Short story: Revenge is but a game

Natalie absent-mindedly stirred her martini before pulling out the skewer and eating the olive. Her eyes were locked onto her friend who sat uncharacteristically quiet. After a few more minutes, the silence got to her and she blurted out, “Is this why you asked me out for cocktails, to sit in awkward silence all night?

“Hmm?” Ana said, looking confused for a moment before clearing her head. “No. I’m sorry. I’m just lost in a fog.”

“You don’t say.” Natalie grinned. in spite of feeling annoyed at her friend, she allowed Ana the luxury of revealing her thoughts in her time. She had always been patient when ever Natalie needed to vent. She owed it to her friend to be patient.

“So there’s this guy…,” Ana began.

“Oh!” Comprehension dawning, Natalie leaned in and teased, “So you finally found a guy you like? I thought you gave up on men after you left Chad.”

“No, I loathe him,” Ana replied, much to Natalie’s surprise, “and I need him to fall in love with me.”

“What…, wait, what?! Natalie asked, uncertain if she had understood her correctly.

“I want him to fall deeply and helplessly in love with me.”

Trying to make sense of the utterly insane, she finished the last of her martini in one gulp and asked the bartender for another. Maybe being out-and-out drunk would help her process the logic behind the statement.

“You, Ana, who swore off guys and have only bedded the occasional woman, want a man to fall in love with you? What the fucking hell crazy shit is that? I can’t…I mean… you and him…, I…, what the fuck, man?

“I can see you’re having a hard time figuring this out.”

“Well, no shit, Sherlock! It’s not like you’ve given me a hell of a lot of clues to work this out with. And thank you, Ernesto,” she turned to the hot bartender, her eyes working their way down his back side – what I’d give to spank that ass! – before realizing Ana was rolling her eyes at her. “What? It’s polite to say thank you.”

“Whatever you have to tell yourself,” Ana shook her head at her. “Like I was planning on saying before you interrupted me…. Will you stop looking at his ass!” Ana said louder than she had intended, causing everyone at the bar, including a slightly embarrassed, but admittedly pleased looking Ernesto who gave Natalie a wink before turning to give a guy his beer and a high-five.

“Sorry, Captain Subtlety. Please continue.”

“You remember my roommate Lucy?”

“The socially shy bookworm with low self-esteem and anxiety issues but who somehow possesses the kind of body I would kill for? I vaguely remember her.”

“She was dating a guy…”

“Finally getting some. Good for her!”

“…who turned out to be a jack-ass.” Ana continued, ignoring the interruption. “He totally made a pass at me, in front of Lucy. She was devastated.”

“Total douchebag. Never liked him.”

“Lucy kicked him out, but he somehow has my number and he’s been texting me, trying to get me to go out with him. I finally said yes.”

“But what would Lucy do if she found out.”

“She’s the one who convinced me to do it.”

“I don’t think this martini is going to help. She downed her drink and coughed. “Otro martini, por favor,” she said in a very white accent.

“Lucy wants revenge, and she’s convinced that I’m the one to do it.”

“So the plan is to make him fall in love with you, and then what? Dump him?”

“Something like that. We want to humiliate him and totally emasculate him for what he did to poor Lucy. She deserves better than the few jerks she’s managed to find over the years.”

“And getting revenge for yourself never crossed your mind?” Natalie asked shrewdly.

“Me get revenge? That’s absurd! He hurt Lucy, not me!”

“No, but revenge on men, any man. I don’t believe for a moment you enjoy dating women. When you do go out, it ends up being platonic most of the time. When you do end up in bed, it’s because you had a couple of drinks too many. No, you haven’t given up on men, per se, but rather you’re trying not to get hurt again.”

“Who’s being absurd now?”

“Still you,” Natalie replied. “Hey, if you want to make this guy your bitch, I’m behind you all the way. I hate it that girls like Lucy get run over all the time by assholes like him. I just don’t want to see you hurt.”


“Yeah, you. In spite of your crusty exterior, you’re a bit of a romantic and totally waiting for your prince. Just be careful, okay?”

“Sure,” Ana said. “Maybe we should let it go, huh?”

“You should, but maybe – and this may be the drink talking – but maybe there’s a way to humiliate him without resorting to making him fall in love with you.”

