04 June 2013

A guy walks into a bar.

Geek & Sundry has begun a wonderful new channel full of original vlogs. Nika Harper has begun producing an equally wonderful one called Wordplay, all about writing. This was my first take on her assignments and, I dare say, it's one of the better things I've written (and my first bit o' "flash fiction"!).
...
A guy walks into a bar and finds it empty. He narrows his eyes, has a look round. Gotta make sure the dim light isn’t playing with him. No, there’s nothing here but a big empty. It’s late, about the time the bars fill up in decent places, but this isn’t really decent places. Bar looks like it’s seen a stampede or two of horses or cows or bigger beasts. Town outside was so quiet and calm he never thought to see something like this in these parts, but there it is; bartender’s lying dead, draped over the bar like a big, wet blanket. He adjusts his new hat, gives it a little tip, and walks on quiet like, bare fingers grazing over dusty tables, leaving streaks. He’d hung up his spurs when his horse died and good thing, too; any noise would’ve been like a marching band in the cold, dull quiet. Best not disturb the locals.
Still silent, save for the creaking of the dusty brass chandelier above him,  swaying like a drunk. Still silent save for that scuffle he just heard. Behind him. He spins, goes for his blade but there’s nothing there. Nothing but a table turned over where the others were upright.
‘Come on out,’ he says. Nothing comes out.
Damn fool, he says to himself. But then he hears it again, steps over quickly and quietly, swears he’s gonna kill that rat for scaring him, then swears the same upon the creaky floorboards that mean to give him away. He stands before the overturned table. It’s round, probably used for poker if they play poker in this part of the world. Draws his blade, puts his foot on the round piece of wood, four foot across, kicks it over.
There’s no rat, just a girl. She’s cowering, crying, got her hands up over her head but he can still see the trail her tears carved through the dirt on her face. He swears again, this time at nobody, and makes his blade go away, sits on the floor in front of her. Best calm down before addressing her, so he runs a hand through his beard and breaths deep, wincing again when his finger grazes the sunburn on his cheek.
‘Alright, kid?’ It’s a stupid question but nothing else springs to mind. She’s mumbling, sputtering something in the local tongue. The guy shakes his head, can’t understand. The girl calms visibly. Her hands are down now and she takes a long, hard look at this new stranger. The man see she’s a pretty little thing, or would be if she hadn’t just found hell came knocking at her door. She points and tries again, points at the dead bartender. ‘Father,’ she says. ‘Father!’ and starts crying anew.
The guy bows his head, feels his heart flutter, feels the pain well up behind his eyes, and then makes it go away. He nods quick, two bouncing nods, then looks at the poor girl again. ‘Come on, kid,’ he says. ‘I’ll look after you tonight.’

She looks scared still, real scared, but something clicks in her head. Something like trust. Not knowing why, she takes his hand.

No comments: