The following is a flash fiction piece I threw together for my creative writing class. It clocks in at something like 950 words, give or take. I like it, but believe me…I’m well aware that fiction really isn’t my strong suit. I find it tough to make the transition from poet to author, and I’m really not sure why that is.
Anyway, I just felt like sharing this because I don’t plan on doing much else with it. It doesn’t feel fleshed out or polished enough to submit for publication. I’d greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions. Hell, a checklist of “things Amber needs to do differently while writing fiction” would be freaking awesome!
Where Y’at, Baby Girl?
It was not long after Mandy locked the door to her first floor apartment and stepped out into the humid Louisiana night that she noticed the man peel himself out of the shadows of her building and begin to follow her.
The man was large and olive-skinned– Cajun, perhaps– and bore the acrid scent of cheap cologne and, strangely, baby powder. He walked with a slight limp, but he moved with the awkwardness of someone who was trying vainly to conceal his disability. Mandy noticed, however, the slight misalignment of his shoulders and the sound his left boot made as it dragged on the ground like the dragging of a dead body through leaves.
The way he kept his eyes glued to her body, she sensed he wanted to hurt her. A slight play of light on something metal in his hand made her sure. Shadows gathered tightly around her, and the air began to grow thick with the musky scent of wild places, places far beyond the flat gray jungle of New Orleans. Mandy quickened her pace, her heartbeat thundering in her chest as her pursuer did the same.
Down the street, she could see the glowing window of her favorite bar, could hear the swells of the house band playing their way through a jazzed up version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The door hung wide open and the young, happening crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk. Couples embraced one another, some swaying out of time to the music, half drunk on domestic beer and the smallest promise of someone else’s bare skin against their own before the night was through.
Mandy felt a shiver race down her spine, and she knew with certainty that she would never make it in time. Why in the world had she come to New Orleans? This was what her mother had asked her countless times. Momma clearly didn’t understand anything.
Shaking uncontrollably, Mandy ducked into a narrow alley. One side of her mouth curled upward in a crooked smile as she heard the man limp his way into the alley behind her.
“Going somewhere, baby girl?” he asked, his voice rough and heavy like the dark stones at the bottom of Lake Ponchatrain.
“Just out to get some dinner, sugar,” Mandy replied with a small, husky laugh. She crossed her arms in front of her and lifted her shirt up over her head, tossing it aside. Slowly, she pivoted around to face the man who stood with his mouth agape even as he brandished a wicked-looking blade in one hand. He shifted his weight from side to aside like a nervous animal, waving the knife in front of him.
Still, he smiled like a predator. Mandy smiled back at him, reaching around to unhook her bra. She dropped it onto the pavement and began to lower the zipper of her blue jeans.
The man grunted his approval, his eyes sweeping over the curves of her body appreciatively as she disrobed. His confidence returned, and he lowered one hand to the fly of his pants. “I like a girl who don’t fool around,” he said.
Mandy wagged a finger at the man suggestively as she backed farther into the thick shadows of the alleyway.”I never fool around,” she cooed even as her bones cracked and split, reshaping themselves beneath the pale blanket of her skin. Her blood hammered through her veins like fire as black fur covered first her belly, then her thighs and legs and arms in turn. A gasp escaped her as her nails lengthened into claws and her teeth turned to razors in her mouth, which in the concealing darkness of the alley had stretched into a muzzle.
The man had succeeded in getting his pants down around his ankles as he followed her eagerly into the narrow alleyway, darkness closing all around him like a black envelope. “Where’re y’at, baby girl?” He reached for her.
A strangled scream escaped him as teeth closed on his questing hand, taking it off at the wrist. The beast before him spit out the hand onto the garbage-strewn pavement and lifted its great furred head to glare at him with yellow eyes. He yelped as the creature caught hold of him and lifted him off his feet as though he weighed nothing at all and pinned him against the slimy wall. The beast flattened its great tufted ears and drew back its black lips into a grotesque parody of a smile.
Mandy growled with pleasure as she clamped her teeth around the would-be rapist’s throat and felt him struggle weakly beneath her furry balk. As his death throes ceased, she allowed his body to sink to the dirty pavement in a bloody heap. Then, with relish, she fed.
* * *
The patrons of the bar parted like the Red Sea as Mandy entered through the front door. From the corner of her eye, she watched the band members one by one lower their instruments and elbow one another until a frightening quiet descended. Shocked gasps and muted cries of “Oh my God…” drifted to her ears as she made her way naked and bloody toward the bartender who simply stared, dumbfounded.
Though she managed to keep her expression carefully blank, Mandy caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror which hung over the bar. Her eyes shined bright as the stars reflected on the black velvet water of the bayou from whence she had come. Her momma had to understand. How could she not?
Mandy stood on tip toe and crossed her arms on top of the bar as she leaned toward the bartender conspiratorially. “May I please use your phone?” she whispered.