Chuck Wendig’s Friday challenge paid homage to the old infocomm text adventure games, where you were a character given things to carry and use on your adventure.
Now, there’s a Twitter account / bot that, if you tweet the word “inventory” to this particular Twitter bot — @YouAreCarrying — it will tweet back at you a randomized list of inventory items.
The challenge was to take all the items listed in the response tweet (your “inventory”) and use them all — in some way, oblique, abstract or overt — in a flash fiction of 2000 words max.
I got: You are carrying a cane, a clear potion, a cloud of orange smoke, a bloodstained paper towel, a battle-axe, floor wax, and a wet overcoat.
So here is my offering:
Evil Elf by blackwolf91901 http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/332671808?view_mode=2
Quicksilver bent over with a grunt and picked up the bloodstained paper towel. His back creaked ominously as he straightened. “Blarky Trolls and their Death Nights,” he muttered as he stuffed the towel into his trundle and limped to the next stall. He pretended not to hear the faint rustle behind him as he pushed the gold metal brocaded door open and peered in.
“Crap!” He said.
“If only that were truly all it was!” The harsh growl came from behind him. Quicksilver swiveled his head completely around to see the ugliest Dwarf he had ever laid eyes on, carrying the most beautiful golden battleaxe ever to grace his Public Toiletry, standing close behind him. He held the battleaxe of a High Detector. It gleamed enticingly even in the dull phosphorescent glow of the washroom lights.
Quicksilver bowed as was protocol, but was also very difficult as his head was backward while his body still faced the silver-plated urinal. The effect was that the top of his pointed cap fell into the lap of the very dead Band-Shee who sat on the john, while Quicksilver’s eyes took in the gilded tiles of the ceiling.
The High Detector nodded and continued as if Quicksilver’s clumsiness had escaped his notice. “Do you recognize her?”
Quicksilver turned his torso around to align with his head and bowed again, this time with much more success. “Oh yes, High Detector, e’en with her ears split and her jaw cracked open and marrow sucked out as it is, I would recognize Dame Sax Paris Von Den Alpen Beard anywhere.”
He stepped aside and examined the body from the stall door, under the watchful eye and hovering battleaxe of the High Detector. The poor Band-Shee, whose large eyes remained a beautiful translucent chartreuse even in death, was slumped over, blue blood dripping from her truncated ears, lower head and lacerated lumpy torso. Her legs sprawled out wide in a mock invitation with both of her 3-toed feet nearly cut in half and resting in the ever widening pool of blue gore on the slate floor. She was naked, which was not unusual for a Band-Shee of Dame Sax’s popularity, but there was no sign of the toga-style coverings normally discarded in the course of a Band-Shee’s dalliances.
The High Detector waved his battle-axe in the shape of a cross at the urinal door. A cloud of orange smoke billowed from nowhere and descended around the body. The dwarf banged the hilt of the axe onto the slate floor, breaking a tile to Quicksilver’s chagrin, and exclaimed “Preservum Evidentiamus!” The body, blood, urinal and stall floor tiles all disappeared with a loud crack, followed by the smoke.
“Oy, ” said Quicksilver, “Bring back my toilet!”
The Dwarf chuckle-growled, “All will be returned to you once the case has been solved and the evidence is no longer required. Now … I must complete my examination back at the HQ and you can get on with your …hmmph … your day. What is your name—for the record—please?”
The High Detector produced a quill from his jerkin and wrote on a small wax tablet. “Did you kill the Dame?”
“Did you?” Quicksilver retorted.
The High Detector stiffened, but Quicksilver babbled on. “I mean you’ve got the big golden axe, don’t you. I never saw you come in, and who told you to come anyway? You were Johnny-on-the-spot right enough. Quite suspicious.”
“We got an anonymous psychalink five minutes ago. I transcended here as fast as I could. And here you are before I arrived and … I don’t have to explain anything…” the Dwarf flicked the battleaxe in Quicksilver’s general direction ” … to you. So answer the question—because you haven’t yet, have you—and now that I think about it … tell me what you are doing here tonight, to boot!”
“No, I did not kill Dame Sax Paris Von Den Alpen Beard. For your record I am here tonight doing what I have been doing ever since the Retromancer changed the Order of Things … cleaning and maintaining the urinals on the palace grounds.”
“Ah, there you see, you see” said the Detector Dwarf with just a hint of a smirk, “that is exactly why I must ask these questions of you, Quicksilver. There is plenty of motive to go around for the killing of those who now wield the power … and the magic.” He paused and ran his eyes lovingly up and down the length of his battleaxe. “For example, this beauteous instrument belonged to the previous High Detector: a Faerie, if I’m not mistaken.”
Quicksilver grunted, scratching a claw into a bony protuberance behind his left earlobe. “She’s a wastress now, in the Grand Inn. Name’s Flixy Foodfaerie.”
