I had so much fun writing the last story for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge, I decided to go again when he made the Epic Game of Aspects: Redux Challenge. This time we were given lists of 20 choices for Subgenre, Conflict, and Element to Include. I rolled (d20s this time) Black Comedy, Assassin!, and Poisonous Snakes. After much cogitation, and some struggle at being funny, I give you:
The sound of the window-sash sliding gently open woke me. That noise is never a good sign, but I didn’t panic. Perhaps it was only a thief. I kept my breathing slow and even, careful not to betray my wakefulness. I strained my ears for every faint crumb of sound but I could still barely hear the rustle of a body sliding over the window-sill. I shifted aimlessly in the bed, as a sleeper stirring might. One flick of a finger, and the room glowed pale-green within my goggles. A figure stood motionless just inside my window.
We breathed slowly, listening to each-other. I counted heartbeats until my nocturnal visitor was satisfied by my feigned slumber. The figure moved further into the room, one careful step at a time edging toward my bed.
I nearly gave the game away by laughing aloud at the muffled swearing. They had tripped over a half-built prototype on my floor. Clearly, this thief was either inexperienced or extraordinarily idiotic. No night-goggles, carrying a bulky box on their back, and very little preparation.
The figure waited for me to settle into “sleep” again. I waited for their next move.
The second-hand on my pocket-watch sliced the night’s silence from my dressing-table. Finally, she moved, revealing an outline of breasts as she slid closer. She shifted the box off of her back and reached inside. My hand tightened on the tiny revolver beneath my pillow. To my horror, she withdrew her hand from the box clutching a long thrashing creature behind its head.
Tossing the snake toward my bed, she snarled “A message from Lord Taylor. Die wench!”
My bullet went wild as I scrambled desperately to untangle my night-dress from my bed-clothes. The viper struck, hissing, and rebounded off the metal of my prosthetic right arm. At last, I escaped my treacherous bed. I steadied myself with several ragged breaths, aimed, fired.
The snake thrashed among the tumbled sheets. I fired again, for good measure, then adjusted my aim. My fourth shot took the assassin high in the shoulder. She squealed and scrambled backwards toward the window, abandoning her box of vile creatures to their fate. I hit her once more, in the bottom, as she escaped. I hoped she wouldn’t sit comfortably for a month.
Snakes. Why does it always have to be snakes?!
I turned up the gas and shouted for my landlady. Then I climbed deliberately onto a chair and waited for someone to arrive and dispose of the bloody box of bloody snakes, keeping my revolver trained on them.