Tag Archives: murder

Black Widow (revision)

Yes. I’m a Black Widow, but I’m not a widow. I’m unhappily married to a freeloading spider who just squats around the web doing nothing but waste his precious energy and cost me precious sleep. I get so agitated with him sometimes. He’s always up at weird hours, shaking the web. Whenever I feel it vibrate, I race over to see if I caught something to eat, but then it’s always him just putzing around. Every. Time! He’s probably scaring away the gnats around this garage, too. Who made this web? Who supports this family? Certainly not him, and he doesn’t show a lot of gratitude for it. My friends say I should have slurped up his liquefied remains a long time ago, but marriage should last forever, shouldn’t it? But now, looking at him wave around that big jaundiced hourglass on his backside, I’m not so sure. And then he turns around and I see those rows of loathsome eyes just leering at me, and I just want to coil that sucker up and inject all my venom sacs straight into his face!

But it’s marriage. Marriage is supposed to be forever. I just don’t know how much more I can take, though. If he doesn’t shape up soon, I may just have to eat the little bastard.

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Filed under Flash Fiction

Unique Rabbit (Revision)

Had that dream for the thousandth time. Ice cold sweats and the hangover hits my brain like a sack full of babies hitting the pavement. Left the T.V. on the Playboy channel. It’s in black and white. Just to look classy, I guess. They’re both wearing hats like in Casablanca, but that’s about all they’re wearing. Porn directors try too hard nowadays. Why even bother?

I shovel in a handful of Lady Scout cookies from the side of my bed—peanut butter today. Breakfast of champs. I bought a hundred boxes of them from Vanessa a couple years back and still have a whole closet full. She wanted to win some day camp trip or some damn thing so she could go with her friends. The cookies are all I have left of her now. The movie doesn’t turn me on at all but I knuckle off a load anyway. Makes my headache worse but I ignore it. For a second, I think I may be the only man on Earth who’s snacked on Lady Scout cookies and yanked it before getting out of bed. But there’s probably a whole mess of jerk wads like me. It’s a depressing thought. I cram a handful more cookies in my mouth before getting out of bed.

The mattress squeals and I slowly stumble over to the fridge to get some milk to wash it down. Out of milk. Lucky me.

First day back at work after my transfer. Mouth feels sticky. Chief jumps out of nowhere like one of those long-armed monkeys and claps me on the back.

“You look like Hell, Jack.”

“You’re not the prettiest guy either, Chief.” He laughs nervously. The guy’s scared of me. I punched out the chief at my old station the day after I got off personal leave. He told me it was illegal to have a rabbit doll hanging from the windshield of my squad car—obstructing vision while driving or some B.S. I stopped paying attention after he told me to take off the rabbit. That was Vanessa’s plush doll and he knew it. He had the right hook coming. Maybe not the kick in the ribs, but he was out cold by then anyway. In my defense, he was kind of a dick. Still, it could be that I needed those anger management classes.

Been working almost thirty years on the force so they let me off with a transfer to some shitty station all the way across the state, far enough from Brooklyn not to give anyone grief. I took everything with me, even the cookies.

When I was transferred, I pretty much lost all my seniority. I mean, I have it for retirement ‘n all, but I can’t be caught spraying the toilet seat or they’ll can my ass for good.

My new partner’s name is Charley. He’s a squirrelly kid with big messed up teeth (don’t they have a dental plan in this precinct?). I like to take naps on patrol but the guy never shuts up. I think they put me with him just for a lark, but I should feel lucky to still have a job. Yeah, I’m a lucky guy.

“Hey, Jack! I got a good one today,” Charley tells me as we crouch into the cruiser.

“Not today, Charley.”

“How do you catch a unique rabbit?”

“Charley, I’m about three seconds from—”

“Unique up on it!”

I died a little inside. Charley kept yapping.

“How do you catch a tame rabbit?”

“I don’t know, Charley? With a pistol?”

“The tame way! Unique up on it!” Every day with this shit. Charley’s the kind of guy that sends you forwarded messages with pictures of adorable kittens. His parents probably said “H. E. Double Hockey stick” when they were angry instead of throwing an empty beer bottle at his head. No one can stand him, but I don’t think he notices. I think he might be retarded.

“My aunt used to tell me that one.”

“Just ‘cause you had a traumatic childhood, Charles, doesn’t mean you got to lay it on the rest of us.”

“Shut up, Jack!” he sulked, then laughed.

“Just drive, you mook.” The quiet sound of the engine kicking is usually the highlight of my day.

