I recently participated in Houston’s 48 hour film festival where you got 48 hours to write, produce, and edit a film. The genre that we were given was Film de Femme (a category geared toward strong female characters). I also created a little short story to go along with it that gives a little explanation by way of what happens in the hour before the film opens. I’ve posted the story on Tumblr as a fan canon experiment, so if you are interested in participating, check it out!
“Six months.” I shook my head with a small sigh as I looked at the address on the yellow sticky note. I jerked the handle of my car door, opening it and sliding in before placing the note on my dash. As I started the car and pulled away from the strip mall’s back lot, I wondered at the inefficiency of the agency. Just as quickly as the irritation strummed my nerves I forced myself to take a few deep breaths as I made my way to Raymond Bienevedes’ house. Six months. The agency had spent six months looking for something I found in six minutes. What a waste of resources, but I guess that is why they call me. I’m always the last choice, but often the most necessary one. Within ten minutes I pull into the neighborhood. It’s a nice little piece of suburbia with old trees shading the patched up streets, and every house looks completely different in style. Some resembled English Tudors while others were firmly stuck in the abrupt angles of 70s architecture. It was the perfect place for a drug lord to hide. No one would expect him to be in a sleepy neighborhood a block from an elementary school and a church. But I guess even drug lords need to send their kids to school and have somewhere to confess their sins.
The interesting aspect about this neighborhood was that the houses didn’t have driveways. All of the garages open up into intersecting alleyways. I smirked at my good fortune as I pulled up along Bienevedes’ back fence. Eduardo told me to expect to find at least five men guarding Raymond, and that his kids were at their mother’s house. I checked the clip of my Khar 9mm one more time, and loaded a bullet in the chamber. No matter how many times I do this, the slick sound of metal sliding against metal always made my heart jump. Sometimes I blamed it on adrenaline, or justified it with an excuse of nerves. I never wanted to give credence to the voice in my head that told the truth of what I really felt. With a thick swallow, I bit the inside of my cheek to clear the fog in my brain and I grabbed two more clips, shoving them in the pockets of my jacket. Eduardo was known to be wrong on body numbers.
The moment I stepped out of the car, the humming sounds of lawn mowers and hedgers filled the early morning air. It was already nearly 6:20, but I was thankful for the extra distraction the noisy machines would provide. As I approached the back of the house, I noticed a fenced in greenhouse area supported by brick columns. I felt another smile lift my cheeks, as adrenaline rushed through my veins. This was going to be too easy. In less than a minute I climbed the column and made my way across the top of the fence until it met the roof. From there I approached the first window I found. The blinds were open on the inside, and fortunately the sun hadn’t reached that side of the house yet, so it was quite easy to see the empty little girl’s room inside. After I peeled away the screen, I managed with the aid of my keys to open the window. I shook my head. Wow, even crooks are dumb enough to not lock their windows. I carefully climbed through the frame into the room and a few more steps had me at the door. Fortunately it was cracked and I could see down the empty upstairs hall. Once into the hall I found the open door of another empty child’s room. A boy. I breathed an inward sigh of relief. Eduardo had not failed me on that front. He knew how I felt about kids. Unfortunately a few more steps down the hall had me at the halfway open doors of the game room. There were five men, alright, sprawled out on the floor asleep. Some even had bottles still clenched tightly in their fists. They must have had quite the party from the looks of it. A glimpse over the open railings of the balcony looking into the house’s great room and I realize Eduardo had only told half the truth. Sure there were only five men, in one room! There were at least another ten down below me. I peered around the corner of the game room once more, clenching my fists open and closed. I needed to assess my options and quickly. My gun was all but useless to me at this moment because one shot would alert the others and give Beneviedes a chance to escape. I could sneak by the men in the game room, but I didn’t know the stairs of this old house and one wrong step could wake everyone up and make me a very easy target. As I flipped through the various scenarios in my mind I also took stock of the men sleeping before me. From what I could see, only 3 of them had guns on their person, but who knows what else. The man lying on the floor closest to me twitched and snorted in his sleep and as he rolled over onto his stomach I saw the handles of two blades sticking out of a hilt in his waist band. That was it! With cautious steps I crept toward him until I was standing above him, one foot on either side of his large frame. In one quick motion I yanked the blades from his hilt, and with one sliced his jugular and with the other sliced into the neck of the man who lay next to him. They instantly began to choke, grabbing for their throats as their mouths flapped open and closed like fish. I grabbed the bottoms of their shirts stuffing them into their mouths.
It was too late. The sound of their choking instantly woke up the others around them and with a cry a gunshot rang out and a bullet zinged past my ear before becoming embedded into the door behind me. The next ten minutes were utter chaos as I took out the rest of the men in the room with the blades. I knew I needed to conserve the bullets in their guns and mine for the men downstairs. As the last man fell I head the footsteps of the others as they reached the top of the stairs, while more had spilled into the room below and were sending a rain of bullets through the railings of the balcony. Using the body of the widest man as a barricade I borrowed the guns of the others and picked off the ones who came up the stairs. Once their bodies caused a bottleneck at the top of the stairs I rolled my barricade closer to the balcony and took out the rest of the men below me, thankful that they were all horrible shots in their hung over haze.
Unfortunately, as I finished off the last few men I heard Raymond and two others escape out the front door. One sounded like a woman. Gritting my teeth at the messiness of the mission I jumped over the balcony railing, thankful for the pile of bodies below that broke my fall on the tiles. The first exit I came to led out to the backyard and I knew the gate open up near my car. I also knew enough about Raymond Beneviedes to know exactly where he was going and exactly which route he was going to take to get there. I slammed open the backyard gate just in time to see one of Raymond’s “under the radar” cars speed by. Just like the herded animal he was, he was going straight to the comfort of his pen. I just had to make sure I guided him there.