Tag Archives: short short story

Still There

 

Anthony touched the pendant around his neck. It had been made for a girl, but he kept it under his shirt and nobody seemed to notice

He felt the reassuring carved pattern. It was still there.

Last month he had almost left it at a friend’s house after using her shower. When he’d noticed it missing, he felt physically ill. Fortunately his friend had found it. She gave it back to him without questions. She hadn’t needed an explanation. She knew.

He rubbed his thumb over the pattern. It was wearing flat already from his constant fidgeting with it. He had to stop or it would break. He sighed. He couldn’t wear the necklace forever. It wouldn’t last. It was just a cheap dollar store necklace.

He could follow her.

He watched the blood pulse in his wrists. He felt the thumping of his heart. He relished the feeling of his active brain and functional, painless eyeballs.

She wouldn’t have wanted him to.

Tink.

The charm fell off of the necklace, and he caught it in his absently fiddling fingers without thinking. He fished it out of his shirt and examined it.

Bright red flowers. The small plastic loop which connected it to the chain had finally torn through.

He would never be able to repair it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Stone Cold Killer

 

I once took three men down with a single plastic drinking straw. I am the real deal. A stone cold killer.

I have assassinated fourteen people in my line of work. I terminated another ten just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Recently, I nearly died from being ill prepared. The target sent someone after me while my guard was down. I guess my name and face are starting to be known. I fought them off, but barely. Only luck saved me. I should have been better armed.

It’s alright now, though. I’ve sharpened my cuff links. I’ve got razor blades in my hair, grenades in my shoes, and a pistol up my ass. I am a walking arsenal. Nobody is catching me off guard again.

Oh shit I tripped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Incendiary

 

Sitting at the kitchen table by the window, smoking and watching out the open window. The screen had long since been torn away, by animals, perhaps. The scent of a dying fire on the cool evening breeze carried from the city: a primal, inviolable, deeply human smell.

I’d just come from there. My work for the day was done, and there was nothing to do now but rest.

They said the cigarettes had given me cancer, and cut out my larynx. Them. Doctors. Hospitals. People whose profession was to help you live. It all sounded so phony. Laughable, even.

I hadn’t wanted to go, but my husband had pleaded and begged me into it. In the end, I went for him.  He wasn’t afraid of what he called my paranoia, but he was terrified of losing me to cancer. He might have been naive but he was kind, and he loved me, and I could never say really say no to him; not when it mattered.  So they weren’t the ones who took my voice. I had given it as a gift to my husband, to stop his tears. After all, I still had hands to write, feet to run.

Now he was dead, too. Taken away by the same men in white, in an ambulance. Halfway through dinner, he’d fallen down. I hadn’t been able to protect him after all.

I tamped out the butt of my cigarette and lit up a new one, breathing deep. The sunset’s pink light caught the edges of the dissipating cloud over the city.  It was a beautiful evening. They couldn’t touch that.

A laser focused over my heart. I pretended not to notice, gave the marksman time to aim, and took one more long drag, relishing the flavor, the last thing left to me.

Aim well, bastards. I’ve already made my mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Defenders

 

Ba-thump.
His infant daughter gripped his fingertip with her whole hand. Linda was small, fragile, beautiful, everything in the world. All he wanted was to protect her.
Ba-thump.
Looking directly into Mary’s eyes for the first time. He’d never had the courage to talk to her until now. Her eyes were pthalo blue.
Ba-thump.
Speeding around the curves on his motorcycle, feeling the freedom, roaring wind in his ears drowning out all grief.
Ba-thump.
Standing before the congregation to deliver his final sermon. Odd that he would be nervous now, considering he’d stood here many times before with ease, even boredom.
Ba-thump.
Coming under the blankets just as his mom opened the door. Had she seen? She grabbed his laundry and left nonchalantly. No way to tell. She was a master of polite pretense.
Ba-thump.
Kissing Mary’s lips at their wedding.
Ba-thump.
Kissing Mary’s brow at her funeral.
Ba-thump.
The car rolling over him.
Ba-thump.
Cold.
Ba-thump.
He hadn’t bungee jumped yet. Linda had begged him until he promised she could go, but only if he came along to supervise. She was more brave than he’d ever been.
Ba-thump.
In utero, everywhere pulsing. The voices of his parents carried through to him, muddled by protective walls of warm flesh. “Let’s sing for him,” his father said. His mother laughed. Soon the comforting vibrations of familiar song thrummed into his core. He hadn’t understood what he’d heard at the time, but he recognized the hymn now.
His heart skipped a beat.
Instead of catching, his heart missed the next beat as well.
This pavement was cruel. He was frightened. It hurt. Something was very, very wrong with his body. It felt unbearably still, without a heartbeat.
Linda. He needed to stay here for Linda. He willed his heart into action one more time.
Ba…thum.
Vision flickering. As his consciousness mingled red with the motor oil and spread down the road, somebody took his hand. Maybe it was impossible, but it felt like his father’s grip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

A fairy tale: The old man and his three daughters

 

Once there was a little old man who lived in the woods with his three daughters. As he lay dying, he called them over to his deathbed.
“I am dying,” he said. “I am sure one of you has poisoned me, but I don’t want you all to fight, so I’m not telling you which one it was.”
“He’s lying,” the eldest said. “He just wants us to fight.”
“I have a small treasure buried under the house,” he said. “There is only one way to determine the successor. You must fight.”
“Goddammit, dad,” the eldest said. “Why is it always this?”
“Give a dying man his wish,” the father insisted.
“I’ll fight,” said the youngest daughter, who was the sweetest and most beautiful (anyone who’s ever read a fairy tale knows that the youngest child is always the best and most enabling child). “Since it is what father wishes.”
“Oh my god, what kind of man is she going to marry?” The eldest groaned.
“Okay,” said the middle to the youngest. “You and me. Let’s scrap.”
“Thank you, my children,” said the father. “Please, someone make popcorn. As a dying-wish favor?”
There was a throwdown. Hair flew, blood flew, molars flew. The youngest nearly lost an eye. The middle broke her arm. After a bitter struggle, the middle child triumphed.
She dug where the father pointed and pulled a purse from the dirt.
“A dollar thirty-eight. Really, dad?”
But the old man was already dead, a faint smile on his face.
“At least we were able to give him some joy before he died,” the youngest said piously.
“I hate my life,” said the eldest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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