I manage some shut-eye for a while, but I have this recurring nightmare I’ve been having for several days now. There’s this big shadow just taking my Vanessa and violating her and she screams and I want to tear this guy apart limb from limb but I can’t move. I reach my hands out but it’s like I’m chained to something. So I snarl and cry my damn eyes out until he pulls out a knife and that’s when I wake up. That’s when I always wake up, as if the first part wasn’t horrible enough. Never told my shrink about it. She’d probably just give me more pills to swallow.

I’m sweating through my shirt, breathing like a chain-smoking pitbull. Charley’s staring right at me.

“Jack, are you all right? You were rolling around in your seat. Did you have a bad dream? My dog does that sometimes when she’s dreaming about chasing small animals.”

“You got a green light!” I snap. “Look at the road, not me! Ya weirdo…” While Charles is stomping the gas, I wipe the sweat off my face. I hate those damn dreams, but I’m almost glad for them, too. They remind me of her, what she sounded like, and what happened to her. I don’t want my memories of her to fade in a drunken haze like I did with her mother after cancer slit her throat. And I don’t ever want to forgive that man, either. I want to remember. I have to.

Charley’s glancing at me again. I must have looked scary or something because his eyes are stapled to the pavement ahead of the car. Well, at least he’s paying attention to the road now. The pedestrians are always ridiculous around here. I look back at the road and I can see what looks like Vanessa stepping out in front of the car. Probably the DTs. Just as I squeeze my eyes shut to make her go away, the car screeches to a stop. The shoulder strap almost knocks the wind right out my chest.

“I almost hit that girl!” Charley cries, opening the door without even checking for oncoming traffic. The way we’re positioned has us jackknifed across both lanes.

“What girl?” I snap, opening the passenger side.

Charley is helping a young girl up from the street and apologizing about a hundred different ways. She has a jPod plugged into her ear and she dropped her phone on the street (no wonder she didn’t see the car coming). When she pushes the hair back from her eyes, though, I can feel my balls almost suck back into my stomach. She’d be fifteen by now, the same age as this girl. The same dark hair. The same freckles on her face. The same mole above her collar bone. She even has the same huffy motions when she’s mad.

I’m almost afraid. I saw Vanessa’s body the night she was murder. I ran through the barricade when I overheard it my be her. And it was—I’m sure it was. I know what my shrink would say. I used to see Vanessa all the time and she’d say I was “projecting my desires.” But this is different. This isn’t the profile of some girl walking around a corner. I mean to ask the girl if she’s okay. Instead it comes out as “Are you Vanessa?”

Charley and the girl both give me weird looks. I’m even more certain now. Vanessa gave me those same looks all the time, like I was some crazy old man and she must have been swapped at birth with another kid. “Vanessa? Is that you?”

“Get off of me!” the girl shouts, kicking me, but I’m already hugging her and sobbing like an infant.

Charley is trying to pry me off. There’s a crowd gathering. “Jack, get a hold of yourself.” I’ve seen scenes like these on T.V. where the guy’s finally cracked, so I take another look to be sure. She’s still my beautiful, big-nosed Vanessa with the dark eyes like her mother. But she looks scared as a skinned hare, so I let her go.

“You don’t recognize me? Vanessa, it’s Daddy.” Maybe my memory’s just gone to Hell. Maybe I don’t know what’s real anymore.

“Charley, I’m gonna take this girl in the car. We have to fill out some paperwork.”

“We don’t have to do that, Jack. Are you hurt, miss?”

“No, we do. Remember, code 802?”

Charley screws up his squirrelly little face trying to think. “…a cat in the road?”

“I’m fine! I’m just going to go home.” The girl wiggles her hand in the air and turns to go. Not again. I grab her other arm, trailing behind like a tail. She pulls and hollers, and I grab her other arm.

“Jack! Just let the girl go!”

“Get in the car, Charley.” Vanessa makes a small kick at my shin. My grip on her arms must be hurting her, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let go this time.

“Jack, I need you to calm down and let the girl go. We’ll talk about this later. I won’t tell the chief on you or nothing. Okay?” He smiles and nods like a dashboard bobble head.

“Get in the damn car, Charley!” I can see people gathering around in the corner of my eyes. They’re probably thinking police brutality, the way the girl is screaming. Someone is holding up his cell phone, probably taking video.

“All right, but I’m calling this in to the chief.” My asshole jumps into my stomach. I pull out my sidearm. “Get in the back, Charley. You too, Vanessa!”

Charley does what he’s told. Vanessa struggles a bit, but I manage to push her into the back of the squad car, holding her head to make sure she doesn’t hit it going in.

