Short Story: Monster or Saint?

Heavy boots thumped a one-two rhythm across hardwood floors laced tightly to mid-calf with skin-tight, leather tucked into them. Wide hips from a plump back-side swayed as their long, muscled thighs and calves made steady progress across a wide room. It reverberated like an empty opera hall, almost echoed each step back at them.

From her belt, the woman dislodged a small device, slipped it over her middle and ring fingers with a circular attachments that palmed it in the rest of her hand. Her toned abdomen was visible in the exposed span between her waist band and half-shirt, contracted and flexed with heavy breaths and the exertion of muscle as her arm and shoulder lifted. They extended, the device in-hand pointed outward.

Ahead stood a man she loathed; he was parked in the center of a wall of gray stone that accented warm maple with as a drab thing of mock-beauty that framed the house’s rear. In it, a fire-place crackled and popped, cast opposing fire-light against the subtle sconce and ceiling lighted shadows that complimented the room’s darkened corners.

The man’s graying features were astute, blank, as though he sensed something heavy in her mind and walk. He could not have known how heavy. He was never one for human signals or pleasantries, but all the same remained mannered, almost polite even– as likely to shake a man’s hand as to slit his throat.

His one, empty hand rose as if filled, guided by the other with a glass of thick Merlot in it, “Evelyn.” His voice contained neither the slightest hint of paternity nor remorse, “So wonderful of you to join me.”

A thrum of electricity grew in her hand, triggered a roar. A beam of violet and blue plasma spit outward from the device, struck him dead center. He and the house’s rear wall disintegrated to dust. The sound was something like a wrecking ball colliding with cement while wood splintered, and rebar twisted.

She was through the smoke, outside without the slightest hint of regret or guilt. He’d have been proud of that, but then he was never one for pride– arrogance perhaps, but never pride. Pride was a weakness. One whom could be prideful was open to manipulation. It was just as foolish as his arrogance in believing he could keep a person enchained for twenty-one years. It was even more arrogant to believe such when it was his own daughter, or that she would continue to love him after he’d murdered her mother, used her as a test-bed for genetic manipulation to form “the perfect woman.”

“It will only hurt for a moment,” he’d always said.

The only thing near to regret in her was that she hadn’t made him suffer. His death had been quick. Not like her mother’s; a slow torture to extract information on whether or not she’d turned over his secrets to authorities. Evelyn remembered little of her child-hood, repressed as it was, but the look in her mother’s eyes as she pled for mercy was more than a memory. That image had a monopoly on Evelyn’s hate, all of her ire and pain contained therein. He’d put the bullet in her head himself, didn’t even flinch when his wife’s– mother of his child’s– blood splat across the hardwood with bits of brain and skull.

The pool-house ahead was already swarmed by his security detail. It didn’t matter. They were too late. They hunkered down along its sides and rear, took aim with high-powered rifles. A lift of her arm and a thought; the pool-house disintegrated, took limbs and whole bodies with it. Those that weren’t dead now joined the symphony of night-time chaos she’d triggered with dying screams.

She angled wide around the pool, caught the movement of three guards that sprinted along its far-edge. Evelyn stopped. The device tracked them for a moment. Then, a lone blue and violet burst made a crater of a row of hedges and their bodies. She continued in-step, by now the screams silent, but replaced helicopters that throttled up in fast thumps, made gusts of wind scream from the high roof of the enormous, villa-style home.

Her father had always liked his helicopters; they took him anywhere he wanted to go and their view made him feel as if the king he’d always attempted to become. They were as much a part of him as his arrogance or lack of mercy.

Evelyn turned on-heel, sighted one helicopter. A plasma burst sheered off its top half, part of the pilot gone with it. The husk burned in a tail-spin as the other began to lift off below it. They collided mid-air. An explosion shook the estate grounds as fire rained on the villa. The gnarled steel of the two choppers plummeted through the roof, ignited secondary explosions in the house and garage.

For a moment, the fire gleamed in Evelyn’s eyes as she watched– both from the house and her own fury. A moment later she swiveled forward again, continued her march. Security guards shouted, screamed orders back and forth, even fled for their lives. Their pay wasn’t worth dying for, not anymore anyhow, especially given her father’s incentive to die for him was nullified by his own death.

She marched, unimpeded, between columns of hedges on either side of her. The pristinely manicured grounds had been a status symbol more than anything. Even then, they were as much a part of her cage as the gate far ahead was. To the crunch of gravel from the path beneath her boots, Evelyn kept her rhythm firm, pointed for the grounds’ wrought-iron, rear-gates. Beyond waited her getaway vehicle and the promise of a new life. Nothing could have stopped her from reaching it even had it tried.

She was through the gates in less time than it felt, twenty-one years of misery almost over. She slid into the rear-seat of a vehicle, slipped the device off her hand. A man beside her presented a cupped palm for it. She dropped it in. He turned it over in his hands, examined it. Then, with a nod to the driver, the vehicle began to roll forward.

“Your father?” The old man asked. Evelyn glared. He gave a lone nod, eyes forward, “Fitting his greatest invention should be his last, and that it should be the death of him.”

“My father,” she said caustically. “Was a monster. Monsters deserve to die.”

The man’s face pinched inward pensively, “Indeed.” He swallowed hard in a dry throat, glanced over at her, “I can’t help but wonder, if perhaps killing a monster, makes one a monster too.”

She sneered, “Perhaps it makes one a saint.”

He gave a smirk, laughed quietly and nodded to himself as the car drove on through the night toward an uncertain future. Whether monster or saint, it didn’t matter to Evelyn; she was free, now able to be either or both if she so chose.

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