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Chance by TanyaSimoneSimpson

“Evan, have you forgotten how to count again?”.

Chance leaned back in his chair, fingers steepled in front of him, levelling an impenetrable gaze at the young man standing in front of him. Evan’s posture shifted to something more feline, flirtatious, and as he opened his mouth to respond, Chance cut him off.

“Don’t. Even. Try. You’re a smart boy, Evan. You should know by now that look doesn’t work on me. Just hand over the money and go be pretty at someone who cares”.

Evan sighed and with an almost imperceptible roll of his eyes, reached into his back pocket and pulled out the notes he had been hoping to keep in his possession. He leaned across the desk, skirting around the edges of Chance’s personal space, and set the cash down.

“This look works on everyone, Chance. Everyone”.

“Well, I’m not everyone, am I?”.

“You are most certainly not”, and with a wink and a smile, Evan turned and sauntered across the office and out the door, probably on his way to seduce some naïve soul who would soon learn a valuable lesson about recognising a triumph of packaging over content. If Chance had been capable of having a soft spot for anyone, he would have had one for Evan. Not because of the boy’s expertly cultivated seductive demeanour but because of his apparent lack of conscience. Chance appreciated that in a person. It was useful, or at least it could be when it was on his side.

After locking Evan’s takings in the safe, Chance scanned the CCTV monitors. He took his job seriously in as much as he refused to have his work complicated by arrogant, careless dealers. He wasn’t particularly interested in what they were selling or who they were selling to but when they were selling in his club, they better not cause any trouble. The ones who did were only stupid enough to do it once. Nothing encouraged good behaviour like a private encounter with Chance’s special brand of ice-cold education. He wasn’t one for percussive retribution, but his hands were surprisingly strong and quick to find their way around the throat of anyone who didn’t conduct themselves appropriately.  He spoke quietly, always, which somehow made him all the more terrifying to anyone foolish enough to get on the wrong side of him.

Later that night, Chance slid the third bolt across the door, locked the heavy padlock and headed out into the damp autumn air under the subdued haze of streetlights shrouded in mist. According to people whose life experience hadn’t frequently reassured them of their own invincibility, this wasn’t a good part of town to walk through alone. There were dangerous people here, doing dangerous things, and Chance was usually one of them. He wasn’t a particularly large man, although what there was of him was sinewy and solid. He walked with a slight limp from one of the many times his father had exploded in an uncontrollable, drunken rage and Chance had been unfortunate enough to be within kicking distance.

The shattered kneecap was far from the only, or worst, injury his father had dealt him. His chest, back and arms were littered with scars from cigarette burns, although to be fair his mother was responsible for at least half of those. She would cry while she burned him, telling him it was his fault for ruining her life, for making her do it. His father, on the other hand, showed no emotion whatsoever even when he aimed a claw hammer at the face of his ten-year-old son. Despite his size, Chance had the slight advantage of sobriety and moved swiftly enough that he managed to live through the impact. It took three surgeries to repair the damage and he was left with a scar that ran through his top lip to balance the one that split his left eyebrow, another gift from his father.

His face was a map of a hard-travelled road and his pale eyes had stared down death enough times that physical pain was at worst an inconvenience and at best, evidence of survival. He neither rejected it nor craved it and he had learned too early in life that to fear it brought only weakness and vulnerability. He took no pleasure in inflicting pain on others but he didn’t exactly avoid it either. Guided by neither a desire to harm nor a desire to help, his primary motivation was simply to get to where he was going with a minimum of obstruction. Any obstruction that found itself in his path was dispatched efficiently as he continued on his way.

When he reached the darkness under the bridge where something like karma had intervened in his life at the age of eleven, he stopped to offer his usual prayer to a god he didn’t believe in. “Keep them in hell, where they belong”. He allowed himself a quiet moment to remember the night when everything took a turn for the better, when a stranger with a gun had stepped out of the shadows and demanded his parents hand over anything of value. His mother was too drunk to argue and his father was too drunk not to, so it hadn’t ended well for them. When the man sneered, “Who do I shoot first?”, Chance calmly took a coin from his pocket, flipped it in the air, caught it, then pointed to his father and answered, “Him”.

As the boy's parents lay dead at the side of the road, the man hurriedly went through their pockets with a level of expertise suggesting that this was not his first mugging. In the spirit of the event, Chance offered him the coin. The man shook his head and said, “No, kid. Keep it. And go. I’m giving you a chance here”.

And in that moment, as the pool of blood crept closer to their feet but wasn’t quick enough to touch them, a name was given and a life began.

I dithered about posting this here because it's part of a bigger project and I haven't posted any other parts of the project on DA, but I think this works as a standalone piece. Also, here's a content warning to go along with the Mature Content tag. The main character in this story has had a very fucked up life, not least due to his parents’ abusive actions. It’s physical and emotional abuse, not sexual abuse, in case that makes a difference to how OK you are with encountering it in a fictional setting. That subject matter is in there, in a fair amount of detail, so please make an informed choice about reading. Thanks.

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For the month of January 2017, I'm writing a piece of flash fiction every day based on a set of prompts. You can see a list of the prompts and links to the stories on my blog, here. I'll be posting the pieces at TanyaSimoneSimpson.com first, followed by DA a few days later so you can read them in either place depending on how long you want to wait. Obviously I'd love it if you visited my blog cause that's where all my writing and lots of other stuff lives so a wider audience there would be awesome, but I'm happy to share with my DA family here as well.

Some of my written work tends towards the darker side of things so for the purpose of posting it on DA I'll be applying the Mature Content tag if I think there's any chance at all that any of the content in a story might not be suitable for younger readers. I'm generally massively over-cautious about this kind of thing, partly because I genuinely do not want to upset anyone and partly because I don't want to be on the receiving end of the bile and rage that is sometimes directed at people who work in more subversive creative genres.

If a Mature Content tag isn't necessary as per DA's guidelines but a story contains themes or details that it may benefit people to know about up-front so they can make an informed choice about reading without risking being retraumatised, the appropriate content warnings will be included in the description of the piece.

I love having the opportunity to share words as well as pictures and I hope you enjoy reading my creations :heart:

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TanyaSimoneSimpson.com
:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2017
A flip of the coin decides our fate- such is life and its a great way to introduce us to Chance.
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:icontanyasimonesimpson:
TanyaSimoneSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2017
I feel like he's going to show up a few more times. He kind of lives in my head now and I'm waiting for him to tell me more of his story :)
Reply
:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2017
I hate it when my characters tease me with their story but decline to fill me in on all the fun details.
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Submitted on
January 24
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