Microfiction: Of rats and men

Okay, this bit is less than 200 words, 199 to be precise, and it qualifies for Sacha Black’s writing challenge. The whole of Abomination is about struggle, and this scene shows some of Carla’s emotional struggle.

abomination_scaled_final

 

Footsteps rang out on the walkway, echoing in the caverns of the empty boutiques. Carla stiffened and grabbed Kat’s arm.

“Ratmen?” she whispered.

Kat listened. The footsteps continued, lots of feet, stealthy almost, nervous.

“Maybe.”

They moved away from the yawning gap of the hall below, where pieces of safety rail swung free, into the squealing scuffling shadows… Carla shuddered at the memory, the long twitching nose, sloping forehead, the big ears and bristle-covered face. She shuddered at the terror in those mad eyes. Kat had killed it and it had screamed like a child.

The footsteps stopped. Ahead in the shadows, deeper shadows waited. Carla held her breath. A single shadow moved forward.

“Carla?”

Tully.

She forced herself not to run to him.

“Carla?”

She could see him now, his face, his eyes.

No! You don’t care!

She clenched her fists, clenched her eyes tight closed. But she still saw him, the gentle eyes full of…sorrow.

“Carla,” he whispered and she could feel his breath on her skin. “I’m so sorry.”

Tears squeezed from behind her lids. She sobbed as her clenched fists beat his chest then opened, pulling him towards her, his face, as damp as hers.

Flash fiction: Stronzo

 

A retelling of a scene from Abomination, the first book of The Pathfinders series from Carla’s point of view. It was going to be for Sacha Black’s flash fiction challenge about struggle, but it’s too long. Back to the drawing board…

Photo ©Concha García Hernández

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Carla fought back the waves of panic.

Stronzo!

It was Tully she meant, not the runty little arsehole who’d just slapped her. Tully, standing there with that cocky look on his face, squaring up to a bunch of brutes all armed with assault rifles. What in the name of fuck did he think he was playing at?

A fist swung and Tully gasped, doubled over clutching his stomach.

“I’ll ask you that one again.” The thin voice of the pale, lanky chief made Carla’s flesh creep. “Are you a warrior or the next sacrifice?”

Carla refused to listen to any more of Tully’s smart arse answers. She faced the chief thug, defying him to ignore her.

“We’re not warriors and we’re not sacrifices. We just don’t understand what—”

Casually, without even taking his eyes off Tully, the pale-eyed chief slapped her again. Her cheek stung with pain, tears stung her eyes but she refused to let them fall. She crouched down, refused to look at Tully, to listen to his blustering threats. She had nothing to hang onto—her certitudes, her easy, cosy existence, all blown to bits. And Tully. She bit back a sob. Tully was hurtling into the unknown. But she refused to… She refused.

Boots shuffled; a rifle nudged her in the side.

“Up.”

She raised her head slowly. Too slowly.

“I said get up!” the evil voice screamed, and she winced as the rifle jabbed again, harder this time.

Porca puttana Madonna.

Gritting her teeth she got to her feet. Tully. His face. Aglow with excitement, thrilled to bits with himself for striking a deal with Adolf Hitler.

Coglione.

Where had Tully gone? The old Tully she thought she knew. He looked at her, a flash of compassion, a hand making the gesture of reaching out.

“Move!”

He chattered, his smart quips flying, bouncing of the fuckwit guards who responded only to the orders of their leader. She followed. Her world had shrunk to the extent of her body heat. Beyond was cold and darkness. She refused to believe it was over. She refused.