Cathy pummeled the man in the suit and tie. He saw, he saw! Was all she could think. She had lost her reason- the nights and days of angst and loss of control took it’s toll on the man’s face in front of her. She was blind in her rage and frustration. It was all wrong. This shouldn’t have happened. What happened to her life?
As she slowed down, she smelled something burning. She belatedly remembered the cigarette, and how it flew out of her hand as she pushed the big man back. Her own strength had surprised her and she understood only that she had to take advantage of it while she could. But as she reached clarity again, she noted two things other than the burning smell; First, was that the woman she held at gunpoint was no longer there. She didn’t know where she went, but she wasn’t there- perhaps Cathy ought to cover her head for fear of retaliation? But no, she figured the woman probably left to call the police; The second, was that she was covered in goo- so was the man she’d pulverized. It was strong-smelling and full of something chemically potent.
Slowly, two of the important things she had noticed began to click together in her head as she realized the big man’s suit jacket was covering her still-burning cigarette, and there was smoke coming from the inside of his shirt, up through his necktie. Panicked, she struggled to turn him over, with the idea of claiming her cigarette and putting out the fire. But that wasn’t what the fire had in mind for either of them. It had smoldered, rolling around under the big man’s side while Cathy took out her irrational aggression and had covered a larger place than it would have otherwise. As soon as Cathy was able to lift Bob enough to get her cigarette, part of his jacket that had gotten spilled on earlier reached the burning section and flared into a real flame. It just so happened that Cathy’s face was there, as well. Up in flames went her tendrils of hair, sticking out from the hat. The fabric of the hat melted into her chin and face, and quickly caught fire. As she suffered, attempting to smother them in the man’s suit front, more of the chemical spilled in the restroom caught flame and a large fire ensued. The only thing she could think of as she lost consciousness, was that she should never have tried this, should have slept in the shelter last night and just let Roller take his dues out on her instead of trying another store.
The fire department had to put out three buildings that day, all in a row. Starbuck’s, a shifty jewelry shop the police had eyes on, and a little well-stocked corner store. The homes above were seriously damaged; insurance rates in the area sure to soar. The headlines read things like, “Store Fire Causes Chaos ” and “Unknown assailant causes devastation.” The ambulances took Shayna and another bystander to the hospital.
A few weeks later after the rain slowed down, the city was able to get really cleaning on the area, and after that, the only things left were an empty concrete compound, with a seriously rusted safe which someone had left open during the excavation of the disaster. It was nearly ready to begin rebuilding.