I'm not trying to become a pro in either writing or song-writing, but here are some of my pieces. In terms of music, I focus on lyric-writing, because my voice is only so-so, and I don't know how to make accompaniments of any kind. My songs aren't very well-developed, *grimace, but if you find them interesting, have feedback for making them better, can figure out any accompaniment, or want a song written for you (I write songs for stories), hit me up. Or, you know, you can just reply to this here thread :) Again, if you have feedback for any of my writing, please don't hesitate to speak your mind. I take criticism relatively well. Warning, though, there is a little profanity and suggestive language in a couple of these pieces. They're not graphic or extreme, but I thought it would be better to say that beforehand than get complaints about it later. Short Writing Pieces: Airports (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Airports (open) Airports (close) Airports are where things end. Missy Rockwell looked up at the board with what appeared to most people as nothing more than very good cheer. Missy was unexceptional to say the least. She’d suffered no great tragedy in her life, from something as small as a difficult break-up to as large as the death of a family member, she’d successfully avoided any major misfortunes in her life, and so rarely had reason not to be cheerful. She lugged her cart of luggage up to the check-in, smiling brightly enough to blind the sun. “Thank you very much, have a good day!” She hated airports. She dragged herself out of the way of the other, noisier, crosser customers, no one seeing how much her irritation was growing as her smile grew brighter, and made her way, now relieved of all but her two carry-ons, to the ticket check and security gates. She stood in line patiently, displaying none of the ire and fatigue everyone else seemed to have in no small portion. If anyone had asked Missy just what it was she disliked so much about airports – which of course, no one ever would, since not only did Missy react to such intense hatred with a perfect smile, but also, most people hated airports for the obvious reasons – she wouldn’t have said the long lines, or the packing and repacking, or the occasional screaming child kicking the back of her seat repeatedly. As a matter of fact, she would have laughed at the suggestion and replied that an opera was pretty much just as stressful. She would have simply serenely smiled and told them that it wasn’t the flight or the destination or the purpose of going or even the hassle that mattered, it was the memory of going. Going and not coming back was an end. She settled into the seat, comfortably, strapping herself in and preparing herself for the flight. The clever girl had booked her flight early and had landed herself a sweet little spot right next to the window in a relatively small plane, so she wasn’t sitting next to anyone. Sometimes she worried a little on long flights that she would fall asleep and not wake up after they landed, missing her stop like an idiot, but this flight should only take a couple of hours, so she didn’t believe she had to worry on that account. Many, long minutes and the boringly repetitive announcement about safety every airline employed later, the plane lifted off. As was her ritual, she kept her window wide open and stared out at the ground, using it to pretend to herself that she could land straight back on that safe homeland if she wanted to. An ending was never a beginning. That was a lie. But then again, it wasn’t like she wasn’t going to be coming right back, or even that she particularly liked where she was living at present. Missy stared at the ground to convince herself that it was her home she was leaving, that she belonged there, that she belonged anywhere. When the clouds obscured her view, she leaned back in her chair again, completely relaxed, as she had taught herself to be on planes. There was no point showing off her displeasure when everyone else was just as irritated as she was, and for so much more reason. Besides, flying should be an enjoyable experience, she told herself. She’d always wanted to be able to fly, just for the freedom of it. What was the point in freedom if there was nothing to return to? Several hours later, the plane touched down. There was a collective sigh of relief, as the last bit had been a bit bumpy, and then a general hubbub as people stood up and began preparing to collect their things. The frizzy-haired girl moved more lazily than the rest, knowing it wouldn’t do much to be hasty when people were lining the aisles haphazardly like they were. Without any fuss, she waited for someone to be courteous enough to allow her to get up and retrieve her carry-on. Eventually, as always, someone did. She smiled and murmured a word of thanks, getting her bag quickly and walking out as swiftly as the crowd would allow. At the reception area, a nicely dressed woman with a friendly smile on her face was holding up a sign with Missy’s name on it and calling out, “Missy