The Apprentice | A Work in Progress

{ 404 words so far }

“I am Death,” he tells me as he hands me the scythe.  He had personally forged the blade out of stainless steel himself.  I can’t help but be amazed at his resourcefulness, and the meticulousness of his craft, his attention to detail and his drive to be the best he is at what he does.  “If you join me, Callie, you will be Death’s apprentice.  That is, if you agree to be my assistant.”

He presents even more weapons of horror to me from a briefcase that lay on the table in his basement.  I could not begin to describe most of them with words.

“And provided that you were not just telling me what I wanted to hear when I saved you from the empty life of a rudderless street urchin you were living.”

That stings.  I hate his throwing my recent status as a homeless person out at me as some kind of grand judgment of my worth.  I start to think that in his deep-seeded misanthropy that maybe his opinion of women is right on par with his hatred of men.

“What will it be, Calliope?”

How can I not accept his offer for this great opportunity?  A few weeks ago I was a nobody runaway living hand-to-mouth on the streets, squatting in rundown abandoned houses with creepy bums, pick-pocketing unsuspecting yuppies on the subway and finding, to my dismay, that they only carried plastic.  I didn’t care if I lived or died.

“Remember that pack of wolves I rescued you from?”

Boy, do I remember.  Again, he is picking at healing scabs.  The night Death saved me I had been sold out by a squat-mate who had tipped-off the local boys in the ‘hood that if they looked past my short-cropped hair cut, flat chest, baggy clothes and outward androgyny that they would find a virgin teen-aged girl who was ripe for the picking.  That asshole squatter traded my virginity for a meth fix.

“Once you finish your studies in self-defense, and once I teach you the fine art of killing and the ways of death, then no man—or men, will ever be able to do what those gangbanging cowards did to you.”

I give it some serious thought and consider heavily what he says. No man includes him as well, right?

“Yeah, I’ll be your apprentice.”

And in the end I will become Death.

“When do I start?”

Written: December 22, 2009.

Copyright © 2009-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

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Shard | A Bloody Micro Fiction

{ 354 words }

After she confronts him in the basement, he lunges at her clumsily.  She uses cat-quick reflexes to avoid his attack and he misses.  That imprecision costs him.  She scrambles to the floor, a move that allows her to strike swiftly with a kick to his groin just as he recovers to charge at her again.  Stealthily she prepares to arm herself with the medium-sized broken mirror shard she’d found there in the basement a few days back. She retrieves if from her back pocket to slice forcibly into his Achilles as if it is a mere thin ribbon made of fine silk.  With all her might, she strikes fiercely to cut through the fabric of his clothing.  He screams in agony and lumbers to the floor like a wounded animal shot in the wild, left for dead.  Predator has become prey.  However, her mission, her responsibility is not yet complete.

He lay facing the floor in agony, grasping for his wounded foot.  Blood begins to flow from his injured tendon without pause.  It soaks through the fabric immediately and begins spotting the basement floor with tiny pools of crimson.  It must be endorphins and adrenaline masking his pain because he recovers again to get back on his feet, intent to cease her attack, perhaps finish her off.  She has other plans.  She wants to see more of his blood before she’s finished with him.  She kicks him in his back and lands him again.  She strikes the other Achilles with yet another forceful blow, this time with even more ferocity.  Blood spurts out to land on the nearby wall.  His roars of pain elicit no sympathy from her.

Stealthily she forces a syringe into his buttocks to administer a sedative.  With him restrained, she undresses him.  Once he is nude she uses the shard to pierce his genitals.  She slices the sack and then severs his member.  Poetic justice, karma served.  Torrential blood flows.

This is really just the beginning of what he has coming to him.  She needs to be sure her husband suffers indefinitely for what he’s done to their young daughter.

A Pint of Bloody FictionWritten in 2010. A different, even shorter version of this story was previously featured in A Pint of Bloody Fiction, a print anthology published in September 2010 by House of Horror, edited by S.E. Cox and Nandy Eckle. This re-published edition exists for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only — any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover designed by Brandon L. Rucker and copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved. | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites