An Axe to Grind
By Hope Sullivan McMickle
Copyright 2008 Hope Sullivan McMickle
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John Warren squinted in the glare of the late morning sun and watched the girl stagger across the grocery store parking lot. He leaned forward on his perch in the deer blind he’d installed in the tall tree beside the university library, slowly adjusted the focus on his binoculars, and studied her for a long moment. She appeared to be an ideal candidate. Despite her unwashed and tangled blonde hair and flaking purple sparkle nail polish, her lithe body was still somehow graceful. A thin gold bracelet glinted above her right ankle - a glittering bauble above dirty bare feet. He lowered the binoculars and raised the barrel of the AR 15 - not yet modified to fully automatic although he supposed he’d get to it one of these days - until the girl was framed in the crosshairs of the sight. She wore a black silk halter top above a pair of high-cut blue jean shorts faded nearly white. A spattering of blood partially obscured the rose tattoo on her left shoulder, trailing back to the gaping maw where her throat had once been.