Rockwell?” Likely, the woman didn’t even know what she looked like, sent by her pregnant sister. Her name in the strange lady’s amiable mouth just sounded foreign. The big signs and unfamiliar voices saying her name had told her time and time again with a sickening finality that something was over. “Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away, and I’m dead.” (-- Doctor Who) She moved towards the woman, an equally cheerful smile on her face. Just a little bit longer, and she could go back to being whatever she wanted to be, as long as she got out of this place that was ever-changing and yet always the same, no matter where in the world one went. At least this trip would be short. She was going to drive home if it killed her and her sister’s beloved Jeep. Missy internally sighed dramatically, cursing her boss for extending her work so she’d had to take a plane last minute to be there for Mina as she came closer to her projected delivery time. Her sister had known Missy didn’t like those infernal strangers with placards, but she’d probably just done it to irritate her, not realizing how much Missy DIDN’T LIKE them. The woman waved the sign a bit, as if that would make it easier to see, not harder. Missy had seen that singular piece of idiocy time and time again. Each wave was like the swoop of an axe to the base of a tree. People were wrong. They said that moving was like tearing up roots. It was nothing like that. If a plant was pulled out, roots and all, it could be replanted in its new location, even better if it was young and small. Moving around constantly was like being a tree chopped down. The roots would stay where they were, and the rest of the tree would be shipped off to some company. After a long time sitting there, being comfortable, and slowly, without even realizing it, being pruned and shaped and relieved of its bark, it would be sent off again to a new place to be forced to change more. The minute there was no more change to be done at that particular place, the tree would again be moved to become something else. The finished product would be so much smaller, and molded to other people’s liking, and scattered all around the place in little pieces. And however much the tree wished to find its home, its place in the world, its root, again, even if all the pieces were returned to the root, they could not ever be whole again, for once the root is cut from the body, everything begins to die, piece by piece, and dead things cannot come together and live again. Wasn’t that why people were obsessed with the undead? As Missy stared down at her new, squalling niece, a week later, she unwrapped the bundle a bit and took one of the infant’s small, wrinkled feet in her hand and gently squeezed. With a genuine smile of adoration, she kissed the girl’s soft head and told her, “Grow strong roots when you’re young, and you can fly anywhere you like, to find home waiting for you.” And she meant every word. Moonlight Sonata (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Moonlight Sonata (open) Moonlight Sonata (close) “Moonlight Sonata.” The sound of the piece floated away from the piano and into the air, intangible, invisible, and yet filling up the room more fully than anything solid ever could. A boy sat at the black grand piano playing, unaware of the girl standing some ways behind him, watching his fingers as they danced across the keys. Even though she couldn’t see his face, she knew the expression he would be wearing so well. She knew the way his lips parted slightly, as if singing unspoken words back to the piano. She knew the way his eyes shifted from the keys to that secret space above the piano and back again, his brow furrowed ever so slightly in concentration. She never knew what he thought when he played, but for her, the notes quivering in the air meant memories. The sweet, slow melody brought a sad expression to her face, remembering the first time he had played it for her. It had been the first time he’d played a song just for her, and no one else. That had been so very many years ago, in a room not unlike this one, though much farther away. She doubted he could even guess what it had meant to her, what it still meant to her. And as always, hearing him play made her wonder, just maybe, if they had tried a little harder – if she had tried a little harder – could their ending have been different? And as always, she reminded herself of the two years spent in a vicious cycle of pain. No, this ending was always meant to be, I merely hastened it, for both our sakes. Turning, she moved quietly out the door, casting away that burning question the farther she moved from the sound of their love. He didn’t look up, or even glance in her direction, but as she crossed the threshold his fingers tripped on a key, banishing a single note from its proper place on the score. Hope's Quest (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Hope's Quest (open) Hope's Quest (close) “I’m scared.” It was the thought she wasn’t supposed to be thinking above all others. Carmelia