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Sour Patches

by Jet Garner 7 months ago in Short Story · updated 7 months ago
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Not your usual Dick and Jane

Dick sat rigid while grabbing fist fulls of the plushy armrests of the chair. Jane descended the stairs with intentional patience, glaring his way. A crooked self satisfied smile on her face. Her teeth were perfect, but she has a nasty scar from her right ear down sweeping towards that right side of her smile. She is wearing a white dress made of some lacy fabric that swooshes whenever she takes a step. Her escaping custody didn’t bode well for anything in Dick’s universe. He began wondering where Nell is. Why has she not been crying if something happened? Why the fuck is Jane holding a butcher knife?

“Good afternoon, my darling,” Jane cooed. “Kind of a cozy spot you’ve managed to find. Hiding our daughter from me.”

The pleasure on Jane’s face bothered Dick in ways that upset how he felt about his basic functions. He had not had not heard anything alarming, but also had not heard her enter. Could he possibly have slept through a child murder? He hadn’t even been drinking today. Surely the scream of his child inside of the cabin would have awoken him.

“Stay the fuck over there, Jane,” Dick heard himself say. “I knew damned good an well that it was you that was part of that escape they talked about on the news. What other crazy bitch would get a few guys to help her bust out so easily? Prolly didn’t take much to convince them to help a gal out either. They don’t know the snake you are like I do now. They dunno what you’ll do when they turn their backs.”

Jane continues descending the stairs. The same snarky, cocky smile on that pretty face of hers. Despite the scar. “But darling, if I can’t have you?” She slammed the knife hilt deep into the wooden wall. “Then no one can,” she suddenly hissed.

Dick was moving. He sprung from the chair to try and make it to the kitchen to wield something himself. Jane sprung into action directly behind him. Dick wasted no time. He grabbed a hanging frying pan that thankfully wasn’t cast iron, brandishing it at his ex-wife. Jane held the knife with a practiced hand up in front of her face towards him. That Joker smile still across her face.

“Oh, Dick,” she mocked. “What do you think you are goin to do with that, hm? C’mon now. We both know the pussies you fuck aren’t near as soft as ya yella bellied back. Why don’t you ask me about Nell?” She sneered, enjoying his struggle to find words.

“Goddamnit, Jane,” Dick began. “I wasn’t sleeping around on you Sunflower. I never was. I don’t know when you got this in your fuckin head, but I wasn’t. I swear to the almighty. I never was.”

“Fuck you and your cheap lies!” Jane snarled. “Whose fuckin house is this den, hm? Whose fuckin house did you run to? I was lookin for the cunt upstairs an all around. Couldn’t find ‘er nowhere.”

“That’s because this is my huntin buddy’s cabin, you crazy fuck! I don’t even know how you found out we was here!”

Jane changed her little smirk as she lowered her butcher knife just a tad. “Oh, ol Johnny? You mean nat huntin friend?” Jane smiled a most sinister grin.

Dick faltered a bit, but tried to retain his resolve, and continued to brandish his frying pan. “Johnny is the only light I got at the end of this tunnel, you crazy bitch. You best not a–”

“Best not a what?” Jane croaked back.

Fuck, Dick thought. He knew he shouldn’t have gotten Johnny into this. Looking for an angle to get out of this, Dick changed the subject.

“What you do to them guards to get free anyway, Jane? You kill those poor souls too? For nothin more than to come here an continue torturing Nell an me?”

Jane paused for a moment, but her knife never wavered. “I gave em the kind of honors their kind likes to go home with at the end of t–”

The frying pan pinged off of her forehead with a with a sound Dick had not expected at all. He was proud of himself for hitting his mark at all, but that hollow thunk had resonated deep within him. He half wished the handle end had found her face instead of the sharp, round edge.

Jane went down flat on her back, but she wasn’t down long. Dick shot left around the kitchen wall that held two entrances into the living room. He began bounding the steps two at a time. All that mattered was Nell right now. Nell was consuming his mind. His wacko ex-wife be damned.

Jane was up faster than one might expect. Tough gal, this one. Been through worse than a hurled frying pan to the face. Recovering, she rolled to her belly, got to her knees, raised a hand to her forehead, then stood up. She did stumble once into the doorframe of the closest kitchen exit leading to the sitting room. When her hand came down from her forehead, it was slick with blood. She felt a nasty gash on the middle of her forehead that smoothly curved towards her left eye. It practically matched the other curved scar on her face, just facing the opposite direction and on her forehead instead of her cheek.

Dick was sprinting towards the only room in the cabin that had a crib in it where he left Nell. He arrived at the room, checking the crib as he snapped on the light.

No Nell.

What the fuck, Dick thought. Think. Think. Think.

There was no blood. At least there wasn’t any blood here. Jesus fuck. Where would Jane have put her? He strained to think with the blood pounding through his heart as fast as it is. His head hurt from the adrenaline of it all. He hoped he killed his wife with the hurling of the frying pan. From the occasional moan and slow creep of heavy foot falls up the stairs, he knew that fantasy to be a lie.

Dick checked the window. It was locked. He unlocked it, opened it, and stuck his head out looking towards the ground, just to be sure. No Nell. Thank Jesus he thought. At least the bitch hadn’t hurled her outside.

Leaving that room, he checked another. Then another. Nell was nowhere. The footfalls coming up the stairs were getting closer. She began yowling like a fucking cat in heat.

“Ima get you Dick! Ima get you! Like I got Nell!”

Dick, thoroughly frustrated by Jane’s yampering, refused to give in.

It occurred to him that he hadn’t even called out her name. Fucking idiot.

“Nell!” Dick roared. “Nell! Where are you baby cakes? Where are you?”

