This week brings another writing prompt for the ages. Four random items. I decided to make this one a sequel to last week’s post, so you may want to read that one first if you haven’t already. Again, thanks to Chuck Wendig! http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/07/26/flash-fiction-challenge-four-random-items/
974 words this time.
An unopened envelope
A road sign
An animal skull
A police officer’s badge
A discussion among Officers
“What the hell do you mean, he made bail?!” Officer Jackson screamed at the other cop behind the desk at the police station. The other officer merely lifted an eyebrow and shrugged.
This wasn’t supposed to happen! Impossible, in fact. He had been told that there was no possible way the boy could make bail. His father was conveniently out of town, and he had no other living relatives. Officer Jared Jackson was hoping to have this be an in-and-out job, so he could go home to his pregnant wife, but it seemed that this would not be the case. Go figure.
Jared sighed. “Okay. I suppose this was bound to happen eventually. Who paid for him to get out?”
The other officer looked down at his sign-in sheet, then frowned. His face drained to white as he looked back up at Jared. “Genghis Khan?”
Jared scowled at the other man. “You do realize that this is not a joke, right? What’s the real name, officer…” Jared leaned over the counter to read the name on the man’s badge. “Collier?”
The man simply handed over the clipboard, and pointed to the bottom signature. Sure enough, it read “Genghis Khan.”
Jared flipped the clipboard up in the air and shouted. “Goddamnit! Are you a complete incompetent? You just let someone come in here and take the boy without proper identification?”
“I don’t understand…” officer Collier said defensively. “I watched her sign it. I remember… It was some other name she put down, but… I can’t remember what it was! Someone must have changed it after she left…”
Jared suppressed the urge to lean over the counter and punch the lights out of this incompetent asshole of a cop. “Fine. Whatever. You have security footage. I want to see it. If I can’t get her name, I will settle for her face.”
Officer Collier motioned for Jared to follow him. Through a security checkpoint and a locked door, he followed the incompetent officer into the room where they kept the security footage. The man sat down at the only computer and logged in. “We store all the security footage digitally. Give me a moment while I access today’s video.”
Jared crossed his arms and waited. The computer began to make an ear-grating shriek, as if the internal fan was getting caught against something at high speed. Officer Collier smacked the side of the thing and it quit making the noise. “Ah. There it is. Now just give me a sec while I bring up that woman’s pretty f…”
Officer Collier never got to finish the sentence. Jared found himself on his back, with his ears ringing. He looked over to see Collier convulse once as blood gurgled out of a hole torn in his neck from the explosion of the computer tower. He convulsed once more, then was still.
Jared ran over to the man, and clamped his hands on the wound, but it was too late. Collier’s eyes were now filled with the glaze of death.
He cursed, but did not hear any of what he himself was saying. His ears were still ringing. He quickly checked himself over, but luckily found no wounds.
The desk was on fire, and the rest of the room was quickly becoming too hot for continued occupancy. Jared made himself scarce. No one was supposed to know that he was even here. His contract stated that he must never be apprehended, or found out, or he would be immediately terminated. He knew that it likely meant that he would be quietly killed in his sleep by his employer. What he was doing was not entirely… legal.
Or natural, for that matter. Such was the situation as the world’s one, and only, time cop sprinted out of the small-town police station as it went up in cleansing fire. He only hoped there was no one else in the building, because he knew when it came to fire… he was a complete coward, and there was not a chance in hell that he was going back in there.
* * *
Karl took the letters from Mrs. Rhendron as she left him at the bus station.
“One is for you, the other is for Kalgan when you see him again,” she said. “Please don’t open them quite yet. There will be some interesting… news… on television in about a week or so. I want you to open it up, then.”
“What do you mean? I’m so confused!” he complained. “Why do I have to get out of town like death is upon my heels?”
“Because it is!” Mrs. Rhendron said, tears streaming down her face. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you more. There’s no time. You would ask too many questions. Questions that would take too long to answer. It’s all in the letter. Now please, go. Go!” she cried, pushing him toward the doors of the bus.
Karl dragged his feet. He hated to see his best-friend’s mother like this. She needed his help in finding her son and daughter! He turned around one last time as he put his first foot onto the bus.
“You’ve always been like a second son to me,” she said, looking as if she were going to break down into complete sobbing. “I wish things had turned out differently… Go on.”
Karl sighed and walked onto the bus, taking an unoccupied seat in the back. When he looked out the window, Mrs. Rhendron was nowhere to be seen.
Karl stared straight ahead in a daze for the first hour of the trip. He looked out once or twice, but all he saw was a sign proclaiming that the next town of any size was 347 miles away, and a cow skull, bleached from the sun, with empty eye-sockets staring into the setting sun.