99 Words #33 – The Safebreaker’s Daughter

Her daddy worked with the Overton crew. Best safecracker on the west coast is what they said. It was like a magic trick. He did it all by feel. Never left a mark.

She worked the same way, except it wasn’t money she was after. When she’d touch you, it would last just long enough. She’d look at you, and you’d forget about anything else. Before you realised what happened, it’d be too late.

Her daddy always told her that if you’re gonna do something, do it right. What she knew how to do, was break a man’s heart.

 

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This piece is in response to the August 29 Flash Fiction Challenge from The Carrot Ranch.

August 29, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the safebreaker’s daughter. Who is she, what did she do, and where? Go where the prompt leads you!

August 29: Flash Fiction Challenge

Photo by Gabriel Wasylko on Unsplash

 

 

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 26

“Drop your weapon and put your hands in the air!”

Sonja lowered her gun. She looked from Mark to Christopher. The flashing lights and shouting disoriented her. Thoughts of what her future looked like ran through her mind and tears formed in her eyes. Sonja let out a sharp breath and then raised her gun toward the flashing lights. Three sharp pops sounded over the melee, and Sonja fell to the ground.

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 25

Liz tumbled and came to a stop on her back. The darkness twisted free and the form of the dog landed on all fours a short distance away. It sighted on Liz and pounced.

Liz rolled away as the dog came down. She spun and came up on her knees. The dog slid on the bare ground, turned on its claws, and then steadied itself. It’s jaw dropped and it let out a guttural roar. Liz stood with her arms straight by her side and screamed back. The dog pushed forward and drifted apart. The swirling darkness surrounded Liz. She held a hand up to her eyes as the smoke and ash swirled around her. A sick pressure weighed in her head and on her skin. The mess in front of her eyes cleared and the world went dull.

The shadow wrapped itself around Liz’s thoughts and slowed her movements. It pushed her toward defeat. One knee buckled, but she caught herself and held firm.

Liz closed her eyes and focused in on the dog. She saw the outline of it within herself, how it was fighting to gain control. She pushed back against it. The outline tightened. The dog struggled, but had nowhere to go.

Cracks of light broke from Liz’s closed eyes and hard clenched fists. She pulled her right hand back like she was about to throw a baseball. Instead of out, she brought her arm around and down. The light at her hand erupted and shot into the ground. A shockwave of light filled energy pushed away from her and dissipated well out of sight. The air settled and what was left of the dog twisted and spun in on itself on the ground in front of Liz. The shadow form flickered, attempting to hold itself in this world. 

“You’re done here,” Liz said. “Go.”

The air crackled and twisted, then a shock of light swallowed the shadow and the dog disappeared.

Christopher shouted something at the woman he arrived with. Liz blinked and moved herself directly in front of him. She studied his face. It made her angry. The smugness and apathy.

Liz plunged the pointed fingers of her right hand in between Christopher’s eyes. She curled her fingers and twisted her wrist. Christopher’s face tensed, his teeth clenched, and then his body went limp.

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

Beyond the Divide: Part 24

Mark recoiled at the sight and dropped the gun to the ground. “What the hell?”

Sonja looked from the gun to Christopher. She raised an arm and pitched forward to push Mark out of the way, then scooped the gun from the ground with her free hand. She stepped back and levelled the barrel at Mark. “Christopher? What’s going on?”

Christopher frowned. “I’m not sure.” He shrugged and turned back to the car. “Oh well, just shoot him.”

“But…”

Christopher stopped and looked back. “Shoot him already!”

Sonja licked her lips and turned her head toward Christopher. She looked into his clear eyes and saw their future, her future. It was full of darkness and pain. The beginnings of a smile grew on his face, then he twitched, and it all washed away. Christopher let out a sharp breath and fell to his knees, limp like a broken doll.

Sonja spun back to focus on Mark and firmed her stance. Her breathing was ragged and short, and her hand shook.

Mark stepped forward. “Wait, please.”

A gunshot echoed away, and then urgent voices shouted and red and blue lights reflected across the landscape. 

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

Beyond the Divide: Part 23

Darkness swirled behind Christopher. It twisted and pushed through the beams of the headlights and stopped in front of Mark. The darkness tightened and the shadow dog materialized.

It lunged straight for Mark, but a flash ignited in its’ face and it stumbled back. Liz stepped in front of Mark with her teeth bared and looked up with rage filled eyes. Her hands glowed like hot sparks. “This ends here.”

The dog snarled and stared Liz down. It crouched down low and swung out with its’ right arm. Its’ closed fist connected with Liz and she was lifted off of her feet. She landed flat on her back, well out of reach of Mark. Her muscles felt numb and wouldn’t respond when she tried to stand.

The dog stepped forward and grabbed at Mark. Its’ body deflated, swirled around him like a cocoon, and then disappeared inside of him. Mark blinked and his body sagged. Liz called out to him. He showed no signs of hearing her.

Christopher stepped forward. He tilted his head and looked Mark in his vacant eyes. A smile crept across Christopher’s face. He motioned from Sonja to Mark. “Give him your gun.”

Sonja looked to Christopher but quickly refocused on Mark. “What are you talking about?”

“Give him the gun. Call it… insurance. You can say he went for it and you had to shoot him.”

“You’re telling me he’s going to do it himself?”

Christopher smiled. “I’ve told you what I can do. Go on.”

Sonja hesitated. She bit at her top lip and glanced at Christopher one more time. She took a reluctant step forward, spun the gun in her hand, and presented the grip to Mark.

