Home > Fiction > Can You Tell Me Why?

Can You Tell Me Why?

It’s Friday Fictioneers time again. Every week Rochelle supplies us with a photo prompt and we get 100 or so words in which to write our story. This week’s photo was supplied by Roger Bultot.

Here’s my rather dark story for this week, and to read all the other stories you can click on the little blue froggy.

 

fire-roger-bultot

Copyright Roger Bultot

 

“Can you tell me why, Jimmy?” The doctor, notepad in hand, looked at the young man sitting across from him.

“Don’t you know? Don’t you feel it too?”

“Feel what, Jimmy?”

“That rush, that surge… elation! The flames live.” His eyes became dark, furtive, his voice suddenly hushed. “They need to live.”

“And the people you’ve hurt?”

“The fire must eat. That is why the fire exists.” Cold now, dispassionate.

“Tell me about your family, Jimmy. I understand they died in an electrical fire when you were seven?”

Jimmy’s eyes gleamed. “My first. You never forget your first!”

Recommend continued psychiatric detention. Advise police reopen case 104723/A – “Matthews fire 1998”.

 

  1. April 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Creepy! Especially like the case note at the end.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:50 am

      Thanks! I was in two minds whether or not to leave that in.

      Like

  2. April 15, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Ai, ai, ai! You did go over to the dark side with this one! As usual, you capture the scene just so.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:52 am

      I did indeed! I didn’t have the strength to write an “exploding meth lab” story or some such 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. April 15, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Ohh I was waiting for the punchline with you! Nicely creepy.

    Like

  4. April 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Garry has met some of these people and they are just as creepy as you think they are.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:54 am

      I imagine he met many creepy characters as a journalist. I don’t think I would want to.

      Like

  5. April 15, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    probing the mind of arsonist. well done.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Thanks, I tried to imagine what would motivate such a person.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lyn
    April 16, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Nicely dark, D-man. It felt like a snippet from an episode of “Criminal Minds” 🙂

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:56 am

      I can imagine Dr Reid as the doctor trying to get into his mind while Hotch watches from the other side of the glass 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. April 16, 2015 at 1:51 am

    love your work. It always amazes and entertains me what you can do in so many words. This guy is scary and I am glad he will remain incarcerated. I wonder what his family were like? LOL!

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I don’t think he’s ever getting out. I expect his family were quite nice people – that wouldn’t have stopped this guy.
      I’m glad you liked it!

      Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Extra crispy!
      What? Too soon?
      Nice story Doc. 🙂

      Like

  8. April 16, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Pyromania: hot stuff and good piece.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Thanks. This guy’s the very definition of “pyromaniac” I think.

      Like

  9. April 16, 2015 at 5:53 am

    I admit to being something of a pyromaniac when I was a kid (My Dad liked to call me “Matches”), but my sickness never got beyond always quickly volunteering to burn the trash in the barrel at the grandfolks’ house (where burning trash was legal at the time)….

    Of course, I did love to throw all kinds of “neat” things in that fire and watch them burn… tightly sealed plastic bottles were always fun! 😉

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Ha, “Matches” 🙂
      It’s always fun watching bottles go kablooey.

      Like

  10. April 16, 2015 at 7:07 am

    good one. very chilling. sounds authentic!

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks, I was hoping to accurately portray the mind of a pyromaniac.

      Like

  11. April 16, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Effective portrayal of a pyromaniac. Well done.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks, I tried to imagine what might motivate someone like that.

      Like

  12. April 16, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Oh yes.. i definitely recommend continued detention…

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Me too! We don’t want to let this one loose.

      Like

  13. April 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Dear Ali,

    This is different than your usual humorous fare and well done at that. Have you ever seen the movie “Spider” with Ralph Fiennes? This story put me in mind of it. Dark and chilling. You never disappoint.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Dear Rochelle,
      I’ve haven’t seen that film, I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’m glad you liked this departure from my norm – not even any dark humour in this one.
      Ali

      Like

  14. April 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Dear Plaridel,

    Your last line really added a jolt of realism to this piece. Dark, yet illuminating, your story got into the mind of an arsonist perfectly. Very well crafted.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Dear Doug,
      I’m glad you reckoned I got into an arsonist’s mind. I was trying to think what might motivate people like that (and also drawing on TV shows such as Criminal Minds!).
      Ali

      Like

  15. April 16, 2015 at 10:10 am

    It is scary to think someone grows up thinking this way. A tough story to tell but told well.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Yes, it is scary to realise that there are people seemingly without conscience, or who are driven by something destructive the majority can’t conceive of.
      I’m glad you liked it!

      Like

  16. April 16, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Wow, Ali. That was creepy. O_o The psychiatrist’s note at the end was especially scary. Makes me wonder how many seriously disturbed people are roaming free. 😦 Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Too many, I fear. Hopefully one day they’ll work out how to help these people so they feel okay in themselves and don’t hurt anyone else.
      Glad you liked it!

