Friday, July 11, 2008

Flash Fiction Interlude: Special Delivery

(A Steal Tomorrow Extra)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece about the twins is cross-posted at Steal Tomorrow. It is not part of the novel.

With a thwack, the knife embedded itself in the wood paneling. Danny flinched. “That was close, love.”

Danica picked up another knife. “It was supposed to be. You need to hold still.”

“I did. Your aim was off.”

“I’m never off.” Danica took aim but before she could throw, a knock on the door made her jump. “What the—?”

Another knock. This time Danny stepped away from the wall and started across the room. “Why would anyone come here?”

Danica put the knife aside and scampered after her twin. “Maybe someone heard about us and wants us for a job.”

“That would be nice, especially if they can pay in food or water filters.” Danny peered out the murky peephole. “I don’t see anyone.” He reached for the semiautomatic he kept next to the door. “Get ready to cover me, in case it’s trouble.”

Danica grabbed a .38 and waited while Danny fumbled with the bolts and locks. They were the only residents of the building since the pandemic, but that didn’t mean they were safe. In the early months of the die-off, gangs had roamed the area, but recently things had been quiet. So who was at their door?

A small box, apparently.

After checking that no one was waiting to jump him, Danny stood over the package and frowned. It was about half the size of a shoebox and wrapped in neat brown paper.

Danica peered around his shoulder. “UPS?”

“Very funny. It might be dangerous.”

“I’m sure it’s just an ordinary delivery. Some of the kids must be trying to re-establish a post office.”

“That wouldn’t explain why they brought something here. It doesn’t have our names and address on it. Maybe it’s a bomb.”

“Who would want to blow us up?”

“You never know.”

“Well, I think it’s harmless and we should open it.”

A debate ensued, in which the twins discussed possibilities as disturbing as explosives and anthrax to the more horrific notion that the box might contain a fruitcake from their grandmother, dead in the pandemic.

“Sometimes things get lost and don’t get delivered for decades,” Danica pointed out.

“Whatever it is, I don’t like it. I’m going to move it out of our doorway.”

“Why? It’s not in our way, since we always go in and out the window.” Nevertheless, she went into the kitchen and returned with a mop.

Danny pushed the suspicious package to the end of the hall and left it by the stairwell. He returned with a satisfied air.

As he locked the door and set the bolts, Danica asked, “If it really is a bomb, what if it blows up the stairs?”

“Then we won’t have to worry about any more deliveries.”

Danica threw herself onto the sofa with a giggle. “That would be nice. Maybe no one would bother us again, ever.” She stretched with the sensual moves of a cat. “I didn’t expect this much excitement on a non-foraging day.”

Danny stalked toward her with a grin. “The day’s not over yet.”

“What more could happen?”

Danny leaned over her and ran a hand up her thigh. “Do you need some ideas?”

She drew him to her with a satisfied sigh. “We do this every day, though.”

“Does that make it any less exciting?”

Before Danica could answer, there was another rap at the door, more urgent than before.

“Let them knock,” Danny said. He fumbled with the buttons of his fly.

Danica helped. “Right. We’re busy.”

The knocking continued.

Danica paused. “Maybe it’s important.”

“Nothing’s more important than you, babe.”

“Then we should find who’s doing it and shoot them.”

“Too much trouble.” He gave a little tug at her pants. “You going to leave these on, or what?”

Danica cast a glance toward the door. “I just wonder if—”

“Don’t wonder.” He pressed her shoulders into the cushions and kissed her until all urge toward curiosity was gone. By the time Danica squirmed out of her clothes so he could make love to her, the knocking had become a distant background noise, easily ignored.

An hour later when Danica wrapped herself in a robe and peeked out the door, she saw nothing on the empty stoop or in the vacant hallway. Even the original package was gone. "That's odd," she said.

"Everything's odd since the die-off."

Danica shut the door and leaned against it, frowning. "Yes, I guess that's the apocalypse for you. You never know what to expect."

"It's all about us now."

"So can I throw knives at you again?"

"Of course, love. Nothing matters but you."


Quicktion said...

I certainly am curious about what was in the package :/

Thomma Lyn said...

Ha! What a fun short piece about the twins! It says so much about them -- that the package goes unopened and uninvestigated not just because they worry that its contents might be dangerous but mostly because they find the package to be an annoying distraction from each other. :)

And yupyupyup I'm curious as heck, too, about what was in the package and why the knocker was so persistent! :-D

R.J. Keller said...

This is the first glimpse I've had into this world you've created, yet I am seriously hooked. I especially love the dry, ironic humor, ("Then we won't have to worry about any more deliveries") and how you give us just enough sex to tease.

I just subscribed to your Steal Tomorrow blog. Whoo-hoo! Can't wait to get my teeth into this.