Jesse wandered into the room. “Howzit going?” He had a length of chain and a padlock. He looped the chain between the two chairs, pulled up the slack, and then clicked in a lock. With a second length of chain he secured Wesley and Robin to the cast iron fireplace. Where Robin had been able to slide along the floor earlier, they were now secured in place.
Jesse showed them both a candle with a hole drilled through the middle near the base of the stick. He set the candle in a brass candle holder on the coffee table. He walked to the kitchen and returned in a few seconds with a long red stick, obviously dynamite. He used duct-tape to fasten two more sticks to the first and he set the three next to the candle. He then took a long string that looked like a fuse and threaded it through the hole in the candle.
Wesley wasn’t sure what Jesse was doing but he knew it wasn’t good. Jesse took the camera off his shoulder strap and began to film Wesley and Robin. Brandi entered the room with a long butane fireplace lighter. She wiggled her ass for the camera and licked the end of the starter seductively and then headed for the candle.
Oh shit, oh shit! Wesley began to understand what was about to happen. He tensed in his chair and glanced at Robin who appeared to know what was occurring as well.
“Wes?” Robin said in a low whisper.
Wesley watched as Brandi enacted a dramatic, slow motion lighting of the candle. The wick lit and then the flame increased. Jesse carefully moved the table a few feet closer to Wesley and Robin. Brandi stood back from the candle about the same distance as Wesley and blew a long, hard breath at it. The flame flickered and danced but remained lit.
“You all can huff and puff but I’d say you have about 20-30 minutes before those three sticks blow the roof off this sh**hole and you along with it.”
Both Jesse and Brandi turned and walked for the front door. Jesse stopped and then said, “Smile now. And please…please make this good! Huh?”
“Have fun,” Brandi giggled.
The flame continued its morbid dance as Jesse opened the door, Brandi followed, and both exited. Wesley watched the smoke of the flame and he could smell that the candle was scented with flowers.
“Wes! What are we going to do?” Robin was pulling on her tie-straps and kicking her feet. The chain made a metallic jingle. “Do something. Don’t just sit there!”
Wesley began to pull at the strapping with every ounce of strength. He pushed with his feet and tried to stand. Nothing. The candle continued to flicker as if mocking them. The scent was growing stronger as the flame grew taller.
Robin was gulping in long breaths and then exhaling as hard as she could. The flame shrank and twisted and then shot higher in the increased oxygen. She did the same maneuver again and again. “For f*** sakes, Wes, blow!”
Both were huffing, wheezing, and blowing and still the flame danced and flickered, and when they stopped the flame was taller.
“Okay,” Wesley said, winded. “On three, fill your lungs, and when I signal let’s blow together. Okay?”
“One-two-three.” They filled their lungs, held their breath, and looked into each other’s eyes. He gave a small nod and they both blew out as hard as they could. The flame burned away from their view as they exhaled, appearing as though it had been extinguished. Wesley felt a moment of triumph, however, as soon as their lungs emptied, the flame darted for the ceiling once more.
“F***!” Robin said between gasps. “All we’re doing is helping it to burn down faster.”
For the next several minutes they struggled at their bonds. Faster, desperate movements. Robin was screaming and swearing and he could see tears streaming down her face. He looked at the candle and saw less than an inch of wax above the hole with the dynamite fuse. He began to feverishly kick his feet and tug his wrists hoping for a loosening or the break of a strap. Instead, the rear legs of the chair snapped, sending him over backwards, resulting in a loud crack when his skull met the wood floor.
He shook his head slightly and glanced up at Robin next to him. She was straining to see him as he fought to meet her eyes. He could not see her face.
“Half an inch,” Robin said, in a small, childlike voice.
“I know.” They were both quiet for a few seconds. Wesley was able to move enough on the floor to see the candle. He couldn’t see Robin’s face or stand or break free of the chair but he could see that damned candle.
“I’m sorry,” Wesley said.
“For bringing you here….”
“You only did because I was pressuring you for us to get away.”
“I love you, Robin. More than you know.”
“I do know, Wesley. I love you too…I’ve loved you my entire life….”
“I feel bad—for the kids. This will be hard for them….”