Everything is fine.

It started small, but fire has a tendency to spread. It crawled over desks and chairs, jumped gaps, dug its feet into sallow, stained carpets. Soon it filled much of the building. The alarm had been wailing ineffectually for a while, pulsing and bellowing as if the sheer volume of it could smother the flames.


"I’m not going to lie," he said, watching from across the street. "This wasn’t in the plan."

"What are you going to tell them?"

"That it went fine. No great disaster! ‘Dunno why you were worried’," he laughed here, a cracked parody of his normal expression. "Haha! All that. Yes."

"Don’t call them. Send a text."

He tapped at his phone. "What if they call?"

His companion shrugged. Let voicemail catch it. No-one leaves messages these days so no-one has to speak to anyone. Send the text, then it’s time to go. Clear out before the emergency services arrive.

"Did you at least get the stuff?"

"I did!" he said, proudly holding aloft a small bag. It was wet at the base and as they watched a drop formed and fell.

"That’s disgusting."

It was his turn to shrug, and he tucked the revolting mess in his coat pocket. Sirens now sang in the darkness. They had to move. Neither did.

"It’s so beautiful."

He nodded agreement. Blue light played across their faces, slashing into the gentle orange of the fire.

"Run. Please."

"I want to see it spread," he whispered.

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