The List

Another Furious Fiction Rejection

Furious Fiction — January
500 words maximum

-Each story’s first word had to be NEW.
-Each story had to include the words NINETEEN, DESERT and PRESENT
-Each story had to include SOME KIND OF LIST — open to interpretation

New snow dusted the ground as the sun dipped below the skyline and the street lights ticked on, illuminating the deserted inner city neighborhood. A single slim figure moved in the quiet. Her heels clicked sharply on the uneven pavement but her stroll was steady and calm. Not too fast, not too slow. Nothing that would be memorable to any wandering eyes gazing down from the windows and balconies above.

She did everything right, everything a woman walking at night is supposed to do. She stayed on the sidewalk, walking directly underneath the glaring bulbs safety. She wore her purse across her body, rather than over one shoulder. The jingle of her keys echoed as she pulled them from her pocket and laced them through her fingers. Dangling from the keyring was a red whistle and a tiny canister of pepper spray. Her hood was pulled up to conceal her hair and her scarf was wrapped around the lower section of her face.

A police wagon turned the corner and rolled to a stop beside her, its window rolling down.

“Is everything alright, ma’am?” The thick English accent called out.

She nodded and waved, but didn’t slow her pace. The officer rolled forward as to keep pace with her until she turned and looked again.

“Tell us where you’re headin’ ma’am, it’s not safe to be out here at present. We’ll get you where you need to be.”

It wasn’t safe at all. Over the past two weeks alone over nineteen bodies had appeared throughout in the city. No pattern had been discerned. The victims had been black, white, yellow, brown, men and women, young and old. From high profile lawyers to housewives to university students to dentists.

“No, thank you,” she called out, her voice muffled by the scarf. “I’m almost where I need to be.”

“Please ma’am,” he called out again, “it’s really not safe.”

She stopped then and let her eyes roll across the empty street around them to the darkened windows above. The snow started to come down with a little more fervor, bringing with it a thick silence. A plastic bag rolled across the road with a gust of wind, like a tumbleweed in the desert. The officer’s eyes glanced over to the bag’s movement. Neither of them heard the tiny pops that ended their lives, for they were both killed instantly.

The driver slumped forward and the cruised slowly crawled straight down the street.

The woman slid the silenced pistol back among the folds of her coat and quickly opened the door to the dark van parked between two minivans.

“What the hell was that?” The man inside demanded, looking into the back as the woman slid the door shut.

“That was Officer Keating,” she said. “Another name ticked off the list. Drive.”

He pulled the van out of its space and drove the opposite direction. A moment after they turned the corner the cruiser’s alarm started sounding after it bumped into another car.

JLRose is an American fantasy writer, 3D artist and game designer living in Melbourne, Australia. She’s spent the past three years working on the first full-length book of The Galean Universe titled Repentance.

Her short story, The Chase, is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. The Venue is set to be released in September. Click the images below for more.

2018 © Jaxon Lee Rose