Summary: Pranks with dead people.
|Prompts:||#374 Before the War at Taming the Muse.|
|Story 3 from First Person Table at Narrative x 10.|
Word Count: 520.
Commas Brought to You By: Howard Russell.
Disclaimer: Another day, another…they don’t pay me anything at all. I just do this to amuse myself and you. That’s what allows me and mine to slip under the radar while playing with characters created by those more fortunate than us.
Use of Force
Isn’t he just charming? He’s what most people here would call a ‘total loser’ in his EverQuest ball cap, ratty jeans and Weird Al Yankovic concert tee. It’s a good thing that odor is a meaningless triviality to me. He probably reeks of ‘gamer.’ I understand that can be quite unpleasant. His rusty Chevy van speeds along at seventy miles-an-hour, barely keeping pace with the steady flow of traffic. Red Bull cans and McDonald’s bags litter the passenger side floor, humming sympathetically with the relic that rattles around them.
Four words are all it takes to spoil his evening. “Use the Force, Luke.” Of course, I intone them loudly, directly behind his head, using Sir Alec Guinness’s voice. I’ve had more fun since that old coot shuffled off this mortal coil. The prank has a definite target audience, but when I find the right person in the right situation, the results can be absolutely breathtaking.
And tonight I couldn’t have asked for better.
It takes a microsecond for the loser to lose something else: his shit. He glances back, jerks the steering wheel and sets off a chain reaction. A car collides with his van, spinning out of control, careening into another and another. Those cars smash into others. Mayhem cascades—all flash and sound, like a flameless explosion.
Kinetic potential drains away, reducing the five to a war zone. Debris litters the road. The cries of the dying fill the air. One woman is killed instantly. She drifts away. Gradually other lives wink out. Still more suffer. A few fortunate persons prize themselves free. Bloodied and broken, they stagger from the rubble, huddling together like refugees at the freeway’s edge.
And there’s always someone in every crowd who thinks themselves a hero. They believe they can do something to change the situation. They want to stand defiant in the face of destiny. Unfortunately destiny has too much in common with that fabled light at the end of the tunnel—the one that often turns out to be a train. Something we could use right now. This getting is awfully tedious.
I don’t see why they bother. All they ever really manage is to scrabble around, commit a few clumsy, futile acts, little better than death throes. While I, on the other hand, brought ruin on all these people with four little words.
In testimony to the frailty of their world, all of the suffering here will be reduced to a thirty second spot on the evening news. There’s nothing remarkable about this. People here understand that all of their supposed sophistication only brings them greater pain. They accept their imperfections, trudging blithely to their doom like obedient chattel.
Only one detail really concerns me. I loom closer to inspect the carnage. A silver sedan rests crumpled on its side in the median. I move past the airbags to look at the driver’s battered, bloody face. Is he—?
True satisfaction comes when I attempt to touch his mind and find a vacancy. I laugh. Good. I should’ve done this ages ago. The thought of a slayer procreating makes me itch.