Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge: Breaking on the Track

This flash-fiction piece represents my response to Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction challenge from August 22. 

The rules were to create a story that was all action. No more than 1,000 words. Well, I'm kinda in the penalty box on both accounts. But, here's my try. (Warning: this is a violent story). 


Breaking on the Track

Del Small entered the crime seen. The area under the overpass was swarming with police and crime scene investigators.

Though short and skinny, Del pushed bruisers twice her size out of the way as she waded through the mess. Her presence loomed large.

She reached the center of the all the commotion: the corpse. Bruised and naked, the woman was hanging, arms outstretched, from the overpass. Del held her breath and pushed back a knot moving upstream toward the bone above her heart.

"Like the fucking crucifixion," Landon said as Del stepped into the  huddle of detectives.

"Get her down, for Christ's sake,” she said, her pony tail flapping at each word. That little bone she felt in her chest started to buckle.  “She's been up there long enough.”

Landon gestured to the Sergeant. Officers snapped the last photos of the slain prostitute and took her down. 

"Another kilt hooker, and I gotta blow my Sunday morning," one of the young cops said, walking by.

Del grabbed his arm, spun him around, and smacked his face. His eyes bulged as though he’d been bitten by a snake.

"You talk like that again about one of these women, and I'll have your balls. And your badge. You got it?"

"Yes m-ma'am," he stuttered, pulling away. 

She shook her head. 

“Her name’s Bette,” she said, turning back to the huddle. 

Fucking pricks. These women had bad enough lives. She pushed back through the throng of investigators, got in her truck, and sped off. 

“Jumping Jesus!” she cursed while driving around the slow-ass drivers on the expressway.

It was then that the little heart bone snapped. Something she’d been holding down flowed up into her neck and head.  

She decided to dig up Jasmine Grimm. She needed the backup. 

The truck’s tires squalled as Del turned the corner and stopped at her house. She hopped down from the truck and walked quick, determined steps into her house. In the closet, Jasmine hung on a styrofoam head. 


Six inch heels, a flashy dress, a colorful face, crinkled chestnut locks, and hoop earrings. It had been years since she’d been undercover on the track. 

She boarded a bus headed toward Route 6.  She plopped down next to a lady with cotton ball hair. The lady snatched her purse away and held it tight with her curled arthritic hands. 

She didn’t have enough proof, but she knew it was Chainsaw Greene, a gangster working for Johnny Ford. She’d gotten an eye-witness report. Sort of.  You could see a yes in someone’s eyes even when they said something else. 

The image of the Bette dangling like a fish from the overpass kept swirling around in Del’s brain. She saw the dirt and grass burns  on the body. 

When the last victim, Alicia McGregor,  got murdered, Bette had called the cops. She was working on the track nearby when Chainsaw started gutting Alicia.  

Bette had moved toward the electrifying scream like a bug to a zapper.

Afterward, Del sat with Bette in the police station, comforting her and trying to get answers.  

Bette sat before a few rows of pictures. Del, on a hunch, pushed one out. Bette said, “I told you. I couldn’t see who it was.” 

But the real answer was in her eyes. 

Del got off the bus at the Stagnet Motel and walked around the corner. A car pulled up. A red cherry poked through the slit in the window, and smoke curly-cued out. 

"Get in," said a greasy voice. This was just another sleezer. Not Chainsaw.

Her heals slapped the pavement, defiant, and dismissive. 

“Come on, honey. I got lots of cash.”

The car lurched ahead of her and popped up on the curb. Undaunted, she kept walking. The driver door opened. A large man with a round belly and a pumpkin head hoisted himself up from the seat. 

“Yo, bitch, you heard me. I know you did. I got somethin’ for you to work on,” he grabbed under his hanging gut and lifted his tiny twiddler up and down. 

The chomping heels stopped right in front of him. Del looked him up and down and laughed. Then sighed. 

“Can’t you talk bitch? I got three hundred. And maybe if your good, some blow.”

She walloped his crotch. He doubled over. She put a knee right in the middle of his pumpkin head. There was a crack. 

“You broke my nose, you cunt,” he yelled behind her as she walked on. 

