It’s later in the day than I’d like, and Nimue is waiting on me for dinner, so I’m going to dive right into this week’s flash fiction. After one brief comment.
This story is written in third person, but from the point of view of Carter, one of the lead characters. It’s meant to sound like it would sound if she were telling the story. As a result, there are turns of phrase used that I, the writer, would not use were I speaking for myself. But I’m not speaking for myself. I’m speaking for her.
It should go without saying, but fiction writers frequently convey thoughts, beliefs, prejudices, and biases that we don’t hold, ourselves. I’ve written things I find offensive. That’s part of the gig. My stories are character driven, and they would be lame in the extreme if every character were like me.
While there’s nothing wildly offensive in this story, there are a couple of times when Carter’s perspective comes through loud and clear. If that rubs you the wrong way, good. I doubt I’d enjoy a conversation with Carter, myself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I consider her point of view an appropriate one.
Like I said, that should go without saying, but I’ve said it. Twice. Whatcha gonna do?
This is the third installment in a short series I’m currently working on. When done, it will likely be one long short story. (Yes, I hear the contradiction. No need for clever comments.) Click here to read the rest of the series. The posts will display starting with the first so you can read them in order.
There’s a reason no one Carter works with knows she prefers the ladies. Well, a few reasons, but they can all be traced back to one simple fact. She believes people shouldn’t fuck where they eat or shit. Her current job sustains her and sometimes leaves her feeling like she’s been defecated on, so it’s a bit of both. Long story short, there’s no way in hell she would ever bed anyone in the guild.
She knows she’s attractive. She doesn’t flaunt it, but neither is she one of those whiny bitches who complains about how hard it is to be taken seriously because they’re so pretty. Others know she’s attractive, too. Keeping the guys at bay is easy. All she has to do is be herself. She’s been called ‘abrasive’, and that’s as good a term as any. Her particular brand of acridity is hard on the male ego. She thinks of it as cock repellent. If she could bottle it and sell it, she’d be one rich bitch.
Women, on the other hand, are different. They aren’t as wrapped up in ego, so the same tactics won’t drive one away. Women are also more perceptive than men. She doesn’t think she’s God’s gift to lesbians, but if word gets out there could easily be social complications. She can’t have that, so she employs a dead simple strategy with women. She’s wildly tactless toward them.
Standing in the doorway of the mess hall, she looks across the way at the girl she’s meant to babysit. She can’t be much older than 18, and she’s quite attractive. Not model-gorgeous, but certainly a great deal easier on the eyes than Harkins. She has the look of an angel warrior.
Her babydoll face is framed by dark brown hair that falls just past her shoulders. Her expression is one of fierce determination. She’s not one of the posers. Not someone here for an adrenaline high or purely out of a sense of obligation. That much is plain. No, she’s ready to kill. She may or may not have the skills to pull it off, but her heart is in it. There’s no doubt about that.
And that makes her someone Carter simply cannot get close to. If she could get a hard on, right about now she’d be doing an alarmingly good imitation of Harkins.
She begins her approach and the girl immediately makes eye contact, opening her mouth to speak when Carter is within 10 feet. Carter beats her to it.
“Speak only when spoken to,” she begins.
The girl closes her mouth without protest.
“My name is Carter. As far as you’re concerned, I don’t have a first name. Don’t bother telling me your name, first or last. I don’t care. For the time being, you’ll answer to ‘trainee’ or ‘noob’ or whatever other shit I feel like calling you. Got it?”
The girl’s mouth forms a tight, flat line. She nods once.
Carter eyes her for a bit.
“Or is it ‘Yes Sir’?” the girl asks.
“What did I just tell you? Speak only when spoken to.”
“Yeah, I’m not so keen on rules. I know that doesn’t jive with your oh-so-impressive bad-assery, but that’s the way it is. Call me whatever names you want, but I’m not playing the quiet girl in the corner for anyone. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with command.”
Carter adjusts her previous mental note. She doesn’t like this girl. Like isn’t a strong enough word. Rather, she might be in love with her.
“Look, noob, all I care is that you don’t get me killed. Mouth off all you like here at the base. In the field you better hold that tongue or I’ll cut it out, I swear to God.”
The girl gives her a shit eating grin. “Golly gee, such a warm welcome. I bet you’re very popular with the guys.”
Carter rolls her eyes. “Maybe I’ll just cut it out now.”
“Give it your best shot,” the girl says with a shrug. Harkins could learn a thing or two about courage from this chick.
Carter lets her hand rest on the hilt of her knife for a moment, but they both know it’s an empty threat and the girl isn’t unnerved by it in the least. Not one to avoid calling a spade a spade, Carter admits inwardly that the girl won the first round. Not that she’d concede as much out loud. Never that.
Instead, she simply says, “Follow me, smart ass,” and turns from the table. They need to find Harkins and prep for the mission. And she needs to find a cold shower.