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.
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 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”
You run a night school for assassins. The other professional assassins loathe you for turning customers into self-sufficient killers. You would get frustrated by their constant attempts on your life, if they didn’t make for such good lessons for your students…
I strode across to the podium, before the diagram of the human skeleton and circulatory system. The class was small, ten people. I found it to be my optimum class size. Any more and my students began to look like a forest, not trees. Any less, and I might have trouble with my payments.
One tentative hand rose up. She was a slip of a girl. Her demeanor was timid, her hand trembling in the air. None of her classmates took her seriously. They were new, yet. Not all of them quite realized that I wasn’t here to teach them how to fight, but how to kill. Ellen’s ‘fragile flower’ act would serve her well.
Continue reading “Timid Reaper”
Rise! Rise from the earth, I command thee!
The red mountains by Seven-teenth
I came to the overlook and staggered to a halt, looking over the plains. Green and verdant, the grasses flowed and rippled in the wind. It was beautiful, so beautiful. A fitting sacrifice for mankind to fulfill its destiny.
I pulled my hand from my side, where I’d been stabbed. A knight in shining armor, saving the world. Well, his armor wasn’t so shiny now, but he’d done his damage before he died. I couldn’t blame him, though. If I succeeded, the air would be too foul to breathe within a few years. The world would die.
Continue reading “Blood Hack”
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”
The love of your life has just died in your arms.
I strode across the battlefield, picking my way over the bodies to where she lay. The sun beat down on my face, beads of sweat mixing with blood, red droplets catching in my lashes. At least it wasn’t mine.
I knelt at her side, brushing her hair back. “Anya.” Her breath was fast and shallow, her eyes unfocused.
“Anya. Does it hurt?” She shifted and whimpered. Someone else shifted too, and I put my sword into his chest, letting it stay there for the moment.
“It hurts less,” she said. “But it’s so cold. Chris . . . I think this is it.”
Continue reading “A Soldier’s Mercy”