The Schaub Memorial Orphanage was dark. Donatas walked the silent halls, halls which had been decorated by the children’s artwork. It was a much more modern place than the orphanage in Lithuania had been. There were just two children in each room, instead of twenty or thirty. There was no fireplace, and even if there had been, there was a state-of-the-art sprinkler system installed.
Peeking in one of the bedrooms, Donatas could see two small boys sleeping. Tyler and Michael were their names. Tyler always talked about how he would grow up to play in the NBA just like Donatas did, and when it was time to play outside, he would immediately grab a basketball and begin to shoot on the one hoop that they had been able to afford. Michael, on the other hand, was quiet and preferred to focus on his books. They were both such wonderful children, drawing much interest from foster families in the area.
Donatas smiled as the empty canister of gasoline dangled loosely in his hand. Every child in this building was special in their own way, had their own form of potential. It was up to Donatas to ensure that they fulfilled that potential.
He turned around and walked back to the front reception area. Behind the glass, the night-watch nurse, working alone as always at this late hour, sat serenely in her chair, her neck slashed and her scrubs bloody. Now, there was nobody present to take care of the children. Donatas would have to be their caretaker on this night. The thought made him swell with pride.
Entering the door to the closet that he knew controlled the fire protection system, Donatas was faced with with a control panel of considerable size and complexity. But from his internet research, he knew exactly which series of buttons to press to deactivate the sprinklers. When he was prompted for a password, he entered the default one, which had never been changed. Now, in case of fire, the sprinklers would fail to turn on.
Next, Donatas disabled the smoke alarms, using the same insecure password. Now, the fire department would not be notified until it was too late.
Donatas returned to the hallway where he had just been. The smell of gasoline was overpowering. He could not tell if his dizziness was caused by the smell or by the excitement of what was to come. Somewhere deep in his mind, he knew that his sanity had lapsed long ago. This thought did not lessen the exhileration, the almost sexual arousal he was experiencing.
From his pocket he took out a book of matches and stared at them with wonder. Within a little stick of wood, so much power was held. Much like Donatas himself; he was just one man, but, as the honorary director of the orphanage, he had the power to change the lives of hundreds of others.
There would be no more delay. Donatas lit the match and flicked it into the slowly creeping puddle which rested near the wall. Instantaneously, the whole network of corridors was ablaze, and the dark was replaced with infernal light.
Donatas knew he couldn’t linger. The fire-resistant construction of the building was not fireproof, and his exits would be blocked soon. When the roaring of the fire did finally awaken the children, the inferno would be too intense for them to overcome.
Sprinting through the fire-lined halls, Donatas burst through the front doors without so much as a scorch mark adorning his body. After spending a few minutes admiring his handiwork, he took out his cell phone and dialed 911. When his call was answered, he cut off the answering operator with a desperate yell. “Send fire trucks! Send the firemen! The orphanage is on fire! Oh god, the children!”
“Calm down sir. You say the orphanage is on fire? The Schaub orphanage?”
“Please! Please! The children!” Donatas wailed. “They’re all in there, I don’t know what happened!” He ended the call before any more details could be extracted. Now, tears began to fall out of his eyes, and even Donatas himself didn’t know if they were real tears or just for show.
In just minutes, a whole swarm of firetrucks pulled up to the scene. Donatas acted like he had just escaped from the building, and he was immediately greeted by a firefighter as the rest of them got to work at extinguishing the blaze.
“Tyler! Michael! Jenny!” Donatas sobbed. “The beautiful children! I have to rescue them!” he turned to run back towards the building, but, as expected, he was again held back.
“You can’t go in there, man! It’s a death trap!”
“No! It was my job to protect them!” Donatas yelled, struggling but not too vigorously. He listened carefully, but this time, he could not hear the screams of the children, just the coordination efforts of the firemen and the roar of the fire. The whole building was engulfed now.
When the first blackened body was carried out, Donatas collapsed into the arms of the firefighter that still held him. “No…no…” he whispered. But in his mind, something entirely different was whispered.
Part 1: https://youtu.be/mgUvN9a-seQ