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Who Am I?

Urban Fantasy

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#1 Offline Zaxvo

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Posted Nov 14 2012 - 01:04 PM

About a year ago there was a local short story contest in hosted by the public library in my town, which asked for a short story written from the prompt of this photo. Anyhow, I procrastinated posting this because, well, I just got lazy, really :P Anyhow, here goes nothing.

Who Am I?

The man was named Alfred Garcia, and he was going to die tonight. By day, he worked as a police officer, but by night he spent his time like one of your vigilantes. Tonight was one such occasion.I did not know who Garcia was hunting tonight, nor do I know how he found them or what he had planned on doing or what crime his victim has committed. All I knew about that night was that he was the only human involved who was going to die. Just then, a motorcycle pulled up. It was just like the man riding it: slim, but powerful and sleek. He slowed down, killed the engine, and got off the bike. Slowly, silently -- he was good at being stealthy -- he pushed open the gate at the end of the alley and wheeled his cycle inside. He leaned it against the wall and set his helmet down on the saddle. Carefully, he knocked on the door opposite. The door opened and in he went. Surprisingly, the door stayed open, spilling the harsh light against the wall and the bike. I walked away from the wall I had been leaning against, towards the gate at the end of the alley. Garcia had left it ajar, and as I made my way through it -- I didn’t need to try to be silent -- I heard gunshots. There was my cue. I broke into a run, going straight through the wall of the building. Inside the harshly-lit, spacious and stone-walled room were three humans. The first was a raven-haired female. She looked young but not exactly pure; I could sense the aura of drugs hanging around her. She was wearing all black, and she was curled up on a worn, yet spotless, white couch. The contrast was startling; under the harsh bright light, it was almost as if I had stepped into one of your old black and white films. The second human was a slightly overweight, ordinary man. He had curly blond hair and sleek glasses and he exuded a sense of sophistication. If not for the smoking gun in his hand, I would not have thought of him as a killer or a drug lord; he looked rather young. Behind him, on the desk, neatly separated into small bags, was a lot of white powder; enough to put him away for the rest of his life with no hope for parole.The third man was lying on the ground almost directly in front of me, blood seeping from the bullet wounds on his chest and in his back. There was an empty holster on his belt. The matching weapon was lying on the ground, just out of reach of his left hand. His short, close-cropped black hair, high cheekbones, and dark eyes almost gave him an angelic look, but who am I to judge? I’ve never seen any angels. I’ve got no business with them.Slowly, I stopped by his right side, knelt down, and looked into his eyes. He gasped. Behind me, I could hear the male talking with his companion; they were trying to decide what to do with the body. She walked over and picked up the motorcycle key from where it had fell. She gave Garcia a look that was half pity, half indifference, and then she stood and left. She closed the door behind her, but I could still hear the sound of the engine as it started.I needed to move quickly. Below me, Garcia was close to shock. “Lady Death,” he muttered, addressing me. I just nodded to him; I make a point of not talking to people. He coughed, blood bubbling up between his lips and splattering on the ground.Garcia reached for his gun, aimed unsteadily, and pulled the trigger, but the pain was too much for him to aim properly. The drug lord spun around and stalked over, pointing the gun at Garcia’s chest and abdomen. He pulled the trigger.Garcia had known that I would come sooner or later, and he made his own decisions. There was nothing I could do about that. Nothing at all. The drug lord pulled the trigger again.Slowly, my hands shaking, I reached out to cradle Garcia’s head, not wanting this angelic man, this all too rare specimen of the human race to die while the devil who had killed him still flourished from the sale of his poisons. The drug lord pulled the trigger a third time.My rage slowly built up as Garcia whimpered. He was just trying to do what he thought was right. He built his life around that ideal. I just followed orders. Century after century, millennium after millennium, I just followed orders. In my hands, I could feel Garcia weakening. There was a faint beat of life there, but it was all too faint. His soul was trying to escape. The drug lord evidently thought he was dead and turned back to the desk, setting the gun down and triggering the safety. Sadly, he wasn’t going to die, not tonight. From what I saw though, he deserved to. He turned back towards us and --“Who are you?”Whoa. That’s not right. I was told only to take Garcia’s soul. I had received no information about him. He wasn’t supposed to be able to see me. He wasn’t scheduled to die. “Who are you?” He repeated, his voice shaking. Garcia was doing some good in this world, and what was I doing? Making sure people died when they were supposed to. Slowly, I turned around to face him, my mind working furiously. Without looking away, he fumbled around the desk behind him, reaching for the gun. If he could see me, then he would need to die. I would have to weaken him enough to free his soul from his body, but there was no way I would be able to do it on my own; the healthy body is too strong for me.I leaped forward, as if I was going to punch him. He flinched slightly but stood his ground, pulling the gun out from behind his back and pointing it at me. I stepped to the side, drawing his aim away from Garcia. As I did, he fumbled with the safety.“Who are you?” He repeated once again.I’d like to think I could do some good at some point in time, but it wasn’t my role to interfere in this world. I just followed orders. He pointed the now-active gun at me. Behind me and off to the side, I could hear Garcia struggling to draw breath. He was drowning in his own blood. There was no going back for him, but I had decided to help him. Some instinct, some gut feeling, told me that it was the right thing to do. I took another step to the side and started walking towards him. He backpedaled until his back was against the wall. He pulled the trigger.He was a crack shot; the bullet would have killed me if I were human. As it was, I let it pass through what passed for my head. “What are you?” He screamed.I kept up my steady advance, his fear freezing him in place. I calmly walked up to him, and as I let myself become substantial enough to take his gun, he punched me in the face. When he realized he could punch me, he went to work. First a knee to my midsection, then he forced my head down and smashed my back. I buckled and collapsed. There was no pain -- I can’t feel pain -- but it was the sheer force of the blow. He bent down, grabbed my hood, and hauled me to my feet, punch after punch coming to my face. I waited the torrent of blows to slow slightly, and when they did, I was ready.I Changed, my true form visible for a fraction of a second. That was all it took.He cowered in terror and tried to scream. His vocal cords failed him first, and then his sight dimmed. He found he couldn't move his legs and his hearing faded. His other senses deserted him. Seizing my opportunity, I tossed the gun to Garcia, who had been watching in shock and pain. “What monster are you?” The drug lord shrieked. I could see the terror had worn off.Garcia pulled the trigger. The drug lord collapsed, and before I took his soul, I gave him the answer he was looking for all night. “I am Death.”

