From the Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Prompt “I Can’t Believe I Didn’t See That Coming.” 483 words altogether; 17 under the 500 word or under goal. Enjoy!
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“You’ll never get me to tell you where the jewels are!” I exclaimed as I brandished my pistol.
I fired two shots into the woods in front of me.
Where once there was a masked, hooded man, now there was only darkness. I wheeled around, expecting him to be standing immediately behind me.
I looked back and forth, the last vestiges of twilight making it almost impossible to discern details in the thick vegetation of the forest. Even in that wane light, though, I could see I was alone.
Where did he go? I wondered.
I stood there a moment and waited. I expected him to leap from the blackness of the deep forest to attack me, but as the minutes stretched on no attack came.
I gave one more cursory glance around, and then sprinted away from there, towards the rocks where I knew I would be safe. As I leapt over dead fall and was tripped up by unseen roots in my path my heart raced faster, and a looming dread fell over me: my pursuer would catch me.
But, I knew that while my unidentified attacker may have had the drop on me in the forest, I would have the upper hand in the rocky caverns and foothills I called home for the last decade.
What seemed like a small eternity passed before I exploded from the thick, intertwined branches of the forest and into the boulder strewn hills to the North. My heart fluttered, and the impending doom that had enveloped me evaporated like dew under the hot Summer sun. Not far now, and I would be safe.
It was only when I reached the entrance to my hideout that something felt wrong – out of place.
Suddenly, the searing hot pain of a knife sliding into me flared in my lower back. I cried out as the blade was retracted and pierced me once more, then collapsed in pain.
I rolled over and was greeted by the emotionless, dead stare of my masked, hooded nemesis.
“What are you waiting for?” I exclaimed in rage and pain.
Then the man spoke, and it was as if ice rushed through my veins.
“I am enjoying the look on your face, Eduardo,” said the voice of my dead brother.
I couldn’t believe it. “Alejandro? But you’re dead!”
Alejandro removed his mask, and I was so shocked by the mass of mangled flesh and scar tissue that I almost forgot my own wounds.
“But how are you alive?” I asked through my own burning pain.
“I survived the fire,” Alejandro said, pointing his blade at my throat. “I could have escaped and come back, but I allowed everyone to think I was dead so I could seek my revenge. Now, your bounty of jewels will help me.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming. . .”
This is from the Weekly Writer’s Prompt from Writer’s Digest: Hiring A New Villain, originally posted April 27, 2017. 500 words.
I crossed my left leg over my right as the monstrosity settled down into the chair on the other side of my dark wood desk.
“So, Mardock,” I began.
He immediately corrected me, his voice booming from behind the scarred metal helm that covered most of his face. “MOR-dock. Not MAR-dock. Mordock the Blood Drinker.”
As Mordock spoke, the sense of something just behind the veil of reality chattering and barking filled the room.
“Right,” I said, making note of it on my yellow writing pad.
I met Mordock’s hellish gaze. His eyes were red hot coals burning within his helmet. As Mordock shifted in seat the veins in his tree trunk of a neck and boulder-sized shoulders rippled – almost as if the tentacles of some creature resided under his skin rather than veins.
“So, Mordock, tell me a bit about yourself, and what would make you the best candidate for the villain of my next novel.”
“I began life as a slave in one of the tribes on the plains of Hruntnor,” Mordock began, his voice almost a shout. “My mother was a concubine of the tribe’s chief, and though I was his son he treated me lower than the livestock. As a young man I was thrown into the fighting pits, and quickly earned a reputation as a brutal killer.”
I scribbled notes as he spoke.
“It was the night of the blood moon that I discovered my destiny,” he continued. “I and fourteen other slaves fell into a sinkhole. I was the only one to survive. Within was a cave, and there the dark gods offered me power, taking the deaths of the thirteen other slaves as a satisfactory offering.”
Though I couldn’t see Mordock’s smile, I could hear it in his voice and see it in the flare of his fiery eyes.
“I climbed from that cave and killed my father, taking control of the tribe. I subjugated the surrounding tribes, leaving offerings of death to my fell patrons in my wake.”
I nodded approvingly. I liked what I heard.
There was just one more question I had.
“This all sounds excellent,” I said. “But can you do sneaky and underhanded?”
Mordock stopped and froze in place, his blazing eyes cooled for a moment.
“Uh. . .I, uh. . .I can kill.”
“Right, I gathered that. But can you craft and hatch maniacal plans?”
“Well. . .” I could see his red eyes narrowed in a frown. “I can. . .I can launch campaigns. . .and slaughter thousands. . .did I mention I can kill?”
“Yes, you did mention that.”
“Good, good,” he said, helmeted head bobbing. “Yes, I can definitely kill.”
“Well, thank you, Mordock,” I said, standing up. “I will be in contact.”
Mordock shook my hand, and I could tell he was a little dejected. He opened the door to my office, and I could see the long line of villain applicants had increased since the beginning of Mordock’s interview.
“Next!” I yelled.