"Burning Bridges" is the 8th episode of Desperate Schoolboys.
As Nick starts the fire, in hopes of rescuing Liz, all does not go to plan. And people get hurt. Ali reveals her past at the orphanage to Rena. Ben and Joe must escape from the flames with the use of their friendship. And Josh is put in a difficult position when it's up to him to save two lives.
Earlier today there was a fire at Wiksteria High...
Crowds of people are gathered around the school, which is on flames. Firemen are hosing down the fire.
Started by a disturbed young man...
Nick is in the crowd, shaking, standing alone.
Flashback to Nick sitting at the desk in his room, looking at blueprints of the school. He draws circles around the fire exits, and makes lines from classes towards them.
He obsessed over every detail, and was certain that everyone would make it out okay. And he was also certain that after the day was over, Liz would be so grateful for him saving her, that she would stay with him forever.
Flash to Nick's dream of him and Liz cuddling after he saves her from the fire, she thanks him over and over.
But that is not how things worked out. The fire was more destructive than Nick Williams had anticipated. And people got hurt.
Present day, a body wrapped up is taken away into an ambulance by hospital workers. Nick watches it in horror and begins to sob.
Yes, things went terribly wrong. And the consequences would greatly affect my friends.
16 Hours Earlier
Ali Sword was having difficulty sleeping. She kept on dreaming of her time at the orphanage.
Ali is in bed, tossing and turning.
She wasn’t dreaming of happy times. She wasn’t reminiscing about being popular. And she wasn’t recalling the close friendships she had. No, Ali Sword was dreaming of a darker time. A time when it was said, that she was insane...
Flashback to twelve years ago. A young Ali is sitting in the office of the orphanage. Sitting across from her is Mr Silver, the owner of the orphanage. Mr Silver says to her, "Ali. It's great to have an active imagination, but it's important you know the difference between reality and fantasy." "I know the difference, Mr Silver," Ali responds. "You do?" Mr Silver asks, "So you know which we are?" Ali nods, "We're real, of course." "Very good. And Miss Piggy? Do you know which she is?" Mr Silver continues. Ali smiles, with a childlike and innocent giggle, "The Muppets aren't real, Mr Silver, that's silly!" Mr Silver smiles, "Good. So, then, you know that your imaginary friend is not real either?" Ali's smile drops, "But my friend is real, Mr Silver." Mr Silver's smile also drops, his fists drop to surface of his desk, "No, Ali! He is imaginary..." "Nu-uh!" Ali interrupts. "Yes, Ali, he is!" Mr Silver tries to plead. Ali stands to her feet and begins to shout, "No, he isn't! You're a liar!" Mr Silver stands to his feet, with a flush of anger, "That's it! Go to your room, Alison!" Ali continues to scream, "You're a liar! A liar! LIAR!" Mr Silver grabs her forcefully by the arm and begins dragging her to her room, despite her cries that he is hurting her, "You have to control this imagination, Alison. Don't you want a mummy and daddy?! No one will take you as long as you are like this! No one wants a crazy girl!" As they make it to her room, Mr Silver pushes her inside and slams the door. Ali sobs.
Yes, Ali Sword was dreaming of a darker memory. One that she had hoped to forget.
Joe lies on Dr. Sonya's couch and the latter asks if it's ethical for the former to be in school in session after his suspension. Joe assures him that it's alright as it's not school business before Dr. Sonya asks Joe if he wants to talk about what happened. "What's to talk about? A guy was being a douche so I punched him. Simple," Joe says. Dr. Sonya nods, "But you know it's not okay to just... punch people?" he asks. "Not even if they were being a douche?" Joe wonders. "Even then," Sonya says. "Wow. Law is strict," Joe states. "So, what exactly was going through your mind when you hit Kimo?" Sonya asks. "That I was defending myself... avenging myself. I need to be able to take a stand," Joe tells him, Sonya asks why. "In case I'm ever in a dangerous situation." "What dangerous situation do you think you may come across?" Sonya wonders. "Depends," Joe tells him, "How much time do we have left?" Dr. Sonya tells Joe, "Look, I think you need to take this more seriously, I mean... you can't deny... this makes matters a bit more complicated." Joe shakes his head, laughing. "Joe, I think you better go home. You shouldn't be in school." "Excuse me?" Joe asks, Dr. Sonya says that he heard him and Joe refuses to leave. Sonya begs but Joe doesn't budge. "Joe, please leave, you shouldn't be here!" Sonya exclaims. "Well, I guess you're gonna have to remove me by force," Joe states.
