Hunted

They usually hunted in packs, so I was surprised to find one wandering alone amongst the foliage.

I knew it hadn’t seen me, I was too good for that. I raised my rifle, gripped it tightly; I’d only have time for one shot.

They told me nobody had ever slain one before. They said it couldn’t be done, that I’d never make it back alive. But I knew better, knew I was better.

That’s when I heard the rustling to my right, and then again behind me.

I quickly realised my mistake: they didn’t usually hunt in packs. They always did.

The Recruit

The rusty metal gates were parted only slightly, barely offering an invitation to enter. The industrial district, once the hub of activity, was now a desolate place, filled with half-empty buildings and long since faded memories.

“Second door, right hand side,” John muttered, slipping the reminder back into his jacket pocket.

The brick walls stood bare, noticeable signage having long since fallen into disrepair. John had been warned check his destination beforehand, or find himself lost in the maze of similarly designed, equally decrepit old buildings. He reached the office; no lighting indicated it was open. Only a select few knew it was safe to enter. He turned the handle and did exactly that.

Considering the fatigued appearance of the exterior, the interior of the office was surprisingly tidy. Modern even. The wooden floor reflected a fresh coat of polish, the walls a vibrant shade of red, and healthy green plants lined the windows. At the back of the room sat a large, fine oak desk and two plush, leather chairs. Plants of the tall, potted variety sat either side, adding a touch of symmetry. John found this stark contrast remarkable. But his appreciation of the room was abruptly ended as a man appeared from a back office.

“Mr Brown, I presume?” the man asked.

His faded grey suit had seen many washes and even more Sunday morning sermons. He reminded John of the protagonists from his favourite Classical Hollywood movies. The man’s wrinkled, aged face and drawn-out features helped make this comparison. He appeared from another era.

“Yes. Nice to meet you,” John replied, politely.

“Please, come right in. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Take a seat, won’t you.”

The man offered his arm out towards the leather chair closest to John, and then took his seat on the opposite side of the desk. The way the man spoke reminded John of an old physics professor he once had. How he started his sentences quickly, before slowing down at the end, emphasising his final words as if to press them home. He found it funny, but did not let on to this fact.

“I assume you already know who I am?” the man asked.

“Yes, of course. You have quite a reputation, Mr Kenneth.”

Mr Kenneth’s eyes tightened a little. John knew instantly his last statement had aroused suspicion.

“But don’t worry. I told no one of my visit here today,” he rushed out.

“No bother, really.”

The sincerity in his voice relieved John. He did indeed know all about Mr Kenneth’s reputation and he knew better than to upset him. He slouched back a little in his chair, Mr Kenneth leant forward from his.

“And so, pleasantries over with, let’s get down to business. You know how this works, correct?”

John nodded. Suddenly nervous, he cupped his sweaty hands together.

“Good. First question. You recently lost your wife, correct?” Mr Kenneth asked.

John found himself tracing his wedding band. “Yes.” he replied.

“But her death was by the hand of another, correct?”

John nodded.

Mr Kenneth’s eyes widened, his head nodding forward ever so slightly.

John watched closely, evidently his nod would not suffice. “Yes. She was murdered.”

“Very good. So your wife was murdered, and yet you still go to church…”

John noticed the pause, the wait for him to jump in and explain the action.

“I still believe in God, Mr Kenneth. I just had one of two things I wished to discuss with him.”

“Very good. Very good indeed,” Mr Kenneth beamed, a big smile stretching his wrinkles.

John half smiled back. He knew what was coming next.

“I think I can help you, Mr Brown. If you do indeed know my reputation then you know I can do what it is you ask of me.”

John sat up in his chair,anxiously waiting for the words he knew were about to cross Mr Kenneth’s lips.

“I can indeed ensure you see your wife again. But, of course, I expect something in return.”

John nodded. “Of course.” He knew there was a price to pay for what he was asking.

“Very good.”

Mr Kenneth pulled a small piece of paper and pencil from his desk drawer, scribbled a small note, and passed the it to John.