Mark looked up. It took him a moment to focus.

Liz propped herself up on her right arm. She flexed her left hand. Some small sensation returned. She struggled to stand. “Mark, no!”

Mark’s hand raised up and slowly reached for the gun.

Liz screamed out her concern and frustration. She flexed her hand again and the light returned. She pushed herself upright and charged toward Mark. At the last second, she leapt and wrapped her arms around his neck. She went through and past him, but came away with a contorting, dark cloud caught in her arms.

Mark stumbled and blinked. He looked down to the gun in his hand and his eyes widened.

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 22

Mark sat on a bus bench with a wood slat seat and a billboard for a back. He was beside a smiling realtor’s face that someone had drawn a curled moustache and soul patch on. He shifted forward with his elbows on his knees. The flash drive twisted in his hands as he flipped it open and closed. It was bright blue with a silver cover, and had a logo on the front that Mark didn’t recognize.

A cold wind pushed against his face. He squinted and looked up into what was left of the day’s light, then checked his watch. It showed ten minutes past nine. Mark pulled at his collar and sighed. The cold was one thing, but the hint of rain in the air bothered him most of all.

Mark heard tires on the gravel laneway, and then headlights swept across the parking lot and the bench where he was sitting. The car stopped a few metres away. The driver’s door opened, and a silhouette stepped out. The low rumble of the engine did not cease.

The silhouette walked forward. When it moved in the path of the headlights, Mark could see it was Detective Kohli. Her face was masked in shadows, but Mark thought that she looked tired, or nervous. It was something he could relate to.

“Hello, Mr. Odera.”

“Hi,” Mark said.

“Do you have the flash drive?”

“Yeah, of course.” Mark held up the drive by the key ring.

Detective Kohli held out her hand.

Mark stood and stepped toward her. “I hope this will do some good.” He set the flash drive in the detective’s hand.

“Thank you, Mr. Odera. It will do more good than you know.”

Mark looked over to the second car door when it opened. Another silhouette walked out into the light. Christopher had his hands in his pants pockets, and a wide smile on his face. Mark turned toward Detective Kohli and froze. She had her pistol sighted between his eyes.

Christopher raised the flat of his hand. “Wait,” he pointed toward Mark, “I have an idea.”

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 20

A smile spread across Sonja’s face. “Perfect. I will text you the details.” She locked eyes with Christopher. “Thank you, Mr. Odera.”

Christopher leaned forward with one elbow on the table. “Tell me that’s exactly what I hope it is.”

Sonja reached out and ran the tips of her fingers down Christopher’s face. “Then let me make all of your dreams come true.” She closed her eyes and leaned in for a kiss.

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

Beyond the Divide: Part 19

“Hi, Detective Kohli? This is Mark Odera.” Mark scratched at his ear. “Listen, I found something. A flash drive. It was in Liz’s stuff. You know, we went through a few things, and… Anyway, I don’t understand most of it, but it looks like it will prove that Liz didn’t do the things she’s accused of. I think it was her boss,” Mark picked up a business card from the table, “Christopher Marston. I was hoping we could meet today, so I can hand it over.”

Mark chewed on a fingernail. “Okay.” He flipped his notepad open to a clean page and clicked the end of his pen. “Sure, I can make nine work.”

“Sounds good. Thanks.” Mark held his phone out and disconnected the call. He stared at it for a moment and bit at his bottom lip. He pushed Christopher’s card out of the way and picked up another. He entered the numbers into his phone and pressed the call button. Mark pushed out a deep breath and then stared at the world outside of his living room window.

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 18

Christopher sat in the wrought iron bistro chair with his back straight, and his legs crossed. The lines of his fitted, grey suit were crisp. One polished leather loafer bounced ever so slightly. He faced out to the sidewalk but did not appear to pay much attention to the people walking back and forth. Even if he had, it would have been impossible to tell through the dark lenses of his sunglasses.

Christopher didn’t turn when the seat on the other side of the table pulled out and the person he was waiting for sat down. Instead he lifted his mug from the table and took a sip.

“Mr. Marston.”

“My dear Sonja, why the formality?”

“You shouldn’t have gone to the funeral.”

Christopher turned his head further away. “It’s not a big deal. I just wanted to see how they would react.”

“If they knew anything at all you could have ruined it all right then and there.”

“It’s fine.”

Sonja sighed and rolled her large, hazel eyes. She looked away and tucked a stray wisp of light brown hair behind her ear. 

Christopher smiled. “It was… exhilarating. Being that close to them. Looking in their eyes.”

“It was stupid.”

“Whatever.”

They both stared straight ahead. Christopher kept one hand on the mug. Sonja crossed her arms and tapped at her bicep with a short cut fingernail.

“Have you booked the tickets?” Sonja said.

“Of course. I told you.”

“You keep saying that, but I haven’t seen the proof.”

“Would you like me to wave them around and present them to you with fanfare or a string quartet?”

“Of course not.”

“Then don’t worry. We leave tomorrow night.”

“Good.”

“What about the gun?” Christopher said.

Sonja’s face lost all expression. She looked to the eyes of each person walking by. “What about it?”

“Did they find it?”

“Yes. Two days ago.”

“And the prints?”

“Only hers.”

Christopher smiled. “Excellent.”

“Don’t be too proud of yourself, we’re not done with this yet.”

Sonja leaned forward and pulled her buzzing phone from her pocket. She glanced at the number, and then answered the call. “Detective Kohli speaking.”

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary