Nightmare From Above


Summer Short Story #7

(Prompt: Write a story featuring a character very unlike you. Put the character in a situation where his/her reaction would be vastly different from your own. Include “nightmare” per the WordPress daily prompt.)

(Immediately following the attack on Doctor Gadson’s house.)

The private airship, known simply as the “Arcadia” was a fine example of the Orca class of vessels—a yacht upon air. Sleek and mysterious, like its owner and current passenger, it was perfectly outfitted with every luxury. Zina didn’t need the ship to loom large. She just needed to own it and everyone on board.

“Hurry up; get in the basket. That’s a good boy.”

She’d let any other creature climb up on his own. The ladders tethered to the docking platforms were sound enough, but her Gingersnap was an entirely different matter.

“There you go.”

                With her pet sitting secure inside, she had the cabin boy haul him up into the airship.

She didn’t bother with a dismissal. As soon as Gingersnap hopped out onto the deck, the boy was forgotten. He didn’t exist.

“Show me what you’ve got Snap, Snap.”

Taking the cat’s go-cam from its collar, she synced the device to her handheld and watched with absolute glee. The fact that everyone escaped from Gadson’s house unscathed bothered her, but striking terror and burning his abode nearly down was a comfort.

So focused on getting the footage, Zina nearly skimmed over her cat’s appearance. He was always getting in scraps. Both of his ears were ragged affairs, one split from a bite, and his fur showed tufts out of place nearly every chance he went carousing in the city. Today, however, he was the worse for wear.

“What the hell, Snap?”

Her cat was wasn’t just wet and bedraggled. He was covered in who knows what foulness. Taking him by the scruff, she hauled him into the lavish bath on board and rang for another cabin boy.

“Clean him up. Rinse him carefully! Or else. I’ll know if you get shampoo in his eyes.”

                Not actually children, the cabin boys were very nicely shaped young men, paid to obey her every beck and call. Eyeing him savagely, she almost wished he’d make the mistake—almost. Her Snap, Snap wouldn’t like it, though. So she tempered her thoughts—barely–delaying the gratification of confrontation and violence. To assuage the desire, she reviewed the recording once more and thought how wonderfully solicitous the good doctor was of his own pets—both his pretty cat and the new girl he’d been lodging.

Who is this girl to you, Gadson?”

                As she watched more closely, the expressions on his face, his hand gestures and proximity, she thought, “Clean, fed and housed… another pet. Another way to hurt you.”

                She thought of the doctor’s pain and smiled at the amusement. The Beshalm assassin had been good fun, but not very effective. She thought he’d, at least, maim the man. When Victor had suggested she hire him, she had her doubts. Gadson was a wily creature, having already evaded one or two of her nastier traps. But she would have enjoyed being wrong in this instance.

Pulling her thoughts back from the morose failure, she focused on the dark-haired girl, again. She’d have to hire an informant to get her name and other pertinent information. Clearly, she wasn’t just some pretty maid.

Again, she smiled, talking to the image the doctor presented on her screen, “You don’t know what’s coming, do you? She laughed, unable help the glee at the prospect. “A perfect nightmare. You might never sleep peacefully, again…

She kissed the screen in mock tenderness, “If you are to wake.”



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