Nora lines up the camera to capture the meadowlark into the fragile world of her photography. When she hears the click-click of the camera taking the pictures that are now her lively hood, she begins to hear a different type of click. A familiar, but still more dangerous sound. The clicks become overpowering. She can only hear them. Then she begins to see…
Click-click. Click click click.
“He’s dead, boss. You can stop now.” A voice behind her said.
“I don’t care. They still killed her. They need to stop! They need to suffer!” Nora’s explosive voice replied.
“Your mag is empty. It has been for the last twenty clicks.” The voice persisted.
Nora turned around, pointing the handgun towards her worker, now. “So you’re with them, now? Who else is?” Nora spun in a circle, pointing the weapon at each of her employees, “You? You?”
“No one is, boss.”
Even though the sound was empty, the person who spoke still flinched, hard.
“You’re lucky,” she said, “Next time anyone speaks, I won’t be as nice.”
Nora turned back to the mangled body, not even human now. A monster. She kicks what was an arm. She threw her gun down, aiming for the head. She hit the person’s chest, with that, a scarlet liquid splashed on the ground, staining Nora’s cloth boots.
“No more time to wait. Let us go. We’ll talk later.” As she left, the eyes of the dead man, the murderer still looked at her, his eyes still pleading, begging. At least now he no longer talk.
Nora lays on the ground, her body racked with sobs. Her face is red and wet from hot tears. She’s forgotten that that memory. After the moment itself, she had buried that memory, deep, deep inside her mind. Only that sound, that one sound can make her remember.
Later that night, as she was trying to fall asleep, she got up to make a cup of coffee. In her mind, it would be better to at least be useful then lay awake in her bed. She goes to the computer to look through the hundreds of photos from today.
As she looks through the hundreds of photos, she comes across one that she hasn’t seen in a while. It is of her and another woman. They are smiling together. This younger Nora is wearing a black and white jumpsuit and has her arm around the other woman. Nora’s eyes drift across the screen to the other woman.
She thinks she can see the woman waving to her, beckoning to her. She starts to grow, becoming normal sized. All of Nora’s vision, except for the woman, go black. She starts to remember that moment, that perfect picture moment.
“Okay, I think I have it. Can you two come up and see if you like it?” The photographer asked.
Nora and the woman walk up to the photographer. The picture is perfect. The wind was blowing the woman’s hair in the most perfect way. It reminded Nora of a princess.
That’s what she was, a princess.
They both walk back, hand in hand, to the meadow where the photo was shot.
The woman Nora loved so much crumpled to the ground, a red stain seeping through her green dress.
Nora could see the woman’s hand flutter to her chest, where the sniper’s bullet entered. Her hand came away bloody, the gold and diamond ring that marked their marriage now stained red.
Nora’s consciousness flashes back to the present, where she still screams her lover’s name. Nora’s hand goes to her heart, not because she was startled, but because she thinks she can feel a bullet wound in her own chest.
She decides to sleep on the couch that night. She turns off the computer.
By the next week, the area under her eyes is dark from many sleepless nights. She hasn’t had any more flashbacks, though.
Nora decides to clean out her house. She thinks that if she can get a fresh, clean start- literally and figuratively- then she might feel better.
She decides to clean out her closet. She finds many clothes that are too small for her. Thankfully for her, no triggers.
She goes to the kitchen, and cleans out her pantry. She’s very surprised to find so many moldy food items. In the back of the small closet she calls her pantry, she finds a red box.
It is decorated with gold markings, and is held closed with a hook. She slips it open, and pulls out a small object, about half a foot long.
Its wrapped in a clean cloth. Nora racks her mind to remember what this was. She slowly unwraps the object. Underneath the many layers of cloth, the true nature of the object slowly gets revealed. It is cold and hard. Heavy and sharp. It has a leather handgrip and is make of solid obsidian. Sharpened to a point that could cut through anything.
Nora runs her hand down the length of the blade. Feeling the the weapon. Although it is heavy, it is almost perfectly weighted. It is more balanced then a gymnast on a tightrope.
As she feels it, she closes her eyes. She knows what’s coming now. She’s remembered what this blade was. Why would one try to stop the inevitable. She sits down on the floor, holding the blade in her lap. As with them all, reality starts to melt. She can’t see, feel, or hear anything except for that blade. Reality is no more. The memory is all that she knows now.
“No! Please! Don’t hurt me! I just wanted something to eat!” Nora’s cries echoed through the alleyway where she was. She’s huddled against the wall, a small piece of bread clasped in her hand.
A deep voice rang out from the other end of the alley. “What should I do, boss? Do I kill her?”
“No.” Another, more commanding voice replied, “Let me talk to her first.”
A small figure walked down the alley. They walk gracefully, almost like a ballet dancer.
“What’s your name?” The person asked Nora.
“Why should I tell you?” She replied ferociously.
“Why shouldn’t you?” The person says. They squat down in front of Nora. “You can trust me.”
“No. I can’t. I can’t trust anyone.” Nora said, cringing away from the squatted figure. Out of the corner of her eye, though, she captured a glimpse of what this person looked like. They have a very masculine face. They’re wearing a black button up and a red bow tie. Ripped cargo pants are held up by a thick black belt.
“How funny,” he said, “I don’t’ trust anyone either. I ask you again: who are you?”
“Nora,” she spat out. She feared, if she didn’t tell him, then he would kill her.
“Well, Nora, I think you could be useful,” he said. The person sat down lazily, one leg close to him and the other extended. “I could offer you money, food, a home, community. What could you offer me?”
Nora thinks for a moment, then replied, “Emotion. If I have a reason, I will work hard.”
“Nora,” the man said, “I believe that you could be useful.” The man stands up and offers her a hand up as well.
“What am I to call you?” Nora asked, trying to imitate the man’s graceful speech.
“Nothing more than Boss will do.”
Nora accepted his hand up and stood up with a bit of help. She’s taller than him.
“I have a… welcoming gift for you. It is very lethal. Use it well.”
He handed her a dark blade with a leather grip.
Nora still sits on the floor of her kitchen. Two lone tears sparkling on her cheek. She gives herself a moment to feel what she wants to feel, then takes a deep breath and stands up. She steadies her felt on a counter.
To clear her head, she goes for a walk outside. She chose this house with Lisa. Oh, Lisa. She would have loved to see this place fully unpacked. It’s wonderful. It’s backyard is a whole forest. There’s a creek which provides a nice white noise for meditating. She would have loved it.
“Oh Lisa, at least I avenged you,” Nora said under her breath, “At least he suffered.”
Nora begins to laugh, now. A small chuckle, quickly escalating to a wild cackle. She manages to squeak out one more sentence between bursts “How funny it seems now, the person who came to be as a boss, then died at my hands. The hands of a- of a real boss.”
For ten minutes, she laughs her head off. By the end, her laughs are riddled with sobs, and the surrounding trees are rid of birds.