Soon, Joe is being escorted out of the office by two of school's security workers. They are holding him by the arms as he protests, kicking his legs, he finally stops shouting. "Well," he says. "I suppose this puts a nice spin on things." He nods to himself. Back at the office, Dr. Sonya locks his door, which Joe notices, briefly, and he goes to place the key in the drawer but it falls to the floor and bounces under his desk. This goes unnoticed by the therapist.
Josh is on his way to class when he is approached by Val who stops him in his tracks, "s'up, fag?" she asks. "Excuse me?" he wonders. "You heard," she tells him, "What have you been smoking?" he asks her. "Oh, don't act like that. I know all about your little secret. I overheard you ball your little eyes out to that clever girl the other day... I know you like boys. And, to answer your previous question, it's medicinal." "You have no idea what you're talking about," he assures her. "Oh, but Josh, I most certainly do. I mean, think about it, it all makes sense. I mean, you didn't get hard over, well... me, you refused to tell me why, you've never slept with a girl and you clearly overcompensate for the fact that, well... we share a similar interest," she explains. "Whatever you heard... it's not true..." he assures her. "Oh is that right?" she asks, she then proceeds to announce something in the corridor, "Hey! Everyone! Josh Miller is a-" Josh grabs her and holds his hand over her mouth, shoving her up against the wall. "Oops, someone tripped," he announces, making the students relinquish their attention. "So... what do you want?" he asks, angry. "To expose you. To humiliate you. To make you pay the fucking piper. Isn't that justice?" she asks. He shakes his head. "You... you can't do this..." he states."I think you'll find I can..." she tells him. She slips out of his grip and begins to walk away; she turns back to him, "Don't worry, Josh. Every girl wants a gay best friend. Just consider yourself my gay worst enemy, and me, your bi-curious worst nightmare," she warns him before walking away. Josh looks worried.
Nick is standing in the hallway. He watches Liz going into her class, on the first floor of the school. He briefly looks at the fire exit, nearby, and then heads upstairs, satisfied. On the second floor of the school he walks into the classroom directly above Liz's class, which is currently empty for the period. Inside the empty class he puts down his schoolbag and takes out two bottles of gasoline, which he proceeds to spray all over the room. He takes out a match, strikes it and then drops it. He watches as the room is engulfed with flames and smiles, before exiting the room.
Joe is thrown out of the school gates by the security and they lock it behind themselves. Joe looks up at the fence and sees Ben walk by, on his way to class, "Hey! Ben!" Joe calls, asking his friend to wait up, which he does, as Joe climbs over the fence. "How're you?" Joe asks. "You stopped me for that?" Ben wonders. Joe explains how bored he's been and so Ben asks if Joe would like to walk to class with him, he obliges. Soon, they're walking through the school halls. "So, how's everything going on the Liz front?" Joe wonders. "It isn't," Ben explains. "Oh..." Joe states, awkwardly. "Joe, are you sure you should be here?" Ben asks, Joe answers negatively but continues walking nonetheless. "Okay..." says Ben. He and Joe both approach the class to see smoke coming from beneath the door and a bright light from inside. "What. The. Fuck?" Joe wonders. Soon, the door is engulfed by flames and they see the damage done to several classrooms with the walls crumbled, adjacent to the one with the flaming door. Suddenly, the fire alarm sounds and a mass of people, panicked, come running passed Joe and Ben, in a horde. However, Ben is taken down by the crowd and engulfed. "Ben?" Joe calls, "Ben?!" Joe beats through the crowd and lifts Ben, whose nose is bloody, to his feet. He asks his he's okay and Ben nods. "Come on, we have to escape." Joe says, the crowd now cleared. They make a break for it but flames block their way. "This is the only close exit!" Ben yells. "Dr. Sonya!" Joe yells, "What about him?!" Ben wonders. "He locked himself in his office, I saw him do so to keep me out, and now he might be trapped!" he exclaims, running off in the opposite direction. A reluctant Ben follows.
