This is a short story that I wrote for a bunch of six word stories that BushMaid wrote. My short stories aren’t usually that good…but this is one of the better ones. Enjoy! 😀
“The letter bore a foreign stamp.”
It had been left at my doorstep and the messenger had then promptly ran away. I studied the stamp, careful not to touch the paper for fear of any trap it might be. The stamp appeared to be from Mexico, strangely enough. This made me all the more wary of the contents of said letter.
I searched my memory, attempting to find the activity I had participated in while in Mexico. My mind found no important acts of violence or illegal blowing up of buildings that I needed to worry about, I sighed with relief, but that didn’t solve my mystery. This small, foreign letter that had been left at my door step.
Hesitantly, I reached down and picked up the letter. I held it in one hand as I rubbed my fingers together on the other hand. Feeling no residue or grainy substance that the letter had left on my hands, I walked inside, slightly more relaxed.
I grabbed a letter opener from the table beside my door and walked over to my living room. As I sat down with the letter in my hands, I wondered if I should open it. I pondered burning it or throwing it in the trash. With my line of work; there isn’t any guarantee that this was not a trap. Then again, I wanted to find out what this small, paper envelope contained.
I took a deep breath and slid the letter opener into the crevasse on the letter. It opened easily and then I had an opened letter in my hands, begging me to look inside. My hands opened the letter, revealing a cream-colored paper.
After placing the letter opener on my coffee table, I removed the paper from the envelop, putting the envelope beside me as I unfolded the note. My eyes scanned over the letter, soaking in each word they read:
We regret to inform you that an old acquaintance of your’s has passed away; Meagan Smith. You were listed as her emergency contact. Upon not being able to inform you of her death through phone, we sent you this letter. Our condolences about your loss. Further details of her cause of death are enclosed. . .
My eyes widened at the remembrance on the name. Memories flashed before my eyes and I felt the tears stinging at me and threatening to overflow.
I remembered meeting Meagan as if it were only yesterday, I remembered looking into her eyes, and I remembered falling in love with her. I remembered everything.
“The mask hid her crying eyes.”
I thought it was a normal day, at least, it was normal for me. I had been around the world and back again, arriving in Mexico to run from a few angry Siberians wasn’t all that much of a change.
Presently, I stood on a sidewalk just outside of the airport, scanning the viewable area for any suspicious-looking folk. After a few minutes of watching intently, my eyes caught on to someone that looked like a potential danger.
A woman that appeared to be around 23-25 years old, no more than two years younger than me. The girl walked, or rather ran, across the parking lot, her hands buried deep in her pockets. She wore a hat that she had pulled down enough to cover her face, almost like a mask.
As she rushed to an old, beaten up car I walked over to her, being sure to stay in her blind spot. I watched, at a safe distance, while she fumbled with her keys. She eventually got a hold of the keys correctly and unlocked the door. After fumbling with her door for a few more minutes, she got it open.
I pulled a gun out and clicked the safe off, aiming the barrel at the girl’s back. She stopped and stood entirely still and stiff.
“Act like nothing’s wrong. Get in the car. Drive.” I commanded with a heavy Russian accent as she slipped into the driver’s seat and I went to the other side of the car and slide beside her, on the passenger’s side.
After a few minutes of driving in silence, I finally spoke. “All right, so who are you?”
I heard the girl sniffle and she raised her hand to wipe an unseen tear from her cheek. “What do you mean?” she asked, her voice trembling.
“I mean, who are you?” I persisted, “Were you sent here to kill me? Or maybe you are supposed to track my activities and report to your commanding officer, who is that, by the way?”
“What?” the girl said, suddenly turning to look at me, making her hat fall off in the process.
I could now see that her cheeks were red from crying and her eyes glossy from held back tears. My heart smashed and, for the first time in my life, I wanted to help her, a complete stranger. Something about her, the very look she gave me, made me want to promise her the world.
She quickly averted her eyes from mine and turned away, trying desperately to rub away the stray tears from her cheeks.
I scrambled to find words, “So…you’re…not from Siberia?”
“No…I’m from Texas.” she said, glancing at me nervously as she kept her eyes up ahead, on the road.
“Oh.” I said stupidly, having no better response, “Well…that’s a relief, I won’t have to kill you then.”
“Kill me!” the girl screamed, throwing her hands in the air and nearly sending the car out of control as she struggled to keep from panicking.
I reached over and grabbed the steering wheel, parking the car on the grass that lined the long stretch of highway, barely managing to keep the car from swerving. “No, no, no.” I said hurriedly, “I’m not going to kill you.”
The girl shuddered and buried her face in her hands, her body shook with a silent sob.
Awkwardly, I attempted to comfort her after I clicked the safe back on my gun and put it away. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? Let’s just pretend this whole thing never happened. Does that seem good to you? I promise, I won’t kill you.”
The girl looked up fearfully, tears still streaming down her face. She appeared to be studying me, perhaps she was attempting to figure out if I was lying.
I sighed, “Let’s start over.” I said, “Hi, I’m Stephen. Pleasure to meet you.” I outstretched my hand in greeting.
She looked from my hand to my face and back to my hand again, “You pointed a gun at me, stole my car, then admitted to planning on killing me…and…you…you want me to shake your hand?”
I paused, “Well…that’s the traditional greeting, yes. And, in my defense, your car isn’t technically stolen, you’re still in it, see?”
She glared at me through cold, blue eyes.
I dropped my hand back on my lap, “Do you have a solution to the mess I just made, Miss…”
“Meagan.” she said resentfully, “My name is Meagan.”
“Very well, Meggy, do you have a solution?”
“For one, you can prevent from calling me ‘Meggy’ ever again.” Meagan said, “And secondly, you can get out of my car and never come back.”
I raised my hands up in submission, “Okay, just trying to be friendly-”
“Oh, is that what they call committing multiple felonies against a complete stranger these days?”
I rolled my eyes and got out of the car, waving goodbye to Meagan only to be greeted by another cold glare. As she drove off, I suddenly realized something. I had no way to get back to my hotel room. I kicked the grass in frustration and began my long walk.
“So very close; yet worlds apart.”
I was grumbling about aching feet, when I finally reached my hotel room. Even though my complaining kept me from paying full attention, I realized something was wrong the moment I entered the room. Somebody had done a very sloppy job of running rampant through my things and trying to put them back in my very particular order.
I walked around the living room, searching for anything stolen. Nothing seemed to be missing, though everything was out of place. Next, I had to check the bedroom.
I subconsciously pulled my gun and edged close to the bedroom door. When I got closer to the door, it slid open, revealing a frightened Meagan being held at gunpoint by a Siberian spy…of course.
The spy spoke with a light accent, “Who is she? Another Russian?”
Meagan struggled against her captor, “Russian! Do I sound Russian to you, Einstein? I told you! I. Am. From. Texas!”
I shook my head, trying to tell Meagan to stop talking. Apparently, she wasn’t a very good listener.
“This maniac kidnapped me this morning! He thought I was you! I have nothing to do with this situation! Just let me go and I won’t even report it to the police! Please!”
“I don’t think I will be letting you go anytime soon.” the man said, “You’ll be my leverage incase that one, over there, tries anything dangerous.”
Meagan stopped struggling and finally fell silent, apparently deciding that silence was the only thing that may buy her life.
“Very well.” I said, “What is it that you want?” I tried to remain calm, though my fist still unconsciously clenched as I saw the man push the barrel of his gun harder against Meagan’s chin.
“You know what I want. Where is the microchip?” the man pressured.
