[ uhr-tih-KAY-shuhs ]
- Relating to a nettle.
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, painting, dance move—inspired by the word, urticaceous, where does it take me? Where does it take you? Learn more about “The Word” here.
If an alien took a look at my life, they’d no doubt conclude that the sole purpose of my existence is to find as many different ways to kill a person as possible and to then do it—and they wouldn’t be wrong.
“Minister,” I say with a bow, and the tall man in uniform bows back… just an inch. We shake hands, and I move on. He has no idea who I am, and there’s too many other people jostling for a second of attention for any of the big-wigs to care who I am. Good.
These events always make me think a little bit about my life. I’m virtually invisible to these people, and yet, at the same time, I’m the most important person they’ll come into contact with tonight. The part those aliens would find particularly disgusting is that I enjoy this place I’m in. I enjoy this purgatory-like existence.
“Madam.” I give another bow and handshake. She gives me a polite smile, the kind you give an old friend whose name you forgot. Don’t want her giving me too much thought, though, so I allow another attention seeker to push her way forward.
“Madam President,” the woman says with a hint of a German accent, giving a deep bow. “So nice to meet you. I’m Heidi…”
And I’m gone, on to the next one.
Some major movers and shakers here tonight, and they are all having their last meals and drinks. They just don’t know it. Other nobodies will be among my victims tonight, unfortunate casualties, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
My final target is entertaining a small group of men in tuxedos or fancy military garb. I’m not one to wait for the best opportunity to open up, so I go join the conversation.
The gods seem to be on my side tonight as I join at the end of some joke. Probably wasn’t even a funny one, but as always, the less important pine for attention by giving it to those more important. Again, they don’t know that I’m the one they should be giving their attention to.
“Mr. President,” I say, holding out my hand. “It’s a true pleasure. Arthur Gross, assistant to the British Prime Minister.” He takes my hand, gives me that same polite smile, and the magic begins. He doesn’t feel the glove I’m wearing. I made it that way. Feels and looks just like skin.
No choice now but to make introductions to the rest of the President’s fawning group. One by one, small, tiny spikes, like microscopic splinters, scrape and scratch their skin. The toxin that goes with it will take effect in about an hour.
So many handshakes tonight.
I guess I could’ve just focused on the targets I had, but… oh well. Gotta play the part, and if I avoided a handshake, it might’ve given me away. Probably not, but at the end of the day, I’m just fulfilling my purpose, and this new method has gone above and beyond my expectations.
Time to ditch this party, ditch these gloves—carefully—and get creating again. I wonder how I’ll top this?
Went a little dark with this one! I first had the idea of a spy of some kind, but it morphed in my mind to this sociopathic assassin. If he kills a few people that he doesn’t need to, oh well…
I was trying to think where this could go. Could there be a way to turn this horrible person into a redeemable character? Is there some way to make a reader, an audience, care for or feel for this character?
One way is with a tragic backstory that twisted this poor soul into the man he is above. Eh. Been done, right? I think it would be a little more interesting if he is genuinely a sociopath who doesn’t care at all about anyone or anything. Then, trying to come up with a circumstance that makes us feel like it’s a good thing he was there.
For instance, what if there’s some major threat, and perhaps the only thing he truly cares for is his own life. This could be enough motivation to cause him to save the world. He’s got the skills, and he’s recruited to do what no one else can.
What do you think of Urticaceous?
How would you make people root for this terrible person in some way? If this was the beginning, how would you turn him into a character we want to see succeed?
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did urticaceous or my story take you?
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