WELCOME to the fourth installment of my Serial Flash Fiction Suspense story inspired by Rory’s Story Cubes! Click the Flash Fiction link in the tag cloud for the episodes from previous weeks.



The strange woman stood there stubbornly waiting for Jeremy to show his hands.

He stood there just as stubbornly, refusing to show her.

“Ari, go get me my gun.”

“If I say I have no tattoo, then I have no tattoo.”

Little Ari came back with a sub-machine gun. This lady’s serious! She hefted the gun to her shoulder. She didn’t aim it at Jeremy, but her eyes said she might at any time. Ari stood protectively beside his mother.

“Don’t you want to send your son away if you plan on using that thing?”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Ari’s used to guns. You know how things are these days.” An explosion somewhere in the city punctuated her statement.

He did, indeed, but what kind of mother was this woman? “If you want to inspect my hands I at least deserve to know who you are.”

“If you want me to continue to save your life, I at least deserve to see your hands.”

“You may, once I have answers to my questions.”

“No tattoo, no answers.”

Jeremy shrugged.

Their eyes met, until the gaze turned into a stare-down.

Finally, she blinked, rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “I should’ve pushed you over the edge without the parachute, Jeremy,” she said.

His spine stiffened. “How do you know my name?” he demanded in a low growl.

“We all do. Now, that’s enough information before I see the tattoo.”

“He doesn’t have one, Mama,” Ari piped up.

She smiled at the boy and ruffled his hair with the hand that wasn’t holding the gun. “Or lack of tattoo.” Then she looked back at Jeremy with steel in her eyes. “Time for the tattoo. Show me your hand.”

The fact that she knew his name wasn’t enough information, but Jeremy was out of bargaining power. He lifted his palms to her, and Ari shone the blue-light flashlight on them.

No tattoo.

The gun was suddenly in his face. “Give me one reason not to kill you right now.”

He stood their stupidly, palms still outstretched. “I have thirty nine million in my bank account. I don’t know where it came from.”

The gun dropped a fraction. “Go on.”

Thirty million dollars didn’t get this woman’s attention? He rubbed his scalp and his stubbly chin as he though over the last few days.

“I’d seen that building before, but I don’t know where. It’s like in my imagination. Only it feels real, like a memory.”

She contemplated that. “It’s possible. Go on.”

“I knew the code to get on the roof. But I didn’t know it. It was the last four digits of my social security number.”

Her finger on the trigger twitched indecisively, then returned to the trigger. “Which are?”


The gun dropped to the floor, breaking on the hardwood.

Ari’s jaw dropped in awe.

The woman flew into his arms.

Confused, he returned the hug.

“Forgive me, my husband,” she said. “When you left, you had no beard and short hair. I had to be careful, because of Ari.”

She pulled back, though, somehow, he wished she wouldn’t. “Let’s get you some real sleep, eh?”

Tune in next Friday for more!