The flames had subsided and a thin pall of smoke was rising through a hole in the roof of the Goddess. The front window was shattered and firemen were cleaning up around the debris. A small crowd had gathered to watch the event in the darkness of the early morning. The fire had looked more spectacular than it actually was.
A phone call, a mad dash in the car and Reya and Iris stood in disbelief. A paddy wagon was parked next to the fire engine, Dave's terrified face peering from the caged window at the rear.
The fire chief introduced himself and explained that he thought it was arson, they found a pile of blackened 'smalls' in one of the dressing rooms and the smell of petrol was quite evident.
"It'll take a proper investigation but I'm pretty sure this was deliberately lit. We found Dave up the street at Mulligans, drowning his sorrows and smelling of fuel. The cops have him in the van. You might want to follow them down to the station." He gave Iris a nod and turned back to the cleanup at hand.
"Reya, he wouldn't do this. I know he wouldn't do this!" The desperation in Iris' voice honest and convincing. Although even she thought he might be capable of such a thing after his violent reaction to her indiscretion.
The structural damage wasn't huge, plenty of water and a load of soaked stock but Reya was insured. It wouldn't take much to repair the window and clean up the mess. Reya tip-toed amongst the puddles and broken glass. A large pile of blackened silk and lace smoldered from the first dressing room. The firies had done their job and prevented the fire from ripping through the whole shop. Most of the mess was the result of water dousing the flames.
"I threw her out . . .it's all my fault, I threw her out . ." was all he kept mumbling.
"Take it easy Dave," reassured one of the Police Officers, "Let's get you out of these clothes and you can sleep it off. We'll talk about what happened later."
The Sergeant instructed his young charge to find a clothes for Dave, before retaining the fuel stained trousers as 'evidence'.
He didn't recognise her from the beach. It was dark and he hadn't got a good look at her face. As he drove closer to the stalled Corolla and the frustrated brunette kicking its tyres, he suspected nothing. The woman ran her fingers through her hair and looked as if she was on the verge of tears.
"Dammit! Not now you rusting piece of shit!" She yelled at the inanimate object as if by some miracle of magic it would just begin running.
She looked up and eyeballed Dave who had slowed down and wound the passenger window. He felt compulsed to say something even though he wasn't really in the mood.
"Can I help?"
"I dunno, I think I've run out of petrol" She replied, clearly exasperated.
"No problem, I have a jerry can in the boot."
He pulled over to the curb, popped the boot of his car and retrieved a 10 litre plastic container with a yellow spout.
"Here, open up the petrol cap. I can give you enough to cruise into town."
As he poured the liquid into the tank, the yellow spout became dislodged. Petrol oozed from the cavity and splashed all over his clothes.
"Damn thing, does that all the time!" he quickly replaced the spout and continued pouring.
God, I'm sorry." Dianne feigning guilt that her rescuer had doused himself with petrol.
"No mind. It'll wash out. There, try and start her."
The car coughed a little but started.
She wound down the window, thanked him and took off.
The Jerry can had given her an idea. Hell hath no fury.
She'd ruin both of their lives and be gone before midnight. Nobody knew who she really was, what she really was or where she really came from. Breaking into the shop was a snack. Just a simple lock on the back door. A deadbolt and alarm having never been installed in the rush of reservations. A small detail neglected. She doused the shop, arranged a pile of lingerie in the first dressing room, having it smoulder for a while would give her time to escape. She'd be long gone before anyone suspected a thing. As the garments began to burn, she slipped quietly into the night.
Iris had enrolled in night school and had the farm for sale. Dave wouldn't be out of prison for four years or so and she was no farmer. But she was a country girl, not designed for the big smoke. She'd stay at Wiseman's Cove.
In a small town, not too far from Wisemans, a tall brunette is now a blonde, holding the hand of a woman barely past puberty. Stroking her face and telling her how beautiful she is and how well she could do as a dancer in the city.
Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn"
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths"
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"