knew this. But as she watched the tattoo being burned into her arm by the Ridderstone, a brand she knew she would carry until she carried out her task, or died trying as others had before her, she couldn’t help thinking it over and over again. No matter how much she tried to push it out of her head, it still came after her: fear. Still, it wasn’t like the fear made a difference. The Reactors chose every sacrifice carefully. What point was there in fear if all your family was dead and no one around her cared to know it existed? “Sacrifice.” The cold voice of her “escort” greeted her. As usual, they had chosen one boy and one girl to accompany the Sacrifice. The only time those were replaced was when they died, but that wasn’t all that uncommon. These ones had lasted for eight rotations, so they were veterans, but their appearance never changed. They still looked like the 12 year olds they had been on their very first trip, just as dark, mysterious, and cold as always. Everyone knew sacrifices were chosen from the many homeless, loveless orphans of the Amphtink slums, but no one knew where the escorts came from. People said they were fairies or imps, ageless creatures of evil, but Carmelia didn’t think so. They died, didn’t they? All the ancient legends said fairies and imps never died and never grew older, but Escorts made it clear what age they were and how long ago their time had stopped. In her opinion, it was more likely that the Quest somehow stopped them from aging. The Escorts did not have names. They referred to themselves only as “the Escorts” and did not seem to need to communicate with each other at all. In the same fashion, they only ever referred to her as “Sacrifice.” The two of them looked identical to one another, even though they were different genders. Both had sharp, pointy features and thin, lithe bodies. They moved quickly and quietly, with their dark hair and dark eyes. Their skin was browned from the sun, but it didn’t look natural on their delicate figures. “Yes, Escort?” She didn’t feel like she was being escorted anywhere, more like they were the masters and she was the slave. “Do not think useless thoughts.” Carmelia didn’t answer; what was the point in doing that? The escorts would just ignore her, anyways. The final traces of the tattoo blazed on her skin. It didn’t hurt that much, but it still scared her: it was a mark to her and everyone around her that she was now officially prey to the things that no one ever spoke of. She stared at the now-black mark, looking very much like it had been inked on, instead of magically burned into the underbelly of her right arm. The Escorts flanking her raised their right arms and faced the underbellies of their forearms outwards, so that their arms were like pillars on either side of her, sealing her fate. The mark had appeared on their skins as well, as it would stay for as long as she was still alive in the midst of the quest. In unison, they said, “Hope has not left yet. Hope has not left yet.” This part had never made sense to Carmelia. The Reactors did not operate on the principle of hope, they strictly preached the Doctrine of Death and Defiance. Hope had nothing to do with the Doctrine at all. The Doctrine stated that we would all die eventually, becoming nothingness, but that it was the duty of all to spend their worthless lives defying the rules of the wealthy so that their worthless lives would be endowed with meaning by the force of the Cause and the Quest. There was no hope in the Doctrine, not the kind her mother and father had taught her about, at any rate. Her parents had taught her that hope was something beautiful, not just a blind wish for success. It was an almost arrogantly confident expectation in the truth of life, meaning, and fate. Hope changed people, made them stronger and more caring. It gave them the ability to live out their impure lives with a special purity. There was no hope left anywhere in the Amphtink. Of this, Carmelia was sure, and even if there was, the Reactors would most likely take pleasure in destroying it. “The rich do not need hope, and the poor cannot have it,” Carmelia thought bitterly, some part of her laughing at the irony of it, but so that was with all things when it came to the rich and the poor; that would never change. Carmelia and her escorts were taken to a tent, where she was stripped of her fancy Reactor ceremony clothing and dressed in the blue dress, black leggings, brown cloak, and long leather sandals all sacrifices wore. The Escorts wore similar garb, but their dresses were black, and the boy’s was more of a tunic than a dress. Each one of the escorts wore a ring. They were simple, yet extravagant, in a sense. Each one was made of two pieces of shiny, brightly colored metal. The boy’s was a vibrant green with a blue tip, and the girl’s was a strong, golden wheat color with a gleaming, hot red tip. The bands were somewhat wide, but not very thick. It was like a man’s ring, thicker on the edges, but with carvings in the middle, but it was more petite and colorful than anything