Happy Halloween! Well, tomorrow anyway. You get the idea.
Behold! A flash fiction story in the world of Rue From Ruin. It is not an official part of the story, but it is intimately related to it. I repeat, this IS NOT RFR – Part 5. If nothing else, it’s a bit more light-hearted than Rue. It also has a different protagonist. Thanks as always to my lovely sounding board, Meri, and also to my good friend Michael Ripplinger, for keeping me from publishing an unreadable Halloween nightmare of crappy writing.
At any rate, it was an absolute blast to write. Perhaps Gross Misuse is the start of a new tradition on the blog. Flash fiction for Halloween in the world of one of my longer stories.
I hope you enjoy…
It was usually quiet here. I remember the first time I was placed in my dark, narrow home with my brothers. So cozy.
The cleanings once happened regularly. Strong chemicals were employed, removing the buildup of time. But those days were gone, and it had been some time since the people in gray and white had come. My siblings and I were no longer our spotless and shiny selves.
There is absolute despair in disuse. Always lying still; never called upon for the job for which you were made. Though – I would never have wished for what happened this day.
The day passed slowly like any other but pass it did. The light of it bled through a crack in the door to our darkened home. I longed, as always, to be brought out into that light. The world needed to know I hadn’t lost my edge.
When night fell, my brothers and I lay in silence as our domicile returned to nearly complete darkness. We heard a crashing noise, quite strange after what seemed like ages of stillness. It startled me, but, of course, I could not jump. It is not in my nature to do so.
A terrible snarling followed the crash, and a high pitched sound howled into the night.
My home was torn from its enclosure, and everything I knew was turned upside down. The violence of this sudden eviction was such that my brothers and I flew from our confined space. Our oddly-shaped cousins from neighboring homes met us in mid-flight. The sound of our meeting was a cacophony of tinkles, clangs, and clinks.
During that split second in mid-air, I wondered if I would be stuck somewhere at the end of my impromptu flight. Would I be left, dulling, half embedded in some weaker material?
No. That was not to be my fate.
A strange, strong grip plucked me out of the air. It was firm and rough; more so than any hand that had held me before. It also seemed to… smoke. That’s probably not the right word. It was like I was made of dry ice and evaporation was squeezing its way out from between where we touched. Having been forged at over nine hundred degrees Celsius, I knew it wasn’t I releasing the foul-smelling vapor into the air.
The hand seemed to tremble as if in pain but tightened its grip in response. It bubbled a wet and putrid ooze against me. The hand’s owner ran, chasing a second form at the edge of sight. The figure was difficult to make out at such high speed. I caught a glimpse of my captor as he wiped his scruffy face with the back of his arm. We had burst out into the moonlit night, and his rough features were mostly visible. He was hairier than most men I’d seen. Unkempt. Something was off about him as well, but I couldn’t quite place it.
There was no time to ponder the strangeness of it as my abductor sprinted and leaped to catch his prey. He slashed out powerfully with me. I found my target and reveled in the feeling of slicing through skin, flesh, gristle, and even bone. I hope you’ll pardon the cliche, but I was like a hot knife slicing through butter.
The feeling was exhilarating at first. I was meant for this! Cutting, chopping, carving, slicing – but no, not into a living being. Not like this.
I was an instrument of the glorious kitchen. Made for working with food, not killing things like some crude slaughterers implement.
Still. I cannot deny the pleasure I felt in my heart at being put to use.
It almost distracted me from the howl of pain and the stench that rose from the body I had cut. It was the same reaction that came from the seething hand that held me. I noted that there was blood on me now, and it was boiling and steaming as well. The odor sickened me.
My captor leaped at his prey knocking him to the ground. He laid my frothing blade against the neck, daring the creature to move. A thin wisp of mist rose from the spot where my edge rested firmly. I couldn’t quite see my victim’s face. Its neck was enormous and was covered in unusually thick, coarse hair. This creature was even stranger and stronger than one that grasped me.
I resigned myself to the fact I had become an instrument of death. I would probably end up in an evidence lockup.
Then, my wielder began to speak.
Perhaps this day would end without a death on my conscience after all. As a silver butter knife, I never expected to be holding onto that hope so feebly.
If you enjoyed Gross Misuse and are unfamiliar with my serial story Rue From Ruin, you should check it out. I have a least three readers who think it is extra neat!