I worked on a cool project with a friend who tried to start a community story that would be worked on by a group of people collaborating on a blog. You could add as little or as much as you wanted to what was already in the story. A collective work of fiction. Unfortunately, people didn’t actually dedicate time to it, so it withered away and now rests in the internet graveyard. My friend thought of the first line and everything else afterward was my contribution to the story:
I can’t see anything and it’s way too quiet. She must not be coming tonight. A part of me was happy that I didn’t have to go through it all—at least not tonight. My hand slipped into the back of my jean’s belt line, and the cold metal of the pistol soothed my nerves some. I pulled it out and held it in my hands, crouching behind a crate in total darkness. The rumble of the warehouse door creaking open destroyed my solitary void. She was coming tonight, and there wasn’t any going back now. The twitch that started to weasel its way through my legs wanted me to run, but I’ve ran away all my life. I was going to confront this head on.
The soft glow of the moonlight splashed into the warehouse, sparsely lighting the inside filled with stacks of crates—one of which provided my cover. I looked through the cracks in between the crumbling boxes. The darkened features of a stocky figure moved away from the doorway for a set of car lights to roll in. The warehouse lights flipped on and a black town car stopped roughly in the center of the warehouse. My body cringed as I heard the squeal of the tires echoing throughout the cavernous space. I hoped it masked my heartbeat, which was pounding into my ears. The car’s engine shut off, and a smooth click signaled the car door opening. Legs propped themselves out of the driver’s seat and landed with two clicks of heels on the concrete floor. I moved my head to look out of a higher crack between the crates and saw her slink out the car and clack her way toward me. Her hips swayed with the practiced cadence of a professional model and for a second I thought she was walking right to me. My god, she was as beautiful as she was treacherous. Luckily, she veered off toward a different stack.
“Michael, help me with this thing.” She dug into her coat pocket to fish out her cellphone while she waited for the man to close the warehouse door. Her face was illuminated by her phone’s screen, and I could see her eyes dart back and forth under tastefully sketched eyebrows. She looked up from her phone.
“Anytime, Michael,” she said in a distinctive southern drawl.
I tensed my hold around the gun and sprang up from the behind the stack. She paused—almost imperceptibly, as she barely looked away from Michael when I leveled the gun at her. She held up her finger as she glanced back down at her phone; it was dinging off to whatever new distraction it had waiting to provide.
“Michael, handle this,” she said as she gestured to me with her free hand.
I wasn’t even worth a fraction of her attention, which was leaving a burning embarrassment in my chest. “L-look at me you arrogant bitch, or I’ll pull the trigger,” I said.
She clicked the screen off on her phone and shoved it back in her coat pocket. “You don’t have the balls.” She stepped forward to bore her icy blue eyes into mines, chipping away at my resolve. I swung the gun at Michael, who had been trying to saunter over while I wasn’t paying attention.
“Take another step—I swear. I’ll shoot you both in the fucking face.”
He put his hands in the air and leaned back slowly. “I hear you buddy. Nobody needs to get hurt.”
I was grateful that the twitch in my leg subsided, but it instead converted into my shaky hands. I could smell the hints of vanilla wafting over from the leggy brunette.
“Let me explain something,” I said, turning my head slightly to keep the both of them in my eyesight. “I have the gun. I’m calling the shots. Now step back and tell me where my family is.”
“Like I said, you don’t have the balls. You kill me and you’ll never find your little rat pack.”
My hands stopped shaking as my fear started to melt into rage. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” I jammed the gun forward at her and she recoiled slightly. I reveled in the fact that I could unnerve her a little; the sense of satisfaction fed me. “Running around and commanding people like you own them. You’re just a pawn.” My fingers pressed lightly against the trigger. “A fucking nobody. Dispensable. So you can take the condescension, and shove it up your—“ The sound of a gunshot blasted through the room.
[Photo credit: James Loesch]