I looked from the man’s cold eyes to Meagan’s frightened ones. Naturally, I felt guilt. It was, after all, my fault for dragging her into this mess. My wretched mistake that could very well end in her death. True, I did not know her well at the time, but something about her, a certain sparkle I had not seen in anyone else my entire life, was in her. Something, a special essence about her, made me care for her as if I had known her my whole life. It made me care for her as if she cared for me.
“I’m waiting.” the man said impatiently.
I blinked, awakening myself from daze to be greeted by a questioning look from Meagan. Then, suddenly, I had an idea. I love ideas that fly in front of you and just let you snatch them up all for yourself. This was one of those ideas.
“It’s behind you. What, are you blind?” I said.
“Don’t tempt me.” the man growled, clicking the safe off his gun.
A felt a bile rise in my throat, but I ignored it. This was no time to panic. “You asked were it was. I gave you the answer. I am not tempting you.” I said, “Now, if you would be so kind as to remove your gun from my friend, I will also tell you exactly where, behind you, it is.”
The man glared at me for second, then clicked the safe on his gun and lowered it, still holding Meagan’s arm tightly. “Tell me were it is.” he said angrily.
I nodded, “Of course, but you have to give me the girl first.”
The man stared me down for a moment, waiting for me to break, but I stood my ground. He mumbled something under his breath and shoved Meagan towards me, the gun still held firmly in his hand.
Meagan stumbled then shuffled over to me. She paused for a moment before tiptoeing behind me and watching everything with wide eyes.
The man glared at me, clearly on his last nerve as he awaited my answer.
“It’s in a secret compartment underneath the nightstand.” I said, “Just a simple drawer, nothing extravagant.”
The man raised a weary eyebrow, but backed up a few feet until he reached my nightstand. He knelt down and reached his hand underneath it, feeling around for a few seconds before his eyes lit up. After fumbling with something underneath the drawer for a moment, there was a very faint click.
I grabbed Meagan, forcing her to a crouched down position, just as the bomb exploded. The loud boom echoed through the hotel. A bright flash of light lasted only for a second before everything stopped. Then the room was still, smoke lingering in the air as it settled from the sudden disturbance.
“What did you just do?” Meagan screamed, “Did you- did you booby trap your own hotel room?”
“I didn’t do anything.” I said, calmly, beginning to stand up, “And I only detonate the bomb when I’m away. When I’m here, I deactivate it.”
“You bombed your own room! You blew it up!” Meagan said, “Just gone! You blew up your ho-” I cut her off, placing my hand on her mouth.
“Okay, okay, I blew it up. Calm down.” I slowly took my hand away, “Just don’t scream…”
She did not scream, but she did do the very last thing I would have expected. She laughed, a very happy laugh. “That was actually pretty fun, once you get over the life or death thing.” she giggled.
I stared at her, entirely stunned. “You’re…not scared?”
She smiled, “Well, yeah, but it was still pretty fun. Like when kids think of growing up and doing all these spy-like things.” she laughed again, “It was better than how my day would have gone anyways.”
I smiled back and let out a nervous chuckle, “That’s good.”
So that is how my friendship with Meagan began, with the collision of our too worlds, a mistake that turned into a blessing. She was, of course, the blessing, not the mistake.
“Life is not a tangible thing.”
As I sat on the couch, letter in hand, with memories rushing before my eyes I felt the first tear trickle down my cheek. If only we hadn’t had to separate years ago, if only I would have been there, perhaps I could have saved her. And as I thought back to her, to the moments when her life was at risk, a simple thought went through my mind.
I had loved her, and if I could have, I would have bottled her life and kept it locked in a safe where she could live forever, protected and secure. If it were possible I would have traded mine for hers. If I could simple get her life back, like one gets a lost item, I would.
Though, sadly, that is not how life works. I only had a precious few years with Meagan, a precious few that I now realized were more special than anything else in the world to me. I realized, now and only now, that I should have never left her side. I should have stayed with her till the end of our days, how ever long or short they may have been, because life is not a tangible thing.