Supply Run

Beep-boop.

“Shame about that girl,” said the clerk, swiping another item.

At the next till there was a crying child, an obvious product of poor parenting. It was clear from his mother’s hurried attempts to calm him who was really in charge. If it had been up to me I would have lit him on fire and drop-kicked him into the East River.

She was attractive though.

Beep-boop.

“Been almost a month,” the clerk continued, looking down from the droning newscast in the background. “Almost a month since the first one disappeared.”

“I know,” I muttered, still distracted by the unfolding drama between the mother and what was undoubtedly her bastard child.

Beep-boop. The last item, a pair of needle-nose pliers.

And then I heard it. I didn’t need to turn around. I knew whose face was on the television screen, bordered in a little blue rectangle above the left shoulder of the anchor.

Police have released a photograph of the suspect for the first time, and are asking anyone with information to come forward. As the number of missing women in the city continues to rise…

A frightened expression, a terrible mixture of dawning realization and growing horror, began to spread on the clerk’s face.

“F-fa-fa-fa-fa-fortynineforty.” He stammered.

I threw a fifty at him.

“Have a great day,” I said, and picked up the bag. I was pretty sure I had everything: pliers, hammer, saw, box-cutters, zip ties, duct tape.

The little boy was still bawling; his mother was going to be a while. I went out to the car, to wait. I had time to think about which one would be first.

4 thoughts on “Supply Run

  1. I applaud you for writing an unapologetically grim character like this. I sometimes get fearful of looking into that abyss (for, as the saying goes, it looks into you, too). This certainly pulls no punches and has a mounting tension and it implants a sick-gut feeling in me that just grows worse. This is a textbook horror microfiction story.

      1. It’s interesting when I write about children and terrible situations, because I always think about an interview I read with Louise Erdrich in which she talks about being a parent/mother who is also a writer and how it affects her. She says “You’re fighting sentimentality all of the time” [in your writing] and “Either you end up writing about terrible things happening to children—as if you could ward them off simply by writing about them—or you tie things up in easily opened packages, or you pull your punches as a writer. All deadfalls to watch for.” (http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6055/the-art-of-fiction-no-208-louise-erdrich) I don’t think you fell into any of the “deadfalls” she mentions (in your “Supply Run” story), though I know that I do. Again, great story. Swift and surgical!

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