Teaser 2

ONE

The arson scene before Sara Phillips gave the words 'crispy critters' a whole new meaning.  Walls, those that were still standing, were mere skeletons as were the three bodies; the two human and the one animal. A small dog by the look of it.  According to the Medical Examiner, the bodies couldn’t be moved or even examined closely since one touch would destroy them, cause them to collapse.
This building had been skillfully torched by an expert to leave no solid evidence behind for the police as to whether there had been a murder and the fire was a cover-up or if it was the fire that killed them. However, this was the fourth suspicious fire within the last two weeks in this community, and each had claimed at least one human life. The arson investigator was still investigating the fires according to the local Law Enforcement Officers, and while they were definitely arson, further evidence was needed to decide more.
 “I see Jen’s doing her usual,” a voice said from behind Sara.
Sara turned, and looked at the solidly-built man standing there. He was about her age, forty or so, with short brown hair and blue eyes. “What?”
“Deputy Landers,” he said. “I saw she was flirting with the two FBI guys.”
“She’s supposed to be giving them a briefing, but I noticed her looks as well,” Sara shook her head.  Women took one look at her partners, Nick’s model and Elliot’s boyish good looks, and wanted to get in their pants almost immediately.
“So you decided to come in here,” the man said. “I’m the arson investigator, by the way. Travis Anderson.”
“I’m the FBI consultant,” Sara replied. “Sara Phillips. You can call me Sara.”
“Travis,” he said back. “I’ve completed the preliminary reports on the other fires, but still have ash and wood samples in the lab from this one. However, I suspect the results will be the same as the others.”
“So you agree that they’re all related?” Sara asked.
“Besides the slim possibility that there is more than one arsonist in a given area, you mean?  The fires were all started with the same homemade igniter and no visible accelerant but a hot burn none the less so I’d say yes.”
“Then there is no doubt in your mind that any of them were accidental?”
“Not at all.”
“You have any insights you’d like to share with us?” Nick came up behind Sara and slid an arm around her back. “I’m Agent Issaro.”
“Fire Investigator Travis Anderson.” Travis nodded to the black-haired agent. “I think the victims were alive when the fire was started.”
“Oh?” Nick raised an eyebrow. “How do you get that?”
“The positions of the bodies.” Travis gestured to the remains. “There was also bits of metal wedged and melted into what was left of the doors. I think he set the igniter and blocked the doors on his way out.”
“What I don’t understand is why didn’t they go out a window?” Sara shook her head. “That’s what I would have done.”
“Something must have prevented that.” Travis shrugged. “Why is the FBI interested in these fires?”
“Before we get into that, let me ask you a question.” Sara paused and Travis gestured for her to continue. “You said there was an igniter. But have you looked closely at the bodies? The burn pattern specifically”
”You don’t put any weight to the firemen’s superstitious spontaneous combustion theory, do you?” Travis grunted.

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