Henry would be home soon. The man of color was ready.
But deep down, Aiden wasn’t prepared at all. This would be his second art piece that would contain life. His second color creation would consume a soul. The fires were supposed to be art. Not ways of eradicating the man’s problems. This was not why Aiden became an artist. This was not Aiden’s originally desired at all. But just like the last, this creation had to be made. Otherwise Aiden would lose one of the few things he had with Lissa. As long as the art was for Lissa’s sake, nothing bad would come it.
The sound of rattling keys echoed through the house followed by the screech of an opening door. Henry had arrived. Aiden sat forward, popping up the collar of his trench coat. There was no backing out now. The door was closed and a bag hit the floor. Henry walked out of the foyer, and into the dark living room. He began fumbling around for the light switch. Finding it, the businessman flicked it up. Nothing happened. Henry flicked the switch down then up again. Still nothing.
“Damn thing,” Henry cursed.
Aiden spoke up. “I cut the power.”
Henry quickly turned around, startled. All he saw was the outline of a figure sitting in his chair. “What the hell?! Who are you? What are you doing here?”
“I am an artist. And I’ve come here to show you my latest creation,” Aiden answered.
Henry stood still for a moment, trying to discern the face of the intruder. His right hand was on the table behind him, reaching for the phone.
Aiden stood up and began slowly approaching Henry. “I said I cut the power. The phone doesn’t work either.”
Henry spun around, reaching past the phone towards a vase sitting on the table. Before he could grasp it though, Aiden grabbed the back of Henry’s head, slamming his forehead into the table then kicking the businessman to the floor.
“W-what do you want?” Henry asked through coughs.
Aiden walked back to the chair he was originally sitting in. “I’ve told you. I just want to show you my latest art creation. Judging by all the play paraphernalia across your shelves, I can tell you’re a man of the arts, like me.”
Seeing Aiden’s back turned, Henry bolted up. He grabbed the vase and charged Aiden, about to hit the intruder over the head with it. Before Henry could make contact, Aiden quickly spun around, whacking the businessman with the can of paint sending Henry to the floor once again.
“Now, now, now, is that anyway to treat your guest?” Aiden walked over Henry, stomping his foot on the businessman’s gut. Henry wheezed, sending specs of blood and spit in the air.
Henry looked up at Aiden, tears in his eyes. “Who… Who are you!?”
Aiden didn’t answer. He was too busy looking at the objects lining the shelves. DVD’s of Broadway plays, a massive collection of Shakespeare’s works, and miniature sculptures of famous Greek figures among other things fills rows upon rows. Of the items, none stood out more to Aiden then a frowning Greek tragedy mask. Aiden took the mask off the shelf, putting it on. He then reverted his gaze back to the man under his foot. “Who am I you ask? Why I’m a god. A god of color… I am Apollo.”
Henry looked up at Aiden’s masked, frowning face. Without thinking, Henry grabbed the ankle of the man going by the name Apollo and shoved his foot off his gut. Aiden staggered aside as the businessman stood up, running for the front door. As soon as Henry opened the door, a can slammed into his back, sending him face first into concrete stairs leading to his house. Aiden walked up to Henry and flipped him over, blood and tears covering his face. The businessman started to scream as the god of color clutched his hair and pulled him back into the house.
Apollo saw lights flash on in the windows of neighboring houses. He cursed under his breath. “Now look what you’ve done,” Apollo said as he shut Henry’s front door. “Because of your little outburst, I now have to rush things. I don’t know why you’re acting this way. You should be happy that you get to experience my latest artwork up close. You’ll be the second one to do so.”
“You’re out of control!” Jamie yelled. “You lose your job, you buy a cat you can’t afford, you threaten me, and now you kidnap our daughter!? What’s next, you burn down your damn house!?”
Aiden clenched his fists. “I didn’t kidnap Lissa…!”
“You returned her two hours late! What was I supposed to think? Oh he just forgot what time he was supposed to drop off Lissa.” Jamie said with a sarcastic tone.
“I… WE… were just caught up in something. You could have just called me instead of calling the damn police!” Aiden grumbled.
“Oh I’m sorry I didn’t just patiently wait until your arrived! I was just doing my job being a concerned parent!”
