Well this is a rather late cross-post. This is part of the sample sunday twitter thing: here's the link. It's from my short story in progress that will probably be getting a new name soon but is called "The Memory Thief" right now.
Warning: There is violence to a woman here.
She was running and, so far, she hadn’t been caught. She knew she couldn’t win—she’d already seen how much faster he was. But he was toying with her. Keeping her just close enough that she could hear his breathless laughter. Once, he’d jumped forward and brushed her shoulder with his hand. Twice, he’d thrown her down and let her scramble back up.
So she knew he was just playing with her. But, she thought, that might work to her advantage.
Which was, probably, exactly what he wanted her to think. And now she’d hit a dead end.
The street ended with a low wall, and behind that wall was a three story drop. But, across the gap there was a two story building, and the street below was a narrow alley. She was already eyeing the distance when she heard his laughter turn the corner. She didn’t look back.
Maybe she’d make it.
She didn’t think too hard about it. There wasn’t much of a choice for her. She hadn’t been running from him for fun. The malice in his laughter promised things much worse than a three story fall.
Besides, maybe she’d make it.
He began to speak, his shoes softly scuffing the ground as he approached. She repressed a shiver, held her breath, and jumped. She didn’t make it.
He watched her fall. On the way down she scraped her arms on the brick wall across the way, and struck the fire escape with her head. Blood pooled on the concrete from where she landed. In an instant, he was beside her.
She died. Too quickly for his liking.
A seagull watched him.
“Why do they always run?” it said.
He looked up. It was on the fire escape she’d hit. He hadn’t noticed it arrive.
“Because they’re smarter than you, Gull.” He bent down and drew a finger through her blood. It was already starting to cool. If he waited too long, the fear would fade. Her hope was already gone. He suspected it had left when she’d hit the wall.
“Do they ever make it?” asked the bird. The man sighed. Seagulls were never quiet around mealtime. Ravens, he thought, were much better. But the ones in this city weren’t like the ones back home. They avoided him.
“One did,” he said, “but I got her in the end.”
She still lived. And, he thought, she seemed to have forgotten about him. She never replied to his messages. Perhaps it was time to change that.
“Gull,” he said, although he winced at his messanger-du-jour, “why don’t you go find her?” He licked another finger of blood.
“Yes. You. Her name is Kitty. Find out where she is.”
“Yes, sir!” the bird’s voice broke into its natural cry, and it took off. But not, he noticed, before leaving a calling card where it had been perched.
Ravens, he thought, at least had class. Crows even aimed. He had neglected to tell Gull about Kitty’s unique electrical abilities, but perhaps she’d do him a favour. Maybe the bird would die in a misplaced storm. He didn’t think too deeply. Gull was gone and he could enjoy his meal.
Three nights later, in another alley, Gull unfortunately returned.
“The crow said she’s in Teremain.”
He never had understood the crows of this country—why they chose the trickster over darkness. They still had a hand in death, didn’t they? He looked over, took in the bird, and almost raised an eyebrow. There was blood outlining the bird’s front. He could see it had congealed around the edges of the bird’s mouth and dried in a nice muddy-rouge shade.
The seagull puffed up proudly.
“I ate its heart.”
The god of darkness smiled wickedly. Finally, a bit of luck. From what he did understand about crows, he wouldn’t have to deal with Gull for much longer.
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10 months ago