I start driving to the sounds of a sobbing girl. Vanessa sounds a little different from what I remember, but that’s probably puberty. Charley wastes his energy reassuring her, then me. I spend a few stoplights sweating over where to go now that I’m a kidnapper. I pull off onto the 40 going east.

“Where is he taking us?” the girl asks. She’s afraid, and reasonably so, but it’s good to hear that she’s not crying. Makes my stomach rot to hear my girl cry like that.

“I don’t know. Jack, where are we headed?” Charley’s back to being Charley, now that I don’t have a gun pointed at him. “Back to Brooklyn. Maybe she’ll remember who she was.”

“My name’s Madison. I don’t know a Vanessa.”

“CAR 67. CAR 67. WHERE ARE YOU? WE’RE GETTING REPORTS ABOUT A POLICE OFFICER PULLING OUT HIS PISTOL ON 34TH. CHARLEY. JACK! RADIO BACK AND RETURN TO HQ IMMEDIATELY.”

I pick up the radio but the girl starts screaming and bawling as soon as I do. Lying to HQ wouldn’t buy me any more time if they can hear her screaming. I click it off. They’ll be trying to track me soon if people are calling in about my exploits downtown. What am I doing? My parents must have shaken me like a pinball machine when I was a baby.

“I’m sure we can work something out with the chief. I mean, you’re a cop and it was mistaken identity. You won’t press charges, will you, Madison?” Dear God. He thinks I’m some sort of psychopath or something.

“No. I won’t. Just let me go home.”

“How old are you, Madison?” I ask gently.

“…fifteen,” she sniffles.

Same age. Same looks. By all rights, this “Madison” is my daughter.

“Then it doesn’t matter whether you want to press charges. You’re a minor, so your parents are my judge, jury, and executioner.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair. I’m the one being kidnapped,” Madison says.

“Kidnapped? No. No. Look, we just need to get to a doctor I know. He can do a blood test to tell if you’re Vanessa’s twin or if you have amnesia or something. It’s the only other explanation I can think of. Maybe I’m your real Daddy. Don’t you want to know if you’re my daughter? Don’t you want to know if you had a sister?”

“I don’t think I do. You said that she was dead. I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s any point.”

“But she’d be your sister. I mean, don’t you want to know?”

“I’m sorry. I just want to go home. I want to go back to my family. My real father is probably worried sick about me.” The car is quiet for a few minutes until Charley opens his yap.

“Hey, Madison. Want to hear a joke?”

“Charley!” I snap. “The girl doesn’t want to hear your stupid jokes!”

“Why did the woman divorce the grape?”

I growl in frustration, swerving around all the slow cars that drive five miles per hour trying not to get a ticket around the squad car.

“I don’t know. Why?”

“She was tired of raisin kids.” Madison doesn’t laugh or say anything about how lame the joke is. She just sits there in the back and I can almost hear her thinking it over. What’s there to think over a joke that stupid?

“That’s pretty harsh. So, she didn’t like the kids just because of the way they looked?” She’s taking this way too seriously.

“No. It’s just a joke—a play on words.” Charley reassures her.

“I mean, she’s tired of having kids who are raisins so now she’s going to just abandon her family?”

“I don’t know… I never thought about that. Jack, what do you think?”

“Don’t give two shits. Just you and Vanessa keep quiet. I’m gonna call my doctor friend on the cell phone.”

“My name’s not Vanessa. It’s Madison.”

I try calling but it’s his voicemail prattling on about appointments. I throw the phone in the empty passenger side. Am I going crazy? Is this girl even here? No, she’s got to be. I have to be sane. Maybe she is a twin sister that my wife gave up. They say everybody’s got a double somewhere in the world. Or did that rapist murdering fuck not really kill Vanessa? Maybe she has amnesia from the trauma? But then whose body did I see? Somebody else’s. Must’ve been. I mean, that body was almost beyond recognition. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe forensics made a mistake.

“Jack! Sirens!” Charley shouts. Not that I’m complaining about the warning, but whose side is this numbnuts on? Does he really think I’m gonna pull over? I turn on my own sirens and step on the gas. Maybe they’re not coming after me. I click the radio…

“…67! PULL OVER! REPEAT…”

…so much for that.

I feel refreshed, gunning it past the cars as they make room for us, at least until I reach a barricade of squad cars at the tollbooths—toll roads bust my balls every time. I hammer on the breaks, and I can feel the tires on the right side leave the ground and crash back down to the earth.

