Sequel to my #Fridayflash Bullet for Bullet – enjoy ♥
Blood for Blood
The rain grayed the sky and blackened our footsteps. Around us buildings crumbled and bones burned, and life buzzed, hiding in dark corners. For days, the thump of my soles hit the asphalt at the same beat as the others. Becoming one, as if I belonged.
“Healthy girls have no choice.” He’d been right – how do you say no to a gun? “We’re letting you live, should be thankful,” Romain said, the leader of this tribe of kidnappers and their victims. The plume of his breath died in the wind, along with my resolve to rebel and run away. Nowhere to go but Hell.
After the war, the explosions and the terror, after losing everything and everyone, where was my will to fight? At the sight of the men’s guns, the smoking snouts left me cold; at the sound of their gunshots and screams of victory, I lost all hope. I’m with the bad ones, I am one of them.
The other women watched my every move, their gazes printing cold marks on my neck and face. Motherly Josie, sexy Carmen, childish Kay, and me, beauty queen turned tomboy. I should have carved a scar on my cheek and plucked out my lashes.
“After tonight, we’ll be at sea,” Josie whispered. They never talked to me: the new girl they’d betray the second they got the chance. No alliance, no safety net, Tim once said. “And then who knows what they’ll do with us.”
“We’re good for two things.” Carmen frowned as I slowed down by her side. “Screw and cook. There’s nothing left to put in the pot, they’re getting restless. Watch them beg once we turn the guns on them.” There was a plan, but I wasn’t part of it.
Romain stopped the pack from crossing the destroyed boulevard, looming skyscrapers reflecting clouds and smoke. The men waited as their leader faced us, eyes seeking mine before finding Carmen’s. Shadows moved behind the building’s glass – people, lots of them, watching us.
“What is it, Carmensita?” His French accent changed the S into Z. “What is that buzzing I hear?” I jumped at the clank of his gun and moved away, my back stopped by the corpse roped to the sleigh. I gagged at the smell, at what was about to happen. Would my body be tied next to the dead man’s?
Carmen straightened up, hand on her hip, defiant. “You heard me, you barbaric piece of shit.”
Romain smiled at the challenge. “We played by your rules, didn’t we?” The other men circled the women, me included. “Should be happy, your meeting point and one more soldier.” They were talking about me. I’m the soldier, but for which army?
“Blood for blood, you’re worth what you spilled.” Faster than I expected, the women drew weapons and Carmen shot Romain. “That’s for my kid. And that,” bang, another man fell, “is for my mother, too old to come with us.” Revenge, the women wanted revenge.
“Stop, don’t!” cried Henryk, the second in command. Hands in the air, his head shook and his voice trembled. “I’ve always been nice to you, Carm…” bang, he died from Kay’s bullet to the head. I looked away from the brains coming out of the shredded hole.
“For Martha, for my sister.” Bang, bang, Josie killed two others.
“And this one is for me, for her, and for every woman we knew.” Carmen shot with perfect aim and a cold gaze, never leaving the weapon’s sight. Not even when she aimed it at me. “And you, should we keep you around?”
For my bravery, I wouldn’t fall from pain or break to pieces after a loss. I didn’t after my makeshift family stared at me from the window as an explosion rocked the ground and killed them all. For my cowardice, I never tried to plan against the men, like Carmen and the others had.
“I have nothing left to lose.” No truer words ever escaped my lips. No heart, no soul, no home, no love. I have nothing to lose because I’ve become nothing.
February 9th, 2012 at 9:08 am
Ooh, so gripping. I love the direction this is going. Feels like a mad-max kind of tale with women rising to power. Great scene setting, and atmosphere. Great stuff, Anne 🙂
February 9th, 2012 at 9:50 am
Amazing as always, Anne. So atmospheric and full of suspense. Lurve it.
February 9th, 2012 at 1:55 pm
What a haunting piece, with so much beautiful imagery. Awesome, Anne.
February 9th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
Great Anne, tightly knit prose, and the tightly knit character interplay.
If it was the end of the world, and we were the last two people alive, I’ve absolutely no doubt you wouldn’t hesitate: I’d be shot for my meat, skin, hair, and my bones would be made into needles, toothpicks, and carved buttons for your post-apocalyptic trousers…
February 10th, 2012 at 12:49 am
“Nowhere to go but Hell” was a particularly good line. Dug the tone in this, where stuff of the stripe might otherwise turn me off. Thanks for sharing!
February 10th, 2012 at 6:55 am
You seem to throw a twist in at each turn and keep the reader hooked which is a great way of dealing with things. Nicely designed and of course with an unpredictability that leaves you wondering what will happen next? Thanks Anne for a delight as usual.
February 10th, 2012 at 10:27 am
A fantastic follow up. I love the world we’re in and this piece further expands it. I, too, really like the atmosphere and the tone.
“What is it, Carmensita?” It’s funny – I pronounced it with a Z even before the next line!
Great stuff. Want more. 🙂
February 10th, 2012 at 10:33 am
You write the dismal and abysmal very well.
February 10th, 2012 at 11:02 am
This piece really moved me. I found my eyes tearing. It is dark but moves the soul. Poetic in places. Thanks for sharig.
February 10th, 2012 at 4:05 pm
Stark, and hopefully never to be a reality. Well-written post apocalyptic always pushes my buttons. Nice work. 🙂
February 10th, 2012 at 4:58 pm
Nice extension to last week’s piece. I slowed down when I read it to respect the tone in which it was written.
February 10th, 2012 at 6:51 pm
Great stuff Anne. Even though there were quite a few characters I think they were nicely fleshed out. And like above I thought the world was well crafted and the prose gripping.
February 10th, 2012 at 8:48 pm
Anne, I do so love your voice! Another great piece –I was riveted!
February 10th, 2012 at 10:17 pm
Very tense and absorbing!
February 11th, 2012 at 7:23 am
I went back to read the first one so I could enjoy this one, and I did! Very beautiful writing, both stark and descriptive, and I loved her voice throughout this piece.
February 11th, 2012 at 11:02 am
Such a defeated voice from your MC, matches the atmosphere of your piece well. Nicely done!
February 11th, 2012 at 12:30 pm
Wow, great followup and dug the vengeance executed in cold blood. Those guys had it comin’.
As for the MC, there’s a power in not caring if you live or die… so I think we’ll be seeing more of her.
February 12th, 2012 at 8:17 am
it was so weird, I was reading this when Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” came on my I-Tunes. Perfect soundtrack for your tale!
February 12th, 2012 at 9:58 am
A brilliant follow-up to your first post. The tone is set. Now bring on the next episode.
February 12th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
You have a knack for writing these dark worlds Anne. So well done!
February 14th, 2012 at 8:38 pm
[…] and the writer of two fantastic pieces of short fiction, “Bullet for Bullet” and “Blood for Blood”. I will be reading much more. Nice lady, […]
February 18th, 2012 at 9:55 am
Seriously, I have to wait for more…*taps claws* you do know it not polite to make a bear wait
March 5th, 2012 at 11:09 am
[…] – from Blood for Blood […]
September 28th, 2012 at 8:20 am
[…] expect them to. So here’s the third and final installment, after Bullet for Bullet and Blood for Blood. Enjoy, Friday […]