Good Intentions

Submitted for Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

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Jan 12, 2021

Drama Fiction

“Well, well, well. . . If it isn’t the illustrious Sandra Salvatore. I never thought I’d see you again, dear sister. And in one of my cells, no less! How delightful.” 

“Heh, I’m honestly surprised you’ve got enough grey matter left between those cauliflower ears to think at all, Becca, much less taunt.”  

“I see you have still got that same lip. I guess some things never change.”  

“And some things do. You’re helping these invaders oppress your own bloody people? Look at yourself, Becca. I knew you were a self-serving narcissist, but I never pegged you for a traitor.”  

“Ha-ha, that’s rich coming from a little brat like you. I’m a hunter now, sugar. Newly minted by the guild mistress herself.” 

“You say that like it’s supposed to mean something to me.”  

“It means I’ve gone legit. I’m free to operate however I please, all I have to do is maintain my borders. Meanwhile, you just keep doing what, exactly? Oh, yeah, that’s right. Playing Robin Hood all along Rock Ridge, pretending you’re something you’re not.” 

“Oh really, and what’s that, hunter?”  

“You’re a blight on an otherwise peaceful place. A bandit, stirring up long-forgotten sentiments of hostilities against the guild. I have no doubt that they will put a contract out on the whole caravan after they see how hard you’ve hit their food stores during this raid. But, if you’re willing to listen to reason, I believe the fallout from this ill-conceived endeavor can be avoided entirely.” 

“Is that so?”  

“It is. All you have to do is take the pledge. Join me, Sandra, and you can be free as well. The guild mistress would pardon you of your past crimes, without a doubt. She recognizes the worth in people. I know she’ll allow you into the fold.”  

"You. Free?" *Pfttt* "That’s rich. You’re nothing but a pawn, sent here and yonder by the guild to do their dirty work. I may be a ‘bandit’ to you, but at least I still have my honor.”  

“How in the blazes can you still claim to have an ounce of honor? You and your lot have raided the guild stores of all of their crops for the season!”  

“OUR crops, have you so quickly forgotten that it’s grown on our land, in our fields, with our labor? Meanwhile we’re rationed barely enough for one decent meal a day?” 

“It’s not your land anymore, though, is it? The Salvatores lost the war against the guild, or did you forget?”  

“So, just because a bunch of brutes come here and claim our lands as theirs, our lives as theirs, that makes it automatically so? I think not. I’m fighting for the greater good here.”  

“Don’t make me laugh. The only thing you are accomplishing is getting yourself hanged before you even have thirty years under your belt.” 

“I’d happily dangle from the hangman’s noose, so long as I know our family is safe.”  

“Such a martyr. Save that bravado for the mistress, Sandra. Unless you manage to pull off a miracle, she is going to see you put into the ground. . . Jesus Christ, it is a shame to lose you to, this. You could’ve been so much more.”  

“Yeah, you’re not wrong, Becca. I could have been more. My potential was never the issue.”  

“Well, what is the issue? What’s making you throw your entire future away?”  

“Why even bother asking me, miss high-and-mighty hunter?” 

“Don’t be an idiot. Even if you’ve made every poor choice there was to make, that doesn’t change things between us. Not enough to make me stop caring, anyways.” 

“You certainly have a funny way of showing it. Father’s body wasn’t even cold before you ran off to join the monsters that slayed him.”  

“I--I did what needed to be done. He would’ve understood.”  

“You’re delusional.”  

“No, I’m a realist. He would’ve wanted our family to be safe above all things.”  

“That doesn’t mean he would’ve wanted you to sell your soul.”  

“Stop acting like you know what you’re talking about. You don’t. You’re naïve to the ways of the world, the way of power. Father knew. He may have had too much pride to see the forest for the trees, but he knew the guild would defeat his forces. That’s why advised me to join.”  

“LIAR!”  

“Oh, are you so certain of that? You forget yourself, sugar. I was the daddy’s girl.”  

“Let me out of this cage! Let me out right this instant, so I can slam my fist into your gob.”  

“Really? I swear, you’re so selfish. Just stop trying to punch me for a second and think, would you? Doesn’t mom deserve some stability after all the hardships she’s had to endure? Doesn’t Maude deserve a little piece of mind after taking over the remnants of the Salvatore faction?” 

“Mom? Maude? I guess you really are clueless.”  

“What do you mean?”  

“Mom’s dead, sugar. She was killed last month when your beloved guild mistress decided to shell Rock Ridge into oblivion. Maude was taken out in the same attack, partly anyway. She was injured in the initial round and lost her leg. She didn’t fair too much longer after that. Gangrene. Nasty business watching someone die from that. Only took a couple of days though, thankfully. Silver linings and all that, eh?” 

“Wait, they shelled Rock Ridge?” 

“It’s just a crater now. One big ol’ gravesite.”  

“Sandra, I didn’t know they were going to do that, I swear.”  

“Well of course you didn’t, how could you have known? You left. That’s when your new friends decided to rid themselves of us, once and for all.”  

“She promised she’d spare the ridge if I signed up. I thought if I accepted, you’d all have a better shot at surviving the occupation. Dad agreed. It was the last thing we talked about, actually.” 

“He was at his wits end the day it happened. I remember watching him just sort of stumble forward into the path of the guild’s panzer division, armed with nothing more than his dinky little rifle. I can’t even say for certain he remembered to bring any spare clips or magazines with him. Not that it would’ve made a difference, but still. I still think about that. Watching him pop like a melon from that direct hit. I wonder if he even felt anything.” 

“You don’t remember the scream? I couldn’t get it out of my head for months. Sounded like lambs being slaughtered.”  

“Oh. Yeah. Huh, I’d forgotten all about that.”  

“Me too.”  

“Wait, what are you doing?”  

“You have to get out of here. The guild mistress will be here any minute.”  

“But what will happen to you?”  

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. Now move. Stick to the service tunnels and follow the signs leading south and you’ll find your way out. Should be clear for a little while.”  

“Fine, just. . . please take care of yourself.”  

“You too. I’ll see you soon, sis. And for what it’s worth, I truly am sorry.” 

“I know.”    

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