In their build-up to the launch of Fiction Unboxed on Kickstarter, Johnny and Sean posted a writing challenge on their website.
They basically gave everyone 24-hours to write a short story. The story below was my submission and was originally posted on the Self-Publishing Podcast blog, for writing practice. I left it unedited and unpolished.
It was fun to write but is clearly first draft material.
The club owner’s payment was late. Markus was the late fee.
No debtor was ever surprised when Markus arrived. Adam, the owner, was professional right up until their drinks arrived. Then, rather than man up and accept his fate, Adam ran like a bitch, setting his bouncers on Markus as he exited the building.
To what end, Markus didn’t know. Adam’s fate was sealed.
You miss a payment. You pay the price.
It always annoyed Markus when they ran. Not because the effort of chasing them down was a burden, Markus could outrun any man alive. Rather, it was the lack of respect – for the Boss, for the rules, and for the consequences – that he couldn’t stomach.
Markus held his double whiskey calmly in his left hand. He sure as hell wasn’t going to waste a good drink. His right hand was a flurry of action, blocking, redirecting, and attacking the mustachioed bouncer.
Almost two minutes passed. Then the bouncer stepped back, disengaging from the fight to catch his breath. Sweat trickled down his face.
“The fuck is your problem, man?” the bouncer said, panting and wiping his brow. Blood dribbled from his crooked nose, dappling the front of his sky blue shirt. The man glanced around at the limp bodies around the bar that used to be his companions.
Where there were six, now there was one. Fear was evident in his eyes, yet for some reason he had pressed on.
Dumb as a stump, this one, but the man has balls, Markus thought. He sipped his drink. It warmed his throat and coated his stomach with fire.
Markus gulped the rest, letting the glass fall to the floor, and closed his eyes, savoring the sensation. Heat radiated into his chest, down his arms into his fingertips, finally reaching his toes.
A beat thumped in the background.
Markus decided not to hold back. Stupidly brave as the man was, he had better things to do than toy with this petty human.
When he opened his eyes and stared at the bouncer, Markus let them revert to their natural color – red. The response always made it sweeter.
“What the hell?” The bouncer stepped back again. His mouth gaped open in shock.
Markus launched himself at the man. At the last second, he spun. With a sweeping chop, he took the man’s head off.
Markus followed through with the momentum of his swing making another half-rotation to face the way he came. He strode toward the door, quick as a blink, to hunt down Adam.
Wide eyed and still gaping, the head bounced off a table and rolled onto the empty dance floor. After a brief pause, the arteries in the neck stump unclenched and released a geyser that splashed off the ceiling raining down on the body as it crumpled to the floor.
Markus emerged from the back of the club into a narrow alley. The night sky was cloudy. Rain drizzled down in typical Portland fashion. The streetlights at either end of the alley cast deep shadows. Markus scanned them for any sign of Adam.
The relative quiet of the alley thundered with a lead storm.
His human form jerked and jumped as a dozen bullets pelted Markus. Blood poured into the alley and Markus dropped to his knee.
Adam stepped out from behind the dumpster with an FN SCAR rifle trained on Markus. Rain struck the barrel and turned into thin ribbons of steam.
“It’s time for you to leave, Collector. ‘Cause I’m not going anywhere.”
Markus rose to his feet. His laughter was ice in Adam’s veins. The man involuntarily shuddered.
“You knew the consequences when you made the pact. Your payment was late. Thus, I was sent here to collect the late fee.” Markus said, amplifying his voice for effect. His eyes shifted red. “Your actions have elevated the situation. I have free reign over you now.”
== The End ==
So, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed it. Definitely take a look at the original blog post, Your Turn, and Sean’s list of writing prompts. It’s really useful for generating ideas and it’s interesting to see how each of their imprints would handle the prompts.