Flash Fic Challenge – She Broke Gods

Another challenge, and another nasty piece of work. I’ve just started reading In Sunlight Or In Shadows, Lawrence Block’s story collection inspired by Edward Hopper, and I can’t help but feel that influenced this story, a story of revenge from an unexpected place. Possible trigger warning – so, so violent.

She Broke Gods

It was funny what having a shitty childhood could teach you. Playing dead, for instance. Bryn was great at it. Or, in this particular instance, playing drugged.

She acted unconscious as they accidentally on purpose groped her while picking her up and putting her in the shitty car, that stank of old cigarettes and fast food wrappers jammed under the seats, with the smallest hint of vomit. By her count, there were currently three men – “Jaden” and a friend in the front seats, the third in the back with her. The creepo had her head in his lap and was stroking her hair, which made her want to kill him, but not yet. She was supposedly roofied, right? She couldn’t react to anything. That’s what he awful childhood had taught her – how to effectively play dead when a raging drunk was in the room. This was no different.

The men occasionally discussed her – whether she was an “illegal” or not, why creepo didn’t like women with short hair, et cetera – but another good lesson from childhood was tuning that out.

This whole thing was a gamble, and she knew it. There were a million ways “meeting Jaden” could have gone wrong, and the fact that she delayed their meeting time for a variety of reasons could have scared them off. But luckily this part of the plan had gone correctly. If things kept going right, they should take her where they kept the rest of the girls. If they took her to a secondary location, she could improvise.

It was a long drive, a bit longer than she anticipated, but maybe that’s why she couldn’t find it on her own. She was expecting it to be in the heart of the city. Clearly they put it elsewhere.

After what seemed like a goddamn eternity, the car finally came to a sputtering stop. The men got out, the creepo last, carrying her like a dead dog they found on the side of the road. Bright birdsong told her it was sunrise, or close to it. She still wasn’t opening her eyes.

The house smelled like burnt toast and piss, with a hint of crack smoke. That was probably the smell of fear or desperation, if you broke them down to their basest elements. Unwashed bodies lingered at the periphery.

She was brought up some stairs, and finally taken to a room where she was placed on a bed with springs that creaked like a slowly opening coffin. Now there was another man in the room, making four in total. They were discussing sharing her before turning her over to Tony for a proper “breaking in”.

As far as they knew, she was a teenage runaway, who came to meet Jaden, her sweet, cute internet boyfriend. Of course, Jaden didn’t really exist. He was a grown man, pretending to be younger than he was, feeding her drugged drinks, and waiting for her to all but pass out before loading her in a car with his clearly unrelated “brothers”. She was not the first girl who had fallen for this ploy, but she was probably the only one who sought it out. She would be the last, at least with this group of men.

Jaden wasn’t the only adult pretending to be a teen. Bryn was pretending to be a lot of things.

Only some of the men had used names, and she kept track of them by sound. There was one named Ryan, who was near the doorway; another named Darren was on the right side of the room. The one she thought of as creepo was over on the left side, and the new guy in the room was closest to her. It was him she felt grab her leg and pull her closer to the edge of the bed. It was when she heard his zipper that she opened her eyes.

He seemed surprised to see her awake, but he was even more surprised when she threw a rabbit punch right into his larynx.

She felt the cartilage crunch under her knuckles, and as he grabbed his throat and dropped to his knees, she saw the gun he was carrying in a shoulder holster and grabbed it. Bryn kicked him aside and shot creepo in the face, bringing the gun around to shoot Ryan even as he ducked out the door. Darren had time to pull his own gun, but he didn’t get a shot off before she caught him in the neck. Blood exploded over the walls like someone had lobbed in a water balloon full of tomato soup.

Ryan started firing back blindly through the doorway from the hall, but Bryn had already dropped to her knees on the carpet, rolling until she was upon the body of creepo, and she dug his gun out as well, giving her two. New guy was making hideous rasping sounds and convulsing as he tried to draw breath and found himself unable to. If there was any light in the room, she probably could have watched him shade to blue.

As it was, the windows were blacked out in this airless bedroom, whch was devoid of everything save for that creaky bed, which must have been the birthplace of so much horror. Bryn didn’t shoot back, and quietly made her way to the door. She stood flat against the wall right beside the doorway, drawing quiet breaths and waiting for Ryan to get brave.

After a couple more random shots inside, Ryan kicked the bedroom door all the way open, and said, “The bitch-”

Bryn shot him point blank in the head. Pulverized skull and brains splattered against the door, and the man he was talking to out in the hall actually yelped, like a frightened dog. She swung her gun out, quickly looked, and shot him as well, high torso. He got off a shot, but missed before he toppled over, and lost his grip on the weapon. “How many other men are here?” she demanded. She walked over to where he was floundering on the rust stained carpet like a beached whale. Bryn stepped on his outstretched hand, and placed the hot gun barrel against his forehead. He winced at the heat, and she couldn’t help but think he smelled a bit like baking ham. “How many?”

“Just Benny, he’s watching the girls-”

“They downstairs?” When he didn’t answer immediately, she shifted her foot until her heel was putting most of her weight on his fingers. She could feel the bones shifting under her.

He grimaced in pain, and said, “Yeah, yeah! Don’t-” Whatever else he was going to say was lost when she pulled the trigger, making his head explode.

She heard a man’s voice yell from downstairs, “Dudes, you got it?”

Bryn coughed loudly, trying to sound a manly as possible. She heard him ask, concerned, “Ryan?”

She waited a second, and then crawled over to the stair railing. Looking down, she saw a man in a cowboy hat, holding a sawed off shotgun. Which was brilliant, because he was too far away to use it well. As soon as he saw her, he moved, but too late. She shot him in the chest, and the shotgun boomed loud, but only made a hole in the staircase.

Bryn knew better than to trust these sex slaving fuckheads, so she retrieved the handgun from the beached whale, and tucked it in the back of her jeans as she headed down the stairs. Three guns was undoubtedly overkill, but she counted on seeing more men on her way out. In fact, she rather hoped she did.

She stepped over the body at the bottom of the stairs, kicking away his fallen cowboy hat, and went to free the rest of the girls.

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