This is a FridayFlashFiction for Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds.com blog. The Challenge is; Must Love Guns, Crime Fiction, and Gun Porn. I’ve given it my best shot. 987 words Shortlink http://wp.me/p1BAlV-16
The Collector Louise Sorensen August 15, 2011
The old man held the squirming baby at arms length above him.
“See the treasures, Little Man.” He turned the baby around for a panoramic view, then laid it down on a black towel on his desk. Shotguns, scatterguns, rifles, revolvers, derringers, and machine gun pistols looked down at them from shelves lining the walls of the room. A lone ray of sun cut through the black curtains and glinted on their metal skins.
Humming, the old man turned from the baby and picked up a Bulldog revolver. His fingers trembled as he grasped it. The smell of powder and death filled his nose … robbed the bank and was mounting his horse for a clean getaway. A teller too young to be shaving ran up to him waving a gun and shouting. He knew this fool wasn’t going to shoot him. But where’s the fun in that? He shot him in the leg for fun, the arm for good luck as he lay there screaming, and the head for good measure.
Shaking his head, smiling, he laid the Bulldog back on its velvet bed and picked up a Colt .45. Held it under his nose, stroked it against his cheek and closed his eyes. A large rock spewed from a far off volcano and hit a hairy male named Dar on the head. He lay on the muddy trail, brains and blood oozing from his crushed skull, but he still breathed. He took the rock and brought it down again and again on his brother’s face.
“And that was its first kill,“ the old man said to his nephew. “Metal from that ancient rock lives in every one of these.” He pointed a finger all around the room. The baby chortled and flailed its arms.
The old man switched the Colt to his left hand and squeezed it. Shimmering in the air, gold letters spelled out ‘Initializing The Caretaker’ in flowing script. He put his finger under the letters, tilted his head and squinted to follow the writing.
“Step One. Disrobe child; confirm that it is male. Female Caretakers are NOT recommended.”
He removed the baby‘s clothing. “Male.” The baby gurgled.
“Introduce the Instrument to the child.” He caressed the baby’s body with the gun. At the touch of the cold metal, the baby shrieked, then giggled. A distant pounding intruded.
“Step Three; introduce the instrument into the male child’s mouth and think of the happiest experience you’ve ever had.”
“Well that’s easy… it would have been when I killed Daddy.”
“Remove instrument from child‘s mouth in such a way as to draw blood from the lips or gums.”
He snorted, slid the muzzle into the baby’s mouth, moved it around and pulled it out, cutting the baby‘s lip on the front sight. The baby screamed. The Gun Room door burst open.
“Unca Nick, I just came back to… Uncle Nicholas, what are you doing?” The young woman rushed towards them, her pink blouse and blue jeans bright in the gloom.
“Stop!” he said, pointing a finger at his niece. He shouted to be heard over the howls of the baby. “I can explain, Kelley dear. This isn‘t what it looks like.”
“Get your finger off that trigger.” She was panting, her expression hard.
“I promise, I have no intention of hurting your son. Give me a moment… I‘ll explain everything. ” He squinted at the shimmering writing.
“Once the child is successfully initialized, the instrument will move. Should initialization fail, repeat Steps One through Four. Should it fail a second time, discard child and find another suitable candidate.”
A drop of blood from the baby’s lip sat for a moment, then spread out on the front sight of the gun. It quivered in his hand.
Kelley pounced on him and grabbed the gun. She rammed it into the back of her jeans. As it slipped past her waistband and under her panties, the sharpened front sight grazed her buttocks. A drop of her blood fell onto the barrel. Nestled between her lobes, the gun shivered. She pulled it out with a puzzled look and a flash of fire enveloped them. Uncle Nick threw his arms up to shield his eyes, then peeked out as the flare died.
Kelley was studying the gun in her hand. She frowned as it aimed straight ahead and jerked. She startled and took a step back, then looked down at the floor.
“What just happened there, sweetie? Did you see something? I can‘t believe the Instrument would accept you. Kelley? Kelley ? Give me the gun, Kelley. Please.”
Looking past him into the distance, she licked her lips, closed her eyes and laid the gun on her cheek.
Her eyes opened; her expression changed from dreamy ecstasy to a frown. The Colt .45 in her hands swivelled around and found her uncle in its sights.
“Holy Crap, Ma‘am. It looks like a bomb went off in here.”
“It was an accident, Sherriff. He was going to baby sit Nicholas for me. Uncle Nick was always so generous; he let us live here until we got on our feet. He was so good with the baby… I stayed to visit while he was cleaning his gun… I‘m sure he had no idea it was loaded.”
The Sherriff looked down at the small woman as she rocked the baby in her arms.
“The place is trashed… the old man blown up, every gun smashed to hell …”
“I don’t know what to say, Sherriff. There was an accident with a gun. Don’t these things happen all the time?”
“Yeah…sure… happens all the time.” He shook his head. “But this one’s a doozy. I’ll take care of the paperwork, Ma’am. I’m real glad you and the baby got away with only cuts and bruises.”
“Me too.” She left the door open on her way out.