Flash Fiction: Miranda (part 1 of 4)

eva_green_casino_royale

Eva Green in Casino Royale feels like the right face for this role.

This week’s Flash Fiction (as brought to you by Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenge) is a 1000 word beginning to what will eventually be a 4 part story.  The basic idea, as I understand it, is to write 1000 words and then swap sections with another author, or maybe just play musical chairs or something.  Technically I wasn’t supposed to make any sort of ending, but instincts kicked in and I started wrapping up the story before I really knew what I was doing; fortunately, I left things wide-open enough for someone to continue where I left off without too much trouble.  So, without further ado, enjoy!

(Edit from 2/20/2015: CJ, over at cjreader.com, has picked up this piece and written part two.  It’s great!  You can find it over here)

***

Dearest Charles,

It takes 31 separate steps to set up a proper party, or so Mother always said.  She spent so much time nattering on about how best to do this or that, I don’t know whether she realized that I tuned her out nearly every step of the way.  It wasn’t that I hated her, though I did a little at the time, it was just that there were always things that seemed more important for me to pay attention to.  I think she’d be pleased to know that I’ve come around these days, that I now treasure some of the things she tried so hard to drill into my head.  I’ve only really held onto the most important ones, I think, and a few of the ones that she repeated too many times for me to forget.  What, you ask, brings this to mind today?  The most important of my mother’s lessons: always have fall guys, always have alibis.  I really do think she’d be pleased by how much I’ve put that lesson to good use.

Mother always seemed so concerned with maintaining a good standing in polite society that I never realized just how deep a game she was playing until she had passed.  Who, after all, would suspect such a peacocking spendthrift socialite?  Not even I put all the pieces together until I received her letter.

Nothing quashes carefully calculated youthful rebellion quite like discovering simultaneously that your mother has died in a yachting accident while traveling with high society friends in the Keys, and that your mother has actually been working since before your birth as an infiltrator, spy, saboteur, and assassin.  Oh, and that the yachting accident was definitely a cover story for something a bit more grim.

But back to the fall guys and alibis, Charles, I’m sure you understand where this is going.  I’m afraid that this little message is nothing more than a trite fare-thee-well.  If you’re reading this, it’s because I already own your systems.  I’m afraid that they’ll all start a truly magnificent re-write process shortly, and there will be no trace of this message for you to share with anyone.  Nor will there be any way to prove that you didn’t erase all your hard drives in a failed attempt to dissuade the really very nice officers that you didn’t actually have anything to do with that child pornography ring.

I’m sure you can try to tell your side of the story, but conspiracy tales and protestations of innocence from rich men caught next to child porn only go so far.  And, of course, if you say the wrong things to the wrong people, you could face a number of things far worse than jail time.  I do hope you enjoy your last few moments of freedom.

Love and kisses,

Payback’s a bitch,

-Miranda

***

Miranda watched the monitor program she had running on her laptop, operating her man-in-the-middle attack on Charles Goming Webbling.  The photo upload he’d just attempted to make from his phone was already being processed and sanitized.  She shook her head, smiling silently.  He really should have realized that she wouldn’t have given him any message if she didn’t already have everything it took to prevent that message from getting out.  The federal agents had already been apprised of the “situation” and were en route.  She felt a little bad for them, given that her step-father’s private security goons might actually try to start a gunfight, but that would only help to sink her step-father even faster.  Fitting, given that he’d sunk her mother by tying her to a lead weight.

It helped that her step-father had never realized that she’d figured out his role in her mother’s death several years earlier.  It was amazing just how much more sense her mother’s re-marriage made in the context of her mother’s investigations.  Her mother’s apologies to her, for everything from Charles to Miranda’s lack of friends… even as she’d done her best to train Miranda to take her place some day, she’d still clearly wanted to give her daughter something like a regular childhood.  Or, at least, something similar to one that would still be useful to a future spy.

Miranda’s mother’s employers had been pathetically eager to speak with her once she made contact with them.  It had been almost child’s play, really.  They were so frightened of the possibility that Charles Webbling and his business associates were all in bed with ASPIRE that they were willing to do anything to work with the daughter of Lucretia DiMercurio.  Miranda thought that their obsession with her mother’s progeny was nearly as creepy as the clandestine bio-engineering eugenics programs that they were so eager to oppose, but her current benefactors were still useful.

Sighing, Miranda rubbed her eyes gently and leaned back from her computer as news of Webbling’s arrest began filtering out to media sites.  She stood up from her desk, beginning her quick stretching sequence to limber up after spending so long sitting, and then wandered over to the big whiteboard that she’d attached to the wall.  With a feeling of elation bubbling in her chest, she drew a thick line through Webbling’s name.  There were still three more of his cohort to go through.  One of them had to have the links to those ASPIRE techno-eugenics bastards that her benefactors were looking for.  And even if they didn’t, she smiled, she still had the perfect excuse to ruin their lives in revenge for what they’d done to her mother.

A jaunty Christmas jingle started running through her head, and she grinned as she altered the words.  “She knows when you are sleeping, she knows when you’re awake,” her voice filled the small room as she hummed her way through the next few bars, focused on the names remaining.  “Mi-ran-da is coming to town.”  She smiled, toothily.

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One response to “Flash Fiction: Miranda (part 1 of 4)

  1. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge: The Four Part Story [Part 3] | grymmramblings

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