“A concerned parent!? No, you were doing your job being a selfish child! You couldn’t have exactly what you wanted, so you asked some authority figure to get you what you wanted! The police fucking pulled me over in the parking lot of the movie theater!”
Jamie shoved Aiden back, pushing him off her front steps. “You were caught up in the movie theater!? Two whole hours late because you took Lissa to see a fucking movie!? And you’re calling me a child!!” Jamie then stopped yelling, her mouth hung open. The blonde woman smirked. “Oh I get it. I finally got it! You spent the whole day playing around with Lissa because you know you’re losing her on Friday! I won’t blame you for thinking that. Your reckless behavior shows just how unfit you are to care for Lissa!”
Without warning Aiden ran up the steps, his right arm outstretched to push Jamie against her front door. His other hand slammed the door next to Jamie’s face. The mans intense green eyes burned through the woman’s soft brown eyes. And intense gust of wind blew by, picking up leaves and scattering them across the grass and concrete. After a moment of silence, Aiden released his grip. Jamie was still slumped against the door.
“Say goodbye to Lissa forever,” Jamie spat.
Without uttering a word, Aiden turned to leave, his hands shoved in his pockets. The man walked into middle of the street as a lamp suddenly flickered on overhead. The wind whistled by again, sending a chill down Aiden’s spine. The man turned to face Jamie, her back still resting on the door. He looked up to see Lissa standing at her bedroom window. The glass was slightly cracked open. She had heard everything. Aiden began to raise his hand to wave, but halfway let his arm dangle by his side.
“Leave,” Jamie muttered.
Aiden looked back down at the woman.
“I said leave,” Jamie muttered slightly louder.
The mans legs felt like lead. His heart felt like ice.
“Can you hear me!?” Jamie screeched. “I told you to leave! Leave my sight! After Friday, I hope I never have to see you again! You can burn in hell for all I care!”
Aiden was in his cat. He was all alone. Nothing but the incessant rain surrounded him. How could this happen? After fighting for so long, how could he lose her in one day? The man leaned forward, his forehead pressed against the steering wheel. A small meek honk fled from the cat. Suddenly a knock on the window broke through the pitter-patter of the rain, pulling Aiden from his thoughts. It was Jamie.
“What do you want,” the man hissed after he rolled down the window.
Jamie leaned on the cat, adjusting her umbrella to cover her more. “Nothing really, I just wanted to tell you something.”
Aiden simply stared at the woman.
“Remember when Cooper took me and Lissa to the beach? Well he proposed to me that weekend. I said yes and we’ll be getting married in a couple of weeks.”
“Why are you telling me this? Why the hell would I care?”
Jamie shrugged. “Oh just because I really don’t want to get married in this dirty hole of a city so we’re to moving down south. Me, Cooper… and Lissa. We’re moving this Friday, so I’m afraid you’re never going to see MY daughter again. You know, I had assumed you’d like to know. Well that was a good talk; I hope we never have one again. Bye.” Jamie backed up from Aiden’s cat. She quickly waved then turned to leave.
Aiden was motionless. They were going to move? On Friday? In three days!? It couldn’t happen. He had to fight back. There was no way Jamie would take Lissa away from him forever! No matter what, Aiden had to fight back. The man gazed into his hands. But he couldn’t use art, could he? No, he couldn’t. Aiden couldn’t use his color creations to take another life. But then again, that’s all Aiden could really do. His art was the only power he had. Without it, he was nothing more than a man who was slowly losing every aspect of his life. But wait… Aiden wouldn’t be the one fighting. No, Aiden wouldn’t fight at all. No, no, Apollo would fight back! Apollo was the one person who could save Aiden! One more project. One more color creation. The god of color needed to be called upon one more time. Aiden clenched his fists; he had to get his equipment ready. No… Apollo had to get his equipment ready.
The brushes, the can, the coat, and the mask. Aiden quickly went home to prepare for the final art piece. The one that really mattered. But who would be the one to this dude I know Aiden’s grand finale? It had to be Cooper. Cooper was one who was tearing everything apart! Aiden had to get to his apartment tonight! He had to strike tonight!
