Friday, September 24, 2010

Shore Leave

A tiny glowering end of a cigarette sizzled as it landed into the sodden cobblestone street. She’d had a quiet night. The rain had driven away most of the opportunistic clients she might have otherwise entertained.  Her dropped shoulders foretold her inability to fight against the inedible as she leant against the stone wall; waiting.
Flickering lights reflected in pools of water. Hong Kong drizzle on cuban heels as Jack straightened, keeping his profile hidden in the darkened entrance to an alleyway beyond the forlorn creature.  His eyes glittered as they set upon his target for the night.
The pools of waters rippled as a Shimmer hovered suddenly past them; stopping abruptly beside the lone figure. She stood; unwillingly painting a smile across her face. A soft whisper echoed as one of the back windows slid down. She thrust a hip forward and flicked her hair over her shoulders. An almost inaudible click sounded as the hydraulic doors lifted, opening a darken maw into the vehicle.  Almost immediately it was followed by a metallic clunk as credits were thrown onto the pavement.
The figure furtively glanced up and down the street and scooped up the coins. She thrust a leg inside the Shimmer; following with her body and disappeared into the hungry mouth.  With a hiss the door closed and his prey disappeared into the wet evening. 
Jack extracted himself from the alleyway and flicked the long fringe out from his eyes silently cursing the apparent randomness of the girls appointment. It had taken him over a week to find her. He ran his hand over the roughened edges of the wall and smiled as he felt a familiar texture at his fingertips. In the dim streetlight he found more along the pavement.
Traces of blood, dried between cracks. Something no streetsweeper; regardless of the technology available, could ever scour out. Throughout the ages, blood stained and nothing could free its staying power.
Jacks watch discretely pipped, signalling an warning.
“Damn it. She’s getting better at this.” 
He recalibrated his Augmentor; tapping in a Time Zone further into the future; but stopped before setting it off. He’d spent over a month in this Time Zone, seeking out suitable partners for his purposes. It was a puritan time within human history; his girls degraded to the darkest streets.  Perhaps he’d let Cate win today. He was tired of the chase in any case. She’d spent the better part of a century tracking him through time in order to convince him to return to his post in Mayan America. The worst she could do was kill his outer body in this time zone. He’d no wish to return to this time zone and had begun to feel sorry for the Time Warden tracker.
Even if she had enough evidence of his failure to his post to send him to a Prison in time, it didn’t concern him greatly. He would not be lonely for long. Every time zone had them. Histories longest serving profession. Revered in some cultures, demonised in others, ignored, abused or glamourised. It amused him to see the same girls treated so differently throughout human history. He treated them all the same. Delicately. Tenderly as he stripped away their skin, exploring every crevice, understanding their pain, living their fear. 
Regardless to where or when they sent him; he’d still worship his girls.
Jack felt the energy fields around him zap in anticipation. Electric sparks highlighted the dank street momentarily. Two figures shimmered and appeared beyond the street lamp. 
So dramatic, So Cate. The darkened figures stood against the bright light so that he couldn't see their faces.  Not that he needed to.
He crossed his arms but secretly kept his fingers on his Augmentor. “Two this time. I must be important. ”
He felt his energetic repulse field rebound  and quiver as they stepped forward into it. 

“Can’t get too close girls. Sorry!”
He grinned lopsidedly as he brushed the hair away from his eyes. He decided to make a run for it; let her work for her post.
“Once again, lovely Cate, you’re too late to catch “The Ripper.”
Jack depressed the button on his Augmentor  “Till next time, Cate.”
Instead of the darkness and his lungs being sucked inward as the Time Jump Augmentor activated, the lights flickered and snapped out.  All to soon he realised the women were in judgement formation as he felt the strong hands of the third on his back, his powers rescinded and he fell backward through time.
Three women stood facing one another as tiny traces of electric energy escaped like snakes along the ground.  “Where did you send him?”
Selene dropped her hands and inspected her Augmentor. “I set it on random. Looks like he went to Whitechapel in London; 1888. As far as I recall its a dreary, boring time where nothing of substance happens.  Its set on loop, so he’ll live out 5 or 6 years around that time zone for a few centuries and perhaps we will let him out after that.”
Cate smiled. “Best we get back to our posts. That will be the last anyone will hear of Jack the Ripper.”


Prompt - Use this lyric from Shore Leave to flavour your story: “Hong Kong drizzle on Cuban heels”.

Story inspired by the [Fiction Friday] prompt at Write Anything and submitted to JM Strother’s #FridayFlash  via Twitter. This story will be recorded and posted up for Spoken Sunday via Audio Boo. 

Interestingly, it also ties in with an exciting new Writing Project - Choose Your Online Adventure due to be published in Mid Dec.  watch this space for more updates!!


John Pender said...

You and your time wardens!
Had fun reading this one, being that it ties into the CYOA.

Laura Rachel Fox said...

Couldn't get your head out of CYOA is see? I love it. Love how you brought Jack the Ripper into the Time Warden story, giving him an interesting origin story.

My fave line: "Throughout the ages, blood stained and nothing could free its staying power."

A true and poignant statement.

Shelli said...

I loved the idea of sending Jack the Ripper back in time where he couldn't do any harm. Unforeseen consequences. Nicely done.

Stacey said...

Ooh creepy! The time wardens are pretty cool, they're in CYOA?

Rebecca Emin said...

Gosh, it took me a while to realise "Jack" was actually Jack the Ripper. When I realised, it was a "wow" moment. This is very clever, and creepy too. Well done.