Her New Man (Chuck Wendig Challenge)

Posted: March 10, 2016 in Fantasy, Fiction
Tags: , , , ,

A bit of urban fantasy (or maybe even a street level superhero story). The challenge this week was to go with one of the seven deadly sins and write a story based around it. So this one is mostly Lust with maybe a dash of Wrath. A bit over the limit of 1,000 words, but just by a tetch.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Her hips sway with the thudding bass as she sashays across the floor. She’s sex poured into a dress, and she knows it. Even the other patrons feel their eyes drawn in her wake despite the dancers up on the stage wearing a lot less than she currently is. My eyes climb her legs, pausing only briefly at the too short hem line.

She slides into the booth next to me, places one of her long legs over mine. “Hello, stranger,” she breathes into my ear. “I’m glad you came.” I feel her tongue flick against my ear. The faint scent of lavender creeps into my nose.

Glad for the dark of the club, I feel my face go crimson. I cough. “Uhm, sure. You said it was important?”

She sighs, pulling away from my body. Disappointment floods my being, leaves me with the exquisite pain of longing for even platonic contact. She takes a deep breath, which does all sorts of interesting things to her breasts. “I need your help.”

I bite my tongue to keep from saying “Yes” without question. I need to remind myself that I’m not running a charity, and that nothing’s been promised no matter what my libido says otherwise.

“Help with what?” My voice sounds thick even to me.

She brushes a lock of platinum hair away from her face, her blue eyes piercing through the shadows. “My husband. Ex-husband,” she corrects, maybe seeing the dismay twisting my face. “I’m worried he might do something, might hurt me.”

“You want me to have a talk with him?” I stare down at my glass, breaking eye contact. I should have figured it was something like this. My eyes trace the scars on my hands, my swollen knuckles. Women don’t seek me out for my company, especially not women even half as gorgeous as the one sitting next to me. Frost spreads out on the glass, a sign of my slipping control.

“Would you?” she breathes. “I’d really appreciate it.”

I nod, slow and steady. She slips a piece of paper across the table. I’m not sure where she even had it. I see an address and a name scrawled across it. I can’t make out what’s written on it. For some reason I’m having trouble getting my eyes to focus. I shake my head, stick the paper in my pocket. I down my drink, feeling her eyes on me.

“Thank you.” My eyes are glued to her ass as she walks away.

Stepping into the cold air outside the club is like coming up from air after being underwater too long. I suck a big lungful of air. I pull the paper out from my pocket, smooth it out against a nearby wall. I recognize the address and the name on the paper. I feel my stomach tighten into a knot, feel the sweat bead on my forehead. I wrinkle my nose, the scent of lavender lingering still. I get into my car, grind my palms into my eyes, and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into.

Then I remember how she looked in that dress, start up the car, and go.

I stride through the door to the bar. All eyes turn to me, hard eyes set in haggard faces. The bartender sets down the beer he’s pouring, and I see him rest his hand on something under the bar. I wrinkle my nose. A stench like rotten eggs lies underneath the smell of spilled beer and stale vomit. Classy place this.

“I’m looking for Reggie.”

Caution shifts to aggression. The bartender tenses. “You a cop?”

I quirk an eyebrow. “I look like a cop?”

One of the customers looks me over. “I dunno. Seen some pretty ugly cops in my day.”

“So, where’s Reggie?” I stride over to the bar, trying to exude confidence I don’t feel, trying hard to ignore the itch between my shoulder blades. I place my hands on the bar. Patterns of frost spread out from my fingers across the surface.

The bartender blinks at me, looks down at the bar, then back at me again. “He’s in the back.”

I smile, lips pulling back from teeth. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

I stride toward the back room. Spine straight. Stride sure. Hands balled into fists, nails digging into palms. The door is closed. Probably locked. Not that it matters.

A blast of arctic air knocks the door off its hinges, rime creeping along the walls. Three men look up from their card game. A fourth is on his back, the door on top of him.

“Which one of you is Reggie?” I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. A hand reaching for a weapon. “Don’t,” I breathe, a cloud forming in front of my mouth. The hand stops.

One of the men stands. Too large to be healthy, bald on top and long hair in the back, like he can’t make up his mind. “I’m Reggie. What do you want freak?”

I blink, and the next thing I know I’m across the room. My hand is in his shirt and I’m lifting him up off the ground.

“Luxe wants you to leave her alone.”

“Luxe? You mean Emily. You mean my wife.”

I give him a shake. It’s like shaking a puppy. I feel cold all over, and can see blue spreading over his polo shirt. “Ex. Ex-wife.”

“How much is she paying you? Huh? What? You fucking her and this is the price you gotta pay that whore?”

Without thinking I’ve thrown him across the room. The other people in the room, well, the one’s not trapped under a door, exit quickly. I step over, place a boot on his head.

“What did you call her?”

“Fuck you.” He spits a bloody gob on the floor. “Bitch leaves me so she has her pet freak come over to rough me up? Is this what this is?”

I bend down, get close so he can feel the cold on my breath. “Leave. Her. Alone.” I step off his head on my way out. The patrons of the bar take care to keep to themselves as I exit.

Outside the bar, the shakes start. I squeeze my eyes shut, think of her. Her body. Her voice.

And I wonder what I’ve become.

  1. moteridgerider says:

    Took me a while to get round to reading this – but I was rewarded for my patience. Great snapshot of a flawed character. Do you collect these together with a view to using some of them in a novel?

    • Hey there, thanks for checking the piece out. I don’t have plans for most of these pieces, but there have been a few I’ve come back to and expanded on. I’d love to gather a bunch of these into a collection, maybe just to get my name out there a bit more.

      • moteridgerider says:

        You should definitely do that. A little bit of spit and polish is all they need – they’re certainly worthy tales.

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