Her knee throbbed. His tooth had cut into her flesh. 

A HumV pulled into the motel lot. Del had a little tickle in her gut; this was the one. A blue glow came from inside the Hummer. The window rolled down.  A face turned toward her at the sound of her incoming claps on the pavement. 

When she saw the face, the tickle turned into a clawing. His face was a prickly white cactus. It was Chainsaw alright. Only the momentum of the heels kept Del clicking toward the HumV.

“You looking for some fun?” she smiled at the face. 

He looked at her with a sneer. His stout frame heaved in a drag from an electric cigarette. 

“How’s your snatch. It clean?”

“Well, honey, it can smell like roses for the right price.”

His gaze bore into her brain. “What’s your price?”

“Fifty for yank, a hundred for a suck, and two-fifty for a fuck.”

“Get in,” he said.

They sped down the turnpike into the factory district, which was vacant except for a couple cars bouncing up and down to a vibrating beat. The ass end of a girl was sticking out of a Charger. A hand grabbed the girl’s hair and pulled her down. 

“Fucker,” Del mumbled under he breath. 


“Fuck it,” she said. “I forgot to pay my light bill.” She feared she was losing her touch.  

He pulled into an alley and turned off the Hummer. 

“This way,” he said, leading her to a hidden door. They went down a dark hall and turned into an office. It was long and wide with a bed at the far end. 

“Let’s have a drink,” he said, pouring two bourbons. 

She drank a swig, and sat on the bed.

“We gonna get down to business, or ain’t we?” she said.

“Looks like you had a bad customer earlier,” he pointed to her knee. 

“Occupational hazard.”

He took off his shirt and pants and pulled her against him and held her face into his fat chest. She couldn’t draw a breath. She slapped against his arms, but he held on. Her lungs began to burn.

He pushed her down on the bed and cackled at her. She bounced up and slipped past him. 

“I know who you are and you won’t be raping any more women, asshole,” she said. 

“Oh, is that so?” He laughed. 

Del swung a leg toward his face, but he caught it and brought her down. He pulled her toward him and slammed her against the wall.

She began to roll herself up, but he got on top of her. She reached under her skirt and pulled out a knife. The blade sank into his belly. 

Before he could yell, she sliced through his throat, which gurgled as air and blood bubbled through the hole. 

Chainsaw sat up on his knees and reached out for her, but she back away and stood against the wall. She side-kicked his head; it fell back, revealing a soft fold of windpipe gasping for life. 

She looked down it to see if he had a heart bone. Nothing. Just like she thought. 

She pushed him over,  and grabbed up his nuts and bolt. His little eggs looked like they’d pop out from her grip. 

“No more rapes for you fucker,” Del said sawing away. 

Blood splattered her face. The throat gurgled hard and the body jerked. Then all went quiet. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Baby Blue - Flash Fiction Challenge

This is my story for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge this week. The directions were to write a story using a color in its title. 1000 words is the limit.

Baby Blue

by Chuck Knight

Zan and Mary were expecting a little boy. In a month, he’d enter the world, wide eyed, all the world a blur. 

This was their first baby. Things were looking good, right from the start. The genetic counselling suggested the future was bright.

Today Mary would have another check up. “There’s no need to worry. Really,” Dr. Hinkle said. But they did worry. 

“Even if the baby came out--” Mary said.

“Different-” Zan inserted.

“Yeah, different. I’d love him, of course. I feel him more everyday,” Mary said, her eyes searching Zan’s.

“Me too,” he said, nodding.  “I’d love him no matter what.”

In secret, Zan crossed his fingers and said a little prayer, before going to work. During the entire walk to work, Zan tucked his head.  

At work, he replenished the produce department, said hi to customers, but kept his head tucked. 

At lunch, he sat staring at his PB&J sandwich.

“Can I join you?” Jenny said. 

Not looking away from his food, Zan grunted consent. 

“So, it’s a month now, right?” Jenny said. 

“What?” Zan looked up. “Yes, yes! A month now.”

“You and Mary must be excited,” Jenny said, unzipping her lunch.

“Oh, yes. Yes, we are,” Zan smiled. The smile faded. 

