Monday, January 23, 2017

Sanguine Manare

     Her head ached worse than her last migraine which had kept her bed ridden for three days. Completely unaware that the oozing pool of Sparks’ final heartbeat was mingling with her own spilt life fluids, Clara “Chondee” Darin bit her lip as she yanked the uncomfortable boiler plate out from under her shirt. Though she was already on the ground, the effort sent her falling back into the shelving unit. The impact of her head knocked down wooden cooking utensils which clattered to the linoleum and splattered blood on her thigh. When she came to she was horrified to find her body incapable of obeying the simplest commands. She lay there against the shelving unit in the kitchenware aisle of Chang’s Bazaar, staring at the dead body of her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot. Come on, Chondee! Get up girl. Get up! GET UP! MOVE YOUR ASS! Not that it mattered how loudly she chastised herself, her damnable limbs had gone on strike. Sinking further into the shelving unit, she closed her eyes and began sending motor commands to various parts of her body. She was midway through her body survey, when she heard the distinct sound of multiple foot falls and Tages’ all too familiar deep laughter coming from behind her.
     “Now that makes everything much simpler,” he continued laughing. “Whoa, easy boy,” Tages commanded.
      Holding her breath and hoping he’d mistake her for dead, Clara desperately tried not to so much as twitch.
     “Listen carefully, boy,” Tages began, “you try anything, I’m not just gonna gut you, I’m gonna make you watch as I fuck your momma to death. You get me?”
     “Yes,” Gabriel Seagrass hissed.
     “Yes, what?”
     “Yes, I get you,” the boy muttered.
     “Good. Now don’t move a fucking muscle,” Tages said as he slammed Gab into the same shelving unit that Clara was slumped into which caused a variety of cooking implements to rain onto her head. Fortunately for her, Tages was way too involved in emphasizing his point to Gab to notice her gasp. As he approached, her stomach dropped. She still had no viable motor control. He kicked her in the hip and cracked up as she slid down the shelving unit; the back of her head slapped the linoleum with a heavy thunk. “Oh, sweetheart,” he said lovingly as he knelt over her, “if Sparky wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him for this.” He unceremoniously ripped open her shirt exposing her black bra. After fully examining her chest for wounds, he grabbed her chin and pulled her up toward him. “Well shit on me!” he exclaimed upon seeing the gaping bullet hole in the side of her head, “if you ain’t dead now, you will be soon enough,” he chuckled deeply as he let go of her face. “Let’s go boy!” he ordered as he stood back up. “You’re gonna show me where the rest are hidden. Move!”
     “I already showed you!” Gabriel shouted.
     “Boy, don’t play with me! That was a stagin’ area. Means there’s a bleedin’ shippin’ area somewhere. I’m not a fool, boy! Think hard,” he slapped Gab in the head, “before you try playin’ ole Tages. Now, move!”
     Gabriel Seagrass took one brief look at the bodies lying in the aisle and instantly spun away. He felt nauseous knowing that help would not come. He silently prayed that his mother had gotten away. Gritting his teeth and resolving himself, he moved down the center of the shop toward the front door. I’ve got to lead him on. Where can I take this son-of-a-bitch? Oh, sweet mother of Iphi? Momma, please tell me you got outta here! I bet I can get him to the park before he thinks twice about… Before he could finish the thought Tages yanked his head backwards and threw him to the floor.
     “Don’t fuckin’ move, lil’ boy!” Tages ordered as he stepped around Gab and began pointing his gun down the empty aisles. He wasn’t sure where the noise came from, but he knew some bitch was loose in the store. He’d be damned if he wound up like Sparks. It had only taken him a second to realize Chondee hadn’t butchered Sparky: the blood trail led away from their bodies. On a hunch, he spun around and leveled his gun at Gab, who froze. Shaking his head, Tages whispered, “stay.”
     Feigning compliance, Gab nodded his understanding and bid his time, waiting in precisely the spot he’d landed. No sooner was Tages out of sight, then Gab was on his feet and running through the store. The two crazy soldiers had wasted no time murdering the runaway girls. Gab had no doubts that he stood a better chance on the run than waiting for his turn. As he ran, he pulled up a mental map of Chang’s Bazaar. The kitchen aisle wasn’t a bad idea, but the hardware aisle was better. Slipping down the tampon aisle he had just enough time to think, fucking Tampon Lady, before he heard Tages erupt.
     “You got nowhere to go, lil’ boy,” Tages yelled. After a few seconds he added, “don’t think I won’t tear this shithole apart!”
     Too busy looking over his shoulder, Gab nearly bit his mother’s hand off when the woman grabbed him by the mouth and jerked him into her. She whispered, “it’s me, Gabs. Shh. It’s me!”
