It’s a treat to be back in discovery mode, trying to get to some traction on a new story. I’m not there yet, but I think I’m getting close.
In an attempt to maintain my creative momentum, here’s a short story based on the prompts from Elizabeth’s Friday writing sprints, in which the main character makes an unfortunate discovery, and including the words collar, gum, confidence, assassination, flawless, pill, cardio, dart, strange, tiny, balance, coat, hollow, bayonet, affair and guidebook.
Claws and Effect
The Agency boys and girls had played strictly by the rules. Permissions, documentation, evidence, charges, their work had been flawless. They’d built a watertight case against Xavier with painstaking care and they didn’t even get their day in court. A sleazy lawyer, a crooked politician, a few million in used notes, and the entire team was suspended without pay pending an official investigation.
Xavier’s PR firm had a field day, deploying a lethal combination of money and influence in a supremely confident no-holds-barred attempt to bayonet the wounded. He owned the front pages, news websites and social media, demanding an apology and nation-bankrupting damages. Questions were asked in the House.
The bastard was untouchable now. And that meant more good people would die.
Like hell they would. If arrest and imprisonment couldn’t keep us safe, it would have to be assassination.
For the Agency, the law was a straitjacket. For us it was more of a guidebook.
Tomorrow Xavier would disappear beyond our reach, escorted on to his private plane or his armored superyacht. Tonight he was within our grasp, sleeping off his exertions after a torrid twenty-four hour affair with an oligarch’s spoiled daughter.
I opened the door of our nondescript trailer and watched Shadow dart outside. The tiny wildcat shifter was my preferred partner and for her this was personal. Some of Xavier’s deadliest concoctions targeted the shifter community.
I adjusted my headset and took my seat in front of the video screen. If we were lucky, my job would be to watch, listen and chew gum until my jaws ached. If not…
The feed from the camera attached to Shadow’s collar tracked her progress as she used the special coating on her paws to climb the mansion wall. She hugged the slight hollow behind the drainpipe, where her dappled coat would make her almost invisible.
I chewed harder as she slithered through the barely-open bathroom window and paused to gather her balance. She slunk, silent as the grave, through to the master bedroom where Xavier sprawled, face-down, snoring loudly. His muscular body was a mess of love bites, rope burns, teeth marks and scratches. Perfect.
I stopped chewing, afraid to make the slightest noise as Shadow extended a claw, flicked it to release a micro-dose of one of Xavier’s own deadly concoctions, and drew it delicately down a long scratch at the top of his thigh.
She should have left immediately, but I couldn’t blame her for wanting to be sure. It didn’t take long.
His eyes opened wide. His mouth yawned as he gasped for air. He clawed at his chest, then scrabbled desperately in the drawer on his nightstand. He gulped a strange-looking multicolored pill, and then a handful of plain white ones. He should have known it was futile.
Cardio-something long and complicated, the coroner would conclude.
But we’d call it justice.