A Flash Fiction: Umbriel
Firstly an overview and background regarding this very short fiction. This is an experiment of dynamic wordings and action scenes. Before I go back to novel writing, I think I will refine my writing style first. The fiction below is one of my attempts to come up with better action scenes.
Now enough said and let's start telling the story!
Umbriel, A Flash Fiction
New Year’s Eve came too early as the night awakened with loud bangs and crashes. Amy wiped a nervous sweat on her forehead, her breath constricting on her chest. She stepped on the gas pedal and trash bins flew along the way. Amid the gunfire and chaos, Amy did her best to stay focused. Fine control of her vehicle didn’t apply in these desperate hours where bullets flew. After a couple of bangs, her side mirror broke off though she remained unharmed. She attempted to do a sharp turn in a well-lit intersection. Bad idea! Her forehead ached after hitting the stirring wheel a couple of times. The rear-view window now showed a pale-faced girl with almond eyes and short hair. Somehow, Amy forgot to wear makeup that night.
“Come and get me then,” she shouted at the biker gang speeding behind her. They answered with another rain of bullets that grazed her vehicle. And Amy could never be so thankful for their lack of precision with their weapon. Why did she take this job? Amy thought with spasm of regrets. A promise of career advance proved too hard to resist, so too are the fascinations to mysteries. Her boss warned her of the dangers she will meet, a warning she ignored. Danger sounded like a small price to pay for a scoop of a lifetime. But nothing prepared her for the real life horrors of street violence.
And she drove pass the small convenience store where she first heard the news about the faceless killer lurking in the night. A hidden menace stalked criminals and street thugs as what the rumours said. As one shopper described it, the killer left his victims mutilated with their hearts missing. Who did the heinous murders no one knew, maybe the handiwork of a vigilante for the victims are violent criminals themselves? Rumours claimed that the killer had qualities beyond human, like invulnerability to firearms and bladed weapons. Nevertheless the city benefited from his activities for the criminals now feared the night. Crime rates dropped, and the people found an avenger. Interested Amy approached her boss later that day just after lunch.
“Be careful,” his boss reminded after hearing how the young journalist planned to cover the plight of the mysterious night stalker.
Yet those thugs shooting after her came as a result of her carelessness. She never imagined that her job will bring her to the territory of hired killers. Danger do sounded like fun and games until it became too real.
Bang! A bullet shattered her back window, jolting Amy back to her senses. Amy turned the steering wheel hard in her desperate bid to escape. Her vehicle responded with an almighty lurch. A crushing thud sent tremors to her brain and the view around turned upside down before going back to normal. Her dazed mind didn’t make up a motorcycle riding figure overtaking her vehicle and firing shots.
And pain shot somewhere in Amy’s shoulder and arm. But those are nothing compared to a visceral ache near her navel. Amy can’t see it, but she felt blood oozing out of her stomach.
“Get rid of her now,” said a voice outside her vehicle. Her car door opened and six strong hands freed her from her seatbelt and pulled her out. Her injuries screamed in every thug and pull. A sickening sound of pistols reloading filled her ear, bringing a wave of terror in her heart. Cold gun barrel then pressed on her right temple.
Amy waited, expecting all to end any minute now. She relished her every breath of mortal air, the terrified heartbeats and the warmth of blood gushing from her wounds. Her body numbed; a possible after effect of her injuries and anxiety. Unnatural chill filled her body, and in her weakened state her mind played tricks. Delirious illusion of a figure seemed too materialized in the darkness among the armed men around her. The apparition had human shape, with pale face and black hair. He almost looked human, except for crow’s wings extending from his back. And now, the Halloween figure started to attack the surrounding men.
Amy stirred, the pain biting back in full force. The cruel metal barrel no longer pressed on her temple, and the hand that held it lay a few feet from her. The men screamed, and the guns fired, mingled with the crunch of limbs breaking apart. Amy never saw much, and when the noise died unrecognizable pieces of human surrounded her. Only the ghostly winged figure remained standing in their midst.
Amy watched how the stranger surveyed the mutilated corpse while finishing what looked like a fruit in his hand. The fruit twitched and bled in every bite, like a part of a living creature.
“Nothing beats the taste of a criminal’s heart,” the stranger said as he licked the bloody remnants of his meal with a relish. Amy mustered all her self-control so she won’t throw-out.
“What are you,” she said before she could stop herself. She caught his eyes and words formed in her deepest thought.
“Umbriel,” Amy mouthed to herself, unsure how the words came to be.
“I’m not playing hero here,” the stranger said, “but after my rebirth as a creature of the night, I need a constant supply of evil hearts for sustenance.”
And Amy woke up in the hospital surrounded by nervous colleagues and friends. Amy made a full recovery days later, and on the night before her discharge Amy prepared her report about the faceless killer.
“But he needs his privacy,” said Amy before discarding her report. Amy drifted into a light sleep, her lips whispering the name the stranger spoke in her mind.
“So, you are Umbriel,” she muttered in her sleep.