In Nothing, Nevada the heat can be invasive; get into your pores and make you sweat out as if in a cardiac arrest of some sort, if you’re not used to it. That was the problem our subject ran into when one Thomas Fyre walked into Nothing yesterday with only a backpack and some electronic gadget hooked to it. He called himself Heat-Wave. When he was a kid, he found joy in burning things, it started with his sister’s magazines, then escalated to other kids in the neighborhood’s toys. When the Browns old tool shed (which they were trying to get marked as an historical landmark since it had been around since the 1830’s) was found burnt to a cinder and young Fyre found with burnt hands and ash marks on him, his parents didn’t know what to do. So, they sent him away. Thomas was now only concerned with not repeating his past mistakes; so his next goal was making fire-proof gloves he could wear. He bounced from prep school to military school, all the time perfecting his art, always starting small and working up to larger goals as he learned more about his passion. By the time he was 18, he’d set fire to 6 locations on a base in Tuscaloon with 1 trigger and explosive results. After that, Thomas was an adult and not needed or wanted by anyone else. So, he set off on his own and developed his backpack which could generate a sweltering wave of heat designed to exhaust and dehydrate the human body; his next eventual target. Buildings were fun to burn down but the dancing of flames and burning wood only satisfied young Thomas for so long; once he discovered he had the capacity to watch another human burn alive, it was his next obsession. Three years later, he’d committed 3 burnings and had gotten away with every single one. That’s when he decided a large group of people miserable and grasping at their throats may be even more fun to watch. Fyre had made some seedy contacts in his years burning and one such contact residing in a town he’d never heard of, Nothing, Nevada, had reached out to him and wanted to actually pay him for what he did best; burn.
“Have you seen Pigeon around?” John asked Nadine, his now favorite waitress in Nothing. That stinkin’ vulture would not stop following John around lately, but now that he hovered around so much, he got a bit used to the gross thing. He stared at it a few nights ago; it’s round beady eyes, dark and black like the death it so liked to devour as part of it’s daily meal. It’s flappy red skin, it’s wispy feathers, it looked nothing like a scavenger, it looked more like a dusty old gunslinger that was used to doing the killing himself instead of relying on others.
“No, he usually waits out there looking for grub in the mid-morning; he knows your routine John. You’re always hear by 8 and there’s always usually some dead thing laying in the alley.”
Nadine sat down in John’s booth and began whispering, ” So, any closer to figuring out who your parents are?”
John leaned in and whispered back “Not really. But, I’m looking into a new lead I picked up last week. I don’t want to speak too much about it right now but I’ve got a ….”
A kid burst into the diner, his name was Jess and he delivered papers around town; he was a red haired wild eyed kid with tons of energy and he seemed to look up to John.
“Mr. Crawford; They took Pigeon!” he screamed, out of breath.
“Who did, Jess?” John stood up surprised and perplexed because it was a vulture.
“Some guys in a van; I was up early at the end of town preparing my papers and saw a white van with a big W on the side, grab Pigeon. I knew it was Pigeon because I tried to pet him and you know he don’t like me too much for some reason. It was really him, sir.”
John knew there was something about that bird he needed around him and it wasn’t just the stink of death. John left a tip for Nadine and went to his place to grab some things he would need. Of course, the one thing he needed most was transportation.
A loud knock on the door came and John answered it. A tall, muscular African American man in a tight blue shirt and jeans was standing there. John had never seen this before.
“Can I help you?”
“I think so. My name’s Sam Wilson and there’s a white van going around snatching birds. I heard you have one of your own,” he said matter of factly.
“I don’t own it, it just follows me around,” John said, zipping his travel bag up.
“Understood. Thought you might like to help track them down with me,” he said.
“Well, we need a car,” John stated. Sam walked inside and pointed out the window at a GT Convertible parked on the street.
“Will that do?”
5 minutes later…
As a red and white GT zoomed past him, Thomas Fyre flipped the switch to the Wave machine on his back and walked into the local Sear’s outlet store. It was about to get very hot in Nothing.