“Before you read that, Mr Brown, let me make something very clear. In a matter of minutes you will be with your wife again-”

He paused, as if allowing John a few moments to process the enormity of his statement. John took the time offered and did just that.

“-but, once there, you will also have a job to do. I cannot speak of this job in detail here. To speak the words aloud is too dangerous, even for me. But a man named Michael will explain more on the other side. Rest assured, Mr Brown, you won’t be alone. You will be with your wife once again. And many others just like you.”

John nodded and unfolded the piece of paper. He read the note, contemplated it for a second, then turned his attention back to the other side of the desk.

“Do we have an agreement?” Mr Kenneth asked.

John nodded again.

“I need to hear you say so, Mr Brown.”

“Apologies, yes of course. Yes. We have an agreement,” he replied.

“Very good. Then I’m satisfied with what has been agreed here today, and I am happy to proceed. Just make sure you hold up your end of our agreement, Mr Brown, or, as I am sure you are aware, there will be hell to pay.”

A glisten in his eye momentarily unnerved John. It was only there for a second, just long enough to be noticed. But his thoughts quickly switched to those of his wife. Of her long blond hair, her deep blue eyes. Her smile, her laugh, her touch. He smiled back, and nodded one final time.

“I’m ready,” he said.

“Very good.”

Mr Kenneth clicked his fingers and forced himself out of his chair. He then pulled a small notepad and pencil from his top pocket, flicked through several pages, made a small note, and popped the items back into his suit. Walking around to the other side of the desk, he snatched the piece of paper up from the now empty seat. As he placed the paper back into his desk, Mr Kenneth allowed himself just a short glance at the two words filling the page. Two words which forced his lips into a small smile, a smirk even, a smirk he quickly removed should anybody be watching. These two simple words he planned on using to change not only this world, but the others, too.

‘Kill God’

A Little Less Conversation

“Are you here for the sacrifice?”

“Yes.”

“But we’re the only ones here.”

“I know.”

“I thought there would be more.”

“I know.”

“So it’s just me and you?”

“Yes.”

“Will it still work?”

“Definitely.”

“So what happens now?”

“Just take a seat.”

“Is that even a chair?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not very comfortable.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“What are these marks on it?”

“Paint.”

“It’s still wet.”

“Yes, I know.”

“What’s that rope for?”

“In case you struggle.”

“Why would I struggle?”

“Sometimes they do.”

“Who does?”

“The others.”

“What others? Wait. What’s the knife for?”

“Eugh, never mind.”

Don’t Make a Sound

Fists strike clumsily at my front door. Again and again and again.

I thought I’d be luckier than this. I switched off the lights, didn’t make a sound. And I know they can’t see me all the way back here. In the kitchen, in the dark, under a bed sheet-covered dining table. Can they somehow sense my presence? Had I made the slightest of sounds?

They’re banging even harder now. Scratching, scrambling, feverishly anticipating, desperate for their prize. But they can bang all they want, I won’t move, won’t open that door.

After all, I don’t even know who Jehovah really is.

Memories Everlasting

Here’s another piece of 101 word fiction. As always, I hope you enjoy!

Memories Everlasting

Monday June 15th. A day I will always remember.

The crisp ocean air as I woke. The sounds of the dock, the ships unloading, the merchants gossiping, the seagulls flying overhead. I’ll remember a day spent at sea, fishing and catching and laughing and joking. But mostly I’ll remember my wife. Her kiss, her smell, her touch.

And the noise that woke me. The woman at the door. Beguiling, magnetizing. Overpowering.

These were my final memories.

Of Monday June 15th, 1742.

The day I was bitten. The day I drank. The day I died. And the day I was born again.

Little Monster

“There are no monsters under my bed, silly!” Katy tells her Aunt.

But Auntie continues playing her game. “I’d better check.”

A sound creeps out from deep beyond the wooden panes of the wardrobe. Katy pulls the duvet up over her eyes in the way only an eight-year-old can: she knows what’s coming.

Auntie glances up. “See, all-”

Suddenly it grabs her, an ice-cold hand around the ankle. The wardrobe doors explode open and Auntie is dragged inside. In an instant, she is gone, lost to the darkness.

