Today’s story is a bit of a cheat. The more stories I wrote this week, the more excited I was about starting up on my novel again.
Yesterday, while I was about halfway through a new story, I jumped into my novel for a few minutes, and ended up reading for an hour. I decided to rework a passage, and present it to you guys today as a short story.
I think it works. Hopefully it will make you want to read more 🙂
Carl was not having a good day. He was sweating nervously under his mask. Things were not at all going according to plan.
He looked at the hostage negotiator in front of him. She was a tough-looking Asian woman, with jet-black hair in a tight ponytail, wearing a form fitting black t-shirt, cargo pants and what appeared to be military boots.
She had requested to enter the convenience store and ascertain the health of his hostages. He agreed, intending to keep her as an extra hostage.
“Not bad,” he thought, gaze roaming over her body. “Reminds me of Tina.”
He idly thought back to his first meeting with Tina five years ago. He and his buddies were at a bar, cooling off after a long day at the construction site. As the foreman, he was promised a bonus if they finished ahead of schedule. To motivate the crew, he pledged his bonus toward a steak dinner for all, and it had worked. They were a full week ahead, the weather was good, and everyone was getting along.
It was on that high note that he saw her: a tan brunette, in a hot yellow dress, sitting alone at the bar. He’d be damned if he was going to let that one slide, and marched right up to her and bought her a drink. The next morning, his sheets still smelling of her, he found a note by his bedside with her number.
They were happy that first year. He remembered her making him lunches to take to work, and his crew good-naturedly making fun of his “wife’s” sandwiches. So what if she was a bit jealous whenever his secretary called, or when he went to the bar with his friends. She was just making sure he was hers.
He sighed again as he shifted his gun. Slowly her jealousy got worse. They began to argue more often, about random things. He spent too much time on the job. He didn’t do the dishes right. He didn’t pick out the best strawberries while grocery shopping. He bought the wrong soap, which irritated her skin.
Even the sex dwindled. He clearly remembered their second anniversary: he came home to find his girlfriend in black lingerie, and undressed to join her only to have her berate him for coming home too late and not showering before bed. What followed was an hour and a half of her ranting at him with every slight against her he’d ever committed, ending with him smashing a vase and leaving.
She had him take anger management then, convincing him that he was the one with issues. Things improved for a while, as he learned to better take orders from her and do things exactly the way she wanted.
Then his daughter Angie was born, and everything changed. She was the perfect little angel, and like all parents, he couldn’t believe how lucky he was. She had her mother’s beauty, and his good nature. Her constant smiles made it easier for him to bear his girlfriend’s constant badgering. He would just nod his head, agree with whatever she accused him of, and accept her insults while holding back tears. Then he would find his daughter, hold her in his arms, and the pain would fade away.
He made it his job to make her smile, and when she did it would fix everything. As Angie got older, Tina slowly realized she couldn’t hurt him anymore. Which, of course, made her even angrier. Her rants got meaner, her insults more vicious. She began destroying his things when she couldn’t win arguments, throwing his sports memorabilia in the trash, and setting his favorite jersey on fire. He refused to be goaded, and stoically accepted it all, until that fateful day four months ago.
He came home to find Tina slapping Angie across the face, because she’d stained the couch cushions with strawberries. A terrible anger consumed him then, and he grabbed Tina’s wrist as she raised her hand for a second slap, twisting her arms away from his baby.
She struggled against him, hard, screaming and pulling and pushing until her wrists were red and chafed. He was a big man, and refused to let go until she calmed down. She eventually did, and left the house in a huff. He hugged his daughter close, thinking the worst was over, only for Tina to return two hours later with three policemen in tow.
“He abused me,” she screamed, pointing at him hysterically, and that was enough. With his history of anger management, she destroyed him in court, gaining full custody of their daughter and no visitation rights. Within a matter of weeks, he had lost his daughter, his apartment, and soon after his job.
“It’s enough to make a man snap,” he murmured. And snap he did. He knew he would never be allowed to see his daughter again. Tina was vindictive, she’d make sure of it. But he couldn’t let his baby suffer. The only way to solve the problem was to kill his girlfriend.
“Did you say something?” the negotiator asked.
“Yea,” he said forcefully, stepping forwards and lifting his gun. “Time’s up, where the hell is she?”
And that’s it! Let me know if you enjoyed this story, and if you’re curious about what happens next. Carl’s adventure continues in my novel, which I’ll share with you as soon as it’s done.
If you enjoyed this story, you would be doing me an immense kindness if you: