Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Step Too Far - Chapter 13

Annie sat breathing heavily, dangling her feet in the hot spa, watching the dried blood, indifferently wondering if it will wash off easily, or need some scrubbing.  How did she even get blood on her legs?  Splash damage must have been more intense than she noticed at the time.

Stripping to her underwear, she pulled out her wallet again before settling into the spa to clean up.  It took some time to find a suitable hot-tub, kept warm in a back yard, despite the residents being off somewhere.  Ever so courteous of them to let her bloody up their waters.  A hot spa was clearly the only way to celebrate a victory in battle, it’s a shame they weren’t around in the good old days - a good hot spring certainly did the trick though.

A few hundred dollars in cash - not bad for a kid, drug money?  A learner’s permit, the photo was pretty, but she saw herself in the mirror at the bar, it clearly didn’t do her justice.  Platinum credit card, daughter of rich parents?  Debit card, library card?  They still have those?  Hmph.  Gym membership, of course, and some blank card, probably opens the gate of her parent’s mansion.  Very un-elucidating… She put it aside and sunk under the bubbling water to try and get the blood out of her - come to think of it remarkably silky - hair.

I still ask people sometimes, what their earliest memory is.  A Christmas tree on a snowy day; their first day in school; their parents’ faces? Some it seems can barely remember even being a child.  None remember being born, yet not one person ever questions that they were born, everyone is born at some point, right?

I remember when I was born - far too long ago - but it isn’t my earliest memory.  My earliest memory isn’t of being born, but of dying. Then blackness, perhaps a second, perhaps a thousand years, then birth. And before that,  nothing.  I’ve never known blackness since then, not even a moment’s nap.  The body sleeps, I do not.  I’ve been born many times since then.  I’ve lost more bodies than I can easily count.

So if my earliest memory is my own death, surely I must have been alive before then?  Was that the first life I was born into?  Was I even born, or did I just come to be at that very moment, seeing through the eyes of someone who was never me?  Whoever that man was, there were two things I knew about him.  He was hated by those who killed him more than I’d seen anyone be hated in all my time since, and I hated him.  I don’t even know who he was, but God I hate him with every fiber of my being.

Emerging from under the water, Annie took a deep breath and casually inspected her newly clean hair.  It was nice being beautiful.  I should buy a pretty dress.

A Step Too Far - Chapter 12

The two men came around the corner and Annie heard them stop still.  “Hey!” one growled “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”  She turned to face them with a grim smile, as they moved to block her escape.  “Oh I just saw those guys in there kill that guy Dave you’ve got hidden away inside.  Thought I’d see what they were doing with him, maybe drop in and say ‘Hi’,” she replied brightly.  “Crazy bitch, you must be high,” replied the man on the left as they both approached her.  He saw the specs of blood on her face and clothes.  “I guess this will be the second time someone teaches you a lesson tonight.”

Annie watched them approach, grim smile shrinking to more of a dark smirk.  One of them drew a knife, the other grabbed her and slammed her hard up against the wall.  It knocked the wind from her, but the smirk remained.  “Pretty little thing like you should stay off the streets at this hour, but I guess it’s too late now, can’t exactly unsee something can you?”  “No indeed!” she cheerily replied, despite some shortness of breath, “Come to think of it, weren’t the two of you there too?  I’m pretty sure that knife was the one that got me, uh, him in the leg, no?”

The man with the knife pushed the other aside and held it to Annie’s throat.  The grim smirk was gone, she now smiled sweetly, looking into his eyes.  “That’s right, this was that knife.  Now, tell me, would you like me to fuck you before, or after I use it on you?” The other guy laughed, “This bitch is crazy man, but she’s hot!  We could get good money for her, let’s bring her in.”

“Oh, let’s not be in such a hurry,” Annie said seductively, gently caressing the man’s knife arm.  “Can’t you both fuck me here first, before we go inside?” Now the man with the knife laughed and leaned closer to her, his left hand moving to grope her between the legs.  His knife twisted from his hand and went up through the floor of his mouth,  right into his brain.  He fell straight to the ground dead.

The other man jumped back in shock and fumbled, but managed to reach his gun.  Annie took a step toward him as he retreated, drawing on her.  She grabbed the gun with both hands and leaped up and around, wrapping her legs firmly around his neck and wrenching the gun from his grip.  He came crashing down, her legs still entwined around him, cutting off circulation to his brain.  In a few seconds he stopped twitching.  She lay relaxedly on the ground for another minute before letting go.  His eyes had almost bulged out of their sockets.  It was nice having a body that could properly follow through with her intention!

Annie rose to her feet, taking the gun, but leaving the knife.  It seemed a good place for it to remain - sticking out of the man’s jaw - it held a certain aesthetic quality.  After three months as Dave, not to mention years as a hobo before that, Annie realised she was tired of inactivity and slowly plodding around.  Walking to the front of the bar, she wanted some action.  There was only so much she could do to increase the strength of a body, but she put all she had into it and kicked down the front door, marching in, gun blazing.

