100 Words: The Boy Who Cried Fire

Jayce closed his eyes and breathed in deep. The air had the taste of commercial-grade cleaner and fresh Cinnabon. “Sorry,” he mumbled, then yanked the fire alarm lever down.

The first time, Jayce had been swept down the walkway in a crush of people scrambling toward the exits. The second time had been slower, and the one after that slower still. Now only a few people hurried toward the doors. Mothers clutching toddlers to their chests. Businessmen determined to get out before firetrucks clogged the parking lot.

Today was the eighteenth time in a month Jayce had pulled the alarm. Tomorrow he would do it again. And the day after that.

And then he’d do it for real.

Security guards waited for him as he walked around the corner, the one who looked like the guy from Hot Fuzz and the one-time linebacker who’d tackled Jayce into the landscape display the fourth time he’d tripped the alarm.

“You really wanna do this, guys?” Jayce asked. “You know it’s not gonna make any difference.”

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