Rob Does Words
Treating fiction poorly since 2019


She called herself Fiona. It wasn't her name, but she liked the sound of it better than what she was really called.

She had been in town for a little over a year now; an immigrant although you wouldn't know it to look at her. She fit right in. She was tall, a little over six feet, with pale white skin and strawberry blonde hair. Most of the men she had met since moving here called her skinny, and she could tell that it wasn't a compliment when they said it.

Her eyes were a dull brown and her nose was just slightly too big for her face. She knew she wasn't going to win any beauty pageants, but she liked how she looked and usually dressed herself to accentuate her best features, whatever they happened to be on any given day.

On this day, a warm one at the tail end of summer, she wore a thin knee length sundress, with thin shoulder straps and maybe more chest showing than was absolutely necessary. But it was nice out, and she was in a good mood. She wasn't going to let their stares bring her down.

It was a little after 9 in the morning when she left her small flat, leaving two kittens mewling for food and attention behind the front door.

“Don't worry,” she cooed through the keyhole to them as she locked the door. “I’ll be back soon and I’ll give you lots of cuddles then, OK?”

She skipped down the path to the front gate and let herself out onto the street. Looking first to her left, and then to her right, she hesitated and hummed as she tried to decide which way was better for the things she had to do today.

“This way,” she said firmly, turning to her right and walking off in that direction.

The town Fiona lived in was not big. It was bigger than the place she had come from, but she hadn't travelled much and to her, this town was as big as a city. She had dreams of going to an actual city - there were several within a days bus ride from here – but she hadn’t actually done so yet; even though she didn't work and spent most of her free time in her flat coddling her two small kittens.

She had moved here a year ago on a whim. There was a small university nearby and this meant the town had a large number of people around her age. She was happy to be able to blend in. To not be noticed as she wandered across the campus, used the library, sat in on lectures. While she was, technically, a student here, she hadn't enrolled in any classes. She would, she always told herself. Soon. Tomorrow maybe. But tomorrow became yesterday and she still didn't.

Today was not any different. She made her way to the university campus and headed to where her friends, or the people she thought were her friends, would be. They weren't necessarily waiting for her, but she liked to think about it in those terms.

The student council building, where Fiona was heading, was hidden between two larger buildings: the main Engineering building and the English building. She always found it amusing that those two were placed so close together. She never understood why they were or why she found it funny, it was just something that tickled her.

Coming around the near end of the Engineering building, the double floor student building appeared in front of her. On the upper floor was the actual council space. Every month the council had their public meeting and Fiona had gone to several, although she found them dull and uninteresting. She mainly liked the theatre-esque room they were held in. She felt like an audience member watching some Shakespearean tragedy, or a Greek play.

Today, though, she was heading for the lower level. There were rooms that were meant to be for quiet study along with several food stores, a cafe, and, at the back, a bar. Her friends would be in one of the study rooms playing cards, or getting drunk. In her experience, no one actually used these rooms for study.

She let herself into the building with her student card and quickly bought herself a bottle of soda and a chocolate bar before heading into the usual study room her friends congregated in.

They all looked up as she entered and a few of them said hey as she found a spot around the large table they were seated at.

“What’s happening here?” she asked as she soaked in what they were doing.

“Rick and Jason have been playing for three hours now,” a girl nearby said. “Neither of them can get any advantage.”

Fiona watched as the two men eyeballed each other, each of them with a hand of cards and most of the rest of the deck sprawled on the table between them. She recognised the game as one they all played fairly often, usually with more people, but games between two or three people weren't unheard of and long games weren't uncommon. But three hours was almost too exhausting for her to think about.

“Are you guys doing anything later?” she asked. “I got nothing on tonight.”

“We might head down to the bar after these guys have finished, Paulie’s brother’s band is on stage at 8, I think.”

“I don't think I've met Paulie,” Fiona said, furrowing her eyebrows.

“He comes and goes,” one of the other people at the table said. “He hasn't been around for a while. But, yeah, he’s back in town. He’s a bit weird, but decent enough.”

“If you say so,” the girl said. “His brother and his friends, the band, they're a lot better than he is, cuter too, if you're into musicians.”

“At this point, who aren't you into, Carlie?” the other person said to a round of giggling from the other people.

“Shh,” Rick said, looking up at everyone. “No distractions.”

“It’s your move,” Jason reminded him.

“Yeah, I know. I have a move ready.”

“Then play it,” at least four people said at once.

“OK OK,” Rick said and picked up a small stack of cards in front of him, before laying down one of his own on another small pile. He looked up at Jason, who looked confused, and smiled. “Your move,” he said with an air of confidence that Fiona knew was mostly bluffing.

“Eight, you said?” she asked Carlie.

“Yeah, if you wanna get in for free as one of Paulie’s friends, get here about six. Otherwise it’s, what, $15?” she asked the guy who had roasted her before.

“Something like that, yeah. Should I tell Paulie you're coming?” he asked Fiona. “Who knows, could be the man of your dreams there.”

“I’ll be there,” Fiona said, smirking at the young man across from her. The two of them had been dancing around each other for several weeks now and she was almost ready to let him take her out. Not quite yet though. “OK, well, I’ll see you guys later,” she said, standing. “Don't let the game go on too long.”

“Oh, it won’t,” Rick said. “I have him right where I want him.”

“If you say so,” Jason replied.

Fiona giggled a bit and smiled at the other man before winking at him and leaving the student building.

She spent the rest of her day running the few errands she had been putting off before heading back home, as promised, to cuddle with her kittens again. She spent the remaining time before heading back to the campus preparing a nice outfit to wear. Something decent, but cute. Eye catching, but not overt.

She ended up in a knee length denim skirt over black leggings, and a white button down under a nylon jacket with a big fluffy collar. She nodded at herself in the mirror one last time, making sure her makeup was correct before grabbing her purse and keys and heading back out into the street.

She was half way, more or less, between her house and the campus when the black van rolled up beside her. She looked casually at it as the side door opened and a tall man in a long black coat got out.

“Hello,” he said, his voice deep and friendly.

“Hi,” she said.

He stepped towards her, and before she could move, whipped a small club out from the sleeve of his coat, cracking her on the head once with it and gathering her limp body and placing it gently in the van before sliding the door closed behind him and driving off.