Welcome to Story Time Saturday!
These are flash fiction stories. My word count goal is no more than 1,000 words each story. I’ll show you the prompt, the story, and a teaser graphic.
Here is this week’s:
“The Mad Hacker”
I hate my job. It’s the same thing every single day. Get a number, find the person, and listen to him or her try to talk their way out of the situation. I would have quit years ago, but I’m good at what I do. It takes a hardened soul to block out the pleas of young offenders. And nobody’s soul is blacker than mine.
The boy, a scrawny geek, is my latest target. He’s barely seventeen and guilty of numerous crimes, each one escalating in its severity. I open his file—Paul Newsome aka The Mad Hacker. His crime? He hacked into the bank accounts of some top senators. Stupid kid.
Paul glares at me through the fringe of blond hair covering his face. His eyes are cold and hard but oddly familiar. He’s probably pissed he got caught. No remorse from types like him.
I toss the file onto the table and cuff the boy to the table top. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a picture peeking out the file. I reach for it and gasp. It’s my older sister, Emma, sitting on the back of a motorcycle. Her golden hair flows down her back.
It’s been a long time since I last saw Emma, a free spirit who moved off the grid with some renegade biker. What was his name? JC something. They lived on a farm upstate somewhere. Emma disappeared after the baby was born. A cute little boy—blonde hair and sparkling blue suede eyes.
I storm out the interrogation room, slamming the door behind me. My chest heaves as the gravity of what I’ve done sinks in. I peer at the boy through the two-way mirror.
The intercom crackles with the voice of my boss. “Do you have the boy?”
“Yes.” Problem is The Mad Hacker is my nephew.
The door pops open behind me. Heavy footsteps pound the tile floor, stopping just inches away. It’s not my boss. No. Worse. The voice belongs to my partner. “What’s the problem, Wilkes?”
I rest my forehead against the cold glass, welcoming the chill.
“Eliza?” Mike places a hand on my shoulder. “You’re scaring me.”
I take a deep breath before facing him. “The boy in there… He’s not just any criminal. That’s my nephew.”
Mike’s thick brown eyebrows squish together as he stares at me. “Come again?”
I pull my curly blonde hair away from my face. “Remember me telling you about my sister Emma?”
“Well, that’s her kid.”
Mike leans his muscular frame against the wall. “You sure?”
I point toward the mirror. “I know that’s my nephew. Look at the file. Emma’s picture is in it.”
He walks over to the table and opens the file, carefully flipping through its contents. “I know this is going to be hard, but I can’t let you interrogate him.”
I open my mouth ready to protest. My feet carry me to the door, but Mike blocks the path. “You can listen in, but I’m doing this alone.”
I pace the floor waiting for the hour-long interview to end. When Paul mentioned his mom and dad were dead, I stopped listening. The news hurts like hell. Emma died, and no one in the family knew.
There’s no way I’m going to let Emma’s son get lost in the system. I place a call to my boyfriend, Quinton. He works in the D.A.’s office. Now, all I can do is wait.
Hours later, Paul is free thanks to Quinton’s finagling. The teen walks right past me and heads outside. I catch up with him on the stairs.
The boy, his hood in place, whirls around. “You’re that lady cop who busted me?”
“I was just doing my job.”
“Yeah, whatever.” He starts to walk away.
I grab his jacket.
“Hey!” Paul tries to jerk out of my grasp.
“Look, we can do this the hard way, but I’d rather not.” I drop my hand. “Give me five minutes, that’s all I’m asking.”
Paul sits down on the short brick wall surrounding the building. “Clock’s ticking.”
“Yeah.” I exhale and sit next to the boy. “Here’s the deal. Was your mother’s name Emma?”
“Your dad went by JC?”
“What’s with the questions?”
“Emma was my sister. I’m your aunt.”
Paul blows out his cheeks and glances at me. “Ironic. Of all the people, I get stuck with a police bi—”
“Don’t say it,” I warn him. “You got somewhere to go?”
“Not good enough. Your lawyer used his connections to get you out. If you walk away from here, all that work is shot to hell.”
He blinks a couple of times before hanging his head. “So, what am I supposed to do?”
“You come home with me.”
The boy laughs, a cold and bitter sound. “You’re kidding, right? Why would I go anywhere with you? Mom told me stories about how your family abandoned her.”
“That’s not what happened,” I tell him. “Emma had issues.”
“You’re talking about her being bipolar.”
My jaw drops.
“I’m not a little kid, lady.” He pats his pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes as if to prove it.
“Those aren’t good for you?”
Paul points at my holster. “That’s not good for people either.”
He puts the cigarettes away. “Mom wouldn’t take her meds. She didn’t like the way they made her feel. When I got old enough to realize what they were for, I’d slip them in her drinks. Eventually, she caught on.”
Paul’s words make my heart ache. “What happened? How did they die?”
He stares at the cement. “Drunk driver. Mom and Dad were on their way home from dinner.”
“How long ago?”
“Bout six months,” he mutters.
“Have you been on your own since then?” I ask, hoping I’m wrong.
“No choice. I got a car and a roof over my head. What more do I need?”
I sigh. “How about someone to take care of you?”