Nick, back on the first floor, looks at Liz's class. The classroom is evacuating, with a teacher leading the pupils out. He sees Liz with them and prepares to run over. However Liz turns round and goes back into the room, alone. Nick gives a surprised expression, before running towards the class. Inside the classroom, Liz walks towards Val, "Come on, Val, that's the fire alarm." Suddenly the doorway to the classroom collapses, as rubble falls from the lighted room above. Liz and Val look in horror to see they are trapped in the room, as the flames block the doorway. Nick looks inside to see them trapped and screaming for help and out of fear. Nick prepares himself to jump through the flames and save them. He stands, shaking and sweating. However he turns back around and heads for the fire exit, alone. He gives a final glance of regret at the class as the two girls scream for help, before exiting the school, feeling ashamed he wasn’t able to save Liz.
Rena and Ali, on the top floor of the school, are walking down the staircase, alone. "I can't believe you convinced me to go up there on the day the fire alarm goes off," Ali says, "Its empty." "Yeah, it's not used anymore. And don't worry about the fire alarm, these checks are pretty routine," Rena explains. As they continue to go downwards, Rena asks, "So, you were telling me about your dream? For a change." They smile, before Ali answers, "Yeah, it was nothing. Just an unpleasant memory from the orphanage..." Ali stops in her words, and proceeds to sniff the air. "There's smoke," she says. Rena sniffs also, "So there is. We better get downstairs." They continue to walk down the staircase at a faster pace, until they stop when they reach a floor where the air is completely dominated by smoke. They each cover their faces and cough, as they struggle to breath. They look around to see flames seeping through the stair doors, and the wall around it crumbling. Rena grabs Ali by the hand and they continue going downwards, together. Suddenly there is a loud crash as the wall falls apart, a large wooden supporting beam falls towards them. They each scream and let go of each other's hands and jump out of its way. Rena jumps to the ground, and hears the beam fall to the concrete floor. He is surrounded by dust. He stands, coughs and blows the dust from his face. As it clears, he looks to see Ali trapped under the beam, surrounded by rubble. He runs over to her as she screams, "Help, get it off!"
Josh stands outside as the fire brigade show up and watches the burning school, he sees a soot-covered Nick run out of an exit and heads him off. "Hey, Nick, right? What the hell is going on in there?!" he asks, concerned. "I don't know..." Nick lies, "I assumed it was routine." "Well, clearly not!" Josh exclaims. He asks if he saw anyone else inside, Nick pauses and cries. "Yes... two people,, that Val girl and... And... And Liz," he says, crying. "Liz is in there?!" Josh exclaims. Nick nods and Josh goes running towards the entrance. Firemen try and chase him and stop him but he outruns them, going into the flames. Josh kicks the doors to multiple classrooms open, shielding his mouth of smoke with his hand. Eventually, he finds Liz and Val, trapped by the flames. "Josh, run! That ceiling's about to collapse!" Liz exclaims. "No! Save us!" Val pleads. "He'd only have time to save one!" Liz yells.
Joe and Ben run to Dr. Sonya's office door, Ben tries to open it but burns his hand on the knob, it is locked, as predicted. "Hello?" they hear Brad's voice call from inside. "Dr. Sonya, it's okay, we can get you out of this!" Joe exclaims. "Yes, now let's work to break down the door," Ben suggests. Joe gives the door a fowl kick but it doesn't budge. "Of course, you've reinforced it since the last time I did that," he says, kicking himself. "Joe! Go!" Sonya yells. Ben keeps attacking the door as Joe searches. "I'm not just gonna leave you!" Joe exclaims. "Why is this so important to you?!" Sonya yells. "Because you've helped me so much already and I'm trying to be the one doing the helping for once so just sit down, shut up and let me rescue you! Except don't sit down 'cause you'll burn your fucking ass off but just wait!" Joe yells. Sonya is silent, "Okay..." he states. Ben pulls a fire hydrant from the wall. "There's irony for you," he says. He and Joe grab the thing and bust the door open with it. As Ben tames the flames with the hydrant, Joe walks into the smoke. He is nowhere to be seen for some time and Ben calls out for him, "Joe?!" Soon, Joe emerges from the flames, coughing, and his arm around Dr. Sonya, who's doing the same. "Now, let's get the hell out of here!" Ben exclaims. The three of them run.
