a Women Writer's' Showcase
by Patricia Harrington

"Got 'em, dead on!" said Jimmy Hansen, and moved the joystick again.  His thumb pumped, and the women on the screen burst into bloody bits.  Burning flesh littered the picture like flowers.  He turned around amid the clanging of the arcade, and his two buddies gave him high-fives.  They had inked the letters "VR" in dripping red on their skinny white biceps, bared below cutoff sleeves.  They were thirteen years old and called their gang Virtual Reality.  They'd blown up, dissected, shot and maimed every two-and four-legged pixeled creature in the town's game arcades.

They were unbeatable!

Jimmy glanced at the clock on the wall, "It's close to five, I gotta get home."  His buddies nodded.  "VR rules!" they exclaimed and swaggered out into the sunlight.  Before they could pull out sunglasses, three older toughs wearing nasty smiles suddenly appeared, blocking their path.

The leader balanced lightly on his feet, ready to move, and flicked out a knife.  Its sharp point gleamed in the sunshine. "Fun and games are over, little boys.  You're in the wrong hood.  Time you snot-nosed punks learned a Real World lesson."  Then he lunged, and with a surgeon's precision, slashed Jimmy's arm from elbow to wrist.  A thin, red line formed and oozed.  Jimmy stared at it, until the nerve ganglia kicked in and his brain registered the pain.  He screamed and his buddies shrank back and then froze in their fear.

Jimmy bent over, holding his arm, tears running . . . struggling to comprehend.  His attacker lightly flipped the knife from one hand to the other and back.  Then he slashed the air in front of Jimmy's face, so quickly that the boy didn't have time to step back.  It took a moment for awareness to dawn and spread, but then understanding flooded Jimmy's face, and he cried out, muted, begging . . .a trapped animal.

"First blood." The tough smirked.  "Now for the real pain."

Patricia Harrington wears several writing hats.  She has written over $45 million in funded grants, has a mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Bridget O'Hern (Death Stalks the Khmer, www.publishamerica.com) and writes a children's e-book series about the adventures of a dynamic duo, FAT CAT AND GRAY MOUSE (www.gadxoox.com)
Patricia Harrington, Mystery/Kids Author
Check out : Fat Cat and the Lost Ring