I unbuckle my seatbelt and raise my hands in the air until officers raid the car, pulling me out on the hot pavement to feel me up a while until they’ve got my gun and they’re satisfied that I’m not keeping C-4 tucked under my balls.

Charley’s getting the pat down, too, though not nearly as rough. Madison’s standing there, looking every bit like my sweet Vanessa. She tries to smile at me, I think, but all it looks like is pity.

In spite of myself, I’m a little relieved. I don’t know who this girl is. I really want to know. But even if she’s not my daughter, she’s still alive and okay. Maybe better than she was with me. I can see a sliver of the moon even in the middle of the day, the taste of peanut butter in my mouth. Vanessa was always such a forward, rational thinker (she got that from her mother). She was always telling me to let things go.

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Filed under Session XXIV, Short Story

Monster

I kind of remember this frog I killed when I was nine. I remember being repulsed by it. It looked like some kind of freakish green monster. It leapt in the air so suddenly, like something out of a nightmare. But still, I was drawn to it. Rather than run away, I wanted to explore it. I wanted to chase it and find it and make it pay for scaring me. My heart raced from excitement and fear of the unknown.

I don’t remember how long it took me to catch the frog, but it seemed like a while. It wiggled in my hands with massive, disproportional legs. I held onto it tight this time, flapping it around against the air, giving it some sort of whiplash, at least against its legs since it didn’t really have a neck. I threw it against the ground. It took a moment but it tried to leap away. The only problem was the leg I was holding wasn’t working write. I’d broken him. The “monster,” as I called him, just flopped around in circles then settled to crawling away toward the pond.

I wouldn’t let him.

It didn’t take as long to catch him again. I grabbed the leg and put my foot against him and pull off his leg. I didn’t expect the leg to move in my hand so I dropped it. The frog had become disgusting again. It was opening and closing its mouth obscenely. I didn’t want it to live anymore, so I jumped on it and squished it over and over again. I had slain the monster. My heart beat so hard in my chest that I ran around my neighborhood like a maniac. I was so high on adrenaline. Nothing could touch me. Nothing at all.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Screaming Giant

Mainline City’s giant started screaming one day. He wasn’t usually like that. Usually he was a quiet giant. Usually, he just stood there saying nothing.

At 11:42, just before lunch, he just started screaming, louder than an air raid siren. And he didn’t stop, either. People were surprised at first, then they were just mildly annoyed. It wasn’t until about 7:30 at night that people began to think he wasn’t going to stop. The mayor called the governor who phoned other states. Nobody’s giant had started screaming. It was just Mainline City’s.

Understandably, this was bad for business and tourism. People could hear the giant screaming in the next cities. The governor called a meeting to figure out how to stop the giant. They tried reasoning with the giant, but the giant just screamed over their bullhorns. The people began to resent their giant. They demanded that he be stopped.

Building anything soundproof around the giant would be too costly, and they couldn’t reason with the giant. Nobody knew why he started screaming in the first place. Times weren’t great lately, but things had been relatively the same as long as most people could remember. After days of deliberation, they decided they needed to eliminate their giant. Nobody had killed their giant before, but not every city had a giant, after all. If they could at least drive him out, it would be best for everyone. It was the giant’s fault, after all. If he hadn’t started screaming, they wouldn’t have to do this. The giant had forced the city to act.

First, they cleared out the area. An emergency bulletin was issued, though not everyone heard about it over the screaming. Police shot him in the legs. Warning shots. They gave him an hour before they sent in fire brigade with axes and chainsaws. He demolished the entire city on his way down. It took another hour and a half before he started screaming. The ambulance came and declared him dead.

Cleanup took weeks. The smell stayed for months. No plants grew again where the giant had landed. The water in the city became tainted. The reach had moved out early on but even the middle class were packing up and leaving now. Mainline City became a blight on the map, a disgusting zit for the rest of the country to point at and wonder what went wrong. The government maintained that the giant began screaming on its own, but the people began to wonder what they could have done to make the giant scream like that. They wondered if it could, or would, happen to their giants, too.

The giants themselves remained tight-lipped, at least until the giants in Kinderton County began to weep uncontrollably. Suicide rates in Kinderton raised over 600% in the following year.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Lord Reginald

“I appreciate your candor,” Reginald said, moving effortlessly with the gait of his prized stallion.

Juniper was still getting the hang of horseback riding, bouncing up and down on her mare. She was a little frightened when Reginald invited her out for a ride, but who was she to turn down the lord of the manor?

“I’m honored, Lord Reginald,” Juniper stammered. “I never found that Geoffrey to be a very trustworthy man. Why, the nerve of him to think that you are anything but a noble, upstanding and God-fearin’ man.”