Rena is surrounded by flames and smoke. He looks down at Ali, trapped under the beam. "Please, Rena! Help me!" she yells, crying her eyes out. Rena looks her in the eye, "Oh, god! I promise, Ali. I am going to get you out!" Rena grabs the burning hot beam, and tries with all his might to shift it. He tries pushing. He tries pulling. He tries lifting. The beam doesn't move an inch. "Push with me!" he yells. Ali tries to push the burning beam, she cries as its to no avail. She looks up at Rena, "Rena, listen. I need to tell you something." "You can tell me later," Rena says, still trying to lift the beam. Ali ignores him and continues, "When I was at the orphanage, there was a boy. A boy who was my closest friend. And then, one day, he disappeared. Everyone told me that he didn't exist. That I made him up. The owner said I was crazy!" Rena looks confused, "Ali, I don't understand." Ali goes on, "I've never forgotten that boy. And I never believed I made him up, despite what they said. But only now are the memories becoming clearer. I can properly remember him, now!" "Ali, why are you telling me this?" Rena asks. Ali answers, "Because, Rena, that boy was you."
Josh sees the ceiling shake and panics, he looks from one girl to the other and immediately leaps when the rumblings become persistent. He grabs Liz and drags her to safety, pulling her past the flames, "Run! Come on! We have to!" Josh exclaims. "You mean... you're just gonna leave her to die?!" Liz yells. Josh thinks for a moment but the ceiling shakes once more, "Go! I'll meet you out there... hopefully... now go!" he yells. Liz obliges and runs to safety, Josh is left with Val. Part of the ceiling falls and Josh narrowly avoids it as it hits the floor. He tries to dive for Val but the flames are too big. "Just admit it," she yells, "Your reputation is more important than my life!" Josh shakes his head, now determined. He runs past the flames and grabs Valentina, dragging her, too, to safety. The ceiling rumbles and more of it caves in as Josh manages to throw Val out of the door. His foot gets caught under some rubble just as the flames are about to consume the new wreckage but Val drags him out by his hand. As Val and Josh carry each other out of the building, the entire ceiling of the room they were in finally collapses, causing distinguishable damage from the outside as the rest of the school remains ablaze, they cough due to smoke inhalation. "I'm sorry I doubted you," Val tells him. "So you should be. Better start getting used to it, my reputation is as good as dead," he says. Val shakes her head. "No, Josh. You just saved my life. That changed things," she assures him before strutting away. Josh smiles.
A blackened and bloody Ali is lying on the burning hot ground, surrounded by rubble and still under the beam. Rena continues trying to push the beam. Ali begins to look drowsy, "Rena..." Rena looks over at her, "Ali, I'm here. I'm here. Just keep it together." "Rena...don't you want to talk about what I said?" Ali asks. "We'll talk about it after! I'm going to get you out of here!" Rena tells her. Rena continues to push, but let's out a scream of anger as he realizes it's pointless. Ali, struggling to keep awake, looks over, "Rena, there is no helping me. But thank you for being my friend. I love you, Rena." Rena collapses to his knees besides her, and grabs her hand tight, sobbing with tears, "No! Don't you say goodbye! Don't you leave me!" "I love you so much." Ali adds. Rena screams in pain as Ali begins mouthing words and her eyes begin to close. Suddenly firemen appear from behind, "Come on, kid, this place is about to fall!" They grab Rena and begin backing him out the door. Rena kicks and screams, fighting them as he is dragged out. Ali watches him leave, and their eyes meet once more, before the ceiling above her collapses and she is engulfed by the flames and rubble. Rena screams after her, "Oh, god! No, god, please! ALI!!!"
Earlier today there was a fire at Wiksteria High. It was started by a disturbed young man, who hoped to save a girl, in order to win her affection. But it went wrong. My friends had endured a frightful ordeal. And some had suffered a tremendous loss.
Rena is forced outside, screaming and kicking, by the firemen.
But they had also learned something. They had learned about friendship, that some friends can always be counted on, because they are courageous.
Ben and Joe are standing together outside, watching Rena.
They had learned that inner strength is required to get what we want, and that sometimes cowardice can prevent it.
An ashamed Nick is also standing in the crowd, he looks in horror at what he's caused.
They had learned about forgiveness and redemption, rewards that can come from bravery.
Josh is standing with Liz and Val, also watching.
But they had also learned life's hardest lesson of all, that life is very fragile and very often unfair.
Everyone looks in horror and sheds tears as Ali's body, covered, is taken into an ambulance.