Flash Fiction: “Interrogation, cont.”

He felt the man’s nose snap under his fist. The grinding feel of bone shards beneath the cartilage is impossible to mistake. As he drew his hand back, Andrew almost winced. He had split the skin over his knuckles ten minutes prior.

As he moved, the scent of her surrounded him again, pushing everything else from his thoughts. He smiled, coincidentally, just as the prisoner looked back up at him. A smile like that on the face of the guy beating the shit out of you is enough to unnerve just about anyone.

The man shuddered with pain and fear. Finally broken, he started talking. Nathan Cromwell, their subject for over a year, finally connected to a shipment of weapons on it’s way to a terrorist organization. Andrew wasn’t paying much attention. Everything was being recorded, anyway, so he let his mind drift while the bastard rattled on.

He and Cass had played their interrogation game for nearly a year now. It had started as a joke one day after he’d finally told her some of what he did for the Army; strictly non-classified.

“I work in intel. A lot of interrogations, questioning, and research.” He had glanced at her, gauging her reaction.

She’d giggled at him, “You don’t look tough enough to interrogate anyone.”

“I have some very effective methods.” He remembered every detail.

Her hair had smelled like peaches and chamomile when he’d shoved her up against the refrigerator. His lips had hovered, almost grazing hers as her faltering voice asked for a demonstration. She was blushing.

He had made her scream that evening for hours. Her voice cascaded around him as he’d touched and stroked and tickled. He recalled her thighs pressed so tightly against his ears, that at some point, even those wild vocal overtures were silenced. Only when she’d collapsed shuddering on the floor, unable to move and struggling for breath, had he finally penetrated.

“Well done, SSG.”

His mind whipped back to reality, and he reached out to shake his CO’s waiting hand.

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Island of Mess

There are a lot of things that I am both proud and ashamed of. I wonder if everyone has these.

Partly unrelated, I find myself cleaning a lot since I moved back home with my parents. Cathartic, I guess, but this neat-freak has always been there in the form of one or two slightly obsessive-compulsve tendencies which I could usually ignore. Perhaps inflamed by the situation that I’ve come from, they have multiplied in the bedrooms of my mind and scream at me now. The noise is deafening.

I’ve spent the last couple of days elbows-deep in soapy bleach water: straightening, reorganizing, scrubbing. It seems that this is the only attainable form of solace.

Most of the kitchen was cleaned yesterday from top to bottom. The ceiling and baseboards and light fixtures are just about the only things that remain untouched. And the table in the middle of the room, now cluttered with the things I haven’t had a chance to put away yet. The table looks like it’s in pain and I’m the only surgeon who can perform the life-saving operation. But I haven’t yet.

Why?

Because it dawned on me that I am that table, and the realisation makes me feel a little bit sick. I’m a mess right now, and I haven’t wanted to show it, so I’ve scrubbed myself up and organised, but the mess is still there sitting in the middle of everything. I am ashamed of my mess. But I’m also vaguely proud of it.

I think that people only get this messed-up if they really live, take chances, and get hurt in the process. Then pick themselves up and do it all over again. When they fail the next time, they reopen the scars and wounds that are still healing.

In the words of Sherman Alexie, “…I was [am] damaging my damage.” And that’s how one becomes an island of mess.

Flash Fiction: ‘Interrogation’

“What is your name?” He adjusted the position of his fingers and probed deeper.

“Cassandra Ballard,” she cried out, her voice both shrill and hoarse. She gasped for breath as he paused for a moment, shuddering under his smirk.

“Are you associated with any terrorist organizations?” The motion of his hand resumed much rougher as he spoke. She screamed.

“No!” She struggled to catch her breath. This had been going on for hours.

The rasp of her panting was cut by a loud electronic ringtone.

“SSG. Hamby,” he answered the phone briskly. “Interrogating a prisoner, sir,” he chuckled for a moment, but that stopped abruptly.

She was glad to get a minute of rest as his hushed tone droned in her ears. She braced herself when she heard him set the phone back on the bedside table.

“I have to go in.”

She turned toward him, with a disappointed pout. “But I was about to give a confession.”

“I know, babe. But you know the General wouldn’t call this late if it wasn’t urgent,” he said with a heavy sigh as he rose from the bed. He was irritated, this always seemed to happen right when things were getting good. He leaned down and gave his still-shaking fiance a tender kiss before he got dressed.

“You’re not going to shower?” She could barely manage more than a whisper.

“If they’re going to drag me out of bed at this hour, they may as well know exactly what I got pulled away from.” He knew he smelled strongly of sweat and sex, and what he really needed was that smell to remind him of her. It would make it easier to distance himself from what he was about to do.

By the time he’d finished lacing up his boots, Cassandra had passed out. He gave her naked body one last long look before he closed the bedroom door behind him.