Shorts – Alignment

A while back i sat down to force myself to write 500 words a night. These are some of those word-salads

Having slowed somewhat in my writing, a while back(September 2022) I sat down to force myself to write 500 words a night. These are some of those word-salads. Unedited, raw, and just done for the hell of it…What concerns me most about this one is that I have no recollection of writing it. How curious.

Part 1 – Jennifer

Her thin, pale fingers still bloodied, Jennifer sat very still in the chair, hands cuffed to the desk in front of her. The room was uncomfortably warm, and the police office sat across from her was sweating more than she was.

“Are you quite okay?” she asked him, quite genuinely concerned as she watched rivulets of sweat run down the sides of his round, pink face. “I’d offer you a handkerchief,” she continued, holding up her hands until the chain clinked against bracket that held it in place, “but as you can see I am somewhat restricted in my movements.”

“Why did you do it?” the office asked, “we know you did it, we have witnesses to the whole thing. What we really want to know though is why would you stab a man through the heart in broad daylight?”

Jennifer said nothing, wishing he would wipe his face. He looked quite unwell and could certainly do to lose a few pounds. That might help. She didn’t mind the warmth particularly, it was actually nice to be warm for a change. This time of year the streets were so very cold, and no amount of blankets or cardboard boxes could stop the cold seeping into your bones.

“Did you know the man? Did he do something to you?” he asked, his eyes fixed firmly on her. “Did he want something from you, was that it?”

Jennifer looked down at the table and shook her head. She could still see his face, eyes wide in surprise, his red lunch pail dropping to the floor and sandwiches spilling at her feet.

From the very beginning she knew that she would have to go through this. There was never a thought that she would get away with it, that was never the point. In fact it was quite the opposite.

“So he was a complete stranger?”

Jennifer nodded again; head still bowed.

For a moment the tone of the officer softened, and he pulled his chair closer to the table and leaned in towards her.

“People don’t just kill complete strangers, do they Jennifer?” he said, “they just don’t do that. Now maybe you ought to tell me why you did what you did, and we can try and figure this whole thing out, eh. Did he hurt you? Is that why you did it?”

Jennifer looked into the face of the officer and sighed. His eyes were kind, despite all he must have seen in his time on the streets. They were very similar in that way she thought, only he was out there by choice.

“I did it, and I would very much like to go back to my cell if that’s okay,” she said calmly, a smile breaking out across her face. “I really do have nothing more to add. I’m guilty,  and its so very nice and warm in there and I believe lunch will be served soon.”

Part 2 – Donna

The door slammed violently, windows rattling, as Frank stomped down the hall. Heavy work boots clattered on the bare wooden floorboards and his voice boomed out.

“Donna, I’m home. Where are you?” His red lunch pail clattered as it was thrown on the small wooden table next to the door.

Upstairs, small feet scuttled and darted and then fell quiet as a sense of apprehension filled the air. A small, soft voice came from the ramshackle kitchen that sat at the back of the house.

“I’m sorry, I’m coming,” it said, a mix of fear and faked enthusiasm. ”it…it’s good to have you home,” she continued.  There was a clink of glass on glass and the sound of a bottle being put back down before she appeared through the kitchen doorway.

She was a small woman, a well-worn dress hung from her, shoulders to ankles, and her hair was pulled in a tight knot. She mustered a smile and it crept awkwardly across her face, a face with too many lines for her still young years. The remains of a bruise around her left eye were still vaguely visible in the dim light and she hurried to meet Frank, holding out a small glass of pale liquor in a thick bottomed cut glass tumbler. It had been part of a set once, not theirs of course, they couldn’t afford such things. Sometimes the family for whom she did washing would give her things they were otherwise going to throw away. As long as Frank didn’t think they were receiving charity, he was happy to not care where the things came from.

“Dinner?” he said taking the glass from her. “I don’t go to work all…”

He stopped his train of conversation as a thump and a crash from upstairs, and there was a small scream before it fell silent, stifled.

Frank roared, instantly enraged, and Donna reached for his arm to try to calm him. She knew it was pointless but she had to try.

“Here, she said,” desperately, “why don’t you come sit down and I will put the television on and I will go sort the twins out.”

Frank waited for a moment, nostrils flared and jaw clenched tight. All day he had worked, he told himself, all day just to come home to this.

“What they need is a dose of discipline,” he shouted, knowing they could hear him.

“I know, I know, please, let me deal with it,” Donna continued, her heart was racing and she knew how this would end.

Frank finished his drink in a single gulp and handed her the glass.

“Let me get you another while you sit, dinner will be ready in just a minute,” Donna said gently leading him into the living room. A large, battered leather chair sat in front of the television, a smaller couch to one side of the room and then very little else bar a few photos on a small side table. Frank dropped into it, and it seemed to groan as he settled in.

“Get me that drink,” he said, fierce eyes darting up to the ceiling and then back to Donna. He reached up and put a hand on her waist, and it took every effort in her not to flinch. He smiled and licked his lips, “good girl.”

Part 3 – Room 101

>>> Transmitting >>>

Cypher: We all set? You sure about this one?

Charon: Good to go. You worry too much. You need to learn to trust me. We’ve done this enough times.

Cypher: Transfers received?

Charon: This one’s gratis. Friend of a friend of a friend, and I was feeling charitable. Your finders fee remains the same though. It’s nearly Christmas, I am feeling charitable.

Cypher: Are you fucking serious?

Charon: Deadly

Cypher: LOL. Such a big heart.

Charon:  And she knows no lawyer right? She knows to just take it on the chin.

Cypher: Now who’s doubting who? She knows the drill. Do not pass go, do not collect 200.

Charon: Matched and dispatched brother, plausible deniability guaranteed. Ive set the server scrub. Tick tick tick…

Cypher: The things people will do for 3 meals a day and guaranteed warmth eh.

Charon: We didn’t start the fire, but we gotta pay the ferryman.

Cypher: You talk a lot of shit.

Charon: Service with a smile my friend.

>>>Transmission end…server reset initiated….>>>


Author: Michael

Husband, dad,(ex)programmer, comic collector and proud Yorkshireman. I have no idea why im here or why im writing but i rather enjoy it. no great fan of punctuation;

9 thoughts on “Shorts – Alignment”

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