Wednesday, June 17, 2020

WEP Challenge - Urban Nightmare

The Widow
998 words

Stamped concrete and steel grew from the ground as man-made mountains. Far above the sidewalks, the urban fortresses stared down blankly, anonymous witnesses to the drunken fumblings and crimes below. Four in the morning was a quiet time downtown. Businesses were closed, lights off.

Kasey drew her coat tighter to combat the icy wind. She approached an unmarked metal door and knocked. A scrawny man in jeans, t-shirt, and a vest looked out at her with bloodshot eyes and sweat-greased hair. "What do you want?"

"I'm here to see Milo."

"Milo's not taking visitors."

"Tell him the widow's here."

The door shut in her face. Kasey waited patiently until the door opened again. The same man as before gestured her inside.

"Arms out," he said. Once finished with a quick pat down, he led her down a dark, narrow hallway to a large office full of framed comics. It smelled of old alcohol and cigarettes. An over-sized desk stood in the center of the room, a squat, bald man seated behind it.

"Kasey," he said.

"Hello, Milo."

"Leave, Carter." The other man left quickly, and Milo leaned back in his chair. "So you've finally come to confront me. What's your plan?"

"No plan. Can I sit down?"

Milo waved toward a chair in front of his desk. "Sit."

She settled into the chair and leaned forward. "Why do you think I'm here?"

"Revenge, of course."

"For what?"

Milo raised an eyebrow.

"I know what I'm angry about, but do you? Do you even feel you did anything wrong?"

Milo chuckled and pulled out a bottle of cognac. He held up two glasses and looked a question at Kasey, who shook her head in the negative. He poured himself three fingers-worth and put the bottle away.

"Well?" she asked.

He watched her as he took a drink. "I know what you think I did."

Rage boiled through her entire body, and it took everything in her not to shoot out of her chair. Instead, she kept her face blank. "You don't seem afraid of any reprisals."

"I may be old, but I can still defend myself against the likes of you."

Kasey nodded. "It's easier to believe that, I'm sure." She reached under her shirt and pulled the gun from her bra holster.

His face blanched at the sight of the weapon. He slid a hand beneath his desk.

With a laugh, Kasey put the gun on the desk. "It's not loaded. Why would I go against someone like you with a gun? You really need to train your people better, though." She looked pointedly at his arm. "You can let go of your weapon now."

He did so.

"You know, I'd go away and never bother you again if you'd just admit what you did. I'm not recording it. There's no way it could come back to bite you in the ass. I'll even prove I'm not wearing a recording device."

He looked at her appraisingly. "While I wouldn't mind making you prove it, I don't believe you would record this. You're here for something different."

"It seems you've got me down pat. What do you say? Are you ready to tell me what you did?"

He took another drink, this one longer.

Kasey felt the burn of it in her own throat, thinking how much she'd love to be having a drink at home right now. While she was doing a good job of acting cool on the outside, her insides writhed with fear and anger. The permanent, seething rage that had lived within her these past months was the only thing holding the fear at bay, but it wasn't doing a great job of it. Sweat ran down her back and pooled under her breasts and underarms. Her heart beat like a drum solo, and she couldn't swallow through the dryness in her throat.

"Sweetheart, I didn't do anything wrong. It was your husband who screwed up, and he knew exactly what he was doing. Knew what the cost would be if got caught. It's him you should be mad at." Another drink, and this time he licked his lips as he set the glass down. "I know it's hard to be mad at a dead man, though."

"You're trying to get a rise out of me," she said. "It's not going to happen."

Milo coughed and pulled at his neckline. Spots of red crept up his face. His hands started to shake. He tried to laugh, but it quickly turned into a choking cough. He wheezed and took a drink.

Kasey smiled. "Do you want to hear my intentions now?"

His breathing came in labored pants. He slammed his hands on the desktop and struggled to stand. "What did you do?"

"Don't you know anything about how women kill, Milo? We don't shoot or stab." She reached a gloved hand across the desk and held the glass up. Only a trace remained in the bottom. "We plan. And we poison."

Milo gagged and fell to the floor. The sounds of his retching followed her through the door and down the hallway, where she nodded to Carter, took her coat, and left the building. The door slammed behind her. She didn't have long before Milo's goons figured it out and came after her.

She slipped down one of the alleys, heart in her throat. Movement occurred all around her. Kasey ran full out, winding through the labyrinth of alleys and behind buildings. It took a couple minutes to reach the right alley. When she did, she dissolved into the shadows just like her fellow street people. Her sleeping bag was where she'd left it, a warm pair of socks tucked in the bottom. She climbed in and snuggled up, seeking an escape from the cold wind.

Milo's people could look for her all they wanted, they'd never find her. They had no idea that she'd been living her own urban nightmare since they'd murdered her husband.

No critique, please! It just felt good to get something written.


  1. Hi Shannon,
    I really enjoyed reading your story and love you wove in the duplicity of her character.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  2. Well done! I liked the pace and the build - great story!

  3. Nice build up. Intense and satisfying. Fun entry.

  4. Lovely, revenge is so much more powerful when thought out and delivered in person. Well done!

  5. Very nicely written. If you ever wanted to write the back-story, it would be a welcome read.

  6. Twisted! I'll remember the poisoning part.

  7. Thanks for joining us this month, Shannon. Yes, it's good to write in the face of all that's happening. A very slick story. I wasn't expecting it to go down exactly like that, but that's a good thing. She got her well-deserved revenge. A great response to the prompt.

  8. Revenge is sweet, even in an urban nightmare! and writing is a great way to process it.

  9. Always makes sense to settle scores. Enjoyed

  10. Enjoyed reading your well spun piece.
    Sonia from

  11. Revenge is sweet - and something to warm her body on cold nights.

  12. I want to know more of the story!

  13. This was tense and wonderfully written! I'm glad she got her revenge.

  14. Opening description created tension and atmosphere, and grabbed me. I liked the way the twist evolved - well written.

  15. Wow! Great ending there. Revenge that didn't change much. Really enjoyable story.

  16. That was a great read Shannon. I'm so curious about her, how did she do it? Great touch to have her watch him as he drunk the poison.

  17. Hi Shannon - it's great ... and an interesting story - definitely more to follow, I hope. I'll be remembering this over the weekend - I did enjoy it ... all the best - Hilary

  18. I figured "the widow" would be a code name. Didn't see this twist coming! Or the second twist. Bam! Nice job.

  19. Good story - especially liked the twist as the end.

  20. A impressive tale of revenge, complete with an superb twist at the end. Well done.

  21. Well written! Thanks for posting!