a man would wear. The carvings were senseless winding designs that started out small and thing, but widened as they reached the focal point. They were somehow both floral and feral at the same time, like a snake made of vines. The focal point was the second piece of metal, in a shield design. Same as with the bands the shields had thicker edges, but lithe carvings on the inside. The boy’s had a coiling snake in it, while the girl had a roaring lion in hers. Overall, it was the only spots of color the escorts had between them. Escorts only ever wore these rings as accessories, nothing else. Sacrifices did not wear accessories. Most of them were too poor to in the first place, but even if you had a family heirloom or something else of value you were not allowed to keep it with you for the Quest. You weren’t even allowed to dress yourself. Her hair had been lopped off short when she was chosen for the Quest, and she kept finding herself fingering the ends of her short hair, where there had once been long brown curls she had kept up with her mother’s wooden hairpin. The hairpin was in her mouth now, the only place the Reactors didn’t keep track of, since she was rarely allowed to say anything at all. Carmelia was pretty sure the Escorts knew about the hairpin, but they hadn’t said anything about it, and she wasn’t about to ask them. Carmelia and her escorts sat in the tent for a while in utter silence. They knew what was going on outside, or at least Carmelia did. The high Reactor was reading the Doctrine to the people, including the provision about the Quest. The Quest would only be declared failed or completed when either Carmelia or the escorts returned without the Mark. It said nothing about what happened if they did not return, but everyone knew that another sacrifice and another two escorts would just be chosen the next year. Once the Reading was completed, Carmelia and the Escorts would be bundled out of Amphtink to begin the Quest. She had been told the Escorts would explain the Quest to her once they were outside of Ampthink, but no one in Amphtink knew anything about the Quest except that it was a way of getting rid of more homeless orphans every year. Carmelia had been the oldest orphan yet alive; she had been expecting this, sooner or later, and now it had come. There was nothing to do but fight for her life and pray to whatever gods were out there that she would survive. The Reading was over. Without another word, her escorts blindfolded her and began to walk her out of the tent, on hand on each of her shoulders, guiding her to her doom. As she walked away from everything she had ever known and all the misery she had grown so used to, Carmelia had just one last thought left. It was a thought she felt almost guilty for thinking. “I wish I had someone who loved me enough to mourn for me.” But she didn’t. She was all alone. ------------------------ “I’m scared.” It was the thought she wasn’t supposed to be thinking above all others. Princess Lillia knew her responsibilities better than anyone, and as the first princess to be born in the past few generations, she was required to do the Sacred Search. That was the way of all princesses of Ramesia. There was no way she was allowed to tell anyone that the Sacred Search scared her. She even had four others going with her, to protect her, her own special guards she had known all her life. She pulled on the simple brown trousers and loose white shirt. It was weird to be wearing male peasant’s clothing, which was nothing like the gowns she was used to wearing. She looked around her room. For all that people supposed the palace to be a grand affair, the princess’s quarters really just consisted of a simple room made of wood with a small, if very nice bed, and a bedstand and wardrobe. It was plain, but home. The yellow lamp sitting on her bedstand flickered, casting its light shakily around the room, as if laughing lightly at her fear. One of her guards opened the door tentatively. “Princess?” She turned abruptly, facing Jonathan with a regal air. Once she was done with the Search, she would no longer be able to face her guards with anything less, so it was best to start practicing now. “Yes, Jonathan?” “We’re ready to leave at your discretion.” He informed her formally. “I’ll be down shortly.” She responded tersely. He bowed and left the room. The minute he was gone, Lillia relaxed and stared at her room again. She turned as if to leave, but the item in her drawer that she had told herself time and again to leave behind was calling to her. “Don’t take it. If you don’t return and the king finds out you took it with you he’ll be furious. It’s a national treasure. What if you lose it?” One side of her argued. “If you die on this quest, as many princesses before you have, you’ll never see it again anyways.” The devil on her shoulder whispered back. And it was that thought that had her rushing to the drawer, surreptitiously opening it and hastily grabbing the black box lying under a hidden compartment. She stuffed the flat, square box into her coat and