Apprentice ~ Flash Fiction Alert!!!
by Darynda Jones
I studied the girl flicking ashes off the charred end of a cigarette and tried to figure out if she was fucking with me or not. Red hair, brittle from too many dye jobs and too little sobriety, framed a powder-caked face. The light from the lamp overhead barely reached us, but I could tell she was serious, making me question my decision to leave the restaurant in which I’d been dining with friends for a smoke-break behind it.
I dialed back my alarm. Flicked my own ashes. Feigned coolness. “No shit?” I asked. “Your mother was a serial killer?”
“Is,” she said, her painted lips curling up at the corners. She took one last draw, dropped the butt, and extinguished the soft glow with the tip of her stilettoes, grounding it into the cement as though needing to kill something. “She is a serial killer, and will be until Tuesday at midnight if that last appeal doesn’t do the trick.”
Realization dawned. “Holy shit. Your mother is Mary Anne Godfrey?”
“The one and only.”
That would explain the lack of sobriety. I swallowed, the sound obvious in the still night, and her laughter echoed off the brick walls around us.
“Don’t worry,” she said, cooing as though she felt sorry for me. “Mom never taught me the family trade.”
She leaned closer. Lifted a delicate shoulder. Put a hand on my biceps. They flexed underneath her warm touch, exposing the interest that thundered through my veins.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I brushed a thumb over her cheek. “It’s so weird that we would meet like this.”
“Why’s that?” she purred.
“My father was a serial killer, too.”
Her smile faltered when she spotted the blade in my hand.
“He taught me everything.”