Today's prompts at 3WW are: Cryptic, Flash, and Malign. Another semi-dark piece. Enjoy!
“Meet me at Zero’s at 11:30 tonight. I have information for the story you are doing about Mayor Ford. I’ll find you there.”
The cryptic message on her voice mail left her confused. The voice was vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t place it. And why Zero’s? The club that catered to the goth crowd.
Cynda dug through her closet trying to find something black, other than her favorite little black dress to wear to the meeting. Black slacks, nope. Black silk blouse, nope. After a few minutes of digging she unearthed a pair of ripped jeans from her college days, a blood red corset top from last Halloween, combat boots from research she’d done on survival camp, and a black leather bomber jacket her ex-boyfriend had forgotten when he moved out.
She surveyed the look in the mirror and wasn’t thrilled. “Close enough.”
Bass pounded through the cavernous space like a heartbeat. Shadows clung to everything, flickering in the dim light of hundreds of candles. Feeling smothered, Cynda struggled to draw a breath in the crush of bodies. Every few minutes a flash of light would pulse through the club, illuminating the couples huddled in the darkest corners.
The music throbbed loud and heavy, making it feel like her bones were resonating in time with the beat. She didn’t know who to look for, so her eyes briefly landed on every face in the crowd.
At the bar she squeezed onto a bar stool between two heavily muscled men and ordered a Jack and coke. Cynda sipped the watered down drink and wondered who had left her the message. The voice had been female, and something tickled her brain and told her she knew who it was.
A tap on her shoulder had her spinning around, slamming her knee into the bar on the way.
“Dang, girl! That had to hurt.” The kid standing in front of her was in his early twenties and had so much metal in his face that it had to be impossible for him to get through airport security.
She absently rubbed the ache in her knee. “What’s up?”
“How ‘bout you come dance with me?” He leered at the cleavage pushing the limits of the corset’s control. He jacked his jeans up and all the chains hanging from his pants rattled loud enough to be heard over the music.
“Thanks, but I don’t think so.” She tried to turn back around, but his hand on her shoulder stopped her. “Look buddy –.”
He leaned in close and spoke in her ear. “Listen, I don’t want to be here any more than you do, okay. You are just supposed to come with me. She said to tell you she had information.”
Cynda gulped the rest of her drink and slid off the stood. Grabbing his hand so she wouldn’t loose him in the throng on the dance floor, she waited for him to lead the way.
He nodded and the look in his eyes far older than his years made her wonder what had happened to him. He dragged her across the club to a dark hallway that led to the restrooms. “Go into the third stall and wait there.”
She started down the hall and again he stopped her. “Watch yourself in there.”
The stall was cramped and covered in graffiti, but within seconds hard hands pulled her out and pushed her against a wall. “Why do you want information on Mayor Ford?”
The same voice from her voice mail.
“I’m doing a story on him.” The rough cinder block wall abraded her face.
“Why?” The other woman leaned heavily on Cynda.
“Because I’m a reporter, damn it. That’s my job.” Air flowed into her lungs when the pressure was taken off her back. “Can I turn around.”
“What do you know about, Daniel Ford?”
Cynda turned slowly to face her informant. Shock held her immobile for a second. “Mrs. Ford?”
“What do you know about my husband?” The normally elegant Angela Ford was dressed in leather and chains with enough black eyeliner ringing her eyes to take care of four goth girls. “I’m not going to ask again. Tell me what you know.”
Unease skittered down Cynda’s spine. “I know there is a rumor spreading that he can’t keep his hands off your babysitter.”
The ice in Angela’s eyes was malign. “That son of a bitch has a thing for teenager boys. I’m going to give you all the nasty dirty details and you, my dear are going to make sure he never sees the light of day again.”
Six weeks later a jury of his peers convicted Mayor Daniel Franklin Ford to forty years in prison. His high priced lawyer immediately filed an appeal. Mrs. Angela Ford sat in the court room day after day in her beautiful suits; her manicured hands grasped tightly in her lap and never shed a tear.
Before he left the court room after the verdict, Mayor Ford was handed divorce papers by his wife’s high-priced lawyer. His shocked eyes met hers and she blew him a kiss.
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