walked out of her room, feeling not one bit herself. For goodness sake’s, she was the one and only princess of Ramesia, not a peasant thieving the kingdom’s jewels, and yet she looked and felt like one. She joined her guards at the gates of the city, her heart pounding in her chest. Julie, her brown hair pulled back into a long ponytail, scowled at Lillia. “Are you ready?” The most-definitely-NOT-ready princess nodded her assent. She wasn’t even sure what the Sacred Search constituted, just that her guards knew and half of the princesses never returned. Ramesia was a large country, she knew from having studied maps of the world, but she herself had never ventured outside of the gates of the city, which were heavily guarded. She looked at her four guards. She had never seen them take a step out of the gates, either, but not one of them looked afraid. There was Julie, a scowling, unfriendly character even in their youth, Jonathan, who was kind and soft-spoken, yet always stood up for her, Andrew, a skinny, black-haired man who could not be more serious about his duties, and Heather, cheerful and seemingly carefree, yet capable of turning into the most dangerous woman in Ramesia in a matter of seconds. Princess Lillia took a deep breath, then blew it out again, knowing her guards were watching her, waiting for her signal that it was time to finally begin the Sacred Search. She picked up her pack, which they had prepared for her, and looked once more at all her guards. Forcing a smile onto her face, she said lightly, “Well, let’s get on, then.” And with that, she turned on her heels and took her first step out of the city. As she walked away from everything she had ever known, she got the distinct sense that, despite her guards, she was all alone. Just Three Secrets (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Just Three Secrets (open) Just Three Secrets (close) Secret #1: My sister is a mob boss. For as long as I can remember it’s just been me and my sister. She is twenty-seven, and I am fourteen. We live alone in a white, two-story building, a sort of wilderness in the backyard, and large, white stone walls surrounding it. The only way in and out is through a small, black, wrought-iron gate a dirt path away from the front door. I go to school. I return as soon as it is over. No one is allowed inside. I have no friends. Sister ordered me to talk to no one, and her orders are absolute. She taught me how to pick locks, break into any safe, withstand all sorts of physical and mental pain, use a knife, fire a gun, fight both in a formal and a street situation. My haven is the garden, overgrown with trees, unkempt, leaves littering the floor. There are several little clearings in it, where the sun breaks through the foliage. I read from books that forests like my haven are scary because they’re dark, lonely, and you never know what will jump out from them. My haven is just like those, but it doesn’t scare me. It’s the only place I don’t feel afraid, though I often think my sister knows this and watches me, still. I can never hide from her. Secret #2: She has only one hitman, I’ve met the other people in her mob. They’re all strong, fat, complacent people, drunk on power with egos too large for their heads. My sister is always putting down coup’s. I hate them. They hate me. They come and they see me and then they pretend I am not there. I only become glad that they come when my sister lets me leave and stay in the garden. I do not have to return ‘till the morning. I can sleep in the little clearings. It is the only place I can sleep and not wake up before the sun touches the mountains. I still remember meeting him. I was five and at the edge of a clearing, staring at the portion of white wall in front of me. I wanted to reach out and touch it. I do not know why. Because I did not know why I wanted to touch it, I didn’t. I simply stared. And as I was staring, he appeared. I do not know how. He does not come in through the gate. He merely appears, always always, next to the white wall that is too high to jump over. He touched the wall for me. Without looking at me. All I could see was his golden hair, the scar on his left cheek, the strain of his soft, pale neck. Although I could only see his silhouette, his form somehow seemed so sad, as if he knew why I wanted to touch the wall, and it was a sad thing to know. The scar I saw on his cheek was just the first of many. Every time he came over the wall he carried more scars, more wounds. I do not know how I learned of him, sister refused to talk about him. I only know that I somehow knew, over time, who he was. He was an assassin. The only assassin. He never seemed to carry weapons with him, and yet he always did. I don’t know where, but I’ve heard whispers he has no heart. I know better. That is the only thing he has. He has no expressions, no home, no place, no free will, no hope, no spirit, and no life outside the gang. He is No Berth. Secret #3: and I think I’m in love with him. When I first heard it, I thought it was his name. Sister laughed. I