Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Night’s Work

(This week's Search Engine Fiction prompt was Be Still, here is my attempt)

The hot, wet words were whispered in her ear- “Be still”. She could feel the cool edge of the knife pressed against her neck, and she concentrated on the words and the knife and everything else melted away. She tried to steady herself and take in details; somewhere hidden among those was her escape. Calmness and attention would show her the way.

He was behind her so she couldn’t see him. Only his smell left clues to who he was. The day-old yeasty stench of Chibuku was mixed with the sulphury scent of a body last washed weeks before. He was taller than her and stronger. She felt him harden against her back and she knew he would try to rape her. The question now was- would he succeed?

She’d taken the shortcut through the abandoned field. There was no one around at this time of night, so screaming would do no good. She calmed her voice. “I have money and a good cell phone. You can have them both; I won’t say anything. I won’t go to the police. I promise.”

He laughed then and spun her around to face him. His rough, wind-burned skin meant he spent little time indoors. His yellowed eyes were veined with red. He gave her a sharp push and she fell to the dirt and he laughed at her like a school bully. “Do you think I give a shit about the cops? They’re fuckin’ useless.”

He was right, though, the police were useless. She’d learned that the first time she was attacked, when she still had faith in the rule of law.
She tried to sit up and he fell on her pinning her arms above her head with one hand, while he struggled to open his trousers with the other. She watched him as if studying a recently unearthed new species. Every move he made was carefully noted to be analysed and understood later, to provide details that might assist her in the future.

He tore her panties away and using both hands tried to push himself into her. She paid no attention to his actions, she concentrated on only one thing- the knife he’d let fall next to her hip.

She took three breaths, slow and steady, and on the exhale of the last she had the knife in her hand and sliced it through the side of his neck; a quick, precision cut, finished before her body felt the need to inhale again. In seconds, they were drenched in his sticky blood. She tasted the metallic on her tongue and gagged thinking she’d swallowed some. He fell on her and she rolled him off onto the bare ground. His eyes, at first, wide with surprise, slowly lost the life in them until they were opaque and inanimate like the button eyes of a stuffed toy. She sat still, watching him bleed out, his wilting penis still in his hand. The sand darkened around him in a pattern, as if a black sun was rising behind him.

She wiped off the sand that stuck to her and looked down at the man, satisfied. In the best case scenario the police would find him; worst case would be like the last one, when hyenas got there first; either way, a good night’s work she thought as she turned to make her way back home.


Anonymous said...

Ooooh, a chilling, confronting tale. You created the tension so well. I almost couldn't bear to keep reading. This is an edgy side of you that I really like - you do it very well. I'm glad she managed to get away. A nice little twist there!

Lauri said...

I have four detective novellas so this is actually a type of writing I'm quite used to.

Glad you got a bit of a chill.

Anonymous said...

Oh you got me with this one. I almost couldn't keep reading - my palms are still tingling and damp. Expertly done. Standing ovation at the keyboard!!!!!

Anonymous said...

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar;
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!

“Sound and Sense”, Alexander Pope

The sound echoes the sense in your story and adds a poetic element to
its (the story's) 'chilling, confronting tension'.



Anonymous said...

This was exciting, and more than a bit chilling, to read. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

"a good night's work?" - does this mean, she purposely doing what she was doing? I was almost freak out, you are quite good with the details, the whole story, mesmerizing!

Anonymous said...

..and thanks for your advices, I really appreciates it

Pirate Princess said...

I get the sense that she does this to find justice she was denied. Is that right?

It was well done - could have used your talent this week. My husband tried to get me to read some of those kinds of novels, but I've never been interested. Maybe I need to take him up on the offer. ;)

Luis Portugal said...

It has a nice blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is bad writing.
A hug from my country, Portugal

Lauri said...

Yes I wanted 'a good night's work' to mean that she goes out sorting her 'justice' quite often after failing to get help from the police when she was first attacked.

This weekend I was in Gaborone for Valentine's Day and I watched a movie on DSTV at the hotel. It had Jodie Foster and it made me think of this story. her boyfriend (the sexy Indian in The English Patient- the only reason I've watched the movie about 10 times) gets killed in a brutal attack and she goes out and seeks revenge but she doesn't initially kill the ones that killed her boyfriend- she just kills thugs that trouble he or other innocent people. Anyway it made me think of my story for this week.

Thanks for your comments guys