“Don’t concern yourself with Geoffrey any longer. He’ll be leaving my services shortly. I cannot trust him with my accounts after hearing what you’ve had to say. What about you, Juniper? The garden looks lovely as always. So many delicate flowers, I almost feel remorse to pluck and smell one so immaculately cared for.”

“Oh, Lord Reginald,” Juniper giggled, “Ye needn’t worry about it. You can, um, pluck at any flowers that catch your fancy, being as they belong to you and all.”

Reginald smiled slyly. “When you put it that way, Juniper, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if you made an elegant centerpiece for dinner with the minister and his wife this Sunday. It would be a feather in my cap for the church to know I have such beautiful things in my manor.”

“Oh, but of course, my lord! I’ll have it ready by and by!”

Reginald laughed, sounding out his “ha”s and “hm”s. “No need to rush, though I will need to see a sample of the arrangement this evening after supper.”

“Of course, m’lord,” Juniper’s voice turned into an abashed whisper.

The two rounded up their steeds, Reginald’s white stallion and Juniper’s diminutive palomino, to the stable boy. Juniper curtsied to Reginald and took her leave.

Reginald walked directly to Geoffrey’s office, not bothering to take the courtesy and knock on his door. He found the head butler, Peyton, who gladly used his master key to open Geoffrey’s office.

“Thank you, Peyton. If you would kindly wait outside until my business with Mr. Gibbs is completed?”

“Of course, my lord.”

“Close the door behind me, good man.”

Reginald did not bother to see Peyton’s nod or subsequent closing of the door. Peyton was loyal and Reginald had more urgent business with Geoffrey Gibbs.

“Oh, Reginald! I’m quite busy right now, if you’d like to return…”

“Geoffrey, you know that door is not supposed to be locked until after you have left the office, eh, my good chap?”

“Oh, was it? I must be tired, lately. I seem to be forgetting myself.” Geoffrey’s forehead had the very base habit of sweating more than necessary.

“May I see your quill, Geoffrey?”

“Excuse me?” Geoffrey asked.

“The little feather on your desk? You dip it in ink and use it to write?” Reginald made a writing gesture with his hand.

“Oh. Of course, my lord,” Geoffrey said, offering the quill pen to Reginald, who plucked it from Geoffrey’s sweaty palms.

Reginald smoothed the ridges of the feather with his fingertips. “Such a fine tool, the quill. One can build empires with a quill these days. And this one, so sharp. I admire a man who takes care of his tools. You know that, Geoffrey?”

“Thank you, my lord.”

Reginal seized the tip of the quill and pried open Geoffrey’s right eyelid, ramming the pen into Geoffrey’s eyeball. Reginald pulled the chair so it turned perpendicular to the desk and tossed Geoffrey backwards onto the floor. Throwing the bloody feather aside, Reginald began kicking and stomping the man’s wounded head.

“How dare you? How dare you slander my good name and plan to leave with my money and my employee! You, you onerous cur!”

Though the sole of Reginald’s boot was leaving Geoffrey’s face rather bloody, it wasn’t quite doing the job, not to mention squashing a man’s head took much more energy than squishing a cricket. Reginald looked to the desk and saw the brass candelabra Geoffrey used to work late at night. He seized it and turned to the bloodied Geoffrey, now trying to crawl across the floor. It only took a few more good whacks before Reginald had caved in Geoffrey’s low brow. He threw aside the candelabra, collected himself and walked back to the door.

“Peyton,” he panted.

“Yes, Lord Reginald?”

“Geoffrey will no longer be under my employment. See that he leaves without making a large fuss.”

“Of course, my lord.”

“Oh, and Peyton. I’ll be needing a replacement pair of boots as well. There’s a good chap.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Closure (revision and new ending for “Worst Mistake”)

“Let’s just get some coffee.”

Aiko sighs, as if to say, “Yes, let’s go but I still hate you.” Yeah, well the feeling’s mutual.

The Starbucks is too crowded. The line goes to the door and the seats are all taken up. “Man, I hate lines.”

“Well, you wanted to go here.”

“Yeah, this was a mistake.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Should have never met up with you,” I mumbled.

What?”

“Nothin’.”

“No, I discretely heard you say…” Distinctively. Get it right. “What?”

“What do you mean ‘what’?”

“It looked like you were about to say something. You get that look on your face.”

“No. I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Whatever!” I sigh, throwing my hands into the air.

Aiko’s face gets fireball red. “Don’t do that. Don’t you do that!”

