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At Manny’s

358 words

Brad glanced behind him. He knew he was being paranoid, that the eyes he felt watching him didn’t exist, that the footsteps he heard echoing his own on the empty street were in his imagination, but he couldn’t help it. The document he carried in a manila envelope shoved deep in the inside pocket of his duster was making him nervous. He hadn’t been stupid enough to read it, he was after all just a well-paid delivery boy, but Johnson had made it very clear that he was being trusted with dangerous information.

Brad pushed in the door of Manny’s bar, cigarette smoke hitting him in the face along with the smell of stale beer. He actually liked the hole-in-the-wall, he felt at home here with the lack of pretensions, the tendency of the patrons to mind their own business. No questions, no small talk. His gaze settled on the booth in the far back corner. A woman was sitting there, alone, her slender gloved hand wrapped around a wine glass, a woman he felt he had met before although he couldn’t place where. He sauntered to the table and slid the envelope to her. She slowly opened the envelop, scanned the page. He eyes seemed to harden as she flicked a lighter and raised it to the paper’s corner. She dropped the page near the ashtray as it burned, the top of the table so scarred that another mark wouldn’t be noticed.

“I need you to give Johnson a message.” She gestured for Brad to follow her out the door, and he joined her under the neon light at the entrance. She pressed a token in his hand, and it immediately burned so hotly Brad ripped his hand out of her grasp. Too late. The image of a sword had been baked into his palm. “He’ll know.”

Brad understood too clearly. It was going to be a war then, a war he didn’t want to be in the middle of. The ones who knew the least always seemed to be the first killed. He just hoped he could make it out of the city before the battle erupted.

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Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take. It was really tough to keep my mind out of Dresden’s world with this image.