“But there is one in my wardrobe,” Katy whispers.

3, 2, 1…Execute.

I closed my eyes and prayed.

I didn’t expect to be doing it, and I knew it was pointless. Everybody knew by now that there was no one listening. But I couldn’t think of anything else to do. Hell, at that moment I didn’t even care that it was banned, what more could they do to me? I’d be in the exact spot I was now anyway. So it didn’t really matter.

The baying crowd jeered and shouted obscenities in my direction. Mothers, fathers, shop keepers, even children: all had gathered to see me fall. I wasn’t sure whether to be disgusted or proud of such a large and passionate turnout. It was hard to imagine that anybody in the crowd didn’t know who I was. I’d probably arrested or killed a relative of most of them. This was their chance for a little pay back, the chance to see ‘that bastard’ get what was coming to him. I’m sure that was what most of them were thinking.

As rotten food and vegetables struck my face, time and time again, I twisted inside my steel bindings, trying in vain to find a more comfortable position. But there was none; the cold metal clamped even tighter around my wrists. It was midday by this point, and I was as exposed as anybody out there. The sun’s rays had been pounding me for over an hour; my entire body screamed out for shelter. You could have fried a draken egg on me at that point, I was that hot. Sweat coursed out from every pore; the sun assaulting me from the outside, fear, I’m ashamed to say, ate me up from within.

The surrounding horde suddenly fell silent. I knew by now that this meant Locke was making his way up the steps and into position. Even if I hadn’t seen it a hundred times before, his putrid stench growing stronger and stronger told me. The clang of metal behind me signalled the revealing of ‘The Captain’, as it had become known. Locke used to call it his ‘Decapitator’, a name which was used for quite a while, and usually shortened to ‘Decap’. But one day, as we prepared to off a group of Marginals (for looting, as usual), one of them screamed, “Please no, not Le Captain!” The dumb fuck. It caught on after that. Whatever its name, it was Locke’s weapon of choice. I’d lost track of the amount of heads this weapon had removed, but it was many. Locke would tell you the number was in the thousands. He was probably right.

A burst of cold air brushed my face and the crowd’s silence was broken. Their screams coincided with what I knew was the raising of the axe. I didn’t have long. As the crowd’s euphoria grew, as their screams and chants and wails reached a crescendo, I squeezed me eyes closed just that little bit harder. As if, in some way, it would protect me further from what was about to happen. I’d witnessed citizens do this, from the other side, many times before. I’d always laughed. But, as I led there, wondering why nothing had happened yet, it didn’t seem so funny.

Marcus and the rest of the team should have begun the assault by now. The raising of the axe, when all eyes were forward, on the stage, on me, was the signal. Why hadn’t they moved? We’d carried out this sort of operation many times before, and we never missed a mark. Ever. As I reopened my eyes to get one last glimpse around me, I could only think that one of two things had happened. Neither was good news for me.

One: something had gone wrong. If The Dean had somehow got wind of the plan, he could have had the entire group placed under arrest and held in The Cellar. But that would have meant we had a leak. There’s no other way he could have found out. So, even if we, I, somehow got through this, we would have another problem to deal with.

Or two: and I knew this couldn’t be true, but, maybe, maybe this was the plan all along. As I led there, seconds left to live, I ran the plan through my mind. Its inception, the planning, the build up: had I missed something? Was I expendable after all? No, surely not.

My only hope was that there had been a slight blip. That a momentary delay meant Marcus hadn’t already fired. But that he was in position, about to fire at any second. About to save my ass and give Keeley the time to hold up her end of the plan.

As Locke bellowed out his familiar battle cry, I knew the axe was about to come down. He’d drive the crowd into a frenzy, until their ravenous hunger for blood was bursting out of them, before finishing me. It was the big build up before the pay-off, the foreplay before the climactic ecstasy. I’d seen it a hundred times before, and it always ended the same way: with a head rolling down the steps, and the horde throwing it around like one of those old leather balls children used to play with, sometimes found over the wall. And so, as the axe swung down, I could think of nothing else to do.

I closed my eyes and prayed.