Team Captain Chuck “Penmonkey” Wendig dared us to bust out the D20 in choosing three aspects from three categories and regale him with a highly publicized flash of 1000 words or less. Find the challenege details here.
The Gaming Gods then declared I would create a spy thiller (genre), family thrown apart for conflict (or, as I like to play it, Family Torn Asunder!), and poisonous snakes as the added spice. (Did it have to be snakes?)
And so I give you:
All things considered, Rebecca Carlisle’s day could have gone better.
First, there was matter of the manacles. Cool, rusted iron clasped her wrists painfully, attached as they were to looping chains that hung from a ceiling she could not see in the dank darkness. Second, there was the matter of the snake pit below her sensible leather boots. Thick, corded bodies slithered and pulsed in a nested tangle. The hissing was beginning to get on her nerves.
What really rankled, however, was the matter of her brother. Did her parents really have to name him Sebastian? It seemed to lack foresight, given her current predicament. He stared at her dangling form with a pale face and nervous eyes.
But chains and snakes and pain-in-the-ass brothers aside, her real problem was that of General Pole-Up-The-Posterior standing next to Sebastian, watching her without expression. For one, she was fairly certain the eye patch was unnecessary.
Rebecca cocked an eyebrow at her anxious brother. “So? How much did he pay you for my capture? And what’s my cut?”
A muscle in the General’s jaw moved. Sebastian went even more pale. “Rebecca, please.”
She sighed. “You told him I’m a spy, right? Tell me you at least got paid for it.” Her gaze hardened as she turned it to the general. “You did pay him?”
“Enough of this nonsense, Miss Carlisle,” he responded in a heavy tones.
Rebecca’s forehead scrunched as she tried to place his accent. “What is that, German? Russian? Cuban? How long have you been doing this, Generalissimo?”
“I said enough!” He coughed with the force of his frustration, cleared his throat. “The microfiche. Now.”
“That long, huh?” She gave her chains an experimental tug. She thought she detected some give. The question was, how much? “Sounds like you need a dialect refresher course. And it’s not on microfiche, idiot.”
Sebastian’s eyes gleamed with hunger. “Flash drive?”
Addendum. Master Idiot, meet padawan. “SIM card, actually.”
General Eye-Patch nodded satisfaction. “You will hand it over. Now.”
Rebecca cast a considering eye over her chains. “Really? Right now? This very same moment?”
“Now, Miss Carlisle.”
Wow. They didn’t grow spies like this anymore. She almost had to laugh. Would have, if not for the twisting mire of snakes beneath her.
She sighed wearily. “Well, if you insist…”
She twisted round, getting a good grip on the chains. Putting all her dangling weight into it, she pulled. Hard.
She dropped fast by a good six feet, felt the loosening of yet more tension. Pulled again, until her toes could just touch the raised rim of the pit. The strain in her arms eased. “A little help here? I’m a bit, well . . . ” She rattled.
The general shoved Sebastian, sent the boy stumbling in her direction. He reached for her pockets with trembling fingers.
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, Sebastian. I’m going to put priceless information on a delicate SIM card in my pocket. I can see there’s no getting past you.” She hopped on one foot, proffering her boot. “In here.”
He bent to retrieve the data, and got a face full of knee for his trouble. He flew across the floor, howling, hands covering his bleeding, broken nose.
The general came running. She pulled one last time on her chains, so the bulk of it coiled on the dusty cement floor. Her feet hit the ground, and she rolled. General Idiot tripped over the dragging chain and plummeted into the snake pit with a scream. Then Rebecca strode to her brother, looped heavy chain about his neck, and yanked back. “Keys.”
“Belt,” Sebastian hissed, turning an admirable shade of purple.
She tugged the heavy keys from his belt and unlatched herself, massaging her wrists. Then she pulled his belt from his pants, spun him about, and manacled him with the thin leather. Afterward, she smacked him upside the head. “You really didn’t get paid, did you? Mum’s going to be so disappointed. What’s the first thing we do in a double-cross?”
“Get paid upfront.” Only with his nose it sounded like “Get gaid umph frun.”
“Right. Now march home, mister.” She shook her head. “Microfiche.”
“So where was it?” Sebastian asked, curiosity getting the better of him as she hauled him out the door by his collar.
“My pocket, of course.”