To Kill a Raven
It took me all of one night to become a living legend in my home town, and this is how it happened.
Hi, my name is Violet. I worked at Fredric's Pizza Parlor, baking pizzas left and right most nights. But that night was the weekend, which meant we were especially busy. So, staying true to my nickname of 'Master Pizza Slinger', I was slinging pizzas with the skill only lots of practice can give. My younger sister was in her normal spot right across from the counter where she could watch me work. You see, our parents are rarely home, leaving me to take care of Madison. She was born with no control over her legs, forcing her to be wheelchair-bound her entire life. Not that it bugged her in any way what so ever.
In fact, most days, it was easy to forget she couldn't walk with what she managed to regularly do.
Anyways, my best friend Raven walked in in the middle of a rush, so I didn't see her until I passed out her pizza. And because of the rush, we didn't speak a word before I moved onto other pizzas that needed attention. She went and sat beside my sister while I continued pushing out pizzas till the rush was over nearly an hour later.
Finding myself suddenly free of anything that needed done, I glanced over at my manager, James. "You're good, Violet. Enjoy your break." He said smiling, giving me a small nod.
"Thanks!" I called back, bouncing over to one of the registers to clock out. Once done, I made my way over to the table where my sister and Raven where still sitting. I took quick note of the uncomfortable expression on Madison's face, and narrowed my eyes as I focused on the black-haired girl opposite her. "Raven, what did you tell my sister." It was more a statement then a question, but it was enough for her to lock her pure black eyes on my own brown ones.
She gave me a playful smirk. "Just a thought I had on how to get the cash you need to help your sister walk is all." My eyebrow shot up at that. I knew Raven. And when she had an idea to get cash for something... To say if the law knew even half of what she'd stolen, she'd probably have a life sentence by now. She shrugged, leaning her head to the side, but not once did her eyes leave my face. "Come on, you know you wanna."
I rubbed my face with my hand. "...Raven, remember how you promised that if I didn't mention the fact you steal constantly to the cops, you'd 1; not even try to rope me into your plans and 2; keep what you steal to small stuff? Cause I do, and this seems to break both of those at the same time." My voice, while remaining firm, had taken an edge at the end.
Raven pouted. "You're no fun..." She muttered, before giving a sly smirk and leaning her head back while looking at me out of the corner of her eye. "Tell me, how much do you care for Madison?" I glanced at my sister, noting she refused to look me in the eye. Instead, keeping her eyes locked on the table.
Turning, I leveled a glare at Raven. "Raven, stop this game now." I growled quietly, not liking the look she was giving me. "My sister is off-limits, and you know it."
"Now, see, I think what you need is a ...push in the right direction." I shot a worried glance at my sister, then James who was watching. He knew about Raven, and had promised me he'd keep quiet unless he deemed she'd gone too far. "So, if I take into account how much you love your sister, proven by you labeling her as 'off-limits' for my little 'games', it's clear I could easily use that against you." I turned back, glaring daggers at her smirking face. "Struck a nerve there, didn't I." She shifted, allowing me to see a pistol in her hand under the table for a moment before it was hidden by her jacket pocket. My eyes widened as her smirk grew.
"You get it now, Violet dear? You refuse me, you lose a sister. Now, be a good girl and grab the bag under the table. You should know what to do. Once you're done here, meet me and sister dear in the white van outside." In that moment, as my shoulders slumped in defeat, I decided I hated that smirk of hers with a vengeance. Slowly, I reached under the table and grabbed the large black duffle.
I stood back up and met Raven's smirk with a glare before I sighed. "...You know I'll never forgive you for this."
She shrugged. "I beg to differ. Now, come on Maddie dear, let's go wait in the van while Violet dearest does her part." With that, she stood, keeping the pistol hidden in her pocket as Madison glanced to me with glistening and sad eyes that said 'I'm sorry' before wheeling herself toward the door, followed by Raven.
I turned and locked eyes with James.
