World of Quiet Enlightenment
◄ Caroling Burning Farewell ►

Friday, December 25, 2015

"What's up?" Butch asked as Lucas hastily walked into the kitchen holding his phone and the framed picture. Lucas hesitated for a second before letting the anger take control. Instead of using words, Lucas let his fist do the talking.

As blood started to run from his nose, Butch could only look at his son in shock.

"That was for Elias."

Butch's heart dropped as it was clear that Lucas knew the truth.

"This… isn't a rental house. This is where you had a criminal empire. This is where my brother died! The brother that you never told me about!"

"I can explain! Please hear me out!"

"Shut up. Shut the hell up. You're done. I met his friends. I met his ex-girlfriend. Did he know about me? Or did you keep me a secret, too?"

Butch had no response to that.

"But it's over. Your reign of terror is over. You're going back to jail and I hope someone kills you. Burn in hell, Butch."

At this, Butch realized that the situation was beyond repair. In a flash, he grabbed Lucas's wrist and twisted it. The sound of a bone breaking was almost masked by the sound of Lucas' phone hitting the ground. Butch put his foot down on the device, causing the screen to shatter.

The framed picture fell to the ground and shattered as Butch threw the skinny boy to the ground with ease. Keeping his son pinned to the ground under his knee, Butch took off his belt and used it to tie his hands behind him. Looking around, he found an extension cord on the ground. Lucas groaned in pain as Butch turned around to grab the cord with the intent of tying his legs together.

Meanwhile, at Kenton's house, Charmaine met the group outside.

"Did you get a hold of him?" Kenton asked.

"Only got his voice mail. It's Christmas, so he's probably occupied." Charmaine replied. Kenton nodded.

"We're gonna take off. Merry Christmas to you." Mia said as Cameron nodded.

"Alright. I take off tomorrow morning. I'll see you two before then, right?" Olivia asked. Mia smiled and nodded.

"So, what now?" Kenton asked.

"Why I don't I take you two out for dinner? My treat." Charmaine said. Who wouldn't say "no" to free food? Kenton and Olivia quickly nodded.

"It's nice to have you two together, one more time." Charmaine said as they went inside the house to decide on a restaurant.

Back at the Conner residence, Butch dropped his son in Elias' old room and wiped the sweat from his brow. Thinking forward, Butch grabbed an old sock and had it stuffed in Lucas' mouth and secured by a t-shirt tied around his head.

"I'm so sorry, Lucas. I love you and I love your brother. I know that you want to do the right thing, and I respect you for that. But I can't let you do that, and I know that you can't sit back and let the wrong thing happen. Goodbye." Butch sadly said before taking one last look at his son and walking out of the room.

He silently walked downstairs and took some newspapers that were sitting in the house from his days as a "chef". He found tears coming out of his eyes as he scattered the papers around the living room. When finished, he took the crummy metal space heater that was keeping them warm at night and placed it on the pile of paper. He picked up the cord and walked it over to the outlet closest to the door. He contemplated reconsidering and let out a sob when he realized that none of the alternatives would end well for him. Without giving it much more thought, he plugged in the heater and walked out of the house for the last time.

Upstairs, Lucas was starting to feel the pain of his broken wrist and was resigned to the idea that he was going to be up there until someone found him. Maybe, just maybe, he could get someone's attention. At least he was abandoned and not something worse.

And then the iconic odor of smoke started to feel the room and Lucas realized what was going on. He started screaming and crying through his gag at the realization that he was going to be joining his brother soon.

At Mia's house, Cameron walked her to the front door and did a quick sweep around to see if her father was watching. Sure enough, he noticed that one of the front blinds was just a little off to allow angry eyes to follow him.

"Well, this was… different." Cameron said as he knew that he had to get her back to her folks as soon as possible.

"Yeah. Are you okay?" Mia said. Cameron hesitantly nodded.

"Call me later. Merry Christmas and thank you for your gift!" Mia said as she gave her boyfriend one more hug.

"You're welcome. Thank you for the hat. It's done a lot for me today." Cameron said as he kissed her on the cheek.

"I better be getting inside..."

"Yeah… Merry Christmas, and I love-"

"Cameron. What did I say earlier?"

"Fine." Cameron said as he pouted a bit. Mia gave a little laugh.

"Right back at you, Cameron." Mia said with a smile before going inside. Cameron started walking away from the Kleve residence when something in his gut told him to go back to Elias's old house. For reasons that he couldn't explain, he found himself walking a little faster, if not running a bit.

As he got closer to the house, he realized that something wasn't right. While the neighboring houses had steam coming from their chimneys, this house had something that looked a little darker than steam.

"Oh… my God.“ Cameron uttered as he got out his phone and dialed 911.

"911. What's your emergency?"

"Yes. There's a house on fire at… uh… in the seven hundred block of Lion Avenue."

"Is there anyone inside the house?"

"Not that I'm aware of..." Cameron said as he looked at the outside of the house. Lucas, still tied up, had managed to wiggle his way to the window with the hopes of kicking out a window to either get some attention or use the broken glass to cut off his restraints.

Cameron was about to throw up in fear as he saw socked feet brushing against the window.

"There's someone inside! There's someone inside upstairs!" He said into the phone.

"Fire crews are on the way, please keep a safe distance from..."

"There's no time!"

"Sir, please-"

Cameron didn't have the time to listen to reason. He ran up to the front door of the house and wasn't surprised to find that it was locked. He reached into his back pocket and got out the lock picks that he did indeed carry. After a bit of fumbling, the door opened, and he ran into the foyer. He noticed that the fire was contained to the center of the house and quickly made his way up the stairs.

Lucas was still trying to kick out the window when Cameron opened the door to the room.

"Hey, hey. I've got you, bro." Cameron calmly said as he untied the other boy and removed his gag.

"Can you walk?" he asked as Lucas coughed to take a breath.


"The fire's downstairs, we probably won't get out that way." Cameron said as he tried to get the window open. The two could hear sirens as Cameron kicked out the screen. The fire trucks tore down the road as Cameron helped Lucas out onto the roof of the house.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Butch didn't know what else to do but run. Run as fast as he could and try to put as much space between him and his fresh new crime scene as possible.

After about a mile, the exhaustion was starting to set in, and he wasn't thinking clearly. He was about to cross the last major road out of town, and he wasn't going to stop for any reason. The sweat in his eyes and his determination kept him from being the car that was coming through the intersection until it was too late. The driver tried to brake, but it wasn't enough as the bumpers of the car mangled the fugitive's legs below the knee.

With fire crews occupied by the mess left at the burning Conner residence, Butch found himself barely clinging onto life until help finally arrived.

"What have we got here, boys?" a local officer said as he approached the scene.

"Guy ran out in front of this car and got hit. We have him stable, but his legs are a mess. We're getting ready to take him in."

The officer started going through the patient's wallet and quickly out his radio when came across his I.D.

"Dispatch. Patient has been identified as Butch Elliott."

◄ Caroling Burning Farewell ►