Steve was not in the mood to be burned alive. He sat in the cage glumly and watched the pile of lumber in front of him. The masked trio were building a bonfire inside the theater. Or rather, Mouse was hauling lumber and arranging it into a bonfire formation while Bird and Sausage stood off the side watching her. Steve turned to Vulcan who was also watching the trio.
“Any ideas on getting us out of this?” Steve asked.
Vulcan Hephaestus was next to Steve also watching the pile of wood with barely hidden concern. “Believe me, Stephen,” he replied. “I am trying my best to come up with something. But I think we need to be ready to accept what may be in store for us.” He lowered his head solemnly. “I’m sorry Stephen,” he continued. “I fear I may have failed you.”
Steve stood up indignantly. Steve Sharma was not going to die today. There had to be something he could do. He examined the masked trio again. Sausage was leaning against a wall. He wiped some sweat off his neck. Steve had watched him carry all the wood into the theater. Mouse was now arranging the wood into the bonfire and was clearly struggling. Bird hadn’t done anything and was casually watching Mouse work. Steve was hit with an idea.
“Hey, Vulcan,” he began. “You said these guys based themselves off a fairy tale or something. How did it end?”
Vulcan’s face lit up as if he had been waiting for Steve to ask that question. “Well,” he said. “The Bird, Mouse, and Sausage decide to try and switch around their roles. In short, the Bird drowns, the Mouse gets cooked in an oven, and the Sausage gets eaten by a dog.”
“Huh, that’s dark,” Steve replied. Still, it meant his idea might actually work. He turned back to the masked trio.
“Hey there, Mouse,” he called out. You look pretty tired.
Mouse didn’t seem to want to acknowledge him, but she still replied. “It is my job to arrange the wood for the fire,” she answered. “The Sausage has gathered the wood, and I must arrange it.”
“And what about him,” Steve asked, pointing to Bird.
Bird glared at Steve. “It is my job to light the fire that will burn you.”
Steve shrugged off Bird’s contemptuous stare and turned back to Mouse. “That doesn’t seem fair,” he told her. “His job sounds much easier than yours.”
“But this is my job and I accept it,” Mouse retorted.
Steve leaned up closer to the edge of the cage, careful not to make contact with the electrified bars. “But you don’t have to accept it,” Steve replied. “Who is it that chooses everyone’s job.”
Bird took a step towards the cage. “I choose the jobs, because I know best,” he said with a quiet rage.
Steve ignored him and continued talking to Mouse. “Well, why don’t you get to choose?” he asked. “I bet you’d like to light the fire instead. You know you can ask to do that, right?”
Mouse did not say anything to Steve in response. Instead, she dropped the wood she was carrying and walked up to Bird. “I do not want to build the fire,” she told him. “I want to light the fire.”
Bird was barely able to keep a lid on his rage. “No,” he replied. He pointed at Steve. “Do not listen to its lies. It hates us and the good work we do together. You must build the fire and I must light the fire.”
Mouse did not take this well. She jumped at Bird, knocking him over. She clawed at him, shouting, “I want to light the fire!” Bird tried to fight her off, but to little avail. The two began rolling around the room; Sausage–still leaning against the wall–watched them with marked indifference. Eventually, Bird managed to throw Mouse off of him. She flew directly up against the cage, screaming as she made contact. Bird managed to get to his feet, and Mouse slowly did the same. She glared at him. Bird looked wary about what was coming next. He was now standing directly in front of Sausage who still looked indifferent to this whole affair.
Finally, Mouse shrieked and charged directly towards Bird. She sacked him but continued charging right into Sausage. The impact of the three of them against the wall was too much for the run-down theater to bear. As soon as they hit the wall, it broke down around them, creating a gaping hole to the exterior of the building that all three of them subsequently fell through. Steve could fear them scream as they fell and presumably hit the ground.
Vulcan Hephaestus was delighted. “Well that turned out far better than I expected.”
Steve wasn’t sure what Vulcan meant by that. “Do you know that this would happen? That all I needed to do was follow the story?” he asked.
Vulcan smiled slyly. “You could say that,” he replied. “But I believed it was important that you came up with the idea yourself. I must say you did an excellent job.”
Steve was happy to hear the adulation. Still, he had a lingering question. “So if I didn’t come up with the idea to follow the story, would you have kept quiet all the way up to the point where they burned us alive?”
“I’m just so proud of you, Stephen,” Vulcan quickly replied, disconcertingly avoiding the question. “You did well today.”
Steve decided to let the question drop. He was feeling pretty good about himself, defeating the masked trio. He couldn’t wait to gloat to Davy once he got out of this cage.
Steve looked around at the electrified bars around him.
“Now what?” he asked.