am the only one who calls him No Berth. I do it to remind him that even though no one else knows it, he has a name. Others call him either you, or ten. They call him ten because he lives in the function of ten, or f(10). He showed me once. The function of ten is not a home. It is a single room, the only source of furniture, a kitchen. There is barely enough space, otherwise, to lie down. The floor is made of bare, brown wooden boards, the walls are white, equally bare. There are no windows. I do not believe he sleeps there. The function is made to prove that there is no home for the No Berth. My life’s timeline is marked by little moments of him. Before I met him, I remember nothing. Two weeks into our acquaintance, I recall as clear as day the first time he touched me. I was staring up at a pear in a tree, knowing I wouldn’t be able to reach it, when I felt myself lifted up, small hands firmly on my waist. He was standing on his tiptoes, straining for me, but he said nothing. I fell asleep in one of the smallest clearings, when my sister was in a meeting with the other mobs a year and a half after I first met him. It rained that night. I didn’t know. When I awoke, a shelter had been built up around me, obviously hand-made, but so thick with foliage, that not a drop of water touched me. I woke up later than usual, and returned quietly home, hoping sister would not find it, but when I returned from school that day, it had been torn down. No Berth may not speak to me. The only time he did was when he showed me the function, two years after I first met him. He appeared inside the wall, held out his hand, and spoke only three words: “Jason. Eleven. Come.” My sister for once did not know. It was my fault. I asked her what “f parentheses 10” meant, since I had seen it on the door. She froze and told me it was the function of ten. The next day, I took No Berth to the library, as usual. I walked a little ways away, but for some reason, I wanted to hear his voice again, so I stayed close by, unable to make myself walk away. I heard the strange, slapping sounds moment later. I went inside. No Berth had his shirt off. He was standing too close to the fire, his back turned to the door and to my sister. She was flogging him. I tried to get in her way. She let the whip hit me. My sister tied me to a chair and told me to watch. I watched. He didn’t cry or flinch. He just bled, and I cried. He did not speak to me again. So I listen, instead. I stay right outside the door, with my ear pressed to the crack, just straining to hear his quiet, gentle voice. I do not know if my sister knows this, but probably she does. She does not care as long as he is not speaking to me, I think. Although he does not speak to me, every time he comes over the wall, he reaches for me. He touches my cheek gently, just with the tips of his fingers. I talk when he is there. It doesn’t matter what, but I talk. I do not talk to him, I talk to the air, knowing and expecting no answer. I do not look at him, but I know he watches me. He speaks to me through the tips of his fingers and silent glances, though I never know what he is trying to tell me. I want to hear him speak to me again, to hear him laugh. I sometimes wonder if my voice reaches him, if it will ever reach him. Investigator (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Investigator (open) Investigator (close) Lorena cast her eyes around the musty room from her piano in the corner as she sang. She had been lucky the owner of the bar her targets frequented had been willing to give her this job as a musician. “Well,” she thought, smirking, “luck is 50% of any investigator’s success.” The bar was crowded with people drowning their sorrows, complaining about the day’s work to coworkers, and just in general in need of a less than sophisticated drink. It was dark and smoke filled the air, obscuring what little light was available. And the smells, good God. She tried not to gag on the overwhelming smell of alcohol, vomit, and men in general. Still, it was loud here and no one asked you any funny questions or got in your way. What better place to start a small drug transaction? She’d gotten the heads up from one of the men’s girlfriends, who had declared her “darling Freddie” had started acting weird after frequenting this bar, Momma Moon’s. It hadn’t taken much to figure out he was on drugs from a blood sample the girl had taken from him, under the pretense of accidentally cutting him with a kitchen knife while she was cooking, or so she had said. It didn’t sound terribly plausible to Lorena. His blood had revealed traces of an illegal drug circulating in the black market. This man might prove a valuable lead to a case no one had had any luck on so far. Finding her target would be hard in this environment, though. She strained her eyes, carefully examining every face for a match of the picture she had beaten into her memory. Aha, there he was. In the far corner of the room, a fair distance from Lorena and her piano, two men were looking furtively around the room. Her target, in