Fiction Exercises, Part 2

Another example of the results of writing prompts. Hope you enjoy it!


Gunshots hammered the air, echoes and replying shots bounding off the mansion walls as Melinda huddled herself in a small space in the hall, with a chair and a writing desk. Two crime families had just gone to war, both dons were among the first casualties, and suddenly she was quite jobless. Being one of the lesser accountants to cook the Marianos’ books had its perks, not least of which was that she was not that juicy of a target. That didn’t mean she was detached, however. If she brought the cops now, her repute would turn from mousy minion to snitching rat.

Her mobile phone shook in her hand, the cavalry’s number dialed in and the call waiting to be sent. They would trace the call back and know whose mobile it was. Maybe she could cut a deal with the cops and trade what little info she had. Then again, she might not be important enough for them, either. She would be calling from the mansion’s line and giving an anonymous tip, then hightail it out of the house before it was drowned in screaming sirens and flashes of red and blue. It was six miles from the station to the country estate, but the nearest phone felt twice as far when she had sprinted out of its room as a dozen men were gunned down around her.

No. No, forget them. The Marianos dragged her into this, and they could go to hell. She needed to exit, but where? Reports of pistols and shotguns still thundered from either side of the house, muffled to tolerable decibels as they crossed walls and rooms. Fear froze her hands to the chair’s legs as she sat on the floor.

Somehow, she only now noticed the broad windows on the hall’s other side, three times her width and ten times as high. Blossom-speckled lilac bushes of the estate’s garden were inches from the glass netted in diamond lines of lead.

Melinda grasped the chair tighter, rose up, and hurled it. Glass and lead exploded into shards. Tearing a handkerchief from her pocket and frantically tearing it in half, Melinda wrapped the fabric over her hands before she carefully climbed out. She landed between bushes, and with a run across the vineyard she would be home free.

A man sprawled in front of her, crawling by a rose bush. A river of red-stained flagstones marked his path like a snail’s trail. She recognized the cropped black hair, green dye covering his bangs and stretching back to ears heavy with piercings. It was Mister Mariano’s son, Vince. A touch of regret froze her long enough to see his agonized expression, and the knife wound in his side.

He was the kindest one in the family, eighteen and gentle despite his punk look. He pressed his hand to the wound, and nails with black polish looked like dark pebbles under the red stream gushing out.

Melinda ran to him with tears stinging her eyes. She called his name, and in her ear the echo turned into Mister Mariano’s famous threat, one he always growled at his son. “The good truly do die young, Vince. You wanna be a Mariano, or a boy who plays a saint?”

The mobile still in her fingers, she dialed 911, praying it wasn’t too late.


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