The Deadly Day – Flash Fiction

I didn’t wake up this morning and say to myself “Today I’ll kill someone.” Things just worked out that way. And now I must figure out how to get out of this mess or I may be the next one to die.

When the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., I got up and got dressed same as usual. I pulled out the coffee and started the pot brewing and that’s when everything got discombobulated.

A fist shattered the glass pane of the kitchen door and then a bloodied hand reached through the opening and unlocked the bolt. The door burst open and the biggest, ugliest man I’d ever seen stood there, dripping blood from one hand.

“Where is he?” growled the disheveled figure. “Where is he hiding? I want him right now.”

I live alone so this request caught me by surprise.

“Who do you mean?” I asked, trying desperately to make some sense from the whole situation. “Who are you looking for?”

In two strides, he was across the kitchen. I saw his fist coming toward me but couldn’t seem to make myself move fast enough to avoid the blow. He connected with me along the jaw and I registered pain as I fell. The floor caught me. Then there was only darkness.

I woke up in a kitchen chair, leaning over the table. I guess I made a sound, because there he was again. He yanked my head up by my hair. He didn’t look any better than I remembered.

“He ain’t in the house, so where is he?” His face was nearly touching mine. The glitter in his eyes signaled the influence of drugs or alcohol. He smelled so bad: the stink of old sweat and a lack of personal hygiene. His teeth were yellowed, like the keys of an old piano. There was no evidence of recent familiarity with a razor.

“I said, where is he?” He backhanded me and the chair overturned with me.

I scrambled up from the worn linoleum and steadied myself against the kitchen counter. In the process, I bumped the little plastic drain board that held the dishes I used last night. I found my hand on the big French chef’s knife I had used to cut my salad. When the man charged at me, I put the knife between us. I guess he didn’t realize it was there because he stepped right into it as he closed the distance.

I felt an instant of resistance before the knife slid through dirty clothes and muscle. It went in all the way up to the handle and released a warm flow of blood over my hand. He gasped and staggered back. The knife was caught in his clothes, and he pulled it from my hand as he lurched away.

He grabbed at the handle, but the knife didn’t seem to come loose. The red stain spreading over his front grew wider and blood dripped from the handle onto the floor. He went to his knees and I saw the glitter go out of his eyes, replaced by puzzlement just before the dull glaze of death covered them. He slumped forward with a wheezing noise, then silence.

I swear I didn’t intend to kill him. I just didn’t want him to hit me again. And now I had to contend with a dead body and a bloody mess all over the kitchen floor. I washed my hands and called 9-1-1 to report that I had accidentally killed an intruder.

The hissing of the coffeepot signaled the end of the brew cycle and nearly gave me a heart attack. Maybe a cup of coffee would settle my nerves while I waited for the police. Maybe not, but it was worth a try.

“Damn, I told him to wait for me.”

I dropped the cup and it shattered on the floor. I whirled to see another dirty man standing in the doorway.

“Who are you?” I asked, trying to sound tougher than I felt. “What do you want here?”

“What did you do to my partner?” he snarled.

“I was holding a knife and he ran into it,” I said, and I heard how preposterous it sounded even as I said it.

“No way a little broad like you could nail him. Who else is here? Where’s Ramsey?” I could see the scorn dripping from his lips as he questioned me.

“It was an accident. No one else is here. Who is Ramsey?” I asked. “What do you want here?”

“Shut up and let me think,” he replied. “Ramsey was supposed to be here with the goods. Me and Joe was gonna to relieve him of them. He wasn’t supposed to have no broad here.”

I said a silent prayer for the police to hurry while I tried to make sense of the whole thing.

“Look, mister, I don’t know anybody named Ramsey. Maybe somebody gave you the wrong address. Please, just leave. I’ve called the police and you wouldn’t want them to find you here, would you?” I tried to sound like the calm, cool voice of reason, but even I could hear the tremor in my voice.

“You should’na done that,” he said. “I don’t want to deal with the cops. You’re coming with me and we’re gonna find Ramsey.” He made a move to grab my arm.

I dodged away from him and grabbed the copper-bottomed sauce pan I had used the night before. When he lunged at me again, I swung and connected with his head. He went down, thank God, and sprawled motionless on the floor.

The police should be here soon. Now I have an unconscious man to explain to them along with the dead one. And what if this Ramsey character shows up before they arrive? I think I’m scared, now that the adrenaline has subsided. Yeah, I’m scared. And I don’t know how this will end. I just hope I survive the ending.

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