He had a phone in his hand, ready to call 911. We both knew she'd gone way too far this time. When he saw the fear I'm sure was in my eyes, he sighed before setting the phone down. Five minutes later, I'd broken into the safe using the tools in the duffle, and filled it with all the cash. James, who was currently laying on the floor as my hostage spoke quietly. "I'll give you five minutes before I call the cops. Good luck with her." We'd had a quiet talk about what she did this time before I held up the pizza parlor, so he was aware of what was going on.
"Thank you, James. And goodbye." With that, I walked out the door, pistol in hand and duffle over my shoulder. Parked right in front of the door was a white, windowless van. The driver door was open, the passenger seat empty, and it was idling. Glancing into the back, I saw Raven had strapped my sister into a seat by the sliding door on the other side of the van, her wheelchair was folded up in the back, and Raven herself was behind the driver seat. But she was openly holding the pistol pointed at Madison now.
"Well? What are you waiting for? Toss that pistol in the bag and give it here!" I growled as I followed her instructions before sitting in the driver seat and gunned it, peeling out of the parking lot and down the road. "Head to the highway, then turn east. I don't want to be anywhere close when the cops show up. Oh, and if the cops stop ya..." She giggled in a way that wasn't sane. "Well, it's goodbye sister dearest." I growled at her. She was enjoying this way too much for my liking.
In the next town, we hit a diner.
The town after, a theater.
The one after that, a bank.
All in all, what Raven made Madison count up to that point was $ 3,792,578. You can thank the bank for having nearly 3 million dollars in its vault. But because Raven chose that one, we've had the police on our tail for the last seven minutes, and she's just laughing her head off as I worked my skill with the wheel. It didn't take much longer for me to lose them, before turning east again.
At about five in the morning, the GPS trackers that had been in the cash from the bank had been tossed, and we were just entering the outskirts of some large city I didn't bother catching the name of when my sister spoke up for the first time. "Raven, how long is this gonna last?"
She giggled. "It'll be over when I say it's over. But, I think we almost have enough for what we want." I remained silent, glaring at the road ahead.
"And what, exactly, is it that 'we' want, Raven?" She asked, a slight edge entering her voice.
Raven laughed. "Well, to get you walking, Maddie Dearest."
"...And if I don't want to walk?"
I could almost hear the gears in Raven's skull screech to a stop. For the first time since I met her, she sounded sane. "What the F- is that supposed to mean? Of course you want to walk! I've seen how you look at others, yearning to do what they can!" Then she laughed, leaving that moment of seeming clarity lost to the past, as if it never existed. "That was a good joke, Maddie dearest, you really had me going there or a second!"
"...But it's true..."
I blink, having not expected to hear Madison say anything like that. Raven hadn't either, apparently, and was not happy. "...Shut up, and stop being stupid."
Madison's voice took a hard edge. "It's true. Yes I watch other people walk and wonder what it's like, but I don't care about walking myself-"
"...Shut up, shut up..."
"-I've been in a wheelchair as long as I can remember, and I don't want that-"
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Raven screamed, losing what little sanity she had. I hoped Madison knew what she was doing...
"-to change, ever! I want to stay in his chair, with Violet for the rest of my life!"
Raven laughed hysterically. "Ah, it really has been fun, buuuut..." Her voice dropped to a growl. "You're pissing me off." I heard the click of a weapon being cocked, as Raven's voice turned chipper. "Goodbye, Maddie dearest, it was nice knowing you." At that moment, the van slammed into a large truck parked on the side of the road, causing the shot to miss. I was praying Madison would be all right as the van tumbled in so many directions, I couldn't keep track of which way was up.
Finally, the van came to a stop. Slowly, I reached down and released the seatbelt, giving a small yelp as I fell to the other side of the van. I carefully got on my hands and knees, trying to avoid as much of the broken glass and sharp edges as possible. My ears were ringing as I climbed around the passenger seat, the vehicle having come to rest on that side. Raven was currently unconscious, hanging limp in her seat.
Madison groaned, catching my attention. The side of her forehead had a small goose bump, probably from banging it on the side of the van. I quickly got her buckle off then glanced over her seat. One of the van's back doors hung down from the driver side swinging back and forth while the other wasn't anywhere I could see.
Madison's wheelchair was also missing. Cursing, I turned back to my sister. "...Violet... Your head..." I felt her hand brush my forehead. Suddenly, I realized I'd somehow gotten a cut.
