I submitted this yesterday for The Great Flash Fiction War (http://www.fictionwar.com/). The prompt was less detailed than the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge, which includes genre, an item, and a location. This only required that the author incorporate the quote "I can't leave her now. She's already gone" and it had to be under 1,000 words, including the title. Only one round for this contest and results should be in around November 21st.
A trigger warning, of sorts, that this is a little vulgar.
There was someone in the trunk.
James could hear her moaning where he stood next to the driver’s side door of the old Chevy Caprice. He knew he should have ignored Bobby’s call earlier that morning. He should have thrown his goddamned phone into the river when he saw the number on his screen.
“Jimmy! Long time, old friend.” Bobby’s voice had scratched out of his earpiece. To James, his old friend sounded twenty years older than their thirty four years. Ten years in prison would do that.
“Bobby, I didn’t know you were out.” James said flatly. He had known exactly when Bobby had stepped foot on the outside.
“Been out about six months. How’s my Godson? I hear he has a little sister now.”
“Bobby,” James sighed, “you know I appreciate what you did for me and my family. It should have been me in there. But you know I haven’t called you for a reason. I’m a family man now. I can’t be involved anymore.”
“I know. You can’t blame a guy for trying. You were my family, too.”
“Then why the call?” James asked, his voice strained.
“I need a favor for my boss. Easy peasy, man. Just a quick car drop where it won’t be found. He can’t be seen near the drop location and I’m still fresh meat. Just one favor, old friend.”
Now James was pacing in a wooded area between the Caprice he arrived in and the Jeep Wrangler that was waiting for him. The noise from the trunk of the car was getting louder. It sounded to him like she had slowly woken up and was now terrified.
“I can’t be involved in this,” he muttered as he paced. He thought he was doing a quick drug drop which wasn’t that big of a deal. Murder, though? That sent his moral compass spinning. He did some stupid shit when he was younger but he was never a murderer. How could he look his wife and kids in the eyes knowing he left someone in a trunk to die?
He paced over to the trunk and stared at it, willing the screaming to stop. He felt like he was a new father again, praying that the baby would finally just go to sleep and stop crying.
“Fuck!” he screamed and smashed his fists down onto the trunk.
The screams intensified and then turned into pleading. He walked back toward the Jeep with his head in his hands.
If he tried taking her to the police, Bobby’s boss would probably hunt him and his family down and kill them. They would all have to go into hiding. Their whole lives had just changed right before his eyes. Did Bobby do this on purpose? Was this revenge for James ditching the life?
James stopped at the driver’s side door of the Jeep and stared at his reflection in the glass. He climbed up into the seat and started the engine, telling himself it was the only option. The purr of the motor nearly blocked out the sound of the screaming. This was the right choice. He couldn’t risk his life or his family’s safety.
His stomach turned and he flung open the door to empty its contents on the ground next to the Jeep. This woman was someone’s wife or mother or daughter. Who was she?
James wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, turned off the Jeep and walked back to the trunk. He stared at it and pictured his wife or his daughter tied up in there, feeling sick again. Steadying himself, he took a few deep breaths before he reached down and popped open the trunk.
The sight of the blood caked on her face where she had been smacked around did not bother him. Blood never affected him, even as a kid. That used to be a point of pride during his time running around with Bobby. Now he worked a more respectable position in a nursing home but it still made things easier for him.
He could handle the smell, too. In her terror she must have soiled herself. Beneath the scent of her own filth he could smell her sweat and fear. None of this was new to him. These were things he handled daily.
The thing that got him was her swollen belly. She was curled around it protectively. Her eyes stared up at him in shock and terror.
“Bobby, you stupid son of a bitch!” he yelled as he turned away from the trunk to bend over and lose the remainder of his lunch. He wasn’t sure when Bobby had crossed the line and turned into this kind of monster. James had never expected that he would go this far.
He stumbled away from the trunk and into the thicker copse of trees surrounding the vehicles. His cell signal was weak this far away from civilization so he was surprised when he heard Bobby’s gravelly voice answer.
“Hello, old friend. I take it you finished your task?”
“She’s awake, Bobby,” he said, trying to sound calmer than he was feeling. There was a short pause from the other end of the line.
“Well, that was not part of the plan.” Another pause. “Jack must have messed up her dosage. Just leave her, Jimmy. I’m the only one that knows you were helping. It will never get back to you.”
“You want me to leave her. To go home to my family and just forget about this.”
“Yes. There is nothing else we can do now. Nature will take its course. My boss can’t have her interfering. Just leave.”
The roar of the Jeep engine filled the air and James spun around to see it driving off down the path through the trees. His face broke into a fierce smile.
“Well, old friend,” he smiled into his phone, “I can’t leave her now. She’s already gone.”
Thanks for reading,