Aiden a pressed his heel to the gas, peeling away as fast as the cat would allow. A police cruiser positioned less than a block away sat still in rain, an officer within scribbling numbers and letters on small notepad. The yellow BMW that pulled away matched the description, save for the plate.
Cooper was in the kitchen, cutting carrots and cucumbers for the salad. After he had finished, he checked on the bread in oven. Good, but not quite perfect. He would leave it in the oven for a bit longer. Cooper finished the salad and put the large bowl in the fridge. He then pulled out package of ground beef. From the pantry, Cooper took out a box of pasta and a can of tomato sauce. Placing the pasta and sauce on the counter, the man leaned down to take a frying pan and a large pot from the bottom cabinet. Before he could grasp them though, there was a knock at the door. Cooper turned off the oven, assuming the bread was done, and went to answer the door. After coming face to face with a tall, slender man wearing a mask, Cooper was knocked out.
Apollo stood with his back to Cooper, his hands behind his back. He had pulled Jamie’s fiancé into a room with red brick walls at the far end of the apartment. Apollo was facing a small window, looking at the rain pour from the gray, colorless sky. A line of moonlight streamed in though the glass. Cooper was tied to a chair, unconscious. The paint was already spread around the apartment. Just one touch of a paintbrush, and everything would be engulfed in color. Apollo wanted Cooper to be awake for that part. He wanted Cooper to fully enjoy his masterpiece.
A few minutes later, Cooper quickly sat up. Pain surged through his head. “Wha…” He then noticed the rope tied around his body. Cooper looked up to see a man in a trench coat gazing out the window. “Who… who are you? Why are you in my apartment!?”
Apollo turned around. “To show you a little art.”
Cooper swallowed hard, his eyes locked on the frowning face of the masked intruder. “A-art?”
Apollo smiled, though Cooper couldn’t see. “Yes. Art. I am going to give you a once in a lifetime art experience!”
Cooper started to breath heavier. “Once in a lifetime…? What are you going to do!?”
“Oh you’ll see.” Apollo then reached in his pocket, pulling out his box of paintbrushes.
“Matches?! Why do you have mat…” Cooper sniffed the air. It smelt like gas. “You’re gonna burn my apartment!? Are you crazy!? You’ll kill me! You’ll probably kill everyone in this building!”
Apollo flipped to cover of the box open, drawing a single brush. “You’re pretty observant, aren’t you.”
“W-why me? What did I even do to you!?”
Apollo rushed forward, grabbing Cooper’s shoulders. “You know exactly what you did!” the man yelled. “You stole her from me! You stole everything from me!”
Tears began to fall down Cooper’s face. “I don’t even know who you are!” he cried.
“Yes you do! I am the god of color! I am…” Apollo stopped, hearing a key rattle in the door. He cupped his hand around Cooper’s mouth. “Are you expecting someone,” Apollo hissed.
Cooper weakly nodded his head.
Apollo bit his lip, hoping she wasn’t at the door.
Once the door opened, a female voice rang through the apartment. “Hey Cooper, we’re here! I hope dinner’s almost ready, we’re starving.”
Apollo cursed under his breath. It was Jamie. He backed up a bit, his hand loosening around Cooper’s mouth. He then screamed in pain as Cooper bit Apollo’s hand between his thumb and forefinger. The god of color quickly removed his hand, giving Cooper time to warn his guest.
“Jamie! Run, get out of here! There’s a guy here that’s gonna burn down the…” Before Cooper could finish, Apollo rushed him again, pushing the chair over. Cooper coughed up blood as the back of his head hit the bookshelf behind him.
But Jamie had heard and came into the room. “What’s going on? Why are you yelling?” Jamie stopped, her eyes switching between Cooper tied to a chair on the ground and another man on top of him. “What the hell!?” Apollo jumped off of Cooper, tackling Jamie through the open door way. Before the man could do anything, a young girl’s voice sounded out.
Lissa stood in the hallway, behind the open front door. “Mom…?”
“Lissa!” Jamie yelled. “Go! Run! Go down stairs and get out of here!”
Lissa stood still, unable to move.
“NOW!!” Jamie screamed.
