Death by Fire

This is a further attempt at fiction.  I’m attempting to show Scarlett’s character rather than just tell. I hope to develop this story further so any suggestions are welcome

Death by Fire

I saw her across the dim, smoke-filled bar. Everyone saw her. She was a Jessica Rabbit come to life. All ruby lips and high slitted dresses. Every movement was a sultry dance that captivated all the patrons of the establishment. Gazing at her made me remember our first and only meeting. It is the reason that I, like so many of these thirsty men here tonight, will never go over to her table. Not twice at least.

I stared a while longer, watched her caress her Lucky Strip cigarette between two plump lips. Staining the end of it ruby-red with her lipstick. She glanced sideways in my direction and slowly exhaled while crossing her left leg over to reveal more of her long, fair leg. Unexpectedly, she raised a long, delicate finger with its blood-red nail polish and beckoned me forward without ever looking back.

I would be a fool to ignore the summons, but I would surely not see the dawn if I went over. The idea of making a break for it was dashed as I saw large, monochrome men move towards the exits from my peripherals. I drained my whiskey glass, slammed it down on the counter, and walked to my death.

Sitting across from her, I felt the exhilaration I had the first time, even when I knew what she could do. She stared at me intensely, silently and put out her cigarette in the ashtray. As the last of the smoke lingered away she leaned forward, hands clasped, waiting. She waits for me to speak, and I accommodate her, trying a light conversation. “Lovely evening, isn’t it Scarlet?” I asked. She sits back in her chair, looking dissatisfied. “It’s raining Jon, not what I call lovely.” She quips. “Why are you here Jon? If I remember correctly, you were no longer…welcome here.” She said the last part of that sentence with the twinkle of malevolence and mystery that bewitched me in the first place. “Are you telling me that my memory is going Jon?”  Fear gripped every muscle in my body, if I made one false move, one slip, things would not end well.

“I’m not here on business Scarlett; I no longer carry a badge at all in fact.”  “How terrible that must have been for you” she purred. I choked on the scoff I wanted to let out and simply waved to a bartender for another round, anything to hide my fear, even though I knew she could smell it. She had this coy smile on her lips as she toyed with the diamond cross around her neck. “Don’t make me ask again Jon, why are you here?” I could hear the impatience in her voice and resolved to be out with it. I was as good as dead if I didn’t. Good as dead if I did, but I might as well go out with honesty, something I was not comfortable with.

Stumbling for words I confessed my obsession. “At first it started as an obsession linked with the job. I always knew it was you, and I didn’t understand why everyone was willing to turn a blind eye to your crimes. In the months of stake-outs and spying, I could never catch you red-handed, but I knew it was you. I was forced off the case after being asked repeatedly to leave it alone. This obsession eventually went in a downward spiral and in the end I lost my job completely. Went mad almost. I needed to catch you. After a year of digging and spying on my own I finally had you.” I paused at this part, taking a long sip of my newly arrived whiskey. All the time I was speaking, her lips were curved into a coy smile. She knew that I had never had her, and I learned that lesson far too late when I attempted to take her in. “A citizens arrest eh Jon? How utterly valiant of you. Not at all what I would have expected from the likes of you.” She almost spat the last word at me. I needed to speak quickly, or I would never arrive at my point, my only chance at survival. “I thought I was doing the right thing Scarlett, I wanted to make up for past sins, and to stop you. You control the entire city behind the scenes. I realized shortly after my release from your captivity that it wasn’t the idea of stopping the slaughter, or trafficking, or any of these illegal establishments that obsessed me. It was you.”

“My my, Jon, that is quite a confession, but it does not explain why you disobeyed me when I so mercifully released you in good faith. While I find your obsession quaint, I find your lack of fear…unnerving.” I could tell she was choosing her words carefully; nothing could unnerve this woman, this goddess of death. I knew it was too late by that carefully chosen word. I glanced down at my whiskey as her smirk returned. She stood up slowly then, placed her polished hands, leaning over on the table, revealing her bosom. I felt the light-headed and fuzzy vision crowd my sense, and as I slowly faded into death I heard her whisper in my ear, almost as if in regret “I told you never to come back Jon”