particular, kept shooting nervous glances at the people around them. Frederick Lawson was a handsome fellow, with blonde hair and fine features. His eyes were a light blue, like the midday sky hazy with clouds. The only blemish that marred his face were light freckles scattered across his nose. He was rather slim of build and looked like the delicate type. He was wearing a light grey suit. The man he was sitting with was in almost every aspect his opposite. Black hair, brown eyes, a scraggly beard and mustache, he lacked elegance in every way possible. His features were chiseled and strong, as was his build. He had dark skin and shifty eyes and Lorena thought she might have seen a gun under his jacket when he shifted around once. She took a good long look at him, getting a lock on his face and storing it into her memory. All the while her fingers flew across the keyboard and her voice never wavered. The man kept checking his right coat pocket and he seemed to be arguing with Mr. Lawson. She wished she could hear what they were saying, but years of being an investigator had taught her patience. Lorena looked away from the table, letting her eyes wander again. She looked around, briefly categorizing the people who were there by appearance, dress, and who else they were with. It was also somewhat amusing to keep tabs on how each reacted to things drunk. A loud dart game was being played in the back of the room, next to the actual bar. Her song ended, but no one clapped. Doubtless most of them were too drunk or overcome with the noise to even hear it. She rather suspected the barkeeper had hired her because she had been wearing an extremely short dress on the day of the interview. The two men headed towards her. Oh great, they must have noticed her. She flipped through the pages of her song book casually, poising her fingers to play when Frederick coughed quietly. She looked up at him. Lorena gave him a smile, crossing her legs and leaning forward so he could see down her dress. “Well hello, handsome.” He flushed and coughed, looking away from her. “Ah... uhm…” She grinned at him. “What, too shy? What did you come to me for?” She let the sleeve of her dress slip down loosely off one shoulder and winked at him. The other man, who was standing behind Frederick, gave a little snort and muttered, “Slut.” She looked at him distastefully, as if he was some kind of trash. Lorena stood, lightly tugging her sleeve back over her shoulder. “It doesn’t look like your friend here likes me very much.” She commented to Frederick. She began walking towards the bar, as if to get a drink. As she did so, Lorena passed very close by to the other man. She did so slowly, taking the opportunity to whisper into his ear, “I’ll be off at 10, if you’re interested in my services.” She gave his ear a little lick, distracting him so he wouldn’t notice her slipping her hand into his coat pocket and gently pulling a small packet from it. He shuddered as if she were gross and she strode past him, giving her walk an extra flare just for the two men’s benefit. --------------------- At 10 o’clock, Lorena walked out of the bar by the back door. Sure enough the man was waiting for her there. She wrapped her arms around one of his demurely, pressing her chest against him. No doubt he had suspicions about who she was, but until he was sure, she would play along with him, up to a certain point. The two of them walked some ways from the bar, into a darker, more dangerous section of the city. Suddenly, he pulled her into an alley and pushed her up against the wall, drawing the gun from his jacket and pointing it at her head. His breath stank of alcohol and week-old fish. “I know you’re not just some common slut. Frederick said his girl asked for a blood sample and you were staring at us all evening. Bitch. Who do you work for, the police?” “Hmm…” She pretended to consider it. “No, I wouldn’t say that.” In a flash of movement, she pulled her head down and, in the same motion, brought her knee up into his crotch, not giving him a chance to fire. She plucked the gun from the air as it fell and used her other hand to wrench his arm behind his back and push him to the ground. The gun was now pointing at the back of his head. “I wouldn’t move if I were you.” She cocked the pistol and fired it a few inches from his ear. He froze in shock and she used the opportunity to put the pistol down and flip open her cellphone, calling for back up. Back up arrived just as she was getting comfortable, sitting on the man’s back, leisurely pointing the gun at his head. She wasn’t sure if he was conscious at this point, since he hadn’t moved for a while, but he was alive, and that was all they needed. Her men pointed their rifles at him as Lorena stood up and walked away. Her boss, Tanner, gave her a look. “Lorena, aren’t you a little too relaxed?” She winked at him. “Just enjoying my job, sir.” And with that, she flipped the gun at him, blowing him a kiss as he caught it, and walked away, trying not to giggle as he sighed audibly at her catwalking for his benefit.