Someone pokes me in the back. “Hey! You’re next in line. They’ve been calling for you.”

I take a deep breath. “Oh. Sorry.” Everyone around is looking at us. Let’s just get this over with.

Aiko nudges me out of the way. “Grande Chai tea with soy, no water. Five pumps. He’s paying.”

Shit. “Um, I’ll have a… pumpkin latte. The cold version.”

“Iced pumpkin latte?”

“…yeah.” I hand her the card.

“Size?”

“I’ll take the small.”

“Tall?”

“Yeah, the small one. Tall.”

I hold out my card. “Uh, debit.”

“Here or to go?”

“Here. I mean, to go.”

She glares at me and changes something on the register. “Name?”

“Huh?” I’m waiting for her to take the card.

“Your name?” She could probably look at the card and get my name. “It’s Kouta. What’s your name?”

“…Tara.”

“Pretty name. I feel like we go through the same conversation every time, Tara.” I expect Aiko to get jealous but she’s already hitting on some graybeard in a suit.

Tara flashes me a fake smile. “Your coffee will be ready in a minute. Next please!”

I bring back the drinks. Tara managed to procure the old guy’s table and slip him her number. She thinks she’s sly, like a little female ninja and shit. She has money, sure, but she never bothered to learn the trade.

“Here,” I throw the drink to her side. “So, when can I pick up my shit from your dad’s? It’s kind of embarrassing that it’s there at all.”

“I’ll have my people drop your stuff off. Just give me your address.”

I take a sip. It scalds my tongue. I try to swallow it fast, which was just as bad an idea for my throat. “You can understand if I’d rather you not know where I live,” I say hoarsely.

“Hmph. Well, good luck getting your stuff back.”

I run my hand through my hair. “Just set a place and time. That’s all.”

She sits back, probably thinking about how best to take my balls away from me.

“Well… maybe—”

A shuriken chops into the table.

“Ninjas? You really hate me that much?”

“No, I—”

No time to talk. The ninjas leap out from the ceiling, one from the back, where they’d been lurking. Only three. Good. I can probably take three as long as there aren’t more waiting to ambush me.

The first leaps down, chops the table in half. No time to grab anything with my hands. I kick the chair into his face and he chops that in half. I stomp his sword to keep it down and uppercut his jaw. Ninja are trained not to pass out, so I know it will take more than one well-placed punch. Still, I have to duck under another sword swishing toward my ears and let this first one go free. I kick back but he’s already gone. These guys aren’t going to let me finish the fight fast.

#2 swings again and I turn to the side, jump above the next swing, and duck beneath the third. I roll over the remaining half of the table to the area where the couches are. Tara is frozen in fear, so I push her to the back room. “Move!”

I am an eel, twisting around their blades. Ninja swords are fast, yes, but the human body can twist and turn like a mirage. Intuition has to read moves in addition to what the eyes see. I toss the coffee machine at them, followed by the register. They chop out with their swords to move through, as expected. I take my knives out of my pocket and throw them out.  #2 is able to block the one heading for his neck but not the one that skewers his liver. #3 throws his own projectile, a shuriken aimed at the back of my head. I duck and back flip over the counter. I launch an obvious sweep kick, which he easily jumps over. The ninja points his sword down to impale me. I do a kangaroo kick from the ground and catch him in the stomach. Even with the wind knocked out of him, he tries to impale me but I catch it in my palms. #1 flies over the counter, also aiming to impale me. I twist and slide my head out of the way, spinning to tear the wakizashi out of the #3’s hands. I smack #1 with the hilt, using the change in momentum to slide the hilt up into my own hands. I stab behind me to catch #3 in the stomach, removing the sword to catch #1’s next strike. I backpedal, backpedal, flip back over the couch, smashing through the front window. The ninja flips after me to bury his sword into my head. I block upward and he plants his foot into my chest. I think I hear a rib crack. I raise the sword above my head as a distraction and return a kick of my own. He sees the feint, steps back and throws a shuriken. I move slightly so it catches my arm and not in any vital areas. I pull it out and toss it aside.

“Hyaa!” I cry, tearing the wakizashi down, only to cut air. My wounds have made me slow. The ninja flips back and pulls his sword back for a killing blow. I raise my arm to block, though I know a stab like this will mortally wound me if I don’t disarm perfectly. To my surprise, a body rises up behind the ninja. He looks back to meet the new challenger, but too late. A knife slides aptly into his neck and out again, creating a fountain of blood, splattering across an outdoor table.

“Aiko?”

“Father!” she screams, blood spattering her face. “Come out!”