“A wastress, yes. How unfortunate. And you, what was your position pre-Reorder?”
“What’s that got to do with the dead Band-Shee?” Quicksilver studied the silvery scale that had flaked off onto his claw.
“Nothing whatsoever. Call it professional curiousity.” Although the Dwarf was a full three feet shorter than Quicksilver, he managed to project an impressively menacing presence. Perhaps it was the gleaming battle-axe—his badge of honour now—Quicksilver thought. He took a full minute to roll his trundle back to the maintenance cupboard of the washroom, feeling the watchful eye of the High Detector upon him the whole time.
“I … I was the Supreme Detector,” he admitted, as he took out a bottle of Resplendent Floor Wax and poured a quantity into a large bucket.
To his satisfaction, the dwarf nearly dropped his battle-axe. “Oh-ho!” he said beetling his massive eyebrows together. “This is a fine slither of toves!”
“Indeed. I—more than others, perhaps—have no love for the New Order. But, consider the modus operandi you have in front of you, High Detector.” Quicksilver took his bucket to the utility basin and pumped water into it to mix with the wax.
“Do please, enlighten me, Mr. Former Supreme Detector.” The Dwarf placed the battleaxe blade on the floor, put his hands over the shaft and rested his chin on his hands, smiling indulgently. His long black beard flowed down and brushed along the blade, and Quicksilver noticed the sharp edge had sliced off a few strands of hair. Losing bits of beard was bad luck for dwarves.
“Dame Von Alpen Beard had suffered the nasty atrocity of having her bone marrow sucked out, yes.” Quicksilver pulled a mop from the cupboard as he spoke.
“Yes, I saw that.”
“Well, far be it from me to point out that marrow sucking is not something an Elf would do, or a Faerie, or a Pixie or even a Man for that matter.”
“A Man might …”
“Fair enough, I’ll give you that. Still … sucking things is more of a Troll thing, or Trogs, Incubi … “
“Succubi …” The Dwarf chimed in.
“Thank you, obviously Succubi. Even Band-Shees themselves have been known to suck a thing or two.”
“Good point. Good point.” The High Detector nodded, banging his chin on the end of battleaxe. He straightened and hefted the weapon onto his shoulder.
“I thought so.” Quicksilver stuck his mop into the bucket and left it, went to the cupboard once more and retrieved a small glass bottle containing a clear potion, which he also poured into the bucket.
“What was that?” asked the Dwarf.
“Where?” said Quicksilver.
“What do you mean, where? There … in the bucket.” The High Detector pointed with his free hand. “You just poured something else into the bucket.”
“Oh that.” Quicksilver eyed the bucket as he walked by it on his way back to the cupboard. He noticed a faint tinge of blue gas spiraling out of the bucket and drifting towards the High Detector. The Dwarf didn’t notice; he was staring at Quicksilver with narrowing eyes. When the gas reached the Dwarf’s nose, Quicksilver spoke.
The High Detector gasped in rage, which of course Quicksilver had anticipated. The hardened dwarf fell over, his golden battle-axe clanging to the floor beside him. He was not dead, just … rigid.
Quicksilver took an ornate cane from the maintenance cupboard and shifted it to his left hand. He had liberated the cane from a Troll the night before during one of their Death Night rituals when they weren’t paying attention, especially to a lowly urinal Elf. Next, he grabbed a large overcoat, soaked with blue blood.
“Tcch, I’ll have to get Flixy to clean that up.” Quicksilver shook his head at the thought. Flixy had enough to do without him adding his chores to the list. He slung the wet overcoat over his left arm while keeping the cane in his left hand.
“You were quite right about motive, dear High Detector.” Quicksilver said as he strolled towards the prone and solid Dwarf, whose eyes were wide, brows quivering in fear. “We do resent the New Order. We used to be the Kings and Queens of the realm, now we’re the guttersnipe’s you spit and piss on. Oh, I know, you occupied that position for so long that the Retromancer felt it was high time all you drudge beings got your due, but that makes the pain sting no less, does it.”
Quicksilver edged closer to the High Detector, pulling on the ornate head of the cane until with a snick it slithered out, revealing a long thin silver sword attached. The gas had paralyzed the Dwarf’s vocal cords, but Quicksilver could see the scream in his eyes.
“We no longer have magic, so I’m afraid I have to do this old-school, as it were. Knives, swords and such. Oh, and you were wrong about the modus operandi …” Quicksilver placed the point of the cane at the Dwarf’s right eyeball. “ … I gave myself permission to suck.”
He pushed on the cane. There was a brief second of resistance, then a pop.
Quicksilver waited a minute until he was sure the Head Detector was dead, then gathered up the battleaxe into his wet overcoat and limped out of the washroom, tapping his cane in a perky rhythm on the black slate tiles.