Apollo reached out. “No Lissa, wait!” But he was too late; Lissa had already left the doorway.
Jamie quickly brought her knee up, hitting Apollo in the gut. She then pushed the man off of her. The woman stood up, running to untie Cooper, but Apollo grabbed her leg, pulling her to the ground. Jamie used her free leg and kicked Apollo in the face, causing the mask to fly off. Jamie backed up, moonlight highlighting the intruder’s face. “Aiden!?”
Aiden grabbed the frowning mask off the floor as he stood up. With his other hand, the man pulled a paintbrush out of his pocket. “You thought you could get away with taking Lissa from me, huh? You thought you could just take my daughter and flee, huh? You thought that I would sit silently as you steal the one thing I that matters to me!?” Aiden rubbed the brush against rough brick wall, igniting the small stick. “Well you were wrong.”
“You’re gonna burn us? You’re insane! You’re…! Wait… Don’t tell me… Y-You’re that arsonist, aren’t you!? You’re… You’re a fucking monster!”
“No, I’m not a monster… I’m a god! I am Apollo!” Apollo released a deafening laugh, flicking the match into the gas soaked carpet. Flames instantly burst to life, covering everything in its colorful wake. Apollo turned to leave, pulling the mask back over his face as the fire engulfed the apartment around him. Just as he was about the leave, Jamie lunged forward, grabbing the man’s legs. Apollo fell forward, landing face first into the fire.
The god of color swung his leg around, knocking Jamie off of him. He pushed himself up, out of fire. Apollo turned, his eyes locked on the woman on the floor. He walked towards her as the fire surrounded him. Jamie tried to stand up, but ultimately couldn’t. The sight before her scared her more than the flames around her. The plastic mask Aiden was wearing had partially melted in the fire, melding itself to his face.
Apollo picked Jamie up by her hair, bringing her to eye level. The woman stared at the man, his green eyes exposed, the frowning masked contoured to his face. The god of color brought his other hand to Jamie’s neck and threw her into the other room as burning rubble from the ceiling collapsed over the doorway. Apollo turned to leave once more.
Outside of the apartment complex, Lissa stood in the sidewalk, her hands cupped over her ears. Tears were streaming down her face. She could hear screams and a crackling fire behind her. People were rushing out of the apartment, shoving Lissa when they passed her. The girl wanted to run but couldn’t pull herself to leave. She had to wait for her mother. Her mother could come down any moment now. She would come down and take Lissa back home, back where it was safe. A hand then touched Lissa’s shoulder.
The girl turned around to see a man with a mask melted to his face. Before she could scream, the man closed his hand around her mouth. He crouched down, becoming eye level with Lissa. When the girl had calmed down, the man slowly removed his hand. “D… dad?”
Apollo looked at his daughter, bringing his hand to her face to wipe away the tears. The god of color could hear sirens in the distance. Another one of his creations would soon be put out. He had to leave before they could arrive to do so. Apollo didn’t want to leave his daughter behind, but knew that she couldn’t go with him. He was now alone forever. “I’m sorry,” the man whispered as he embraced his daughter.
Lissa stood motionless. The man whose arms were wrapped her wasn’t her father. He wasn’t him at all. Lissa had no idea who the masked man was. The vivid green eyes, messy brown hair, and the slender physique Lissa had seen her entire life now belonged to someone else. Someone she never wanted to see again. Lissa pushed Aiden away with all her might, tears blurring her vision. “Get away!” She yelled. “Get away from me! Help me! Get him away from me!!”
Red and blue lights filled the night sky. Screaming residents fled the apartment complex. Pedestrians who heard the shrieks of young girl rushed the man before her, tearing him from his only family. Aiden gave Lissa one last look before forcing the people pulling him away from his daughter to the ground. Police bursted out of their cruisers, one of them headed towards the blonde girl surround by a small crowd while three other gave chase to the man linked to the fires and the stolen cat.
The masked man in the trench coat dashed around the side of the complex immersed in the bright blazes of reds, yellows, and oranges. Aiden ran away from the building, away from his daughter, and away from the life he had burned up. The man known as Aiden Bering had passed while the god known as Apollo had just been born.