A dark-haired man walks out, coffee cup in hand. “Dooshite, Aiko? I thought I was doing you a favor? We both want to be rid of Kouta.”

“That’s not true!”

“I thought you hated this man. Why do you kill my men so needlessly, child?”

“I… I don’t… I…”

“Hmph. You still love him.” He looks down on her in disgust. Aiko kneels to the ground, hiding her face in her hands.

I breathe heavily, now fully feeling the cracked rib and shuriken wound. I really don’t need this right now.

“Look, I’m just here for my stuff. Aiko and I are through.”

“And why should I believe you?” I see his hands moving slightly toward his beltline. “You meet my daughter in private and think I won’t know. You insult me!”

“Sir, I don’t—” I barely have time to raise my arm to my gut before I have another shuriken enter my already-pierced arm. The cracked rib has slowed me down.

“You think I’m a fool? Men like you and I don’t give up. We take what we want.”

“Father! Stop it!”

He steps over and slaps her to the ground. Not that I care about Aiko specifically but some very primitive sense of chivalry demands that I step up to defend a woman being slapped.

“Hey! Your fight’s with me!” I’m a moron.

“Hmph.” His eyes are the eyes of a killer. Like, a guy who would sooner slit your throat than have you breath on him. Like a hardcore, kill puppies for fun kind of dude. Wait. I’m a killer, too… aren’t I?

“Let’s,  um… let’s take this out back.” I point the sword to the kitchen and accidentally smash it into what little unbroken glass their was. Oops.

“Fine.”

We walk through the kitchen, myself taking the lead since I suggested it in the first place. I try not to think too hard about the man behind me ready to cut me in half. The workers are all huddled  up in various corners looking like terrified mice. I guess we’re pretty terrifying, us carrying swords and me all covered in various people’s blood, including my own. I must look like something out of a Japanese horror film or something, like the one with the guy who gets off on stabbing girls in bags while raping them. Tara screams in horror at the sight of us and starts sobbing. Oh well. I guess I never had a shot with her anyway.

I’m not sure what I expected from going to the back. It’s not much more isolated really, and I didn’t come up with any sort of plan to get out of this during the short walk from the front to the back. Time to face the piper, I guess.

The sword in my good hand feels heavy, like it’s mocking me. I could still be at home. I didn’t have to be here with a ninja sword killing ninjas. I just wanted to get my stuff back…

Aiko’s father takes the jodan stance, sword raised above his head. He wants to cleave me in half, though maybe he’s being overconfident. At least I hope he is. I take the gedan stance, if only because I don’t have the strength to hold the sword much higher.

“Father!” Aiko bursts out and we make our moves in the distraction.

Admittedly, I would have a large amount of steel going through my brain right now if I didn’t have the shuriken still tucked up my sleeve. With his neck exposed, I toss star right into his throat. He pauses mid-swing to feel at his neck. If he wasn’t gurgling from the blood collecting in his throat, I would almost have sworn he was trying to laugh.

“Father! No!” Aiko races toward her dying father. He tries to push her out of the way but is too disoriented from all the blood escaping from his neck wound to have any sort of strength or balance. Aiko removes the ninja star from his throat to put pressure on it, though by doing so, she probably has sealed his fate. The blood is too much for her hands to stem.

“Oh my God! Father! No! Stop! S-s-stop!” She is bawling over her dying father, who has stopped trying to laugh now as he grows paler by the second.

“Um, Aiko…”

“Shut up! Go away!”

I consider asking her about getting my stuff, but this may just be one of those times to cut my losses.

Sorry Aiko. We were never going to work out, but I never intended to hurt you this badly. I don’t expect you to forgive me but hopefully someday you’ll be able to move on. Preferably without sending your ninjas bring back my severed head for closure.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXI

Worst Mistake

“Let’s just get some fucking coffee.”

Aiko sighs, as if to say, “Yes, let’s go but I still hate you.” Yeah, well I hate you too, bitch.

The Starbucks iss too crowded. “Man, I hate lines.”

“Well, you wanted to go here.”

“Yeah, I really regret doing this.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Should have never met up with you,” I mumbled.

What?”

“Nothin’.”

“No, I discretely heard you say…” Distinctively. Get it right. “What?”

“What do you mean ‘what’?”

“It looked like you were about to say something. You get that look on your face.”

“No. I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Whatever!” I sigh, throwing my hands into the air.

“Don’t do that. Don’t you do that!”

Someone pokes me in the back. “Hey! You’re next in line. They’ve been calling for you.”

