Here is another offering for the deities of storytelling. It was written from a prompt I receive a couple years ago. “Make your Protagonist a monster and have him/her meet a bigger monster.”
Writing this story was kind of fun. It could be dark without being morbid. And while many people aren’t crazy about first person narratives I don’t think it would have worked as well any other way. It was just suggested that I left it hanging. Let me know what you think.
This is to be submitted for the WD Short Short Story Contest. Here is PREY
I sat in one of those high armed overstuffed chairs. You know the kind if you actually used the armrest your shoulders would hit your ears. It didn’t matter how tall you were you looked like a dwarf sitting in giant’s chair. If it hadn’t been upholstered in bright green and blue paisley print on microfiber I would almost describe it as a throne. I couldn’t fathom a way to be comfortable sitting in it so I was confused on why this coffee chain installed ten as reading chairs. Besides they were too isolated for what I wanted.
Across the room the door opened, and a group of twenty somethings pushed and shoved their way through the door. The group of four, completely oblivious to the looks of disdain from other customers witnessing their horseplay. Their noise and antics diminished as they divided and went their separate ways. The girl, tall and willowy with a shock of daffodil hair surrounded by two different shades of purple, didn’t interest me. Women are taught from a young age, to be wary of strangers. Besides if I played my cards right I would have all four.
She walked over and flopped down in the overstuffed chair with her legs draped over the side of one arm and back resting against the other. She was so engrossed with whatever was on the tablet screen her companion had to smack her upside the head with drink he was holding out to her. The tattoos and body modification jewelry told me he didn’t care what society thought of him. And if all that hadn’t convinced me of his attitude the home silkscreened shirt with the middle finger displayed compacting his roly-poly stomach ended all arguments. The other two finally joined them probably coming from the bathroom first. They were the relatively normal by society’s standard with a smattering of leather, chains and gauge jewelry. They even sported monotone colored hair. Green and blue respectively but minor compared to their friends.
Immediately I knew my next victim was the quiet one. He wasn’t much to look at. Skinny, lean almost to a point of being gaunt. And while I could only see about three inches of skin between the tube socks and sagging shorts I could tell he walked on white toothpicks called legs. He was slow to laugh at the others jokes and while he wasn’t the butt of their escapades he definitely wasn’t in the center of the dynamic. This small group was a perfect catch.
I stood brushed an imaginary piece of lint off my jeans, shuffled my props into a neat pile with the spiral on top and crossed the room. I stood there just a moment watching them and waiting for them to acknowledge me. Patience when hunting your victim was a virtue. I didn’t have long to wait and to my surprise it was the quiet one with green hair who spoke first. “yes.”
“I’m Ashley. I’m doing a college paper and I need volunteers… I mean I need to collect data from volunteers.” The back track would make me seem hesitant and unsure. I knew from the pencil stuck in my messy bun to the sloppy sweater right down to the water stained Uggs on my feet I would present as non-threatening.
The fat one who tried to convince the world he was a dragon if he could just get enough surgeries was the first to respond. With the most dazzling fanged smile I had seen in quite a while he asked, “What kind of data do you need?”
This was so much easier than I though. Most people, even when I made myself as nonthreatening as possible were hesitant. My thought ‘sucker’ got stuck in my throat as I locked gazes with the quiet one. Immediately my sense of preservation started screaming at me to get out of there. But my feet were cemented in place.
I had only seconds to debate. Did I continue and pray that I was wrong, or did I get the hell out of there even if I caused suspicions? I had just started this hunt it wasn’t as if I needed a fix right now. But for some reason I couldn’t budge. And I found myself giving the spiel I’d perfected over eight years of killing.
I wasn’t quite sure where in my story about Hollywood and choosing between the red and blue pill I sat down beside the girl in the oversized chair. Or when blue hair had started petting me. Gathering my wits about me I pulled my head away from blue hair and his multicolored fingernails. I swallowed and took a deep breath trying to calm the panic rapidly rising. I needed to pull myself together, I was a hunter for Christ sake.
When the girl laughed it wasn’t pretty like little bells tinkling but more like breaking glass. Her arm snaked around my waist trapping me with a strength she didn’t look like she had. “A hunter? Is that what you call yourself?”
They had taken up the cardinal positions in chairs surrounding me. Blue slouched with his arms thrown over the back of the straight back chair and his black combat boots crisscrossed on the seat. Dragon boy lounged on the loveseat taking up both cushions. The quiet one sat on the front edge of the straight chair directly across from me leaning forward on his elbows. His voice was low, I had to strain to hear it.
“She calls herself a hunter because it makes the kill more satisfying. I call her a parasite. Serial killers think they’re king shit. They haven’t met the real monsters, yet.”
Dragon boy chuckles at my blanch and says, “by the way I’m not a dragon. I’m a snake. I do the tongue thing. He says laughing at his Mushu reference and for effect scents the air with a perfectly forked tongue.
There is no doubt about it I am panicking now. The room seems like a sauna. The air escapes from my lungs in rattled huffs. I try to stand but the arm around my waist is like a vice and I’m almost positive it was getting tighter. Her nose is nuzzling my hair and I swear a very raspy tongue just tasted my ear.
I am about to scream; someone has got to have noticed something wrong over here. And then my heart plummets. How many times have my victims thought the same exact thing while I sit there gloating? Still I open my mouth, I have to do something get someone’s attention. I open my mouth and snap it closed as the quiet one shakes me. His act is so violent my head dances around like a bobblehead doll. The whiplash stops immediately as my forehead collides with his. We are nose to nose and he pressing hard enough to flatten mine. His voice is low with almost a growl to it. “Karma said you deserved death. And I was tempted to teach you what a true hunter is when I heard your thoughts. And then decided a parasite couldn’t be much sport.”
“I’m not a …” I managed to choke out.
“Silence,” he growled. “You do not get to speak. You will make yourself useful. You will put your talents to use on your own kind, the dregs of society. If you lure or kill another innocent, you will know pain. You will beg for death and even that won’t be a release. Do you understand?”
I can’t speak I can only nod. Where his hands are grabbing the back of my arms is getting very hot. I cry out from the pain but find I have no voice. The pain becomes more intense. My arms are on fire and then I blissfully pass out.
He unceremoniously drops my unconscious form back in the chair as the girl uncurls from around me. All four stand to leave. When the guy with blue hair ask, “Are we really going to let her go?”
The quiet one scratches behind his ear thoughtfully. “No. I marked her. I thought we might teach her what being hunted and toyed with is really like. Anyone for a game of hide and seek. I figured a way she may offer us some sport. You can’t kill her until you’ve caught and marked her five times.”
Blue hair grinned. “That’s going to take a while. She is going to be a nervous wreck by the time we’re done.”
The quiet one pulled back his lips in a slight snarl, looked at my prone body lying in the chair and said,” Karma’s a bitch.”
The four laughed ignoring the startled glances from other customers as they left the coffee shop.