This week’s writer’s prompt is brought to you by the emotion: Disgust. Other sponsors include Laura, who provided the emotion and Borderlands 2 for providing the background music!
The bar was crowded on a Friday night; the band playing covers of old songs while couples conversed over drinks or danced in the small area designated as the dance floor.
Ben had come to this little bar three years ago seeking isolation.
Four years ago in a dusty town in Iraq, he had lost his entire squad to the woman who was currently coming through the wood door.
Three years ago he ended up in another dusty town outside of Lubbock, Texas. Trying to reconcile what he’d lost with what he’d allowed to happen. Slowly, he had started to piece together some sort of life for himself.
He signaled to Gus, the old bartender with a scar from Vietnam and an attitude from Brooklyn. Without a word, Gus poured another few fingers of whisky into a glass that was about as clean as Gus’ language and plopped it down.
It might have been a long time since he’d ever had the need to be on high alert but what was ingrained in him wasn’t going away, not even in three years. It allowed him to always stay one step ahead of everyone.
Everyone but himself.
That’s why he didn’t need to see Gus’ eyebrow quirk and his thin lips turn down to know exactly who was behind him.
“I’ll have what he’s having,” a voice like velvet said behind him.
Though Gus’ tone said very little, he could read the old man like a book. Gus didn’t like strangers but he wouldn’t turn a paying customer away. It had taken Ben a good two years before Gus spoke more than two sentences to him.
What Gus was asking was if the woman behind him was welcome.
Ben shook his head slightly and with a nod Gus walked down to the other side of the bar.
“That wasn’t very nice.”
He didn’t want to turn around. Didn’t want to pay any attention but if he didn’t, she wouldn’t leave. She still smelled the same, a strange mix of lilacs and jasmine.
It made him want to puke.
Turning, his eyes roamed over her tall lithe body. “You look the same,” he said blandly.
As she moved to the side of him, she smiled her patented ruby red smile. It was meant to entice him. All it did was make his head hurt and his intestines burn.
With fingers as graceful as a pianist, she stroked back a lock of his brown hair, frowning as he moved away.
He felt as if a thousand tiny spiders had crawled over the spot where she had touched him.
Though his heart was beating a million miles a minute and his muscles were tensing with the need to shove her away, he maintained his composure, calling upon years of service training to control his movements.
“What do you want?” he said calmly.
He knew whatever it was, he wouldn’t be doing it. She was prettier than a picture but as dangerous as anthrax. Besides, she was a stone cold killer. Even he had his standards.
“I need your help.” She said softly as she moved closer. Her perfume clogged his nostrils and he slammed back his drink so he didn’t gag.
“You don’t need anyone.”
“I need you.”
He curled his lip and stood. If she had been anyone else, with her silky black hair and come-hither body, he would’ve heard her out.
As it stood, he wouldn’t give her the time of day.
“You need to leave.”
She shook her head, a curtain of her hair falling over her face. “I can’t.”
Ben looked at her closer, certain her act of helplessness was exactly that. An act.
To an innocent bystander, she looked a little lost, a little scared, a bit vulnerable. To him, he caught the glimmer of excitement in her cold brown eyes. She was anything but vulnerable.
That’s when the memory hit him, hard and with no warning.
His men running around the compound, pulling out the innocent and rounding up the bad guys, while she laughed like a maniac. Knives in her hands that moved like ribbons. Blood spattering her cruel but beautiful face, her legs and torso kicking and twisting as she killed those that had bombed a small school. To her, they were nothing. To him, they were bastards but he didn’t need to be the one who killed them.
He called her by the name she had given him, but she didn’t answer. When the bastards were down, she moved on. Speaking in a language he didn’t understand. He understood the movement of the knives, the sound of gunfire, and his men falling to the ground.
She had betrayed them and then she had slaughtered them all. His men and the innocent. Whoever got in her way, she had cut them down.
He couldn’t move as she came closer to him. Her eyes lit with an unholy glee and her ruby lips turned up in a smile that seemed better suited on a pumpkin.
She spoke again in that language he didn’t understand as she placed a bloody hand to his cheek.
“Remember.” was all that he head before the knife entered his lungs.
As the memory receded and the sound of music and laughter again reached his ears, he smiled at her. A smile that made her eyelid twitch.
“I’m leaving. You don’t get to follow me.”
“Ben.” she said his name with a reverence that rang false.
It made his skin itch and he ached for a shower.
“You’ve got three minutes before I call the sheriff and tell them an internationally wanted psychopath is standing in Gus’ Saloon.”
Her smile returned and she saw the relief flash briefly on her face. “Do you really think some Podunk sheriff can take me down?”
Blood rushed to his ears as his stomach began to violently beat against his abdomen. Ben shrugged and signaled to Gus he wanted another one.
“No. I don’t. I do know that if you hurt one hair on anyone’s head and then it’s me you’ve got to face. I reckon I don’t have too much to lose.”
He didn’t wait for her answer or her reaction as he hurried past her to the men’s room, saliva filling his mouth with the unpleasant burn of bile burning his throat.
He didn’t hear the voices asking if he was ok as he emptied his stomach into a toilet that had seen better days. No, all he heard was the sound of crying. And the high pitched laughter of a woman who had gone over the edge.