Now What?

Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. Her dead eyes will haunt me for the rest of my days, but that isn’t the issue here. No, I had fallen in love with her. I’m a stupid statistic of the Stockholm syndrome. And even knowing this, I can’t bring myself to be happy.

She gave my life meaning. My meaning was to please her, and now she is gone.

“Mam, can you identify the victim?” The police officer asks me, his walkie-talkie statics into the empty night.

They don’t know. They don’t know she took me from my boring undergrad and whisked me into her whirlwind of a life – Paris, Morocco, Tokyo.

A flash to the beatings too, her tornado like bursts of anger that left me bruised and sometimes broken as I shuffled to find us another hotel room.

There had been moments I could have escaped but then where would I be? Later, a slap would hit my face and knock a tooth loose and I’d remember standing in the middle of some million-person city and think, “if I had only disappeared when I had the chance.”

But my captor needed me, she needed me the way anyone needs their lover. She chose me, I was special – in her eyes.

The eyes that now stare blankly towards the summer night sky.

“I just met her tonight,” I lie.

“Did you hear any noises? See what took this woman down?”

We had just left the bar. The rain poured down our bodies – horrible weather for an ambush. We ran three blocks, laughing, drunk, until she pushed me to the wall and kissed me hard. It was beautiful, the feeling of having her eyes on me alone, her lips on mine, I’d never been enamored by a woman – by anyone – until my captor found me.

She kissed me, tugged at my hair, and then the bullet came. I will forever wonder if she was shielding me from it’s blast.

“What brought you out tonight?” The officer continues his questioning.

I shrug. “Bar hopping.”

“And that’s where you met this woman?”

No one in the bar knew anything about us, no one would refute it. So, I nod in agreement.

“Did you hear anything?”

“A loud bang. A bullet, I guess, and then –“ I gesture to my dress, soaked wet with water and blood.
The police officer looks around, towards vantage points before breaking the static and sending a message through his walkie-talkie.

“Check the rooftops, we may have a sniper.” The officer waits for a response then turns back to my captor. “Someone had a bone to pick with this gal.”

I shrug again, keeping the emotion from my face.

“You’re free to go.” The officer states, slowly, assessing me with his eyes. “Unless you want to come down to the station.”

I shake my head. I wonder where I’d go next. What life would be worth living after my captor and her violent love?


A #FinishThatThought tale.

By the Victors

Written for this past week’s Flash!Friday

Warning: Violence



I know all about humanity’s stupidity; I am a historian. Yet, I have fallen all the same.

They came into our home through the backyard. A simple shadow that grew into an entire platoon and by then it was too late. Every warning, every caution to flee, every hole in my own security – they all flashed through my mind as the butt of a gun smashed the sliding glass door. Then they killed my dog and time sped up.

“Get down!” A man in body armor yelled. I could see the blood spilling from my Labrador’s side, his paw shaking in its last movement. His face morphed into my son’s.

“Search the house!”

I struggled against the knee on my back, trying to turn my face towards the soldier as he pressed, cutting off each breath. “My son – daughter –”

He lifted my head by my hair and slammed my face to the ground.

Another shot somewhere down the hall my children slept – my wife. I screamed.

Blood, so much blood and I couldn’t tell if it’s mine or my pup’s or my children or wife’s. My eyes blurred.

A head lowered towards my ear. It hissed like a snake. “Hello Professor, remember me? We’ve come to collect your books. Your version of history just lost the war.”

Riot Police. CC2.0 photo by Thomas Hawk.

Riot Police. CC2.0 photo by Thomas Hawk.

Character: Historian; Conflict: Man v. Society

Your End is Near

The shot fired. I saw it from across the field, blasting into her side and ending her movement forever. I watched as the light withdrew from her eyes, the only eyes that ever shined when they glanced upon me. The only eyes I ever loved.

The curl of hatred entered my soul immediately, bringing the mist with it. With each of my haggard breaths the temperature cooled, the sky grayed.

The hunter would not make it out of this wilderness alive. A bolt of lightning fragmented the gray sky with my grief. The wind picked up speed and I pounced.


This week’s Warmup Wednesday challenge: Make your protagonist an animal (real or imagined).

Leash Fen in mist. CC2.0 photo by Andrew Hill.

Mad Dash Escape

“I’ll tell you what you need and that’s a gun.”

An alarm went off, echoing throughout the residence hall corridor.

John turned towards his wife. She had a gun in one hand and an expression on her face he had never seen before now. It was a mix of shining pride and tentative fear.

“Why would I need a gun, Emily?”

