My latest flash. Chilling. See what you think. It’s about an 8-10 minute read. And… there might just be another part to follow!
“Alright, honey. Remind me: left at the gas station?”, Sandra had only visited once before. Then, “Okay. Yeah, me too. I missed you last weekend, I can’t wait to be with you. Just hurry on up here and I’ll get a fire going”.
It’s great to be able to do all this from the wheel, Sandra marvelled as she ended the call, though she still didn’t trust that sat nav yet, especially up here. Breathing deeply, she admired her first-ever brand new automobile – a gift to herself after the finalization of the divorce. It still smelled of leather. New car, new man, she could not help but look forward to the weekend ahead. For the moment, at least, it seemed she had finally landed on her feet. Kyle. Charming. Sophisticated. Witty. Professional. But still, he was no less than she deserved after putting up with that survival-freak for all those years! Good fortune, indeed. I mean, for fuck’s sake, who owns a freakin’ weekend pad?
But Kyle did. Out in the wilderness, but just ninety minutes from the city, Sandra had been suitably impressed the first time they had visited just a month ago. Doing things she wished she’d done as a teenager; what a weekend that had been! And now, she couldn’t help but tingle as she anticipated a rematch.
Yes, she tapped the wheel in satisfaction, Kyle was certainly a step up. The archetypal tall, dark and handsome, oh how Sandra wished she had met him sooner, before life had made its presence felt and sprinkled his adorable mop with distinguished flecks of grey. Besides, she could use the break. Those divorce proceedings had been brutal, despite their successful outcome, but at least that cruel bastard of an ex- had gotten everything he deserved.
This will do, he decided, as he pulled his twenty-year-old SUV into the clearing. True, he’d been planning to replace it, but that divorce had fucked everything up. Yes, Chuck could sure do with a break from the world. He needed to be the alpha male once more. Fresh air, a hunting trip might do me some good.
These last few months had sent him to the brink. First, his job. Fifteen years slaving in that shithole of a meat factory, breaking his back lugging man-size carcasses all day. Which counted for nothing when he was fired. Then his wife. Bitch. The fucking divorce. How dare she whine about that fucking broken arm? What the fuck did she expect when all she did all day was to come on to other guys? And that bastard of a judge. Had it in for him from the start. How could it not be obvious how she behaved like a fucking greedy whore all the time? And to cap it all, that bullshit restraining order!
With city life unrelenting, perhaps a trip into the woods would help release some of that pent-up pressure?
Yes, Chuck definitely had other things on his mind, as he automatically retrieved his “hunting belt” from the trunk. It was a natural addition to the olive army-surplus jacket, and to the week-old stubble of greying ginger hair, with his sea green beanie making Chuck appear every inch the predator. His attention returned though, as he reverently lifted a glistening hunting knife from an ornate mahogany case. Deferentially uttering, “My sweet”, he swished the knife back and forth, as if the protagonist in some imaginary Die Hard movie, before slipping it into the virgin leather sheath on the belt. A good fit, Chuck was satisfied with his latest addition.
Might be more rain headed this way, he judged, although for the moment, the sun had displaced this morning’s downpour. The fall up here was renowned for its changeable weather. Chuck sniffed the air and determinedly pulled his last accessory from the trunk. This beaut has sure been a good investment, he smiled. He couldn’t help but remember the power of this ’45 Huntsman rifle, itself a big purchase two years ago. That stupid fucking elk last time out. Never knew what hit it! A final check of the scope, and Chuck stealthily locked the trunk and set off over the damp turf through the empty parking lot.
Today, however, the forest was alert. Two hours. Not a whisper. Not even a jackrabbit to skin for supper. Maybe it was him? Maybe he wasn’t concentrating enough? After all, he’d had a lot on his plate lately. Whatever, Chuck gripped the steel security of the barrel as he reflected on how much he hated the world in general. That judge in particular. And the lawyer. And his fucking wife.
Blending perfectly into the undergrowth, he smelled the house long before he spotted it. Definitely man-made. He put his finger on it instantly, though it was pretty stale. Maybe a week old? Very out-of-place. Creosote! Had somebody been treating timber? In an instant, Chuck flashed back to his childhood, reminded of the dog kennel he was forced to share when his father decided he’d been bad.
The house was more of a large cabin, as it came into view. Two storeys, but nothing special. Wood store out back. Car port. Shed. Pretty rustic. Nothing special. A single glance sized the place.
And quiet. Although Chuck’s peace was immediately disturbed as a shiny black 4×4 trundled sheepishly along an overgrown path, coming to a halt in the port. Some rich fucker’s weekend hideaway, Chuck sneered at the mirrored windows. Bastard! Probably my wife’s fucking lawyer! Cunt! Chuck spat on the ground.
These image-enhancing field glasses were incredible, Chuck reflected, as he flicked the switch and lifted them to his eyes. Crouching further into the undergrowth, Chuck studied the port. Again, nothing special. A few garden tools lying about, an old steel snow shovel, but just plain regular. The thick “clunk” of a door brought Chuck back to the 4×4, and a figure emerged. Despite his earlier assumption, this was no man, and the petite, mousey woman sparked the observant Chuck’s interest immediately.
“It can’t be…”, the shocked man even spoke aloud, but at two hundred yards, was well out of earshot. A flicker of recognition crossed his face, before a curse, “These fucking branches”, and too late! The woman had her back to him. He couldn’t be sure… And while Chuck strained for a conclusive view, the figure quickly entered the cabin and was gone.
Was that really her? He wasn’t sure, not 100%. He even considered calling her cell phone but decided against. In what must have been a thousand calls over the last month, she had not taken one. Why should she now? In any case, the signal out here was crummy. No, Chuck needed a better vantage point to confirm his suspicions, and he stole carefully, silently around the property. But this woman was elusive, and even though Chuck heard activity inside, she afforded him nothing visual.
Keeping his distance, he had circled the cabin completely before a second engine disturbed the silence. At a higher pitch than the first, a sleek motor bike came into view, obviously built for speed.
A leather-clad man clambered off, removing a helmet to reveal a thick greying mane. The man knocked at the door.
Glasses at the ready, Chuck was left in no doubt what happened next. As the door opened, not only did the woman’s face come fully into view, but her arms snaked around the man’s neck as the two moulded into a passionate embrace.
Stumbling, Chuck almost dropped the glasses. “Sandy!”. Their recent divorce unimportant to him – they’d made their vows to God and only He could quash them – Chuck added under his breath, “fucking two-timing bitch!”. He remembered, at least, to whisper his cuss, as the couple disappeared inside, oblivious, Kyle’s hand resting playfully on her rejuvenated ass. Alone again, Chuck’s jealous rage began gradually to lift.
Sandy. The root cause of all his misery. Here with some flash fucking gigolo.
At length, the decision was made.
Setting the rifle down on a grassy bank, Chuck knelt, then untied and retied each army-issue boot, tighter, finally standing and deliberately unsheathing the knife, its six-inch, serrated blade shining weakly in the late afternoon light. As he lovingly pursed his lips to the metal, he made a whisper. Ten-hut, Marine! This will be easy.
I consider this piece pretty much standalone, however I did publish a “sequel” the next day, here.