Flash fiction — Red Encyclopedia

Note: This is an entry for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: “Roll for title!” – http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/10/flash-fiction-challenge-roll-for-title/

316 words.

Red Encyclopedia

“@Librarian68 We should definitely meet.”

To Audrey’s surprise, the blood that ran thickly down the hardback’s spine and over her knuckles had gathered in a large pool on the floor.

She gingerly placed the book upon the desk, and hunted around for something, anything, to clean up the blood with. Behind her, the laptop’s light danced over the broken face of the man tied to the chair. The sound of Maria Callas’s “Habanera” looped through its undersized tinny speakers.

Sniffing, Audrey settled on his discarded blue shirt. She scrunched it up into a ball and then used it to clean her hands, left-to-right, digit-by-digit. Finished, she returned to the desk. She scrubbed briskly at the book with the balled shirt, occasionally pausing to scroll down through the man’s still-open Twitter feed.

#NetNeutrality was trending. She paused scrubbing and clicked through.

JayJay841: “They can bite my metal shiny IP packets #NetNeutrality #ScrewYou”

Audrey smiled and stopped to examine her handiwork. Encyclopedia Rex, Volume 19 – Peach through Pumice – was now dry to the touch. She felt a small tremor of panic as she saw the rounded dents in the cover from the nails she had driven through his palms. She opened the book and was relieved to see that the inner pages remained undamaged.

She scrolled through the tag, still smiling.

Debbie4evar: “WTF! Your kidding me! #NetNeutrality”

Audrey doubled over and closed her eyes, breathing hard.

You’re. You’re. You’re. You’re.

You’re. You’re. You’re. You’re.

After everything she had done, everything she had put herself through – the Internet was still wrong. She needed to fix it.

Her and Rex. They’d fix it, together.

“@Librarian68 Your amazing. Tonight, 8pm. Bring Poetry.”

The hardback felt reassuringly solid in her hands: weighty, trustworthy, true.

They’d fix it all.

Audrey opened her eyes and stared at the Twitter avatar of the balding 54-year old man slumped lifeless behind her. She placed the book down on the desk and then pinched her bottom lip. She’d need something hotter than that to grab Debbie’s attention. Much hotter.