Prompt: She adds a charm for every person she kills…


Shikka eyed the display case shrewdly. Somewhere in that thick tangle of superheroes and fantasies was the perfect charm to add to her newest bracelet.

“Back so soon?” Grant, the thin bird faced night clerk joked with a painful attempt at flirtation. “Did you miss me that much Neeta?”

“Not at all,” She smiled slyly at her own inside joke as much as at his use of her alias, the perfect charm catching her attention suddenly. “I never miss, fly boy.”

Her insults always, ironically, went over his head and today was no different. Straightening his tie proudly, Grant stood just a bit taller and motioned to the display case grandly, “What do you fancy today, my dear?”

Your tongue on a tray for calling me that, for starters Shikka thought angrily. Aloud, however, she sweetly asked to see any fish charms they might have currently in stock. After choosing an appropriate catfish charm, Shikka abruptly pointed to a crane harm that seemed to materialize from thin air as the turntable spun.

“Ring that one up as well,” she demanded before any logical thought could filter through. “But wrap the bird and tell the morning shift that I’ll be in to get it before lunch.”

“Yes ma’am,” Grant did as he was told. “Neeta,” he began hesitantly, “I was wondering if maybe you would like to, that is, possibly…”

“You can take me to drinks after your shift,” Shikka interrupted pleasantly, “I’ll meet you in Dave’s Bar at 9 sharp.”

“GREAT!” floating on an elated cloud of victory, Grant watched Shikka find a space on her nearly full charm bracelet, slip the fish on, and blow him a saucy kiss before she sauntered out of Charmings.

Grant closed Charmings promptly at 8, rushed home to changed, and was waiting in a corner booth at Dave’s by 8:45. Ten minutes later, dark skin shining against a pale pink slip of a heart attack, Shikka slipped onto the seat across from him, careful to lean forward and allow her assets a chance at hello as well.

“Hey there sailor,” she purred saucily, “Been waiting long?”

“My whole life,” slipped out before he could stop it, but her rich, throaty chuckle kept him from wanting to take it back.

“You flatter me,” she murmured, leaning even further across the table to make him like the only man in the world.

A blond waitress Grant never even saw delivered drinks, but before long a simple suggestion and shy eye flutter had Grant boldly grasping his date’s hand and pulling her out into the night for a moonlight walk.

Glancing down at their entwined fingers, he noticed again the only jewelry she ever wore: 2 overladened charm bracelets, and one more bracelet, almost as full and dangling down over her fingers.

“Hey Neeta,” he asked reluctant to make her move from the huddled warmth of his left arm, “I’ve always meant to ask: Why so many charms? I mean, I’ve seen you twice a week for almost a year now.”

“Maybe I just had a crush on you,” she teased, bumping his shoulder with her own.

“Yeah, right,” he snorted, though with a glimmer of hope in his eye.

“Ok ok,” she stopped and whirled to face him. “I have a confession – – well, two actually.”

“Huh?” Grant stared at her dumbly as she pressed on.

“Number one, my name is not Neeta. I am called Shikka, like the noise a blade makes when pulled from a sheath or an arrow as it flies from its home to do its job.”

“Shikka?” he echoed, slack jawed and staring.

“Yes, Shikka,” she sighed, “And I definitely do not have a crush on you.”

“You don’t?” Grant’s confusion was grating oh Shikka’s nerves but still she adopted a calm, patient tone.

“No, I don’t. Sorry.” She sighed and ran a hand down his arm, “The truth is that I murder people Grant. I murder them and then I choose a charm that fits their lives, matches who they were before I ended them.”

Grant stared at her slack jawed for a full minute before bursting into loud guffaws. “You really had me going for a minute there, babe,” he panted out between chuckles. Throwing an arm around her shoulders and steering Shikka back into a walk, he continued, “I mean, with a name like Shikka, I can totally understand changing it to something normal like Neeta.”

He stupidly went on and on, ignoring the thin line her lips were pressing in to. “But a charm for every person you’ve killed? NO Way sexy, that was going too far with it – ahahahahah!”

She smiled wanly and chirruped “Right?” as she edged their steps toward the dark opening of a deserted alleyway.

“Hey Grant, have I ever told you that the first time I ever saw you I thought that you looked like my favorite animal; the majestic crane?”


*copyright 12/2016 ESTyree – Author*


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