Author Topic: Flash Fiction: "Malice"  (Read 19 times)

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Offline Syn

Flash Fiction: "Malice"
« on: January 21, 2021, 06:26:50 PM »
There is a chance this is too mature for the public-facing side of the website. If so, feel free to move it to the adult section. I've posted it publicly before so I think it's alright, but just in case... I won't throw a fit. :)



Nobody told me bars would be so loud.

Recently elevated to the tier of real adult, it was the idea of my research group to bring me to a bar to celebrate. Since that’s what real adults do: they drink at bars.

Never a drop, and never a driving urge to partake in these kinds of festivities. My friends—colleagues?—did not seem to care about that little detail, so here I was.

It was so loud.

Over the course of half an hour I distanced myself, inch by inch, away from my friends and towards the corner so I could sit on a stool and watch everyone else.

I felt out of place. As my eyes scanned the room, I could spot a dozen different dynamics at play, each entirely inaccessible to me. I knew how to have fun, but I didn’t know how to have this kind of fun. The drinking, the shouting, the dancing, the subtle touches, the whispers… I understood how those things worked, but I could not reach out and claim it for myself.

So instead, I made my temporary refuge the corner, where I could nurse a watered down glass of whiskey that made my mouth feel like it was on fire despite the ice cubes having mostly melted already.

Every time my face scrunched up in utter despair at the assault, the bartender would glance at me in amusement. So would another, although he never made a move to approach me.

I appreciated that. The drawback of retreating to a corner was that anyone’s approach naturally made me feel cornered, and I did not know what exactly my response would be in such an unfamiliar setting. I made sure to pretend I didn’t notice his gaze and kept my eyes glued onto the polished oak countertop in front of me. Spots of sticky ale adorned it, but it was surprisingly clean given that the bar had been open all day and had no issue staying filled to occupancy.

Why was I here?

I was a fool. I should have said no. I should have insisted on doing something else. It was my birthday, not theirs. Why did I listen to their insisting that we all go drinking together?

They didn’t even notice that I wasn’t with them anymore. Twenty minutes and counting.

God, this whiskey was awful. Each sip now made my head feel like it was floating away from my body.

A hand entered my vision, and I instinctively recoiled as my attention was forced back to my surroundings. The man I noticed before had slid into the seat next to me and was trying to get my attention.

My heart skipped a beat and then started pounding in my chest. “Hi?” I stammered out, unsure what was expected when approached in a bar. I’d never even kissed another man, let alone uncovered the unwritten rules of seeking companionship at a place like this.

“Hi,” he said, a smile spreading across his face that promised honesty and comfort. It was strange how a smile could say so much, and I already felt myself drawn in. “I’m Kevin.”

I gulped, a lump in my throat. A shaky hand was stretched out, and it took me a moment to realize it was my own. Kevin grasped it firmly and placed his other hand over mine, patting it reassuringly.

“Can I ask you your name?” he prompted.

“Oh.” I clenched my eyes shut in embarrassment and opened them a beat later. He was still smiling at me. “I’m Eric.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Eric.” Kevin let go of my hand and didn’t make a move to touch me again, and I could feel my anxiety begin to settle itself down a little.

Half an hour later, and I’d gotten to know Kevin. The burn from the whiskey got better, my head no longer felt like it was floating in the clouds, and I was even beginning to think I was enjoying myself.

Kevin was a mechanical engineer at the local university. This was only his second time at the bar. Nobody knew he was gay.

I told him about myself. I worked as an intern for an irrigation research grant. This was my first, and possibly only, time at the bar. Everyone knew I was gay, but I’d still had done more with a girl than a boy. A kiss, mind, but a kiss was more than distant pining.

He thought that was cute. I felt my cheeks redden at the compliment.

Through it all, that smile never left his face. A part of me knew that it was unchanging, identical, but the more sensitive parts of me thought his smile often told a story of its own. He was telling me the truth. He liked me. He wanted me to feel good about myself.

What went unsaid by his voice was broadcast loudly from the smile he dazzled me with.

Soon, there was touching. A pat on the arm here, a squeeze of the shoulder there. I almost didn’t notice the escalation, and it took me a moment to realize that he hadn’t lifted his hand from my forearm in a couple minutes. His grip felt strong, reassuring. I didn’t want to pull away.

Someone smacked him on the back and called him Derek, and Kevin looked back at him with an uneasy expression and a nod. But when he turned to me, the smile was back. A mistaken identity, perhaps. I didn’t have time to think about it, because Kevin then asked me about why I was at a bar.

And I told him. His eyebrows knit together in judgement, and he told me that my friends didn’t know what they were missing. That made me smile.

He asked me if I wanted to leave. I’d seen the movies. That meant he wanted more than conversation.

I felt the simmering anxiety inside of me come alive, and I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from denying the advance. I made myself wait a moment for the nerves to pass.

