Jon was starting to panic. The heat in the tiny room was rising gradually, and it was coming from a giant boiler in the center. Sweat poured down his face, and he beat furiously as the sliver of glass set high in the steel door.

“C’mon, damn it! It’s at least a hundred degrees in here, and it’s just getting hotter!”

He heard some muffled sobbing from the other side of the door.

Jon checked the digital thermostat and was alarmed to see it climbing at the rate of one degree every minute. He’d be toast within a half hour, maybe less.
* * *
Kristin was crying uncontrollably. Sure, she had been in yet another nasty argument with Jon hours before, but she had no intention of watching his blood boil.

She was hooked to a wicked looking contraption, one that depended on her flagging strength to keep her husband alive. She could only hold the bar up for so long without the need for a break. Her muscles ached, and she tried to give it all she had when she saw the thermostat on her side of the door climb whenever she let the bar droop low.

Time was extremely limited, now. If she was lucky, her tormentor would take pity on her and release them both. If not… well, she’d just have to listen to Jon die screaming.

* * *

“You stupid broad!” Jon shouted. “Turn the Goddamned boiler off! I’m burnin’ up in here!”

He was frustrated beyond belief. Sobbing was all he heard.

Hell, she had a right to feel the way she did, making him suffer like this.

Jon wondered who she was.

* * *

Kristin knew the end was near. Her arms were cramping up, and Jon had to have been dehydrating by this point. Was spontaneous combustion possible?

Furious with herself, she banished the thought from her mind and promised herself that she’d die first before watching – no, listening! – to her husband die.

“Jon! Hang on, Sweetie, I’m doing what I can!”

She burst into tears yet again.

* * *

Jesus, is that Kristin?

“If you’re behind this, Dear, I hope you never forget what’s about to happen!”

Jon was hissing the words out between his teeth, and he doubted that she heard them. However, he didn’t care at this point. She had gone too far. This was murder.

One hundred twenty-seven degrees and climbing.

* * *

Kristin did hear Jon’s words. The loudspeaker that the hooded stranger had put into the adjoining room made sure of that.

She knew Jon was suffering beyond belief, so she did the only thing that she could think of. She dropped the bar and backed away.

The digits started to climb faster on the thermostat’s readout. He was as good as dead, and God have mercy on her own soul for speeding up the process.

The window went bright for a split second, then all sound ceased.

Kristin imagined the ashes dropping.

"Spontaneous Combustion"
Copyright: © 2009 Christopher Jacobsmeyer
Christopher Jacobsmeyer is a self-styled fantasy author dabbling in the realms of sci-fi and horror. His tolerant wife and headstrong daughters humor him as long as it suits their needs. If that weren't enough, a trio of cats keeps him in check with their whispered designs of conquest at night.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris,
    I had no idea you submitted here. You start this tale off with some heated action. Great suspense building - great story.