What Wrath Wondered (Flash Fiction Version)
I wrote this story for a flash fiction contest (I didn't make the top three! Boooooo!). It's only the second time I've intentionally written flash fiction (a story with a 500 word maximum word count). It was an interesting challenge, but I'm curious how different the story would have turned out without the word limit. I'll be writing a normal version of it sometime in the next few weeks, and will update this page with a link to that version once finished. In the meantime, to see more of The Adventures of Mr. Scales, check out his other short story featured here on the site, Come and See.
"Maybe it's because you're an asshole?" Miranda asked, doing her best impersonation of chipper.
"I'm not an asshole," Scales replied. "I know my value and I’m not inclined to correct the real assholes - the people who can't appreciate my unique genius."
"Spoken like a true asshole."
Scales shrugged. "Your loss." He started for the door.
"Does your 'unique genius' make you a hypersensitive girl? I never said I wouldn't do it."
Scales turned back and smiled. His tongue traced the edge of his broken canine, feeling every jagged millimeter and the shame that accompanied the injury.
Miranda focused on the tongue's motion as if he were sizing her up for a feeding.
Good. Maybe she'd give him a discount.
"That's my girl. You know you're my favorite, right?"
Miranda scrunched up her chin and nodded at the notion. It made her look more mole-ish than usual. "So you got turned down by three people – sorry, three assholes - before coming to your favorite. Interesting logic."
“Dangerous job. If I’m gonna get one of the competent couriers killed, I’d rather run through the list starting with the biggest assholes. So congrats on missing the medal platform at the assholympics.”
Miranda snorted. “Such a silver tongue.”
“Sorry, I don’t mix business and pleasure.” He gave her a wink and a smirk, mindful of revealing his disfiguration.
“Ew,” Miranda replied. “I’m not a courier, Scales. I’m a smuggler. Every job is dangerous.”
“Not like this.”
Miranda’s expression flattened. “So what is it?”
“An item of significant value that my associates and I acquired after much calamity and strife.”
“The rumors are true then?” Miranda asked.
“Been busy lately, what with all the calamity and strife. I’m not familiar with the aforementioned rumors.”
“Word is you’re running with Gavreel, La Croix and San Pascual these days, and the four of you have been raising seven different kinds of hell.”
“Guilty. But that’s not one-tenth of the story.”
Miranda extended her palms with a flourish. “Go on.”
Scales shook his head. “No time. You in, or should I move on to Courier Number Five?”
“I’m not in until you tell me what’s in the box.”
“You’d call me a liar.”
Miranda folded her arms across her chest. “Then I’m not in.”
“Fine. I’ll pay double.”
“And I’m back in.”
Scales stepped forward and took her hands. “Don’t open the box, Mira. No matter what happens, you do not open the box. I’m serious. Deal?”
Miranda nodded up at him.
Scales nodded back, then pulled the bag off his shoulder. “$450,000 in here. The rest’ll be waiting for you on delivery. You can count it.”
Miranda shook her head. “I trust you, Scales.”
Scales grinned, abandoning self-consciousness. “See you at the apocalypse, beautiful.” He held up a peace sign without looking back as he exited.
She watched the camera feed until he vanished.
She crossed the office.
She reached for the seal.
The outer security door clicked shut.
And Miranda opened the box.