“Jenny,” he said. “What was it like when you found out that Daniella was--”

“Autistic. I was relieved.”


“Yep. Relieved. It explained a lot of things and helped us take care of her better.  At first, I thought it was just her personality to not smile every time I smiled at her or to follow things. I figured she didn’t care, but then I knew something was a little off.”

Zan bit into his sandwich and nodded.

“Listen, I know what it’s like to worry about your baby turning out OK,” Jenny said. “It’s normal to worry.”

Zan choked down the rest of his PB&J and went back to work. 

When Zan got home, Mary was still gone. He flipped on the TV, and surfed through a barrage of nothing, finally stopping on Rosemary’s Baby. 

It was on the part where Rosemary goes into labor and gets sedated by Dr. Sapirstein. Zan watched as Rosemary’s discovers that she’s just become the portal of Satan’s spawn. 

“She just rocks him and smiles?” Zan said out loud. 

He heard the door. 


No reply.  He heard steps go down the hall to the bedroom. He rose and walked down to the bedroom.  The door was pushed to.

“Mary?” He called, entering the room. 

She lay on her side, away from him.

“Mary, you OK?”

He wrapped his arms around her. “What did Dr. Hinkle say?”

She wiped a tear from her eyes. 

“Is the baby OK?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Well, what did he say?”

“When our baby comes out, he’s going to be a little different,” she said.

“Like what?”

“Blue,” she said turning toward him.

“Blue? What does that mean?”

“Blue! It means blue!” she shouted at him. She rose and went into the bathroom.

Zan went back to the den and sat in front of a blackened TV screen. He rocked, gentle and serene.

Mary emerged from the bedroom, and began making dinner. 

They ate in silence. 

At the end of the meal, Zan reached for Mary’s hand.

“He’ll be the most loved blue baby in all of history, Mary,” he said. “I don’t care.”

She released a breath that she’d held onto all evening. She nodded her head. 

“I can’t imagine not loving this baby for something stupid like color,” she said. 

That night they began to plan for having a blue baby. The nursery, which had been green, was to be repainted blue. They’d get blue curtains and blue blinds, and blue lamps and lampshades. They’d get blue sheets, and a blue baby comforter. Hell, they’d even buy Smurfs to hang above the baby. 

They were going to let the baby know, as soon as he could begin to know blue, that he was fine. 

They worked all day Saturday overhauling the baby’s room. 

She and Zan were having a baby shower on Sunday. Holding out till the shower, they hadn’t announced the sex of the baby yet.

They decided to tell all at the shower. They ordered a blue cake, blue plates, blue napkins, blue utensils, and blue balloons.

The baker said, “So it’s a boy, yes?”

“Oh yes, a blue boy,” Mary said when she picked up the cake. The baker smiled and nodded but, when she’d left, he chuckled, a little uncomfortable. 

Everyone at the shower, seeing all the blue, looked knowingly at Mary and Zan. Zan’s friends patted him on the back. 

“Boys have much energy,” Mary’s mother said to her. 

“Mother we’ve not said anything about the sex,” Mary said.

“But, all this blue?” her mother replied.

Mary laughed. She flattened her blue napkin on her lap and looked at it. 

“There’s more to the blue than just the sex,” Mary said smiling. 

Her mother searched Mary’s face for signs of stress or fever.

“I’m OK, Mom, really,” Mary rose and pulled Zan away from his friends. They whispered back and forth. 

Zan quieted everyone down and said, “Yes, as you have gathered, we’re having a boy.”

Everyone clapped.

“That’s not all,” Mary said. “He will be blue.”

The claps slowed and stopped. Zan and Mary explained and answered questions. From this point on, people smiled at them in a different way than before. 

Angered, Zan was determined to shelter their baby from such palpable pity. 

The day of labor came. Baby “Blue” (as they decided to name him) entered our world at 11:58 pm on an April night. 

The doctor looked surprised.

“What is it? Is Blue ok?”

Zan held Mary’s hand as the doctor presented a bright (normal) pink baby boy.

“But, we expected a blue-” Zan said.

Mary squeezed Zan’s hand, a signal between them that he’d best be quiet.