“Oh relax, son. Nothing in this room will hurt you. Look at your damn feet for Pete’s sake.” Mr. Jones straightened his pants. “The whole floor is on fire. If this really did burn, you’d be reduced to a puddle of human soup already.” Mr. Jones gave Steve a look like a father disappointed in his child. “Now be quiet and let me do my work.” Steve dropped back without hesitation and hung out quietly.

“Yo, Firebug. You been good? You haven’t been trying to escape have you?” Mr. Jones said to a human-shaped figure of flames.

“Dammit. Jonesy darling, you know I hate it when you call me that.”

“That’s why I do it sweetheart. But seriously, have you been behaving yourself,” he said, as his voice shifted to a more stern tone.

“Jesus! Yes, trust me. If I wasn’t, you would be the first to know,” the flaming woman said. Even through the flames she gave off the vibe that she wanted to make a break for it. But she knew better.

fire room

“Good, that’s what I like to hear.” Mr. Jones put on a welding glove and picked up an envelope-shaped hunk of metal off the flaming table. “Well, enough with the friendly banter. We better get out of here before the new guy wets himself.” Mr. Jones chuckled a little. “Acts like he’s never been in a flaming apartment before.”

Realizing the flaming woman was staring at him, Steve furrowed his brow and lowered his head. He couldn’t wrap his head around the situation. And why was Mr. Jones so concerned with the woman “escaping” the apartment? Was she a prisoner? Was she dangerous? It was all too much for him to understand on his first day. All he could do was listen to Mr. Jones and hope everything would work out okay.

“Come on Steve. Let’s go.”

“Bye Steve.” The woman waved and a flame spurted out from her hand, causing Steve to jump with fright. Embarrassed, he hurried to the door behind Mr. Jones.

As both men walked out into the hallway, Steve turned to Mr. Jones; a look of total disbelief showed on his face. Without answering the unasked questions he knew Steve had, Mr. Jones just stood there and waited to see how long Steve would stare at him. It took nearly a minute before Steve could finally speak.

“What the hell was that? How could that even be possible?” he squeaked out in a voice more high-pitched than he liked.

“It just is, and I wouldn’t put too much thought into it if I was you. Trying to figure it out could drive you a little crazy, you know? Mr. Jones said before pulling out a rag to wipe his forehead. “I will give you a little advice, though. Nothing in that room can hurt you. Well, almost nothing. Stay away from that woman, you hear? If you let her touch you, you will get burnt—and bad.” Mr. Jones rolled up his sleeve to reveal a large hand-shaped scar on his forearm. “Trust me, it hurts.”


“You just make sure she never leaves that room and you never get too close to her.”


“Yeah, I don’t think I want to get anywhere near her. What do we do with the sunglasses now?” Steve asked in a sour tone.

“You take them back to the supply closet is what you do.” The words came out harsher than he meant them too.

“Oh, okay.” Steve hesitated as if he had another question but couldn’t find the words. “Just… Was that woman…” His voice trailed off into silence.

“Look. That woman is what you’d call… A demon.” Mr. Jones handed Steve his sunglasses and the welding gloves. “I mean, not a real demon like in the bible or some shit. But it doesn’t really matter what she is. You just make sure she never leaves that room and you never get too close to her. Got it?” He gave Steve a reassuring smile.

“Yeah. Sure.”

“Good. Now, take these glasses and gloves to the supply closet. Then meet me at room three down the hall.” Mr. Jones walked on without looking back.

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