I take a deep breath. “Oh. Sorry.” Everyone around is looking at us. Let’s just get this over with.

Aiko nudges me out of the way. “Grande Chai tea with soy, no water. Five pumps. He’s paying.”

Shit. “Um, I’ll have a… pumkin latte. The cold version.”

“Iced pumpkin latte?”

“…yeah.” I hand her the card.

“Size?”

“I’ll take the small.”

“Tall?”

“Yeah, the small one. Tall.”

I hold out my card. “Uh, debit.”

“Here or to go?”

“Here. Or, to go.”

She glares at me and changes something on the register. “Name?”

“Huh?” I’m waiting for her to take the card.

“Your name?” She could probably look at the card and get my name. “It’s Kouta. What’s your name?”

“Tara.”

“Pretty name. I feel like we go through the same conversation every time, Tara.” I expect Aiko to get jealous but she’s hitting on gray-heard guy in a suit.

Tara flashes me a fake smile. “Your coffee will be ready in a minute. Next please!”

I bring back the drinks. Tara managed to procure the old guy’s table and slip him her number. She thinks she’s sly, like a little female ninja and shit. She has money, sure, but she ain’t secretive.

“Here,” I throw the drink to her side. “So, when can I pick up my shit from your dad’s? It’s kind of embarrassing that it’s there at all.”

“I’ll have my people drop your stuff off. Just give me your address.”

I take a sip. It scalds my tongue. I try to swallow it fast, which was just as bad an idea for my throat. “You can understand if I’d rather you not know where I live.”

“Hmph. Well, good luck getting your stuff back.”

I run my hand through my hair. “Just set a place and time. That’s all.”

She sits back, probably thinking about how best to take my balls away from me.

“Well… maybe—”

A shuriken chops into the table. Ninjas.

“You sent your ninjas?!”

“No, I—”

No time to talk. The ninjas leap out from the ceiling, one from the  back, where they’d been lurking. Only three. Good. I can probably take three.

The first leaps down, chops the table in half. No time to grab anything with my hands. I kick the chair into his face and he chops that in half. I put my foot on the sword as it is down and uppercut his jaw. Ninja are trained not to pass out, so I know it will take more than that. Still, I have to duck under the sword swishing toward my ears and let this first one go. I kick back but miss. These guys aren’t going to let me finish the fight fast.

#2 swings again and I turn to the side, jump above it, and duck again. I roll over the table half to the back table. Tara is frozen in fear, so I push her to the back room. “Move!”

I am an eel, twisting around their blades. The coffee machine goes flying out, as does the register. They chop out with their swords to move through, as expected. I take my knives out of my pocket and throw them out. It hits one in the neck, but the other dodges. #3 throws his own projectile, a shuriken aimed at the back of my head. I duck and back flip over the counter. A sweep kick which he jumps over and points his sword down to impale me upon. I do a kangaroo kick from the ground and catch him in the stomach. Still, he tries to impale me but I catch it in my palms. #1 flies over the counter, also aiming to impale me. I twist and slide my head out of the way, spinning to tear the katana out of the #3’s hands. I smack #1 with the hilt, using the change in momentum to slid the hilt up into my own hands. I stab behind me to catch #3 in the stomach, removing the sword to catch #1’s next strike. I backpedal, backpedal, flip back over the couch, smashing through the front window. The ninja flips after me to catch his sword on my head. I block upward and he plants his foot into my chest. I think this cracks a rib, but I can’t stop to cry about it. I spin the sword above my head as a distraction to give a kick of my own. He steps back and throws a shuriken. I move slightly so it catches my arm and not in any vital areas. I pull it out and toss it aside.

“Hyaa!” I cry, tearing the katana down, only to cut air. My wounds have made me slow. The ninja flips back and pulls his sword back for a killing blow. I raise my arm to block, though I know a stab like this will mortally wound me if I don’t disarm perfectly. To my surprise, a body rises up behind the ninja. He looks back to meet the new challenger, but too late. A knife slides aptly into his neck and out again, creating a fountain of blood, splattering across an outdoor table.

“Father!” she cries. “Come out!”

A dark-haired man walks out, coffee cup in hand. “What’s wrong, Aiko. I thought I was doing you a favor? We both want to be rid of Kouta.”

“No!”

“I thought you hated this man. Why would you kill one of my men, child?”

“I… I don’t… I still…”

“Hmph. You still love him.” He looks down on her in disgust as she kneels to the ground and cries.

I breathe heavily, now fully feeling the cracked rib and shuriken wound. “Say what?” I really don’t need this right now.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XX