It wasn’t my idea but a fellow AW’er posted a challenge in the flash fiction section–“kill off one of your NaNo characters”. Well, I killed off both of my main characters in a mere 979 words. Here are Shelby and Colin’s last fictional moments, at least in this one alternate universe:
The Last Kiss
Shelby examined her fingernails thinking she was due for a fill. It had been at least four weeks since she’d last had one and the gap between the acrylic and her own nail bed yawned at her like a chasm. She called her salon to see if they could squeeze her in before her date that night.
“Harry, hi it’s Shelby. …Yeah, it’s been a while. You got anything open today? …I’d prefer you. …Who’s that? Someone new? …What’s her name? …Tiffany. Okay, well go ahead and put me down for Tiffany at five then. See ya.”
With an hour to kill before her appointment, she decided to leave early and go to the video rental shop near her salon. The Last Kiss had just come out on dvd and she’d been pining to watch it. Scanning the store’s shelves, she asked herself the same question she asked every visit, ‘would it be in the T’s or in the L’s?’. Checking the L’s first, she came up empty handed which only made her grumble at the lunacy of filing movies beginning with the word “The” under ‘T’.
Finding no copies left, she walked to the front to look on the recent returns cart. As she made her way, another woman dovetailed into her path and they arrived simultaneously. Shelby eyed the woman suspiciously for a moment before launching into her search. The woman was tiny and Asian with black as midnight hair and cold soulless eyes. She appeared to be about forty and was no taller than five feet.
They both picked and pawed and maneuvered through the dvd’s.
“Aha!” cried Shelby as her fingers laid claim to a copy of The Last Kiss.
But it wouldn’t budge because the woman had grasped the bottom end. A tug of war ensued with the two women scowling at each other.
“I saw it first,” Shelby said as she jerked the dvd box sharply.
“No. You lie. I saw first,” the woman said in choppy English, a look of grim determination on her face.
With a final jerk followed by a spin to leverage her body into the movement, Shelby wrestled the dvd away from the woman. She grinned in triumph and said, “Sorry. I hope you find another copy,” then ran to the checkout to rent it so she wouldn’t be late for her appointment.
When Shelby walked into the salon, her dvd clutched in her hands, she checked in with Harry at the front desk.
“Hi Shelby. Tiffany just got back from her break and she’s ready to take you now.” He directed her to the back of the salon and indicated which chair Shelby should take. Shelby sat with her selected polish color in hand and waited for her nail tech to return to her work station and get started.
“Hello. I’m Tiffany,” the woman said as she sat down. It was the woman from the video store.
Crap, thought Shelby. “Oh, hey, I hope there are no hard feelings about the dvd back there.”
Tiffany waved a hand as if to say ‘no worries’ then reached for Shelby’s right hand. She tut-tutted as she took in the delinquent state of Shelby’s nail maintenance but began sanding down the margins. The woman was rougher than Shelby was used to being treated but she really needed the fill and figured she was due a few karmic pokes.
“I have special new gel I use. Last longer and not as thick. You want to try it?” Tiffany asked.
“Same price as regular.”
“Okay, let’s give it a go,” Shelby said agreeably.
For the next thirty minutes, Tiffany worked silently, completing all the usual steps of a routine fill. She painted Shelby’s nails a deep dark burgundy color, the color of blood.
Shelby admired the woman’s work when she was done and tipped her generously.
“Thanks, Tiffany. You did a great job,” she exclaimed as she rose to leave.
“You good customer. You come back and ask for me next time okay?” Tiffany said with a big grin on her face.
Shelby zipped home and started dinner for her and her boyfriend. She admired her burgundy nails as her hands flew through the motions of prepping the vegetables, flattening the chicken breasts and uncorking the wine. The evening was going perfectly so far. Colin would be over soon, they’d have a nice dinner, then cuddle up on her sofa and watch the dvd she’d rented.
When the doorbell rang, Shelby moved to answer it. She still wore her apron and a layer of flour covered her hair and face. Laughing at her disheveled state, she opened the door to greet Colin.
“Well, hey there handsome,” she exclaimed as she leaned in to kiss him. “I’ve got a special treat for you right here.” She whipped out the butcher knife from behind her back and in a swift upward motion, slashed his throat.
Blood spurted in her face then gushed out in a torrent, through his ashen fingers, down his arms and on the front of his shirt. His eyes regarded her with bewildered horror. A sickening gurgling sound came instead of his breath.
Shelby couldn’t will herself to do anything but watch until Colin dropped to the floor, the last trickles of his life seeking refuge in her carpet. She didn’t know why she had done it, only that she’d been compelled by a force other than her own will. It now commanded her arm to rotate and turn the blade inward. In a flash, her arm jerked and she gasped when the blade pierced her heart. “No,” she cried as her eyes widened from the shock and penetrating pain. The floor rose up to meet her as she collapsed with a crumpling thud.
As she lay there next to Colin, she saw the dvd lying on the floor where she’d casually tossed it and her purse when she got home. The Last Kiss. On the cover was a crime scene photograph of her apartment. She and Colin lay side by side on the floor outlined in chalk. The text at the bottom of the dvd’s case said, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” She took a last look at her nails, the blood on her hands a perfect match, before everything faded to black.