Have you ever started writing with a plan in place, then had your story begin telling itself, getting farther and farther from your plan? In this weeks Fiction Friday prompt from Write Anything, I had just that. My plan was to have a much shorter piece that was more to the point. As I placed words on the screen, the story took on a life of its own. The cap for a Flash Fiction piece is generally in the 1,000 word range but this one quickly climbed to 1,400.
I read over it twice and see some areas where I’m not happy with the progression of the story. Fiction Friday rules state ‘no editing’ so I left it as-is. I was thinking about editing in the future and potentially turning it into a serial.
Fiction Friday #159 – The First of Many
Include this in your story: “I wish he’d knock on my door instead……..”
Everything is filled with blackness. It is strange to be partially coherent and trapped within your own mind. Darkness and muffled sounds are the only things to keep you company. Nothing makes much sense when the body is in this state. I suppose that is why your heart rate begins to climb and adrenaline flows freely. As the brain alerts the body of its panic, light begins to show at the edges of the blackened vision. The bright white light slowly chases away the darkness and your brain becomes fully awake in a flash.
“I see you are finally awake. My apologies, I did not intend to strike you so hard. No need to worry, there was no blood.” My words were well rehearsed. I’d known exactly how hard I struck her but I wanted to keep her calm with my cool demeanor. I had a job to do, I was a professional.
“What is going on? Are you going to hurt me?” As the last wisps of fogginess left her mind, terror crept into her chest. Her questions came out in a deep croak. Much too deep a voice than one would expect from such a petite woman.
I wanted her calm but I refused to lie. “What is going on is that you and I am going to play a game. Am I going to hurt you, well that I do not know at this time. You see, that all depends on the outcome of the game.”
“What do you mean we are playing a game? Please let me go!
“Jillian, my dear Jillian, I can not do that. As I said, we have a game to play. Would you like me to tell you about this game?” Standing behind her prevented me from seeing her eyes. I watched the back of her head as it darted about. The adrenaline was coursing through her veins, making even the littlest movement a spasm.
“Please, just please let me go. I don’t have much money but you can have it all. There is jewelry and a laptop in the bedroom. Take them both, just please let me go.”
So sad, she had resorted to begging when all she had to do was embrace the game. The sooner the game was concluded the sooner I would be gone from her life. “As I said, we have a game to play. The sooner that game gets started the sooner I will be gone from your life. Your money and possessions mean nothing to me so please take comfort in knowing that they will remain when I depart.”
“Fine, what is this game of yours!”
Terror is such a fascinating thing. It causes the average person to go from a state of cowering in fear to bold outrage in the blink of an eye. This woman was proving to be very average in deed. “Well, to speak plainly, you have been unfaithful.”
“I have not, this is all a mistake!”
“Jillian, please do not interrupt, and you have indeed been unfaithful. Lying to me will not hasten the game, it will only delay its completion. Now, as I was saying, you have been unfaithful and one of the parties involved is far more than they seem. You have become lax in hiding your affair and it is very close to becoming a major embarrassment for my employer. The outcome of the game is simple, we stop this little affair.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll stop seeing her. I promise”
Fear, rage, now pleading. None of it mattered, I would drag her through this game kicking and screaming if need be. “You have proven yourself untrustworthy. I apologize but your promise means nothing to me.”
“What are you going to do to me?”
Frustration was building in me and my temper was becoming difficult to control. “Jillian, please refrain from interrupting. Now, as I was saying. We need to put an end to this affair of yours and my employer has devised a game for us to play. I have contacted four people on your behalf. Using your cell phone, I sent a message to your mistress, your best friend Kate, and a random person asking that they please come to your apartment at their earliest convenience. In the event that your mistress arrives for an afternoon romp around the bedroom, I kill her, ending your affair. If Kate arrives, I kill her and perhaps her living vicariously through you will bring your affair to an abrupt halt. The stranger is my wild card. I got their number from a flier on a telephone pole. If he arrives, I kill you, thus ending your affair. Lastly, if your husband arrives home from work and our other guests have not visited then I will kill him. The first one to your door determines your fate, then I leave and you never see me again. Do you understand?”
I watched her carefully. She was silent for a time as my words soaked into her brain. Just as expected, her shoulders lifted as she filled her lungs with air. In a flash there was a thud as my blackjack met her skull, killing her scream in her chest. This course of action would be acceptable, the remainder of the game required her to be gagged. A warning scream following a knock at the door would most certainly spoil the game.
“Kevin Baxter come on down!” Her unconsciousness was lifting to the sound of Drew Carey and The Price is Right. Atop her television sat a small monitor so that we could both get a nice view of the hall outside her door. As if Drew were calling the events in Jillian’s stuffy little apartment, a man carrying a guitar case came strutting down the hall.
“Perfect timing Jillian, looks like our random stranger has arrived. Although from the looks of him he may be a little too out of it to know which door to knock on.”
It unfolded like some sort of television comedy. Our man strutted down the hall with a bit of a sway in his step. His long dirty hair hung past his shoulders and his clothes were loose and baggy. He stopped abruptly, took a deep breath, then turned and knocked on the door. After a few moments he knocked again, this time louder as he called out “Guitar teacher”. Someone opened the door and the mans skin went visibly pale even on the black and white monitor. In a flash he tore off down the hallway. Whatever frightened him stayed within the confines of their apartment and slowly closed the door as he ran off.
I couldn’t contain my laughter and the sound of it shook my captive. “I’m sorry to frighten you. if you were in my situation, with only The Price is Right to keep you company, you would have laughed at that man as well. Anyway, it appears as though your life is safe now. You were probably thinking ‘I wish he’d knock on my door instead’ but deep down in the depths of your soul you are glad you are safe and it is another that will die.
Drew was telling us to make sure our animals were spayed or neutered when a woman appeared on the monitor. Her purposeful stride led her closer and closer to the door. Jillian was visibly shaken, she recognized Kate immediately. Of all the potential victims, Jillian was mostly likely glad that it was Kate that came calling. She would be permitted to choose which love remained in her life but she dare not continue the affair. Either break off the marriage and run into the arms of the woman or break off the affair and embrace the husband. Either action was fine by me. I didn’t ponder the logic of the games rules, I just followed them as per my employers instruction.
“I’m sorry you have to see this Jillian, but it is time.” I stuffed earplugs in my ears and picked up my rifle. I wanted to use a pistol but the fire rated door presented a challenge that I was not willing to take a gamble on. I set the gun to my shoulder, took aim and waited. When the muffled knock reached my ears I squeezed the trigger and let loose a round. I followed it up with two more when a glance at the monitor showed a confused woman staring at her chest.
I watched for a moment as Jillian trembled at the site of the lifeless body on the monitor. The sound of gunfire, even with a suppressor, was bound to draw attention. I quickly stuffed my weapon in my duffel bag and climbed through the window. Before long I was down the fire escape and just another face on the crowded city street. I felt exhilarated by what I had done. It was the first of many jobs to come from my new employer.
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