Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #16 (4.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.  

Charlemagne doesn't have time for any of Tyrone's nonsense, much less his... hugs. He has things to do, someone to meet. But alas, no car to do it in. Where there's a will, there's a way! See what's happening in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

An Unholy Alliance #16 (4.4)

Much as I would have liked to fly like the wind straight to my destination, there was a certain caveat to such an undertaking that I could not ignore. Namely, not to do it in broad daylight, and certainly not in full view of potential witnesses. Tyrone I wasn’t so much worried about, as I suspected nothing I could do would shock him, and neither would he report me—I knew too much about him for that to happen—but at this time of day, there were others to take into consideration, too many to chance such a foolish risk.

Even so, I quickly left the library, only pausing just outside of town long enough to pull out my phone and map out a route. Stealing a second vehicle in the same vicinity as the first, while the law was still investigating the first theft, would be extremely ill-considered.

Not that I intended to use the path being recommended to me by the AI with the annoying voice—the direct way was not always the best way. I would keep to the road less traveled. Thank the gods, this uncivilized region was possessed of many wooded areas…and it wasn’t hunting season.

I sorely wanted to stop by my motel room and change clothes, have a shower before I went to see Ms. Buford, but I didn’t want to take the time. For those of you who might be surprised that I even have such a thing as a motel room, I assure you I am no heathen. And I do have money.  My family established credit many years ago—as have all the other Families around the world—and judicious investments have kept us more than adequately solvent for our needs. Despite having been tossed out on my proverbial ear by those who were supposed to be my nearest and dearest, my access to these funds had not been cut. In the event that should happen, though, I’d find a way to get by… I always did.

Being rather resourceful, I did have other options. I kept a small stash of supplies where I could easily access them—spare clothes and toiletries and the like, as well as a few books. Mama Lil raised me with an appreciation for the classics, and I have never lost the taste for them. I owned a dog-eared copy of Paradise Lost that I found particularly fascinating. Or, more specifically, Lucifer. A vastly misunderstood character.

I changed into a medium blue suit that was a little more casual than my previous evening wear, took a quick glance in the hand mirror (yes, I have a reflection), ascertained that I was my usual calm, cool, and collected self, and resumed my journey.

I felt I was making good time, keeping up a good speed as I wound my way between slender dogwood trees and tall oaks, leapt across small burbling creeks and occasional gullies. I was careful not to stumble over half-hidden treacherous tree roots and to keep an eye out for any people who might be lurking along my path. I didn’t mind running as a form of transportation. Sprinting along at vampiric speeds had the capacity to be exhilarating, especially after a recent meal, when I was at my most energetic. However, if I allowed too long a period to lapse between feedings, the enjoyment was lessened, and sometimes exacerbated by the necessity to flee an unpleasant scene. On the whole, I’d rather drive.

So why didn’t I purchase a vehicle of my own, if I had the financial means to do so, as previously stated? I’d had access to cars when I was with my family, but for obvious reasons those privileges no longer extended to me. Despite that, I could have easily purchased one. I guess the main reason was that buying a car felt as though I would be putting down roots, laying a trail that someone could choose to follow, when I would rather be free to go where chance and circumstance took me.

Except for now, of course, when I was on a mission. Plus, and I freely admit it, stealing cars was far more interesting, a test of my abilities, if you will. A slap in the face of authority. I have never been one to blindly follow the rules. My entire existence, and that of the others, went against most of the laws of nature. And, quite frankly, I reveled in that.

Reaching a small cluster of homes, I slowed my pace and circumnavigated around them. Typical country dwellings, clean laundry flapping in the breeze. Small gardens laden with growing vegetables and aromatic herbs. No one noticed me or paid me any attention, and I was able to attain my former speed once I’d passed from their vicinity.

I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of information this woman had for me, and would it be relevant to my search? Speculation was futile, however, and only went so far. Before long, my mind reverted, almost against my will, to an earlier topic. Namely Tyrone Jackson, he of the Jackson Family Meats. I hadn’t met anyone so foolishly unafraid of me since… well, since ever. Although he cultivated the air of a simpleton, I suspected that was far from the truth. I could see intelligence in his eyes, as well as a strange sense of humor.

Not that any of that mattered. Once I’d finished my research and learned what I wanted to know, I’d probably have no reason to pass this way again. And Tyrone would be but a brief memory, an aberrant recollection to be brought to the forefront of my thoughts now and again in some idle moment—probably the next time I overshot my mark and inadvertently claimed another victim. I pushed that thought emphatically away.

The next moment, the whine of a bullet brought me up short.

 to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb





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