I kind of wanted to go with him. Maybe not to… do things… but to find out what this was like. I was too old to be so unfamiliar with this.

Nodding my head, he took my hand and led me through the mass of bodies in the center of the bar. I looked around for my friends, hoping to let them know I was leaving, but I couldn’t see them and Kevin’s grip pulled me forward a bit too quick for comfort.

Before long, we were outside, and the cold bite of the wind cleaved at my exposed neck and face. I’d shaved before going out that night and the coldness mingled with the aftershave I used. Kevin wrapped an arm around my shoulders and directed me to an alleyway next to the bar.

A sense of dread was planted deep inside me while we were still indoors, but now I could feel it blossom into something very real.

“Where are we going?”

“My car’s in the alley.” Kevin looked at me, a new glint in his eyes that I never noticed before. “Don’t worry.” A smile.

This smile didn’t tell me the same things it told me before. A drop of sweat traveled down my back as the distant vestiges of my mind began to scream that there was danger.

I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know what the danger was. I’d said yes to leaving. He was bringing me to his car. We were going to go to his place, or maybe mine.

Isn’t that what I asked for?

He talked about things as we walked slowly into the alleyway. I found it difficult to pay attention, and more so to respond. I grunted when I could, but otherwise Kevin rambled about his latest project in school or a new Thai place he’d gone to the week before.

I told myself that my anxieties were getting the best of me. Someone who was a danger to me wouldn’t be so nonchalant. They wouldn’t tell me so much about themselves.

We approached a bend in the alley and I could see a car nestled next to a dumpster. Kevin stopped us before we turned the corner, and he pressed me up against a brick wall in a smooth motion that I almost didn’t notice. He’d done this before and knew what he was doing.

He wasn’t bigger than me, but I felt small suddenly. The anxiety I’d been feeling went away. It was replaced by… trepidation. A quiet tremble inside me that made me feel as though I were being crumpled into a ball.

His hot breath on my face, he closed the distance between us and tried to kiss me. I didn’t kiss back, but—I also did not resist. His eyes spoke of an anger at that, and I kissed him by my own volition then.

When he pulled away, the veil that obscured the true intent of his smile seemed to be gone. No longer did it promise sweetness. This was far more predatory. I felt owned.

I gathered as much courage as I could. Maybe, maybe telling him that I knew what was happening would make him pause, reconsider.

“The malice you hide behind that smile isn’t as well-disguised as you seem to think.”

It was all I could come up with, and I watched Kevin’s face carefully to see what would happen. My breath refused to leave my lungs as I realized the absurd risk I had just taken.

The smile on Kevin’s face washed away almost immediately. An almost carnal relief came over his expression, and he even went so far as cracking his neck. “We’re just having some fun,” he told me, but his eyes informed me my opinion did not matter as much as his.

“No.” I said it as firmly as I could, although it came out as a strangled whisper.

He shushed me, a rough finger pressed against my lips. “You’re drunk, let me take care of you.”

“No,” I said again.

“You’re just afraid, come on.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulders once more and began to push me towards his car.

“Please,” I whispered. He ignored me.

The car door opened, and Kevin stared at me with an uneasy patience. “Get in, Eric. I won’t hurt you.”

I fell into the car seat, unable to just snap out of it and run away. Freedom was so close. I just had to push him away and run. Why wasn’t I running?

The car door shut.

A few seconds, and he was in the driver’s seat.

He looked me over with an appraising gaze. “You’ll have fun, you’ll see.”

Another lie. The engine rumbled to life and Kevin pulled away, beginning the long trek to wherever it was he was taking me.

Another lie, another lie, another lie. And I’d asked for it.
Minor character in the Earth's adventure.

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: Flash Fiction: "Malice"
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2021, 09:18:15 PM »
This passes muster easily for public; I would not be embarrassed for Momma to read.

I would be willing to post an edit w/ suggested minor wording changes, perhaps in color.  I think it shows that you were warming up as you wrote, so far more of that action towards the beginning...

-Just a reminder, you can lock this thread yourself and create a separate, cross-linked, comment thread - if you prefer.  It's a common custom where I've seen, but by no means required or even specifically encouraged.  I can thread-surgery this post out and duplicate there...

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: Flash Fiction: "Malice"
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2021, 09:20:49 PM »
Oh, and ;b;.

Love is a battlefield.

Offline Syn

Re: Flash Fiction: "Malice"
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2021, 09:22:00 PM »
If editing was a consideration, these would never see the light of day. All my flash fiction is first-draft write-and-dump garbage done for fun. And this one in particular is over two years old.
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Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: Flash Fiction: "Malice"
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2021, 09:23:59 PM »
Fair.  Not bad work.  I assume Flash means written in one sitting w/o much forethought.

I do think it's reasonable quality worthy of another draft as a visceral short-short.

 

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