Friday, February 7, 2014
Flash Fiction Friday #6 - Mr. Worth
Today's Flash Fiction Friday piece is actually a continuation of last week's piece, Jed.
A few hours from his first interaction with the woman in the blue blouse, Jed found himself far from Saddle’s Sasspire, in a fortified town car heading south. He had been reluctant to go with the woman, but something about her seemed familiar to him – he just couldn’t put his finger on what yet. His mind finally started to come out of his drunken stupor and a he was able to think somewhat straight, although now he felt the tiredness of the early morning hour seeping in.
The woman in the blue blouse sat to his left, a black panel of sliding metal between them and the driver. She made it a painfully obvious point to keep the middle seat clear between them, as if her presence would somehow tempt Jed into wanting to get to know her better. He didn’t. In fact, Jed didn’t even want to be around her right now.
Holding his head with one hand and tapping on the window with the other, he watched the neon signs flash by as they passed through downtown. Aberfield stood as one of the last fully functioning, fortified cities in the United States. After the Dark War, most of the planet had been decimated by Legion and Satan’s army. Not Aberfield though. Aberfield had been ready for the enemy’s attack many years before it even occurred. Massive raised walls surrounded the city, powerful pulse cannons guarded the only entrance, and an enclosed ceiling made of weatherproof material kept Legion’s darkness out.
Jed had no idea who was responsible for the building of Aberfield, and he was more than a little suspicious as to how whoever built it knew to do so ahead of time.
“What thoughts are running through that head of yours?” the woman asked. She didn’t turn from the window to ask her question, but Jed turned toward her, his stomach feeling somewhat nauseous.
“My thoughts are my business.”
She finally turned her neck and looked him in the face, her enormous brown eyes nearly engulfing him with their beauty. “You mistake my question for intrusion. It is mere conversation.”
“I’m not in the mood to converse.”
She smiled, her bright red lips reminiscent of a blood-red crescent moon. “Of course not. I imagine you’re in the mood to sleep off your hangover.”
Jed focused his attention on the outside of the car, particularly the neon lights. They did something magical to soothe his temper. They reminded him of his wife.
“I assure you, this will not be a waste of your time. I simply need you to meet with the project manager in charge of the building of the tower. Once he approves your employment, we can secure you passage to Fertain.”
“Tell me about this tower.”
“It would be best that that information come from the project manager. I am not at liber-“
“You want me to talk to your project manager? Then tell me about this tower you want me to watch over so badly.”
The woman placed her hands in the lap of her pencil skirt and looked at Jed as if she were debating on if he could be trusted or not. “Not watch. Defend. Protect. The Princeton is a scientific and technical marvel. I can’t really explain what it is without you seeing it first. Needless to say, you’ll have your work cut out for you. We have...many enemies.”
“What is the purpose of this tower?”
“You will address it as The Princeton from here on out, Mr. Worth. This is not a casual business relationship I am attempting to enter into with you. This is a serious employment contract. The purpose of The Princeton is to change the world. It is the key to ending this war against Legion and reclaiming this planet as our own.”
Jed scoffed. “I see what this is about. You work for some multimillion dollar corporation that is going to try and wipe out Legion and then take control of the United States. I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone rose from the ashes to grab the reins. You really think I want to be a part of that? I have no interest in a hostile takeover of this country. I just want to be left alone.”
The woman laughed heartily, her melodious voice driving railroad spikes through Jed’s skull. “You really are drunk, Mr. Worth. Either that or the death of your wife burned out the majority of your brain cells.”
Jed reached into the inside pocket of his brown leather jacket, but the woman shook her head and motioned to the pistol now sitting in her right hand, aimed at him.
“No, Mr. Worth. Keep your hands where I can see them.”
He placed his hands on his knees. “When we stop, I’m going to make sure I’m the last person you ever point your weapon at.”
She slid the gun down to her side, between her and the door. “My cause is not to threaten you, but I will if necessary. Looking at me like some poor, defenseless woman who can’t defend herself is a grim mistake. You would do well not to make that mistake again.”
“I have no desire to enter into any kind of business agreement with you – whoever you are. I have better things to do with my time.”
The woman took Jed’s hand in hers. “You’re full of strife, Mr. Worth. Pain that came with the death of your wife. Emptiness that came with the death of her killer. Now you are nothing but a wanderer, aimlessly searching about for your purpose. I can give you purpose, reason to live. I just ask that you trust me.”
“What makes you think I’m ready to trust someone I don’t even know? Come to think of it, you haven’t even told me your name.”
“My name, Mr. Worth, is Sarah. And I assure you that I have humanity’s best interests in mind.”