by J.L. Petty:
“Do I sound familiar? Do you recognize my voice?” The masked woman pressed the gun hard up against my cheek. She was wearing a black turtle neck and her face was covered with a black hanker chief.
Sweat rained from my forehead. “No… please… please don’t shoot.” I raised my hands slowly above my head. The woman removed her black hanker chief, revealing her face. She was a beautiful Asian woman in her 20’s. Her gaze was unhinged. I stared deep into her eyes as if she were Medusa. You seem so familiar…
My thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of my Blackberry in my pocket. I flinched. “Don’t answer it.” She commanded. “Get in the car. If you try to escape I will blow your brains out. Do you understand me?” I nodded in agreement.
“Drive.” She threw her car keys at me.
“Please. Don’t shoot. I am a father of three kids.” I whimpered but I was ignored. Her pistol followed me as I got in the driver’s seat of the car. She opened the car door and slipped into the backseat of the 2008 Mazda; like a ninja.
I stuck the keys in the ignition. The engine roared like a lion. She leaned over and pressed the pistol up against a blue vein extruding out of the side of my neck. “Take us to 213 River Street.”
“That’s the cemetery.” My voice quivered. She ignored me. I could feel the heat from her breath on the back of my neck, while I backed out of the parking space. Where do I know this woman? She looks so familiar… Why does she want to kill me?
“Look, I’m sorry for whatever I did. Please, can we talk about this?” I drove and looked at her through the rearview mirror. “I have some money on me and credit cards too. You don’t have to do this. ”
“I don’t want your money. I want you to pay for what you took away from me.” She spoke through clenched teeth.
“Please, I don’t know what you are talking about. I didn’t take anything from you, please just take the money.” I begged.
“Your money won’t bring my daughter back.” She pressed the gun harder into my skin. Tears streamed down my face. My eyes were sore. “I don’t understand.” I continued driving.
The gun in her hands started shaking. “She was only six years old and you ruined her.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember.” I looked at her in the rearview mirror. I parked the car in front of the cemetery.
“Get out of the car. If you try anything funny, I swear to God I’ll shoot you.” She adjusted the pistol in her hand and opened the car door.
There were acres of marble, grave stones and at least hundreds of dead flowers on them. We had been walking only fifteen minutes, but it felt like we’d been walking for hours. My legs felt like they were on fire and my back hurt. I don’t deserve this.
“Stop here.” She froze like an ice sculpture in front of a burial plot. Out of the thousands we’d seen, this one was different because it had been dug up already. The wooden casket was shattered down the middle. Bits of wood was scattered everywhere like pieces of confetti at a Birthday party. Where is the corpse?
“I brought her to the hospital, Dr. Thompson. You said she would survive her surgery and she didn’t. Aoki died on that operating table and you experimented on her. You brought her back to life and turned her into a monster.” The woman’s face was void of emotion.
Aoki… Aoki… that name sounds so familiar… Oh my God… I remember her… With a sinking feeling, I realized what was happening. I started to piece together the events in my mind like a jigsaw puzzle. “Her name was Aoki, Aoki Smith.” My feet felt glued to the ground as I realized we were staring at Aoki’s grave stone
“I gave her a second chance at life. Without the experiment, she would have died. I perform hundreds of the surgeries to save the lives of thousands of children. It doesn’t matter if they are half human and half insect.” I reached out my left hand to her for comfort. “Killing me won’t solve anything.” I took baby steps towards her but stopped dead in my tracks. My knees knocked together.
The woman raised her 9 millimeter gun at me. “You caused all this! My daughter is a monster and it’s your fault!” Frustrated, I stared up at the grey clouds in the sky. How can I change her mind? My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of an explosion. The sharp pain from my stomach sent me to my knees. I’m shot. I can’t believe she shot me… Blood seeped through my dress shirt. The excruciating pain felt like an adrenaline shot.
I heard a guttural growl from a distance. What in God’s name is that? I turned my head to see. It was a monster. It had the head of a little girl and the body of a giant spider. Her thin hair was hanging off of her scalp and her dead eyes stared at me.
“Aoki, come over here. Mommy bought you food.” The creature obeyed the woman’s command. With gun in hand and a satisfying grin, the woman took off running through the cemetery faster than a speeding bullet. The fog swallowed her image whole. I can’t believe she left me here to die…
“No…please… don’t come over here.” I trembled. The creature growled at me like an angry pit bull. “Aoki… don’t come any closer.” The mutant oozed black blood from the mouth and its nostrils flared. The Aoki’s eyes glowed red and bits of its skull could be seen through its stringy hair. I shrieked. She lifted me up in the air like a thin, sheet of paper. I struggled in her grasp but was bound too tightly. As she opened her mouth, she revealed her yellow teeth; caked with fungus. The monster bit into my flesh. What have I created? How many of them are out there?
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