Friday, September 20, 2013


A submission for the monkey's weekly flash challenge. I doubt I will do much (if anything) from Jay's POV again: he is fundamentally not human, and doing stories with him as the POV character lessens that. 

The term ‘cut-throat’ isn’t an empty cliche when you see it happen in real life. One moment I am walking down a small street with groceries, the next human falls over in front of me, blood seeping through cracks into the hungry earth. The body was stout, poorly dressed, layered for winter in summer. His killer is tall and thin, a knife sharp in his right hand, eyes locked on me.

I'm small. I look human and I'm holding four bags of groceries for the magician and Charlie, but mostly me. My master – though I never call him that – sent me out alone and that is Important. The binding between us remains solid and I do nothing to twig it, leaping to the side as the man with the knife swings his blade at me. I cover a third of the street in one skid, faster than humans can move, set the groceries down carefully.

It gives the killer time to spin and came at me again. I leap aside, pulling him from the groceries. I could hurt him, but humans are easy to hurt: I am hoping he sees my speed and runs away but he seems determined to kill me for seeing him kill someone else. A second swing, a third, and he finally scrambles back and lowers the blade.

"We can walk away," I snap. "I'm not going to tell anyone."

I look ten; my voice has no power at all to it. He ignores it and lunges at me. This time I leap right over him and land behind him next to a dumpster. He just spins, knife in hand, and comes at me again, like a villain in a really bad movie.

I grab the dumpster with both hands and heave: I'm stronger than humans are, especially young boys, and the dumpster smacks him in the side and sends him reeling. I put it back and he stares at it, then me, and finally runs away.

I walk around the body, not stepping in any blood, trying to leave no traces, considering getting some hot dogs before I return to the room the magician is renting when a shimmer over the body catches my gaze. For a moment I catch the outline of a human ghost, and then it spots me and is gone, vanishing into the air as if it never was.

I wait a few seconds to see if it comes back, mostly because I've never seen a ghost before, then grab the groceries and head back to the hotel.

The eggs didn't break in the bag, and that is all that matters.


  1. I'm not familiar with your characters but I liked this. Good description and the question of the ghost --and the last line which was excellent

    Sorry about your tooth - been there done that, no T shirt

    1. Thanks. It was originally titled 'murder' before I realized that all Jay would care about is the eggs: getting the groceries back safely was Important. Minor human concerns, not so much.

      Writing the magician series is a fun challenge since the stories have to work (ideally) on their own and as part of the larger narrative. The extent to which this works is, however, a different matter entirely :)

    2. Yes, Jay WOULD only really care bout the eggs. I'm actually surprised he gave as much thought as he did to the killer & body.

      My favourite line, that really gave me his *character* was the one of how being sent out alone was "Important".

    3. His priorities are fun in the series. He pretty much only paid attention to them in case the magician was watching him from a distance and would ask questions about them later; he's aware that Charlie and the magician don't treat people as things at least though his distinction is more Important and Not Important, and important is a very short list :)