A piece of flash fiction. In more ways than one!
The security guard looked up from his monitor with a frown. There had been something… The barest flicker of motion. Close enough that had it been out there, he’d have been able to see it through the glass of the lobby. The facility was closed, it being a holiday and all, but there was security round the clock, and there were a few die-hard employees on site as well. Including the one he looked at as he stood.
“Hold the fort, Mother,” he was mostly joking.
They all called her that, had since before he’d started working there four years earlier. She looked like a mother, or a grandmother, with fluffy white hair haloing a surprisingly unwrinkled face, other than the generous laugh lines which set off her bright blue eyes. Those came into play now.
“A stray cat, Stephen?” She scanned the nearly empty parking lot, shimmering under the heat of the sun.
“Probably,” He admitted with a shrug. “Still, I can take a look, there’s that one corner I’m not happy with.”
She nodded emphatically. “I did put in that purchase order for a stickum camera. It should be here next week. I’m glad you caught that, Bill never did.”
Stephen, who had only started at the front station a week before, caught himself practically digging his toe into the rug and flushing. Next, he’d be saying ‘aw, shucks?’ He straightened. She had that effect on him, and he’d noted, watching the traffic in the lobby since he’d taken the post, that she did that to many of the people who passed through the doors.
“Be right back.” He was a little brusque with this embarrassment fresh on his mind.
She had already returned her attention to her monitors, angled so she could see them, and the doors. He pulled one of them open by the chrome rod handle, and stepped out into the sweltering heat. The blind spot was just at the corner of the building, where the office element flowed into the fabrication hangar, and he headed for it, his head on a swivel while he walked.
The shimmers of the sunlight pounding on concrete made him squint. Nothing moved, not even birds. It was oppressively hot, and he could feel the beads of sweat already. Even the summer uniform didn’t help, over the bulky armor he had to wear on duty. He stepped around the corner, and the shots came as a surprise, a one-two blow to the solar plexus.
They came through the tall double doors two at a time, four of them wearing black balaclavas, body armor, and black submachine guns held steady. She had seen them coming, but declined to stand, or even show emotion.
“Can I help you?” Her voice was even, icy, slowly measured in every word.
“Buzz us in.” One spoke, his voice a rasp.
He swung the gun to bear on her head. “Now.”
“I think not.”
She dropped under the desk like a puppet with it’s strings cut, and with a flashing roar the front of the desk blew out. The tremendous concussion shattered all of the glass, and took the legs out from under the attackers, and in the silence that followed the explosion, there were black rags and red all over the shimmering glass sparkling in the sun nearly out to the parking lot.
She stood up slowly, her ears ringing. One of the ragged bundles twitched, and there was a gurgle she could barely hear.
Stephen, a hand to his bruised chest, wheezing, staggered into sight.
“What,” he gasped, “was that?”
“Oh,” she patted the desktop affectionately. “Mother’s little helper did come in handy.”
My prompt this week came from Leigh Kimmel, with ““Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones” and I played fast and loose with it, since the song lyrics put me off.
I prompted AC Young with “The dusty, empty, shelf”
You can read all of the prompt responses, and take part in the challenge yourself, over at More Odds than Ends.