“Well,” Ana smiled mischievously, “he did send Lucy a rather compromising photo of himself, and she forwarded it to me.”

“Do tell?”

“It involves him, buck naked, with what can be described as a less-than-impressive endowment.”

“I like where this is heading. Are you suggesting we post it online?”

“Why not? Men are always posting revenge porn pics of their exes? Why can’t we?”

“Because it’s morally reprehensible, that’s why, so we better do it before I sober up and officially know better. Do you have his picture? I’d like to see what he has?”

“Sure, here it is,” Ana deadpanned as she handed Natalie her cellphone.

“Let’s see this guy tiny…OH MY GOD! THAT’S MY DAD!” Natalie yelled as she threw Ana’s phone back at her.

“Revenge, bitch!” Ana laughed maliciously. “That’s what you get for getting me drunk and having my make out with my cousin in the dark! I told you I’d get you back!”

“You did,” Natalie moaned, the image of her naked father scaring her psyche. “Maybe I’ll make you sleep with your mother.”

“Nope. I think we should agree that the whole incest angle should be retired before one of us ends up giving birth to our own sibling.”

“Agreed, besides, I have something even more evil planned.”

“We already agreed nothing illegal.”

“Well, drats. Then I’m out of ideas. You win.”

“Good. I guess that means you have to do my laundry for a month?”

“Best two out of three?”

“I don’t think so,” Ana laughed. “I won fair and square. We can start a new game next month, once my laundry is done. For now, I think I’ll savor my win and gloat. Ernesto? Dos tequilas and your phone number for the lady. I think she deserves a consolation prize.”

Short Stories

Next story – On the losing end
Previous story – The Cheater

Book Review: The Birth of Vengeance

The holidays are over, and we are at the beginning of a new year. So to all of you, Happy New Year! To start of on the right foot, I have a great book for you all. The Birth of Vengeance, by Paul Ross. You can follow him on Twitter @rossywrites.

frontcover tbov

When I began reading The Birth of Vengeance, I quietly wondered what the story was about. To begin with, you meet Jonathon Harper, a rather unremarkable young man, nearing the end of his school career, and looking forward to beginning college. His is a life which takes a turn for the worse when he’s becomes the target of a local gang of bullies and thugs, causing him to lose his one and only friend, and making him and his father flee his hometown for his safety.

It isn’t until several chapters on that he meets Thorn, a beautiful and dangerous woman, held captive and forced to be the subject of government experiments, and oh yeah, she’s a vampire. Once he is able to free Throne, the real story begins. Vengeance, then, is another entry into the burgeoning, and I would say over-crowded genre of Vampire literature.

So what makes Vengeance unique? We’ve seen vampires as heroes and we’ve seen vampires as villains. Thorn, at least in this novel, is neither. She’s content to be, to exist and co-exist, to feed and let live, only killing when she senses her victims mean to do her, and others harm. Not quite virtuous, but not entirely evil in a classical sense. Which is not to say she has a strong moral code.

She begins to mentor the weak and pathetic Jon, teaching him, molding him to become a man, to fight and to stand up for himself. Aided with a serum developed by Thorns captors, which when injected, gives the injectees vampire-like strength and aggression, Jon learns to fight, and begins a campaign to seek revenge on those who tormented him. In the end, this becomes a test. Jon has to prove his devotion to Thorn, and his worthiness of becoming a vampire.

The Birth of Vengeance is an easy read. Nothing remarkable about it, which is not to say it’s not worth checking out. It may not have the broad commercial appeal of a Twilight Saga, or the upcoming Vampire Academy, which in my book makes it even more appealing. This is not some lame, tween vampire romance novel.

What it is, however, is a coming-of-age story, where the protagonist must learn to face his fears, to grow up and take charge of his own destiny. He is forced to make life-altering decisions and accept the consequences of said decisions, and I’ll admit that I felt a grim sense of satisfaction whenever he meets his former tormentors.

Vengeance is a good, solid story, that should appeal to those who would like to enjoy a casual read. It’s entertaining, with some dark moments which are resolved in a satisfying manner. I wholly recommend you read it.

List of Book Reviews
Next Review – Crimson Return
Previous Review – Firstborn