He pulled away from her, his eyes wild with panic. “Shh, baby,” she cooed.
     He didn’t bother asking her about a thing; rather, he grabbed her by the blood-caked wrist and dragged her after him. Every few feet he paused to listen, but heard nothing save their labored breaths. If he’d know what Tages was up to, he would have gone directly for the Employee’s Break Room instead of heading for the hatchets. As it stood, young Gabriel Seagrass was thinking defense not escape. Besides which, this murderous psychopath would damn sure be dead before Gab let the bastard lay one finger on his mom.
     When they made it to the hardware aisle, Kate let out a satisfied exhale, gets his brains from me. She didn’t have to be told twice, hell not even once. The moment they were in front of the hatchets, hammers, and assorted beating implements, the mother-son duo began the picking their weapons. Without getting into a deeply philosophical debate on the pros and cons of dividing up, Kate went back in the direction they’d come and Gab left out the opposite side of the aisle.
     “I’m gonna give you this one chance, boy,” Tages called out. “Come up to the front of the store right now and I won’t kill you.” The vocalization was all the Seagrass’ needed to know where he was located. From opposite sides of Chang’s they slowly began sneaking toward Tages, which is precisely what he had banked on. And, all the more reason to keep running his mouth, “ain’t but one girl that I’m looking for. You know, I’m sorry ‘bout those other chicks. Sparky was a loose cannon.”
     When Gabriel was halfway to the front of Chang’s he realized that the store no longer smelt right. He froze again, nose to the air sniffing every which way. The ungodly stench of cleaning products struck him. They were walking into a trap. That stupid fucker! He had to get his mom’s attention or she’d end up smack dab in the middle of whatever Tages had planned. Think. Think, Gabs! A distraction. Something to pull everyone’s attention on him. Oh, this is a terrible idea. Gabs threw down his hatchet, ran out to the middle of the store and bellowed, “hey chickenshit! I’ll give you one chance to get the fuck out of my store before I show you just how we treat worthless shitsticks ‘round here! Come and get me, you fuck!” Gabs stood his ground facing the checkout counter and waiting.
     Like a derby horse out of the gate, Tages sped down the aisles in the direction of Gabs, while blaring, “oh, you want a piece of me?” Though generally one for maintaining his cool, even in stressful situations, he’d had more than enough of the insolent little prick and this ever-loving bazaar. Even with the woman still unaccounted for, Tages felt confident that the twit was no match.
     What he didn’t count on was that knocking Chondee’s head on the linoleum had proved to be just what the doctor ordered to snap her motor control back into place. As Tages came thundering down the center aisle, Chondee used every bit of her energy to crawl in his direction. In each hand she carried a large stirring spoon that she’d taken from the floor where they’d been knocked down around her. She knew her timing had to be perfect; and, that’s all she knew. Her throbbing head matched pace with Tages feet as he ran towards her. When she began to panic that she’d miss the opportunity, Chondee shoved the two sticks into the aisle. Tages missed the first one, but his foot slid across the second. At that same time, Chondee slammed the first one into Tages ankles. The brute yelped in pain as he stumbled down the center aisle. Her efforts weren’t enough to stop him, but they were enough to give Kate the chance she needed.
     Having been a mother for some time, Kate knew two things with certainty: 1. a mother is a lioness when it comes to defending her child; and, 2. only an idiot charges a lioness. She swung her mallet into Tages’ chest with the same force she’d used on Sparks. And then, all thinking went out the window as she pummeled him with every ounce of energy she could manage. In her blind rage, she never heard Chondee’s nearly silent pleas for her to stop. It took Gabriel’s full strength to drag her off Tages’ unmoving body. Standing over the crumpled tormentor, the mallet dangling from one hand, and her breath coming in heavy gasps, she screamed, “you never fuck with my child!”
     Kate’s left ear ached, her hair was a catastrophe, and she was drenched in sweat and two layers of blood; one already darkening, the other bright. When she smiled at her son, he took an involuntary step backwards, saying, “uh, Momma, I promise I’ll be good.” The poor boy was legitimately afraid of his mother for the first time in his life. In fact, he feared that the brand of crazy she’d just let loose was coursing through his own veins. Gently taking the mallet from her nerveless hand, he wondered if he’d have to clean the mess by himself.

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