This story is a participant in Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge.
Dagger of The Damned
*This flash fiction story has detailed gore and elements of horror.*
Daren’s limbs rested in unnatural angles on the damp pavement. Astrid spied the edge of the ancient dagger’s wooden handle that peeked out of a pocket of Daren’s bloodied jeans pocket. The crime scene officer stepped forward to block Astrid’s view.
“Let me pass. I’m Daren’s sister.” Astrid’s vision of the man’s stern expression outlined in emerald green as her eyes filled with moisture. The unusual effect on her vision increased since the news of her brother’s violent death a few hours ago.
To know she couldn’t tell her brother he means the world to her–was unbearable. Then to see his body, lifeless and limp on the pavement, drove her insane. The officer is in danger to take a swift knee to the balls if he didn’t let her see Daren. Many so-called thugs were dumped into body bags, loaded into ambulances near the cramped and stifled alley.
Druggies. Dealers. Prostitutes.
“We’ll take care of your brother.” He glanced down past the tip of his nose to her. A silver rectangular plate badge gleamed as she read the bold black print:
Trent Gusztav, Investigation Supervisor.
“I will call a deputy to escort you to the morgue if you wish to see your brother,” Trent said.
The investigator’s bland concern didn’t placate Astrid. She took a step aside to peek around him. A forensic team taped off the area while a female in paramedics’ uniform made haste and pressed a fingertip on Daren’s mangled wrist. She wrote something down—the time of death — then twirled her finger and a body bag appeared, damp from previous rainfall.
Perhaps waiting for another poor soul to suck into the depths of the morgue.
They didn’t know her brother. For all they knew, Daren is another misguided young man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Please—,”she glanced at his badge again. “—Officer Gusztav. Don’t take him away until I say goodbye one last time. I’m the only family he has left. He’s not like all the others. My brother doesn’t use or deal drugs. He doesn’t deserve this.”
Trent put his hands on her shoulders as a couple of men shoved Daren into a bag. Astrid noticed no one bothered to remove valuables from Daren’s pocket to confirm his identity. “Ma’am. It’s understandable that you are upset over your brother’s death. No one deserves to die in such a brutal way. The integrity of the body will remain intact. Move. Away. Now.” He demanded.
The integrity of the body.
Not Daren — a human being who had been a lived and breathed. An individual with a sister who wondered why he hadn’t met her at the Pizza Palace a couple of hours ago. A barely recognizable — cold and lifeless piece of mangled flesh, bone, blood, and muscle—body — would keep its integrity intact.
Astrid’s tears fell onto Trent’s hand. The tears made his skin sizzle.
“Ow.” He glared at her, stared at his hand then back to her. The yellow light from a nearby street lamp revealed Trent’s pale face. Distinct worry lines crimped between his brows. “You’re in transition.”
A grin spread over her face. She didn’t know why her tears had burnt him or why his pain made her giddy. Daren had the dagger the woman had given them from the antique shop. The rare weapon had powers that didn’t belong in the hands of the man who confronted her now, or an affiliate to him.
Ambulance lights glared as the Trent crossed his arms. “I could make your life more difficult and report this incident. He held up one of his hands where appeared a second-degree burn in the shape of a jagged line on his palm, “and not fail to mention verbal assault to an officer of the law.”
Astrid wiped the remainder of the moisture from her eyes. She knew this man had the authority to twist their encounter any way he pleased.
Her pulse and anger skyrocketed. Each word and movement Trent made encouraged her to attack. Intuition ached. She felt the instinctual urge to protect but closed her eyes for a moment to remember hope hinged on the antique artifact her brother carries with him. She has a chance to retrieve the dagger, but it is vital to not cause unnecessary chaos. Distractions would cause her to not be able to obtain it.
Astrid climbed onto her motorcycle; the soft seat conformed to the curve of her leather-clad bottom. She’d lost Daren tonight by way of something dark and violent. Her heart twisted into a million pieces of battered fragments as she spoke to Trent. “You’re an asshole. I’ll escort myself to the morgue.”
The echo of the Trent’s frigid laugh sliced through the night. “Good luck, Healer. You’ll need it to keep yourself out of a morgue soon enough.” His figure faded into the darkness. A blood-curdled growl vibrated too close for comfort.
The green tint in her vision for the past couple of hours cleared, and the motor roared as she jetted down a bike path beside the road the ambulance drove the hospital. She used side mirrors to ensure she hadn’t been followed.
(c) Laurie Kozlowski 2015