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. 


  1. Strong voice and strong characters. Del doesn't mess around, and I liked that. Made me wonder if she'd have a job or a cell mate after this.

    1. Thanks Judith! I wonder about Del's outcome too. She might just show up again.