So the flash fiction challenge this week for Chuck Wendig’s blog was to take two random weird character descriptions generated by THEY FIGHT CRIME and write a 1500 word story featuring the two characters you got fighting crime. I got:
He’s a hunchbacked Elvis impersonator from the spirit world and She’s a bloodthirsty paleontologist with a backpack full of scones.
Together, They Fight Crime!
So this is what I came up with. . .
The Doctor and The King
Cassandra looked at the carnage before her and drew in a deep breath. It was, to say the least, intoxicating to see the sheer brutality of the riot in full color, unabridged, and still fresh. The entire jail prison yard was decorated with splashes and splatters of blood and bits of flesh. Unlike most of the scenes of carnage she investigated, it was not fossilized remains and conjecture. This was, real. . .she could smell the tin like scent of blood. She could see the glistening of the sticky smears as they slowly dried, she could. . .
“It’s overwhelming I know.” The Warden said in an apologetic tone.
Cassandra realized her level of excitement was showing and took a deep breath, savored the scent and put on a shocked mask. “Yes, it is . . . terrible.” She lied.
“Why is he. . .” The attending guard asked from behind them. Turning they both saw Dead Elvis fixing his hair perfectly and then assuming his standard ‘I’m about to break into song’ pose. He was just starting to croon ‘Amazing Grace’ in tribute to the mangled bodies which, it should be said, was one of his better numbers but hardly appropriate for the job at hand.
“No!” Cassandra scolded him and he stopped at “the sound” and went quiet and stared at her with a sulky frown. “No.” She said again and then reached into her back pack and fished out a lemon-poppy seed scone. Like a puppy being given a treat, Dead Elvis pranced over and bobbled in place waiting to be given the pastry.
Both the Warden and guard looked on with a mixture of distaste and curiosity mixed into the normal ‘WTF’ gaze people had watching them. Cassandra shrugged as an apology and tossed the scone to Dead Elvis.
“What exactly is . . . ?” The Warden started to ask and then let the words drift off.
Cassandra took a deep breath and launched into the canned, standard issue reply and explanation she had said so many times she had to fight herself to not go through it too fast. If she did, she just had to say it again later.
“He’s a spirit; a dead person. He was a homeless Elvis impersonator but then he was run over by a Buddhist monk. The monk felt bad and came back day after day offering incense, foods and prayers to atone and Bennie’s spirit stayed around because it smelled good. That would have been the end of it if I had not come along and, not expecting to see a Buddhist monk kneeling in the middle of the road in the middle of the night, run him over, killing him. It was an accident but, by chance I had just gotten fresh baked scones, they smelled good and Bennie, or Dead Elvis as he prefers to be called, began following me.” She took a deep breath and let it all sink in.
“He’s all hunchbacked and . . . what kind of Elvis impersonator. . .” The guard started and Dead Elvis chimed in.
“No. . .No. . . You got it wrong buddy boy. That’s just the, you know, break.” He explained.
“Huh?” Both the Warden and Guard chimed in together.
“His back, it’s snapped in two.” Cassandra explained. “The monk backed up when he realized he ran him over and. . . .” she snapped her fingers coldly. Then realizing how that might look, smiled sympathetically.
“And since my body left me, I’ve found a new place to dwell. . .” Dead Elvis started, his hip gyration making his top half heave and bobble precariously.
“Stop!” Cassandra told him. Dead Elvis went back to sulkily sniffing at the scone. “He really is helpful at times. He can sometimes speak to the recently dead and get their side of the story.”
Dead Elvis nodded and smiled.
“So you two. . .” The Warden began in a dubious tone and then rethought his words and let the statement drift off. He was beginning to wonder why the State’s Attorney had sent these two to help investigate a prison riot. “I’m sorry but I don’t see where the two of you are going to. . .” He started to say but Cassandra cut him off.
“These men were from a special unit correct?” She asked.
The Warden nodded and looked around at the bodies. “Yes, they were our pilot early release program.”
“They were model inmates who had committed non-violent crimes?” Cassandra asked.
The Warden nodded.
Turning to the guard she asked, “And you had direct interaction with all of them?”
“Yes,” The guard nodded. “I am with them. . . .was with them every day for 8 hours when I was at work. I even ate lunch with them.”
“So no underlying gang related tensions? Racial tensions? Political or religious tensions?” Cassandra asked in rapid fire.
The guard shook his head no three times in response. “They were good men. They were getting out in less than a week.”
“They were almost done with the program. They had no reason to do this at all.” The Warden stated and threw up his hands in confusion. “I have no idea why. . .”
“The three guards on duty were involved and also killed?” Cassandra asked bluntly.
The Warden took a deep breath to calm himself and not retort to her brusque method of questioning. “Yes, we assume they were fighting for their lives.”
“As were they all, Warden. As were they all.” Cassandra said and began stomping on the ground.
“What are you doing now?” The guard asked in disgust, tired of this woman’s stupid questioning. It was obvious, it was a riot and three of his friends died. He was getting fed up with her superiority complex and the bullshit.
Cassandra looked up, eyes narrowing as she looked past him at the mountains behind him through the prison fence. Turning she looked at the hills to the other direction and nodded. Then she noticed Dead Elvis was, once again drifting away. Reaching into her backpack she produced a cinnamon scone and Dead Elvis was immediately beside her again sniffing deeply.
“Gentlemen, to understand what happened last night you must understand what happened on this spot long ago. That is why I am here.” She said, answering both of their unspoken questions. “Long ago . . . and by long I mean millions of years. . .This area was home to a species of raptors that I believe had evolved beyond what we currently can prove.” As the Warden began to speak she held up a finger and shushed him. “They were a matriarchal species and when their species went into decline, the males outnumbered the females and eventually there were only males left. The species would gather together, clan like, for a mating ritual on the spring equinox. They would gather here, on this spot, actually. In the final years when there were no more females to control the mob, the gathering became a blood bath. With no females to govern or chose mates, the males attacked and shredded each other much like last night.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” The Warden burst out with obvious contempt.
“Hear me out Warden. All will be clear.” Cassandra asked and then snapped her fingers to get Dead Elvis’ attention.
“What are they telling you?” She asked him.
Dead Elvis listened and nodded and turned back to Cassandra. “There was a party. . .a celebration of the men having completed the program.”
Cassandra nodded, she had expected as much.
The Warden explained, “They had almost completed the program. I thought they deserved some kind of reward so. . .” Cassandra held up a finger to silence him.
“There was music?” She asked.
“Yes, the prisoners had been allowed to form a band and play at the party.” The Warden nodded.
“The wiring for the sound system, it runs under this cement slab?” Cassandra asked.
The Warden nodded.
“Then I know what happened here. It was not a riot, it was in fact a case of trans-species spiritual possession. The carnage from the past left an emotional charge in the ground that, when triggered by the right electrical charge possessed the inmates and guards alike into reliving the deadly event over again.” Cassandra explained.
“What the hell are you talking about?” The Warden bellowed.
Dead Elvis stepped forward to explain.
Dead Elvis took a non-breath and then began to gyrate in a most disturbing way as he sang, “The warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there and they began to wail. The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing. Then the electrical shorted out and it released that thing. The shock, It was all about The shock. Everybody in the whole cell block, was possessed by the dead raptor rock.”
“There you have it, case solved,” Cassandra said.