Word Limit = 250
Required Phrase = “Before” or “After”
Forbidden Words = Abandoned, Empty, mp3 player, and rope
Bonus Words = You can go up to 300 total if you tell us both how she got there and what happened after she was found.
Sharp intake of dirty, cold morning air. Eyes spring open, blinking furiously, trying to focus.
Where the fuck am I?
Whitewashed storefronts. Iron-gated windows. Asphalt. A curious cleanliness and an unsettling silence. No din of traffic. No voices.
What was that?
Insistent scream of a gull resonates. Peripheral vision uncovers red paper lanterns. Fong’s Bar.
Mental images come rushing back.
Truth or dare?
Four women in a booth. Too many empty bottles erase rational decision-making skills.
Fuck my head hurts. And my shoulder blade. Damn it!
She moves her bound arms, trying to relieve the sharp pain.
I didn’t know they would go this far.
The questions flew across the table like bullets, waiting to find the right target. Have you ever been tied up for sexual purposes? Are you an exhibitionist? What’s your greatest fear?
No. No. Not being able to communicate.
Dare. Somebody had to break the truth cycle. I dare you to let us do anything we want to you once you pass out. Hesitant, nervous laughter. Trust us. We’re your friends. We promise not to hurt you.
I’m never drinking again.
Sound of a door opening. Slow footsteps. Something in Chinese.
Horrified expression. You dead, lady?
No. Fuck. Just untie me! I’m alive!
Painful facial stretch after the gag is removed. Throat too dry to speak.
Untie my hands!
Arms too numb to support weight. Pins and needles. Throat cracks.
“Water, please? And I’m cold.”
I’m going to kill them before they have a chance to explain.
Don knew the mark would pass by this spot. He knew that the mark’s predatory nature would not let him pass by the bait. But she wasn’t bait…she was his … his…everything. Before she had come to him he wasn’t whole, but Athena was his only chance at ending the nightmare that had plagued the shadows of his mind.
Don had followed this mark here to see the end of his existence; to see himself done. There was nothing more he sought in life…every breath was one closer to that motherfucker’s demise. So powerful was the drive that he wondered what he would become when he finished: an alcoholic, addict, missionary, maybe a prisoner?
Don drove the shitty mini-van down the narrow street past Fong’s, stopping quickly and opening the rear hatch. He asked Athena if she was still good. She only looked at him with those steel blue eyes wide and nodded yes, not making a sound through her gag. She knew the plan and was ready to get this one just like the others.
Don gently dropped her on the street and sped into the alley, parking behind a large metal dumpster for concealment.
Don grabbed his rifle from the van and set up behind some fetid bags of trash.
The mark came, Don could see the surprise and delight on his face when he quickly scooped up Athena’s naked, bound body and threw her over his left shoulder. Her head hung midway on the mark’s back.
Don exhaled slowly and squeezed the trigger, watching in the scope as the bullet passed through her head and into the mark.
After they both lay still, Don quietly thought to himself, “Fuck you, Dad. And you, you home-wrecking cunt. Mom had better have that money ready.”