Flash Fic: Gris

Here’s a little piece I found in my folder from a long-past Terribleminds Subgenre Twist flash fic prompt. Seemed appropriate for the day after Halloween.

They say dead men tell no tales, but they’re wrong. The recently deceased can tell some interesting stories if you know how to ask. Marie scratched where the gris-gris tied to her arm had started to itch, and waiting next to the fresh grave. The spell worked, as always, and the dead began to rise. Joshua Parks thrust a bloated hand through the earth and crawled to the surface, cocking his head to one side and other like a curious puppy, staring up at her with milky eyes.

“Hello again, Joshua,” she said. “It’s been a while.”

“Not long enough,” he rasped, his voice box only starting to degrade. “You could let me rest in peace?”

“You know I couldn’t.”

“I’ve finished singing for the cops,” he croaked. “The boss made sure of it.”

“Not sure enough,” she said.

“Put me back.”

“You know what I want.”

An hour later, she reburied his corpse and burned the gris-gris. She had what she came for. In an impulsive act of gratitude, she salted his grave, although it would also prevent any who tried to follow her trail.

It was hot, and she stunk of graveyard dirt, ash, and sweat. She made her way back to the corrugated metal shed she called home just now and dumped a warm basin of water over herself before changing into another pair of cargo pants and tank top. It would do. She had to go.

It didn’t take long for her to find the bar, La Chatte Rouge. The women were hardly surprised when she crept through the back door into the dressing room.

“Come for a dance, kitten?” Mama Claudine purred in her husky stage voice. Marie hissed back at her and Mama went back to her kohl and her lingerie. “Suit yourself, cherie, but you’d make a bundle with that little body of yours. Must be some kind of witchcraft, eh?” The older woman laughed deep in her throat. Marie slunk through the dressing room corridors until she came out next to the stage, just behind a tatty curtain.

There he was. Everyone knew Sarko ran crime in this town, but Marie needed the name from the lips of his leiutenant before acting. It had to be pure, the act. He didn’t just order this one; he did it himself. That’s what Joshua had said. Did it himself.

The bastard came in and murdered them all himself. And for no other reason than he wanted their house taken down and they had refused, having no other place to go. But that happened all the time in this town. What didn’t happen was that the absent daughter of his victims waited, biding her time, and honing the craft her mother passed to her, waited until he’d made the mistake that gave her the information she needed. Waited until the one who knew his crime had nothing to lose, not even his life.

And then, she came back, back from the grave he didn’t send her to, with a knife. Came back, came up behind him, as he anticipated watching the women gyrate for his pleasure and make some deals. Behind his smug, relaxed, safe back. Came up behind him unseen in the dark smoke of the bar and placed one gentle hand on his should.

So he would turn around and see the knife before it sunk deep into his sternum.

But in the panic, no one saw her leave. There were more.

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