“Well, see, the thing is,” she was picking phantom lint off her uniform. She only fake picked at things when she was about to deliver uncomfortable news. “I may have killed the Captain.”

There it was. John actually felt his jaw drop. “You may have?”

“Well, no, I most certainly did.”

As far as he knew, his wife had never killed a person but her hand was steady on the gun, an experienced hold. He tried to catch her eye and prayed it wouldn’t be the gaze of a stranger.

Emily sighed dramatically as if John’s caution was unfounded.  When she met his eye she at least had the decency to look abashed.  “Don’t you at least want to know why I killed her?”

Footsteps were coming down the hall, heavy and united – a squad looking for their target. Their target was his wife.

“Where would I find a gun?”

“We’ll probably have to disarm a guard.” She beckoned him to her side of the corridor with a two finger motion. He followed the order immediately. “It was for a good reason.”

John wanted to believe her and as they dipped into a nearby empty room he decided that he would believe, at least until they got out of this mess.

“They’ll be checking each room individually. Let’s hide behind the door.”

“This isn’t a movie, Emily.”

“Trust me, it’ll work.”

So they waited behind the door, his breath caught in his throat. They heard a nearby door open, then another, then their own. Like in the movies, the door swung open and concealed them. A single guard searched the room.

Emily jumped forward and onto the back of the guard in a single movement. The guard, caught off guard, stumbled backwards and onto John. It was easy to twist the arm and disarm the man, easier still to use the side of the gun to knock him unconscious.

“Let’s head to the escape pods.”

“We need a code –”

“A code I have, John, since I manage pod maintenance.”

They ran down the path that led to the lower decks. “Why is the ship still moving?”

“Auto-pilot. I doubt they want to alarm anyone.”

She went down the ladder, John followed. At the base the room was empty, for now.

“Why did you do it, Emily?” He needed to know before getting in the pod with her, before soaring straight to Earth. He’d either be traveling with a vigilante or a psychopath, but he needed to know which.

Her smile twisted then, eyes widened with lunacy. John stepped back in fear. “Because I wanted to and I could.”


Written for this weeks #FinishThatThought

The Hurricane

She woke up in a closet, which was strange because she had fallen asleep in the bed next to her sister. To her sleep-deprived mind it looked more like a fort than her parent’s walk-in.

Lightning cracked across the sky, overpowering the winds, and she gasped in response. Thunder followed in a deep rumbling far louder than any other rainstorm, which made sense since this was a category 5 hurricane.

It wasn’t her first hurricane, but it was the first that required the walk-in closet.

A crash, suddenly, and their eyes flew to the door.

***

He should have installed the shutters but the storm was supposed to turn north, supposed to miss them, supposed too. Now, it’s on top of his family.

He gripped the doorframe as the lightening cracked and caught his wife’s eye. They were both scared; they were both barely holding it together.

Then, the crashing noise – window broken, or worse, part of the roof.

“Go, I’ll stay with the kids.”

The hallways were dark, powerless.  He walked blindly towards the noises he shouldn’t be hearing: rain too close, wind too fierce.

Glass littered the floor and where there once was a window he saw a wall of rain, a waterfall, coming straight towards them.


Flash!Friday today! The two-part prompt is:

(1) Conflict between Man v. Nature and (2) Photo of a waterfall

The Kleptomaniac

It’s the rush that brings Anne back each time. The sizzle of adrenaline that pushes through her veins, igniting them like nothing else ever would. It’s this rush, she likes to imagine, that clears all the clogged arteries acquired with age.

She waits for the woman to step out of the room, off to get refreshments in the direction of the kitchen and pulls her Census baseball cap securely onto her forehead. Becoming a surveyor was the easiest way Anne had found to enter, invited, into another’s home.  Sure, it only came every ten years but after three rounds, she looked forward to the fourth. Anxiously awaiting her forty-eighth birthday in a way few others do.

Anne had eyed it the moment she had breached the doorway – her target.

An inconspicuous silver bunny figurine. It was on all fours, small head nudged to the side and it reminded Anne of the farm she used to visit in the summers with her family.

It was easy to lean forward, the cool sting of the metal against her palm and with just a shift of her body the figurine dropped into her purse. The action took less than a minute and passed completely unnoticed.

She lets the feeling buzz under her skin throughout the interview, living in the fleeting moment.  She shakes the woman’s hand and is ushered to the door, confident that she would be quickly forgotten. In her decades of surveying, the nation’s people had only filed four complaints.  Peoples clutter all too easily becoming her trophies.