I love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate link) and its creative games, even if they always cause me to end on a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately, all games must come to an end. While I may choose to revisit these characters one day and continue their story, the following is a conclusion to this particular series.
Once again I would like to thank Jamie Cat Callan of the Writer’s Toolbox for sponsoring the original posts, in spite of them going a little dark, and for creating such a fun and easy tool for priming the creative process.
May you all have a safe and happy new year.
To read from the beginning, visit the first post here.
An ear-piercing squeal jarred Margaret back from the darkness. As another dose of adrenaline spiked her bloodstream, her vision cleared enough to see the unguarded doorway. Thoughts were difficult to string together. Margaret didn’t need them. Animalistic instinct took over.
She could sense an overwhelming pain as she pulled herself out of the chair, but it was as if the pain belonged to someone else. One foot dragged behind the other as she crossed the room. She barely noticed. A man’s voice complained about a sticky wheel in the background. It was all she needed to fuel the urge to get away.
The knob turned in her hand, opening to a kitchen staffed by many who’d long since learned to turn a blind eye to the goings-on of the back room. All it would take one to raise the alarm. Though it was empty, she dropped to the ground. The brown tile floor bit into her knees as she crawled through the narrow pathways separating the stainless counter-tops.
She glanced over her shoulder. Her captors had not yet noticed her disappearance. A trail of red marked her progress. Margaret risked rising up into a crouch as she looked around the kitchen for anything that might aid in her escape.
Aprons marred with spots of gray from contact with grease hung from a line of hooks on the wall. A pair of rags draped over the edge of an industrial sink within easy reach.
She grabbed the rags scented thick with bleach and tied one around her largest wound. Margaret tried used the other to wipe away the trail leading to her but only managed to create a pink blur. Wrapping the rest of her body with one of the aprons, she made her way toward the swinging door of the kitchen’s exit, hoping the disguise would be enough to keep her from being noticed.
A foursome blocked her final path to freedom.
One of the four spotted her. “Daisy?” His face drained of color. “You were here this whole time?”
“Out of my way Bill,” Margaret growled. Muddled thoughts continued to swirl, forbidding her from letting her guard down. It didn’t matter if he was her brother. If he was here, he could be one of them. She couldn’t afford to lose her edge now. Not when she was so close.
One of the others raced to her side, pulling her into a crushing embrace that made her eyes water. “I thought I lost you.” He relaxed his hold. “I mean, I thought we lost you.”
The warmth of his arms was unbearable. “Not you too, Larry,” Margaret whimpered as tears filled her vision. “Let me go.” She fought against his hold as a new sort of pain entered into the mix.
Her brother’s best friend released her with wide eyes. Larry’s gaze dropped to the apron, now spotted with pink as well as gray. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He took another step back. “I’d never–I’m not–”
Light spilled into the dining room as the kitchen door swung open once more. Margaret didn’t have to turn to know that a large man stood on the other side. She screamed as she attempted to push past Larry, only to be caught by her brother as her legs gave out.
“Donald.” The woman standing closest to Bill smiled, stepping between them and the man. “If you are here, does that mean Frank is close by?” The woman’s voice was smoke and honey. “Ah, there’s my favorite artist.”
“Laurie?” A voice that would haunt Margaret’s dreams, spoke up from behind the large man. “And here I thought you still held hard feelings.”
“Tough day at the office?”
The man shrugged. “I’ve had better. Speaking of work,” He nodded in Margaret’s direction. “I’ve got a delivery to make, but if that past business is behind us… Afterward it can be like before.”
“Oh, I’ve learned a lot since then,” the woman practically purred. She reached into her purse and rummaged around until she pulled out a tube of lip gloss. She coated her lips in slow meaningful strokes as she crossed the room before pulling Frank’s head down to meet his lips with hers.
Frank broke the kiss first. “Now that’s my kind of hello.”
Laurie shrugged. “If you say so.” She walked to Donald and kissed him on the cheek. “I choose to think of it as goodbye.” She returned to Bill’s side.
Frank grabbed at his throat as bloated hives broke out across purpling skin. Donald scratched his cheek where Laurie kissed him, then clawed at his pockets before similarly turning red followed by blue.
“Looking for this?” Laurie asked brandishing a tube in one hand as both men dropped to the ground. Gone was the warmth from her voice. “I keep a package of peanuts in my purse, to keep my metabolism up while dieting. Good for me, but bad for those with allergies.” She let the injection tool taken from Donald’s pocket fall to the ground and crushed it under a shoe. She looked down at the men gasping for breath on the floor. “The next time either of you see Leslie, be sure to tell him I can too act.”
Returning her attention back to the group she smiled. “It is time we all enjoyed a change of scenery, don’t you think?”
Margaret was reminded of their childhood as her older brother scooped her up and carried her out of the diner. Police cars raced by in the direction of Leslie’s penthouse. She’d traded more than cooking tips at the class in Duluth. Her lips turned up as she allowed the darkness take over once more. And now, the scenery wasn’t the only thing that would be changing.