This is my entry to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction, Short Story Challenge. Details of which you can find here
The challenge was to come up with a 1000 word story based on a choice from a selection of sentences he posted on his blog. The sentence I chose is the one I have used for the title of this story. Enjoy!
The Shooter Says Goodbye To His Love.
Smoke, perfume, sweat, the faint burning that comes with laser fire. These scents, toxic in my nose, mixed with what my other senses were trying to take in; flashes of green and red laser fire preventing my eyes from adjusting to the dark, the metallic taste on the tip of my tongue as I breathed in smoke tightened my chest, a sensory assault that made my head swim.
I shook my head and squinted down the barrel of the gun, down at her as she sat, back against the wall in the dark corner she thought would make for better cover than it had. She was shaking and breathing heavily. I couldn’t tell if it was from the exertion of battle or just from good, old-fashioned fear.
“I warned you,” I sneered at her “I told you not to go up against me, that I couldn’t be beaten. But you had to try didn’t you? You had to be cocky about it, didn’t you?”
She looked up at me through the damp hair, plastered to her forehead and laughed.
“I’m cocky you say? Really? You’re the one stood over me gloating when you should just be taking the kill shot? I don’t think you appreciate your own arrogance.”
She was still laughing as she replied. I felt anger boiling up from somewhere deep inside of me as she did. I hate being laughed at and she knew it. I also knew that I should just take the bloody shot and get this over with. I had her cornered; it would be an easy win.
But she was right. I was too damn arrogant for my own good. Hell, I was stood there, pointing the gun right in her face, in a prime position to finish this whole thing. Instead, I was trying to think of something witty and clever to say. I wanted to leave her with something memorable as I took her out. I wanted to draw this out, savour the moment, make this victory last. Maybe then it wouldn’t be such a shallow one.
It hit me all of a sudden, the perfect thing to say. But before I could make a sound there was a racket behind me, a door burst open and there was one of her squad. He stood there for a moment, looking as surprised as we were, caught in our little stand-off he had just stumbled in on. Then his face changed as the penny dropped. I knew what was about to happen and before he could level his weapon, I spun on my heel, dropping to one knee and firing rapidly. All my shots hit him in the chest and he fell back through the door in a blaze of laser fire.
I stayed in that position for a few moments, as if I thought that he was going to come back. My breathing was shallow and quick. I stayed that way for a moment longer, waiting for the adrenalin to stop pumping. Once I had composed myself, I turned my attention back to her.
She was still laughing. Either that or she had started laughing again.
“What are you laughing at now?” I snapped at her. She couldn’t answer me as she was now laughing so hard she couldn’t even look at me.
Damn, she’s pretty when she laughs, I thought. God knows where that thought came from. This was neither the time nor the place, also, right now, she was the enemy. But it was true. She is pretty when she laughs and I loved her, STILL love her, actually. She also had a way of getting right under my skin.
“Alright, enough of this bullshit,” I declared, hoping that I sounded tough, in command. I didn’t. I sounded weak and pathetic. Maybe it was down to exhaustion from the battle. Maybe it was because of her. “This ends now. You’re right, I am arrogant but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re stuck in that corner, with one shot left and I’m stood here with this gun pointed right at your head. This ends now. There’s no way you can win. Goodbye, my love” And with that I placed my finger on the trigger.
This just made her laugh even harder. So hard that she dropped her own gun and put her head in her hands, her whole body shaking with the convulsions of laughter. The sound rang off the walls. Then I heard her say something through the giggles and guffaws. She repeated it a couple of times. I knelt towards her to try and make out what she was saying. Then I heard it. “Check your ammo.”
“What?” I asked, making sure I had heard her properly.
Suddenly she stopped laughing and looked up at me with dark, sharp eyes that were deadly serious.
“I said ‘check your ammo’, dumbass.”
I looked down to my gun. The ammunition meter was flashing a red light at me. I felt my stomach turn. Zero, it said, charge weapon.
I looked back at her, my stomach doing yet another flip. How could I have been so stupid? I had been so intent on making a point with that idiot who burst in on us that I had gone and used up all my remaining shots.
She now had her gun pointed at me. “So, Mr ‘You Can’t Beat Me’ it would seem that I have one shot left but you have none. Oh well.”
It was her turn to sneer, and sneer she did. She dropped her gun an inch and pulled the trigger. The laser bolt hit me. I fell back, too shocked to do anything else.
“H-how could you?” I stuttered as she stood over me, sneer turning to a wide grin. “I-I’d won that’s not fair.”
“Oh, Sweetie,” she replied. “Life’s not fair, and neither is Laser Tag.”
She held out a hand to me and grinned. “Now, let’s go home. It’s your turn to make dinner.”