Smiling softly, I brushed my thumb on the unbruised side of her head. "I'm fine. And you'll be too, Madison. But we need to get out of here." I stood, carefully lifting her over my shoulders in a fireman's carry. Glancing around, I grabbed the pistol I assumed Raven was holding earlier, but couldn't see the duffle bag.
I staggered out of the van, and down the road. And right as I turned the first corner, I heard it behind me.
I heard the laughter of someone who was insane.
The sound sent a shiver up my spine, spurring me on faster. I stumbled, almost falling. Madison latched on to me, before relaxing as I recovered my footing. A gunshot echoed from behind me as I heard a bullet whiz past my head. I immediately ducked into a construction zone and into a half-built multi story building, the whole way chased by Raven's laughter.
"Oh, Violet dear, where oh where are you hiding?" She called in a singsong voice. I gave no response as I looked for somewhere to hide, working my way up till I ran out of floors.
"D- it," I muttered, setting Maison in a dark corner behind a pile of barrels. "Madison, stay here, and stay quiet. Let me deal with her..."
"No buts! I mean it, I can't lose you!" I whispered sternly, locking my eyes on hers till she nodded. "Good, I'll take care of this as fast as I can, ok?" She nodded again as I smiled at her, trying not to let a tear drop from my eyes as I slipped away.
Just moments later, Raven reached the top of the stairs. Her footsteps echoed off the bare walls. Well, what walls were there to begin with. I'd had just enough time to cross to the other side of the empty space and hide behind some other barrels, able to see her between two of them. I noticed she had the duffle in one hand.
"Oh, Violet dear, you can run, and you can hide, but I'll still win this." She called, still in that sing-song tone, her voice echoing through the partly built space. I watched as she looked down at the ground... Then smirked as she turned toward the barrels Madison was behind. I looked at the ground at her feet, and only then saw the trail of red droplets on the ground leading straight to my sister...
I stiffened, before jumping the barrels and charging her. She whipped around and fired two rounds at me, one grazed my cheek while the other went through my leg, dropping me to the ground. I glared up at her as she stepped over to stand above me. "I told you I'd win, didn't I Violet dear?" It was now, that for whatever reason, I noticed she was swaying back and forth, as if she were drunk. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go deal with your dear sister, and then I'll get back to you. After this, I'll make sure you never disobey me ever again." She kicked me in the side, laughing as I gasp for air, watching, helpless as the girl I once saw as a friend walk toward my sister's hiding place.
I rolled to my side in an attempt to stand, and felt a lump in my pocket. "Hia, Maddie dearest, I'm sorry we got interrupted earlier, but now I'm here to finish what I started. Good-" She was interrupted by the report of the pistol in my hand, as her back and chest started turning red. She gently touched her chest, turning to look at me, her hand soaked with blood. Then, slowly, she fell forward, her hand outstretched toward me, the other still gripping her pistol. Faintly, I heard the sounds of sirens.
Unsteadily, and painfully, I limped over to Madison and put her back over my shoulders before slowly limping my way back down to the street. Eventually making it to the corner close to the van, I set my sister down taking note she'd fallen asleep. "I'm gonna go now, Madison. Take care." I smiled sadly at her sleeping form before limping away, ducking into an alley long enough to rip a piece of cloth off my shirt and tie it around my leg, almost stopping the blood for now. An ambulance shot past, and I glanced out and watched as it screeched to a halt by Madison, quickly loading her up.
"See you later, sis." I turned and walked away from the flashing lights, a sad smile on my face, and tears dripping off my cheeks. I limped for several minutes before pausing to watch the sun rise over this city, whatever it was called. Something blue caught my eye, and I turned to see a police officer leaned against his cruiser, enjoying what looked to be a steaming cup of coffee.
I sighed. It was time to face the music, it seemed, as he had just noticed me watching him. I limped my way over as he straightened, setting the cup on the roof of his car. I could see his eyebrow raise as I stopped in front of him.
I looked him in the face, with my tear-stained cheeks and sad smile, and asked one simple question. "Excuse me Sir, where do I turn myself in?"
Written by Ennelly Von Swortts.