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#2 Offline SkyLandOceAnna

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Posted Nov 15 2012 - 12:22 PM

I thought that was a very good short story. i really like the picture and thought that this is a good story to go along with it. I didn't realize at first that she was a ghost, or for that matter, Death. Thank you!
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Wordsmith <3

#3 Offline Zarayna

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Posted Nov 18 2012 - 10:36 PM

Who am I?Can I condemn this man to slaveryPretend I do not feel his agonyThis innocent who bears my faceWho goes to judgement in my placeSorry, but that was what started playing in my head when I saw the title. So now I'm listening to it repeatedly while reviewing.Where was I? Oh, yes. Official SSCC review, that thing.I quite enjoyed this story, honestly. The writing style was not overly complex or eloquent, but it painted a good picture of the scene; and although you never described Death besides mentioning the hood I got a very good impression of her. The drug lord and Garcia were well sketched out as well: I can't find nitpicks, for although they were not extremely described, the very nature of the story did not allow for such.The plot was quite simple, really, at face value: random vigilante tries to take out a druglord and gets killed. The twist with lady death was definitely good, and especially with her change of heart. Overall the plot was understandable and quite captivating. The setting and atmosphere were also very good. I can't really find anything to nitpick here.I could not find any grammar mistakes, really, so this section is pointless. Good job with the grammar.Overall, this was a very good story. Although I personally am not too fond of the portrayal of Death you have here, you portrayed here well, so I must objectively admit you did a good job. As I said before, I have no problems either with the grammar, the characters, or the plot. Good work. :)
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