Somewhere deep inside of him, he knew Jane could not have killed her. No way. Jane would likely happily kill him in her paranoid, weird fucking madness about him sleeping around, which he had not, but no way she would hurt Nell. If anything? Nell was the reason he was likely still alive.

“Nell!” Dick belted again. Finally, a retort.

“Daddy!” Nell squealed.

Dick rushed to the source of the sound. It was a laundry chute. He opened the hatch which hinged on the top edge. He stuck his head in and looked down.

“Nelly bear! Are you down there? Answer me baby?”

Dick waited. And waited. And waited. One second was fifteen hours for a father in distress. Jane’s footfalls were growing closer down the hall. It wouldn’t be long until she was on him, injured or not.

“Daddy, mommy threw me down the whirly doo.”

Nell called a laundry chute a whirly doo because in a hotel they all stayed at once when things weren’t so bad, a laundry mat they visited had a rotating laundry return. A bit bulky and not the fastest way to receive your laundry, but it was exciting if you were three years old.

“Daddys comin baby. I just got to–”

SLAM. The blade hit Dick square in the center of his lower back. He crumples onto the sharp edge of the laundry chute, his arm holding the hatch falls to his side. The hatch closing partially onto his back. He looks down at his little girl looking back up at him from the floor below.

Nell looks up into her daddy’s eyes, her own wide as well. She did the oddest thing. Like she knew looking up through that dark tunnel into her daddy’s eyes that he needed her, that something was wrong. She looked at him and whispered,

“What do I do daddy?”

Dick was fighting for breath. The knife strike had knocked the wind out of him, and the dead weight of his lower half against the edge of the laundry chute was making it difficult to get air.

“Sour patch, baby. Sour patch,” Dick managed to utter. His daughter looked up at him with even wider eyes, if that was possible.

“Daddy?” Tears began forming in Nell’s three year old eyes. Her life, although short, had been turbulent and full of fear because of mommy. Daddy had always been her knight to fight the dragon. What made even a three year old sad, is that mommy was the dragon.

Jane yanked the knife out of her husband’s back with a practiced pull. She slammed the knife into the wall, which seemed to be her favorite sheath. With one hand she held open the chute hatch. With one knee to prop him up, and her other hand for leverage, she rolled Dick over so she could look at him. What she found surprised her. She expected terror. Dread. Pain. The types of things that pass over men’s faces when they just had their spinal column severed by jail escaped ex-wives. What Jane saw there actually irritated her. She saw confidence.

Dick could not manage a smile as his spine gave way a bit when Jane rolled him over. The feeling wasn’t as much pain as it was extremely foreign, and discomforting. She had essentially broken his back. He was sure of it. He bent over backward on the edge of the chute like an elbow bending. Everybody with a back knows that just isn't right. Pain or not. What Dick did manage to do, was hold it together for a second, and realize his arms still worked. He looked into Jane’s blood washed face. She was a mask of shining red with just the whites of her eyes making it possible to recognize her face.

“I can’t believe what you’ve gotten us into, Jane,” Dick told her. “The fuckin nerve of someone likes of you startin to not only be sleepin around, but then start killin the bastards. Then be accusin me of runnin around on you. I seent shame in my life before. Lotsa shame. But I aint never seen any fuckin shame as dark, but bright, as your lyin, trampin ass. And I married ya! Nelly is yo daughter! You crazy piece of fuck. You might have given her life, but you are the worst thing to happen to that little girl. God hears me. You were the worst thing to happen to her!”

Sick of hearing Dick’s last testament, Jane grabbed Dick’s legs and shoved him the rest of the way down the laundry chute opening. She heard him land home at the bottom with a grunt and a yell of pain. She let the hatch slam close without bothering to damper the noise of the slam. She stood tall, retrieved her sheathed knife from the wall beside her, and went looking for her daughter.

It appalled Jane that some adulterer asshole had fathered her only child. A child she would love unconditionally until the day Jane dies. She had only tossed the three year old down the laundry chute to protect her. To comfort her, from her father’s idiot ways. Her father may be a decent father, but he was a shit husband. Jane ain’t never met no decent husband that likewise was a decent father. Jane knew she wasn’t without flaws of her own. She had been workin’ men over in her spare time for money. Sometimes fuckin em. Sometimes just flaggin em down on the road. Regardless of which approach, sex or not, she usually killed em. Dick had found out that she was sellin herself and took an issue with it. He made his case, she stabbed him at the mall, an she went away for a little while. But not forever.

Here she is. Tall an proud. Done taken care of her husband after her escape. She’s ready to keep Nelly all to herself, and leave this loser behind forever. The loser that didn’t believe in her. The loser that judged her for hooking, killing, but providing for the family.

Jane went down towards the basement where she knew the chute exit lay. Expecting to find little Nelly, her Nelly, waiting for her to console her about her father. Jane had just rounded a corner to look for the laundry room after descending the stairs. Little Nelly was standing down the hall from Jane holding a 30 ought 6 hunting rifle, and blew Jane’s middle clear from her body.

The little girl flew as the shot exited the rifle. Poor thing got a bloody nose and black eye from the rifle pummeling her on her face. However, her daddy crawled into view to ease her heartache, and face ache.

“You did good, Nelly bear. You did good,” Dick told Nell. “You did just as daddy had told you. Like we had practiced.”

Nell stood up with the rifle, and looked down for a long time. Blood trickling from a cut on her cheek from the rifle kick. Eventually the little girl looked at her father and said,

“I never want to eat sour patch kids ever again, daddy.”

Dick replied, “You know what Nelly bear, I don’t think I’ll ever want to eat them again either.”

Short Story

About the author

Jet Garner

Enjoying my journey getting into fiction while occasionally dabbling in stories from my war times. Aspiring novelist and daydreamer. World nomad. Currently in Hawaii.

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