Another terribleminds challenge! This time Death is in the centre stage and the flash fiction is all about the “Big D”, the end, cut to black screen in the middle of a sentence (damn you, Sopranos!). The challenge was to incorporate a story on, or about, Death. So I did. Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to introduce you to the star of Death By Default, the next in line to her father’s position; Grimmauld Regina-Ann Mayweather. “Grimm” to her friends.
Somebody That I Used To Know
I’m nervous as I walk into the alley. It’s my first time, what can I say? It’s not easy. The three guys that I’m here to see are standing in the usual place, smoking a joint. Aromatic when its in the air, not so much when you’re pulling it out of the jar. They’re good guys. Well, two of them at least. The third guy is scruffy and rat-faced, a stupid teenager looking for his place in life.
This isn’t it.
The other guys are big. Really big. One of them is bald, the other has well kept dreds. One has a goatee, the other is clean shaven but has mean eyes. My hand tightens around the bracelet around my wrist. It’s too big for me and the action is a reflex now, to keep it from getting lost. The mouse in my pocket squirms, peeking his tiny face out and raising a mousey eyebrow.
I cover him.
“It’s okay, Cheesers.”
I choke down my fear.
See, the thing is, dad’s getting on in years and I’m having to take his job earlier than we all thought I would. Not a comforting thought but, he shouldn’t drink so damn much. Job isn’t that bad.
Okay, girl. Time to do your stuff. I stop myself from coming all the way into the alley, take a deep breath, and straighten my shoulders. It’s the big bald guy that sees me first. He grins a very, very white grin showing off one gold tooth and a nice side I don’t think anyone but his cat sees.
“Hey, G!” He says.
“Hey, Rod. How’s Dierdre?”
Dierdre’s the cat, by the way. Rod is Broderick, but, well, gotta keep the image, you know? Not everyone knows this guy has a PhD from Harvard in Christian History and is an ordained minister. I mean, they do, I think. I call him Rod, but he’s more commonly known as “The Father”. Common in the circle he runs in, anyway.
His grin widens, then falters. He knows why I’m here. It’s not everyday I seek these guys out. Mom would kill me. Even though she knows what they are, she doesn’t like their “look”.
“‘Sup, girl?” The other guy, Domino (real name Jeremy) nods at me. I like Domino. He tries to play it tough, but I can see his hands shake as he talks to me.
Rat face doesn’t like me, not from the get go. His nose twitches. Cheesers tunnels into my pocket, his poor little body shivering. I frown. If Cheesers is acting this way it means this guy is bad news. Rod and Domino don’t run with a good crowd to begin with, but why this guy?
“Whose the girl?” He sniffs, body twitching like an epileptic. “Supplier?” His eyes turn moody, his mouth curls in what is supposed to be a lascivious smirk, “Hooker?”
Rod’s big muscles get bigger . He holds himself back. He knows what’s coming and is going to restrain himself as much as he can to give Fate a chance to work her magic. I shrug, reaching for the doobie Domino has stuck between his lips, taking a long pull. The sensation riding in my brain is not unpleasant. THC is a nice, slow burn at the center of my brain, numbing me up but not making me stupid. We fall into meaningless chit chat, trying to make it seem as though my presence in this alley is a normal thing. Around us people walk by, bustling around with their busy lives. I hear children yelling and screaming in the fenced in park across the street, the wails of a doorstep stereo on its last legs, and the hollow echo of a skateboard on shoddy pavement. There’s traffic too, but it’s few and far between. Cheesers stops tunneling. His little body freezes. Mine does too, my eyes narrowing and a smile curving my lips. My fingers release my bracelet slowly as it grows.
Rat face doesn’t see any of this. He’d taken the doobie from me a little while back and took a big hit. He’s wandering around now, lost in THC laced with acid.
Benefit of the job, I guess. I give people a way to ignore their Fate. It’s a small gesture. Can’t change it. But, there’s a reason why some people “don’t feel a thing”. Rat face is muttering something. I can see the pitiful excuse of his life trailing behind him; all the bad things he’s done, the people he’s hurt.
See, dad’s job works like this; Fate designs a trap for someone, a delicate intricacy of circumstance that is inevitable. Dad, or me in this case, stands away waiting for the right moment. I have some influence, but only to say “yes” or “no”. Basically, when it’s your time, I’ll be standing right in front of you. Smoking a doobie.
I can hear the trucker blaring his horn. His GPS isn’t working and he’s lost and exhausted, but conscious enough to know that this neighbourhood has kids in it. The horn blares.
Rat face never sees it coming. And thanks to the acid running rampant through his bloodstream, never felt a thing. Cheesers squeaks, poking his head out of my pocket, making a face at the bloody smear on the pavement. I stroke his little head, my stomach turning queasy circles. My reapers lean against the wall, lighting up cigarettes.
“You okay, G?” Rod asks, crossing himself.
I swallow hard. “Yeah, I-” another swallow, “I think so.”
“Don’ worry about it girl,” Domino says. “It gets easier as you go along.”
Yeah. Right. I tuck Rat-Face’s soul in my pocket next to Cheesers.
“Think the police are gonna ask about him?” Domino asks Rod.
“I’ll tell them he’s somebody I used to know. Tried to save. They’ll believe that.”
I swallow again. My body trembles and I can feel tears.
No wonder dad drinks.