      Like

  17. April 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    The fanaticism of that young man is scary. I think the case note added to the creepy feeling. Who knows what else young Jim got away with. Great story.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      There’s probably a long list of “unexplained” fires with his name on them. I’m glad you enjoyed my story!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. April 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Ali,
    We both probed the human mind this week. Your character expresses his suffering outwardly to make others suffer and mine internalizes hers and tortures herself. A psychiatrist would love to unlock the minds of these patients. Excellant and chilling portrayal of mental illness.
    Tracey

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Tracey,
      We did, I felt for the person in your story.
      I’m glad that you felt my description of this chap’s state of mind rang true. Hopefully one day psychiatrists, doctors and scientists will be able to help people like Jimmy.
      Ali

      Like

  19. April 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    A creepy tale Ali! Loved the story! You always remember the first!

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      And I haven’t even watched any Criminal Minds episodes for months! I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. April 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Another creepy fellow. The hills are alive with them.

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      They are indeed, they’re everywhere.

      Like

  21. April 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    That Jimmy scares me, Draliman. Hope he stays wherever they brought him. Let’s quenche the fire now…hiss hiss 🙂 Pawkisses 🙂 ❤

    Like

  22. April 16, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    That was fab! I really enjoyed it and love the way you wrote him, fire and ice. 🙂

    Like

    • April 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      I’m glad you liked it! I tried to portray him as someone whose mood could change just like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. April 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Yes, DrAli is back. Enjoyed your character, interesting.
    Criminal Minds is in your subconscious.

    Like

    • April 17, 2015 at 7:34 am

      I think Criminal Minds will always be with me – I did binge-watch the whole lot at once!
      I’m glad you liked my dark story.

      Like

  24. April 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Well THAT was creepy!

    Like

  25. April 17, 2015 at 12:13 am

    This is a case of three hots and a cot. But for Jimmy, skip the hots – just a cot.

    Like

    • April 17, 2015 at 7:35 am

      Yep, just a cot for Jimmy from here on in. And a straitjacket.

      Like

      • April 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

        Not meaning to sound callous, but callous it is, skip the straitjacket until he attempts to kill himself. And if it’s too late, c’est la vie. or in his case, mort.

        Like

      • April 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

        Ooh, harsh justice!

        Like

  26. April 17, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Yes, this is plenty dark, Ali. The fire needs to live is pretty creepy. If he was hoping his explanation would help his case…well no. Well done.

    Like

    • April 17, 2015 at 7:36 am

      No, but his explanation has guaranteed a place in a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison cell, I guess.

      Like

      • April 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm

        Oh, that’s true! It sounds like that’s where he belongs.

        Like

  27. April 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    1998- not surprised he’s still there.
    Very effective – very creepy.
    If I really like a story my mind starts writing the rest – this would be great to take backwards, to way before anything he’s told us here.
    PS Always a bit shocked by the pull the plug comments. Not that we’re letting this guy out.

    Like

    • April 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks!
      You’re right, this could be the start of a book which then goes back over his life. Perhaps as a he tells it to the doctor, or perhaps just in his memory.

      No, I doubt he’s ever getting out. I never thought of capital punishment as an ending, maybe because we don’t have it in this country and I’m not a particular advocate of it anyway. Maybe over the years in hospital the doctors will be able to help him at least find some peace within himself.

      Like

  28. April 18, 2015 at 2:22 am

    Excellent story depicting a very deranged individual.

    Like

    • April 18, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks, I tried hard to put myself in his mind (which was a pretty freaky experience to be honest).

      Like

  29. April 18, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Frighteningly good portrayal of a young but accomplished firebug. Now I have a severe case of the heebie jeebies!

    Like

    • April 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Imagine how I felt trying to imagine what young Jimmy might be feeling and what drove him 🙂 It’s scary to think there’s people like him out there.

      Like

  30. April 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Oh good grief! Yikes! Just after I viewed your sweet dove photograph, too. Maybe you’re in a brighter mood 😛
    Ellespeth

    Like

    • April 19, 2015 at 5:34 am

      You should have viewed them the other way round – the dark story then the light picture 🙂

      Like

  31. April 19, 2015 at 1:38 am

    Ohhh, that’s good! Creepy and good!

    Like

    • April 19, 2015 at 5:39 am

      It is creepy, and disturbing. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. April 19, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Dark side indeed. Well written. The psychiatrist recommendation was right on. Glad you left it in. 🙂

    Like

    • April 19, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks. I’m glad I left it in too, a couple of people have mentioned that it made a good ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. April 19, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Scary! Interesting, chilling dialogue.

    Like

    • April 20, 2015 at 6:52 am

      Thanks, it’s scary to think about such people.

      Like

  34. April 20, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Chilling. Even the doctor didn’t expect that conclusion to the interview, I suspect.

    Like

    • April 20, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      No, I think he was expecting that the trauma had set Jimmy on this path, not that he caused it!

      Like

  35. April 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    He definitely needs to remain in psychiatric detention! You write really good dialogue. 🙂

    Like

  36. April 20, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    This reminds me a little of Stephen King. Great job!

    Like

  37. April 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Now that got him fired up, deliciously evil take on the prompt.

    Like

    • April 21, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks, I tried to make Jimmy sound as “psycho” as possible 🙂

      Like

  38. April 21, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Yes, what Subroto said, deliciously evil…

    Like

  39. April 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Very serious, nicely done! 🙂

    Like

    • April 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

      Thanks! It was quite interesting trying to get into the head of such a person.

      Like

  40. May 16, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Loved it! The common sense of the insane? Sometime I wonder???

    Like

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