A Step Too Far - Chapter 11

Slurring and sobbing, stumbling as she ran despite her drug addled head, trying to reach the main road while explaining where she was to the operator, Stephanie was desperate to get someone, anyone there to help.  The operator calmly tried to settle her down and find out what happened, but she was too frenzied to give a coherent reply between trying to flag down cars that sounded their horns angrily at her.

As the operator ensured her an ambulance was on its way and implored repeatedly, “Please miss, keep off the road, an ambulance is on its way, you need to go back to your friend and I’ll talk you through helping her.” After several repeats, the message finally drummed though, “Shit!” she’d left her lying on her back, probably choking on her own tongue!  Maybe the only reason she wasn’t breathing now was Stephanie's own carelessness!  She hung up the phone and ran back to where she left Annie.

Stephanie’s eyes darted around, desperately trying to spot where she left Annie, but she was nowhere to be seen.  This has to be where she was!  It was only a few hundred meters away, and she recognised the nearby tree and bench, definitely!  They were lying right there!  Was she that high she imagined the entire thing?  She shone the light of her phone where Annie once lay and saw a few specs of blood against the green grass.  But Annie was gone.

Stephanie turned, looking carefully in every direction, Annie nowhere in sight.  “Annie?” she called out into the darkness.  “ANNIE!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.  No reply.  She ran back and fourth, making sure she had a full view of the area.  There wasn’t a lot obscuring the view and she could see well enough into the distance in the moon light.  No one was there.

She paused in horror for a moment, unable to find her dead or dying friend… and then realised, and fell to her knees laughing and crying at once with relief.  She was alive!  If she was too badly off, she couldn’t have gone far at all in such little time.  In Stephanie’s daze she must have not been able to feel her pulse or notice her breathing, how obvious that should have been!  Whatever had happened to Annie, she had obviously woken up, saw she was alone in the park, and knowing her, calmly and quickly went for help.

Stephanie raised her phone and started dialing Annie’s number.  Whatever happened last night, she clearly owed Annie the world’s biggest apology, and given the state they were in, probably also her life - again.  The thought flashed in her mind, “How much does an entire ice-cream shop go for these days?”

A Step Too Far - Chapter 10

It took a moment for Annie to properly reorient herself.  It was always a bit jarring to go from an exterior, broad view, to looking through the narrow, cloudy eyes of a body.  She looked herself up and down, checking her body and clothing were in more or less good order.  A bit disheveled, some blood, but otherwise fine.  She turned to face the direction of Dave’s body, two miles off.  There was no time to waste getting used to this body, it was fresh enough to not need much work to get going.  She jammed her right arm back into place and took off at a run.

A mile on, she was still running at a comfortable pace.  Her body felt a bit drained from lack of sleep, the partly healed injuries and the drugs, but was holding up remarkably well.  She was pretty pleased with herself, she was obviously getting better at purging drugs from the body of these kind of people.  Usually it was a hopeless task, there was only so much that could be done.  But she managed to clean up this body like it was almost new!

She was breathing deeply, but not heavily, and if anything the run loosened her up rather than exhausted her.  She picked up the pace and felt the cold morning air against her cheeks, her body warmed up and felt alive - a sensation Dave had certainly not been used to.  She missed that sensation, and wanted more!  Annie took a leap into the air as she ran at full pace, and gracefully landed back to a run meters ahead.  She was grinning now like she hadn’t in a long time.  Maybe losing Dave’s body was a blessing in disguise, this new one was fun!

Annie was almost sorry there was less than a mile left to run.  She jumped and darted, skipped and hopped, then cartwheeled and finally even flipped her way down the road, landing gracefully every time, she felt weightless.  This felt like the body of a dancer, or a gymnast!  She was quite familiar with being a good dancer, but always male, she’d never been a female dancer before.  Apparently she’d been missing out.  These little bodies aren’t so bad after all!

When Annie arrived back at the dingy bar, she was breathing hard, but exhilarated and ready for more.  In the excitement she’d almost forgotten why she was there!  As Dave she went into the fight with all the gusto of a stale sandwich, in keeping with his style of course.  But this body felt like a TV high school pep rally made flesh.  This time she’d put something of herself into the fight, like in the good old days.

The men had gone, leaving scuffs in the dirt, and blood, but no Dave.  She put her attention out a bit and could feel his body inside the building.  They were probably hiding it until they could think of a way to dispose of it.  For an instant she got an impression of the other people in the area and quickly pulled her attention back in.  There’s no fun in a fight if you know too much in advance!

Instead she walked around and peaked in a window and saw two of the men who killed her… Dave… whatever, before.  Also a third man she didn’t know, talking heatedly to them.  Then she heard footsteps, two men, coming around the corner.  She could hide and plan her attack, but she was still exhilarated from the run, and wanted to get back into action.  She just kept on looking in that window.