Chapter 1

Ned knew he wasn't supposed to be doing it, but he was doing it anyway. He just had to smoke, just had to. This morning his son Kyle showed him his report card and the little shit had gotten three F's! Three fucking F's! And he shows him this just as Ned was getting ready to leave for work no less! He knew why the little bastard waited until then too; Kyle had to get the damn thing signed before he went off to school so when Ned was going to work was the perfect time. He probably figured Ned wouldn't do anything about it at the time if he was in a hurry, which Ned was, and by the time Ned got home from work he would have cooled off so any punishment he would dish out would be less severe. So Ned would just have to sign the paper and be on his merry way right?

Bullshit!

Ned didn't just sign the paper and go, instead he slapped the little bastard across the face, knocking him to the ground. Then he grabbed onto a strong patch of the boys hair and dragged him outside to the shed where he kept his tools and quickly threw the boy in and locked it with the key hanging on the side.

Of course the boy was yelling but the neighbors weren't home they were all at work (Ned had caught onto his neighbors work schedules pretty well), besides, Kyle was only outside where people could hear him for a few seconds. The shed is right by the house. After placing the key back on the side of the shed he grabbed his keys, got in his car and went off to work.

Without signing the report card.

Three F's! Jesus, he still couldn't believe it. All this time he thought Kyle had been busting his ass, hitting the books, when in reality he'd been slacking off. Just thinking of it made Ned pissed off. And when he got pissed off, he had to smoke, and so that's what he was doing.

There was a trash can nearby anyway. Just in case his boss dropped by to check up on him. He often thought of his boss as a fat ninja, though he would never say it to the man's face.

"God dammit Ned, what the hell are you doing?"

There he was, the fat ninja himself.

"Uh, Doug," he had quickly flicked his cigarette into the trash can. "I'm not doing anything."

"Exactly," Doug Floyd said. He was a surprisingly tall man despite his weight. Ned couldn't help but see the reflection of the fluorescent light on the bald spot on the top of Doug's head. With an effort, Ned took his eyes away from the reflection and stared into the face of his boss. He could quickly tell that Doug was pissed. "You're supposed to be making an inventory list of the coal."

"I was doing that," Ned lied. "I just needed to take a break." Unknown to Douglas Floyd, Ned had been on a break practically since he got to work.

"Okay, well your break is over. We need that inventory list so get to it." the fat ninja then walked away, probably going to make sure his other employees were working, Ned thought. Well I'll be damned, Ned said to himself, I'm pissed off about my son slacking off and here I am doing just that. And with that, Ned went into the coal room. Unaware of the small fire just beginning to grow at the bottom of the trash can.

Ned had just picked up the clipboard and was just about to begin going over things when the fire alarm went off.

"What the hell is that about?" Ned muttered to himself.

He opened the door of the coal room and was immediately hit by the heat of the flame crawling along the hall to his left.

"Holy shit!" Ned shouted to no one. The others had left immediately after the fire alarm went off.

The blaring of the alarm was the only sound audible in the empty halls of the plant at that moment. A feeling of aloneness passed over Ned and then quickly left him. Still gripping tightly to the door, Ned turned his head in the opposite direction to see if he had a clear path through the right side of the hall.

He didn't.

A wall of fire blasted heat into his face and he knew he was trapped. He wouldn't allow that though, he couldn't just stand here and burn to death without even attempting to get out. So he swung the door wide open and began to run towards the flashing EXIT sign.

The flame devoured him before he got ten feet.

The flame then entered the coal room.