Souvenirs *TW for “Souvenirs”: Physical Violence *“Souvenirs” is my entry for Challenge #2 in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest 2020. My assignment prompts were the Thriller genre, a golf course, and a coupon. I hope you enjoy it! Her body rocked against the inside of the trunk. She didn’t know how long her attacker had been driving, but her tears had dried on her face. The time for tears had passed, and her heart was beating like a drum. The car came to an abrupt halt, and her face slammed against something solid. She could taste the iron of her blood. Only the tape over her mouth kept it from smearing over her face. When the trunk opened, a flashlight shone in her eyes, revealing a dark silhouette above her. There was no doubt that she looked like a pathetic mess. Her dress was ripped, her makeup smeared, and long streaks of mascara streamed down her face. He pulled her roughly out of the trunk and began dragging her across soft grass. She took in her surroundings. She saw a sandpit and a small pond glinting beneath the bright full moon. The golf course seemed somewhat neglected. The disrepair was evident in the untrimmed grass and bits of trash scattered around. They reached the edge of a wood on the property, and he shoved her beneath its shadows. Millie’s knees bit the earth and gravel hard. He grabbed her long blonde hair and yanked her across the ground, pulling her farther into the dark wood along the golf course. Millie struggled and pulled away, digging trenches in the dirt with her heels. When he finally came to a stop, he pinned her to the ground and ripped the tape from her face. She screamed loudly, and he didn’t even try to clamp her mouth. He laughed sickeningly and pulled something from his pocket. Millie heard the click of the switchblade, as a flash of moonlight glinted off its edge. “Scream all you want. That’s why I brought you here. This golf course has been out of business for a while. No one is coming here to save you, and no one will find you. You’ll be gone. You will be nothing, except for this little souvenir.” In a single swift movement, he cut a swatch of her hair. “Why me?” “Doesn’t matter. You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last.” “You’re a bit sloppy for someone that’s done this before.” She shot back at him. He swiftly punched her in the ribs. As they cracked, a bark of pain left her mouth. It occurred to her that this might be the way it ended, painfully, at the hands of this predator. It was the way that it ended for so many women. Calm swept over her then, where there should have been fear. But then there had never been fear, only that killing calm waiting in the wings. She’d been out of commission for a long time, and she’d become complacent. “Personally, I don’t like to be this sloppy, but I needed time. It turns out that anyone can get caught off guard.” A deep growl escaped her throat, and she felt the familiar adrenaline course through her body. Millie snapped through her restraints like they were made of paper. Of course, she’d been working through them while they struggled, and he babbled. With a twist of her body, Millie expertly flipped him over and trapped him beneath her. “What are you?” Her attacker gasped when he realized he couldn’t escape. “A woman tired of monsters.” She grabbed his switchblade and stabbed him, seemingly at random and yet effectively. Millie stood momentarily to observe the wreckage, taking in the evidence from here to his car. She knew what she needed to do. When she’d been an agent, Millie hadn’t been this disorganized with her kills. When she’d woken up in the trunk, Millie had known that she needed time to get loose, and she needed to cover her tracks. Crouching down, she rifled through his pockets and found his cell phone. Hitting the emergency function, she made her report to the operator. Millie cried hysterically, and it was only partially an act. She was also crying for the women that hadn’t escaped. After Millie hung up, she rifled through his coat. There were more people like him, and she was sick of it. Out of an inside pocket, she pulled a crumpled coupon for free ice cream. Resolve settled down around her. Millie smoothed it reverently and tucked it inside her bra. She liked souvenirs too, and she thought she might like some more. You can also read my entry for Challenge #1, “Pistachio Cupcakes.” Follow me on my Facebook Page for updates!