I took a stone from my pocket. It was meaningless, the kind of pretty thing she would have liked. It was also a life. I put the first of many on the shelf upon which we had laid Chuwa’s necklace of stones and shells.
I lifted his head, heedless of the greasy blood matting it, dragging him to the cliff’s edge as he struggled.
“Please! I have done nothing!”
“This isn’t about you!” In my anger, I threw him to the ground, and for a second it looked like he’d go over. He clawed at the rock and managed to hold himself back from the edge. Continue reading “Chuwa’s Judgment”
Write a three-paragraph story, starting every paragraph with the same sentence.
Photography by David Graham at https://www.flickr.com/photos/animal168/ .
He is so kind. Before I broke, before the accident. He bought me flowers, he had a necklace for me — I still have it — and we went to a fancy restaurant. It was so uncomfortable for a girl who grew up with nothing, that we left and went to a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. The tablecloths were plastic. The food was greasy. I loved it.
He is so kind. Even when he found me spattered with blood. He ignored every evidence of my guilt, he would have testified self-defense from a break-in, despite the handcuffs, despite the surgical scalpels. I had to tell him, then. He cried, he pleaded, begged me to get help. But I knew there was no help for me. He helped me bury his body. It was lucky that he caught me, in a way. The man was three times my weight.
He is so kind. He loved me, even knowing what I did. He learned how to rent a warehouse through a shell corporation for me. He insisted we buy all my tools that way, too. He protected me well. Even now, on the table, he begs for the chance to forgive me. But when it is time, it is time. He knows it, I see it in his eyes as I kiss his brow, as I tell him that I’ll meet him soon.
He was so kind.
You’re passing a court house and a screaming man is being pulled from a police car. He pulls his arm free and points at you.
“You did it and I’m coming for you – dead or alive “.
I got out of my car, closing the door and leaning back against the frame. My glasses were a little greasy, so I pulled them off, cleaning them, then set them back on my face to watch a man being dragged into the courtroom. “You did it!” He screamed at me across the street. “You did it and I’m coming for you, dead or alive!”
There’d be peace, now. No more late-night parties. No more band practices. No more listening to the headboard crashing against the wall after he brought some prostitute home. We all complained about him, the entire building, but nobody ever did anything. The landlord didn’t care, as long as the rent was paid on time.
In the end, it was easy. Continue reading “The True Monster”
Sixteen years ago you caused an accident that left 12 people dead. At first you weren’t able to live with what you had done but now you’re glad it happened, it helped you find your calling. You have become the most notorious serial killer of all time.
It was an accident. Just an accident. After I had lost control, I knocked another car right into a railroad crossing. The train wasn’t carrying coal or chemicals. It was a transit line. Not many people were riding at that hour, but enough. One derailed car hit a sewer access, just an elevated concrete block. It tried to flip over, but a subway car isn’t meant for those kinds of stresses. It tore in half and slammed down, spilling humans across the street. The dead . . . they aren’t bodies. When you read a story, you have such a clear division. There are men and women, and there are corpses. One has hopes and dreams, and the other is meat, a set piece to decorate the landscape of a television series, or a video game.
It just isn’t like that.
Continue reading “Serial Saviour”
When you make eye contact with someone who’s death is near, their life flashes before your eyes.
I walked into the metal room, and the steel door swung shut behind me. The voice was raw, exhausted, accented, muffled beneath a black bag over his head.
“Who is there?”
In silence, I walked to the single chair as the door locked, and locked, and locked again. My shoes clicked on the floor as I circled him. His shirt was bloodied, torn. The bloodstains were pale pink, evidence that they had tried waterboarding, too. His teeth and nails were unmarred, but if they’d had time to exhaust every avenue, they wouldn’t have called me. Continue reading “Intimate Moments”
You live in a world where you have three names printed on your wrist – your one true friend, one true love, and one true enemy. But only one name is printed on your wrist.
“Tess? Tess, if you’re in here, let me know you’re okay.”
I looked around, cautious, each step setting me drifting a good foot in the light gravity. Someone had fired a set of boosters to slow the station’s rotation; the final firing sequence had begun, and I couldn’t afford any loose ends at this point. I moved through the station compartment by compartment, always leading with my taser. The little weapon was dialed up to quite a lethal voltage but would be safe to fire on the station.
“Malcolm. I’m in here.”
I lowered the taser and moved into the compartment. “Thank god. Tess, are you okay? Did you see anybody?”
The kick hit me square in the chest, and in the low gravity, I tumbled straight through the inner door of the airlock. Tess flew backward against a wall, then leaped off the wall back toward the airlock controls. I scrambled forward, but I wasn’t fast enough. The door was built to cut off explosive decompression, and it slammed shut before I’d gotten an inch.
You are an assassin. A little girl has just come up to you, handed you all her pocket money and asked you to kill her abusive relative.
“Kid . . . how did you find me?”
She looked up at me, eyes wide and intent, never once lowering the fistful of bills. She wore a blue dress and sandals with Miss Piggy printed on them. A seashell hung on a thong around her neck. She had a black eye, and bruises on her neck and arms. On one shoulder I could read the shape of a belt buckle in the bruising. She couldn’t have been more than twelve.
“My dad has a book of names. Your name was circled AND underlined under ‘cleaner.’ ”
“You didn’t locate me with just a name.”
“Welllll . . . there was another name that said ‘finder.’ She was good at finding you.”
I put a hand over my face. Marigold would take an assignment from anybody. This kid would be dog meat when her dad got the bill. Continue reading “Ripped Off”
How does the grim reaper react to the zombie apocalypse?
I looked over the world with frustration and resignation.
I didn’t really look, of course. I observed from every eye, heard through every ear. Every insect and squirrel, even from the eyes of every human alive, I watched the world. I tasted the soil from the roots of every tree and scented the water from the nares of every fish. Secrets were not safe from me unless they were safe from life itself. Or . . . unlife.
Continue reading “Grim Garden”
A psychopathic serial killer falls in love with a beautiful, sexy mind reader
Soon I would have to struggle home from work. It was the hardest part, the walk home. My job kept me alone in front of a dozen monitors, watching empty halls at night. It was a lonely job, but it kept me safe, insulated from the abrasive buzzing of humanity.
There were my coworkers, of course. My relief would arrive soon. Funny word, that. ‘Relief’. Those hours alone, they were the purest, most relaxing hours of my day. Then Josh showed up. His mind was full of whatever woman he was wooing at the time. Lust whined constantly, and his pride was like the squeak of a thumb on a clean plate, never ending. He’d made progress with someone if it was this loud.
He’d never actually told me of his conquests. He was actually something of a gentleman in that regard. It should seem odd that someone so consumed with sex and the pursuit of sex should be a gentleman in any way, but I knew human nature too intimately to be surprised. When you understood people well enough, you came to realize that the contradictions within a human are what made them…human.
Continue reading “Deadly Lens”
I looked over the world with a heavy heart.
I didn’t really, of course. Out of the eyes of every insect, every bird and squirrel, and even every human, I saw nearly everything. Secrets weren’t safe from me unless they were safe from life itself. Or . . . unlife.
I looked out from the eyes of the zombies as well. Oceans of mindless undead. Something had to be done. It would break millennia of nonintervention, but the human race was at risk. And as unpleasant as that species could be, I had plans for them.
Continue reading “Grim Avatar”