“The Cleansing”-Flash Fiction Challenge

This was my assignment: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/05/flash-fiction-challenge-the-first-half-of-a-story-only/

This is the result: the first 500 words of a story for someone else to finish later…
The Cleansing
Anthony Armstrong

Fire was the only thing that would cleanse this sin. Jon shattered the man’s back window using the “Saddle Up For Jesus” sticker as a target. As glass crumbs rained over both men, the thud of the monkey-wrench against safety glass still reverberating in the air, the rain stopped. One minute, it was a downpour, Jon’s hair hanging in sharp points over his crazed eyes, cold rivulets coursing down his back. The next minute, a break in the clouds, heat already burning up the pavement and evaporating the rain. It was as if God was saying “Yes, Jon. Torch that motherfucker,” and Jon yanked the man’s collar, dragged him out the truck’s back window with one hand, thumbing open a bottle of lighter fluid with the other. Jon had no idea who the man was, but he knew what he had done. It was the sticker, “Saddle Up For Jesus,” that tipped him off. How many blue Ford trucks with that ridiculous sticker in the lower left corner of the back window could there be in town? All he could see through his rage was the memory of this truck, that fucking sticker and the back of his daughter’s head through the back window as the truck drove away.
The man kicked, half-formed words tumbling out of his mouth, desperate to free himself from Jon’s fist as he was birthed from the busted window cesarean-style. Jon ignored his pleas as he dropped the man into the bed of the truck and hopped up over the edge. “Where is she?” he asked, jetting a stream of lighter fluid into the man’s eyes. The man sputtered, jerked his head violently, but remained silent. “Where is she, asshole?” Another blast of the caustic fluid.
“I don’t…I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The man spit. Shiny runners of saliva wiggled as his head rocked side to side. “I don’t know what you’re…she who?”
Jon planted his knee, backed up by two-hundred-fifty pounds of muscle, bone and anger, in the middle of the man’s chest. A loud ‘whuff’ of breath plumed from between his rubbery lips. “Wrong answer. I recognized your Jesus bullshit sticker.” He ended his sentence with a downward shove of the knee. “So tell me, Jesus-boy…what did you do with my daughter?”
Another denial.
A hard slap to the face.
“I’ll give you a couple choices. First choice, you tell me the truth. Second choice, you keep stumbling over yourself, not answering my questions and I bust all your fucking teeth out with my monkey-wrench while you burn.”
“I’m telling you, man. I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
More lighter fluid. But this time, Jon presented a match and flicked it to life with his thumbnail.
“Hey! Hey. Alright, man. Alright.” Jon waited patiently as the man squirmed, spit, struggled for breath. “It’s just…”
“Just what, man? This match is getting awful hot. I think I might drop it.”
“There’s something I have to tell you about your daughter.”


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