M is for Mercy

MThe men on the porch had their backs to her: one was thick-wasted and hair-necked, the other so scrawny his spine knuckled through his shirt. Both had greasy hair: the bear only a frizzy monk’s ring and Bones a sickly ponytail. Nick was motioning desperately, talking rapidly. Bones went tense, sinews popping and menace palpable in a rabid bark. The bear touched the handle of a pistol at his hip. Nick’s eyebrows shot to his hairline and his jaw went slack.

April’s heart leapt for his little boy stupor. “Good lord.” The stack of cash on her back burned a hole through her brother’s Boy Scout pack. There was no question of those thugs’ intent: they wanted that money, she’d never been surer of anything. But she couldn’t just hand it to them.

The house looked quiet inside. “Where’s Dad?” No Buick in the carport. “Mom should be busying around or something.” No sign of life from the garden or kitchen.

Bones jerked his head towards the road, spun on his heal, and the others fell in behind him. April squatted lower behind the Azalea bush at the end of her driveway and watched them load into a ratty white van so close to her hideout that she could smell the bear’s body odor. The back door was held closed by a bungee cord, and it gaped open when the van shifted and settled to their weight.

Nick was a butthead, but he was her brother.


April waited for the engine rattle, coughed on the blue cloud issuing from the tail pipe, then slid in the back of the van as quiet as the thief she was. She squeezed her eyelids and cradled the illicit backpack, her buttbones spanked with every pothole or pavement seam through the metal floor.


This flash fiction is a part of the Blogging From A to Z (April 2015) Challenge. A new installment arrives every day in April, following the alphabet; check the calendar below to see which letters post on which days. Read more about this blogfest HERE.


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