Windfall: Dungeon Battles, Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of a multipart fantasy serial, new chapter every week.

Chapter 4: Maria Wilder

Maria Wilder

Maria Wilder was one of 4 college students living in the main section of a subdivided rental that used to be a fairly large home, but through the creative application of plywood and deadbolts, had been turned into a “5-plex” by the landlord. She didn’t mind most of the time, as the rent was cheap, and the other students living with her were all good friends. But it was moments like tonight which made her wish she had her own apartment. The house had no laundry. Well, pretty sure it used to be the room she was staying in based on the capped off water and drainage pipes by her desk, but yeah, no laundry. She spent a bit of the morning studying, but her motivation ended some time around 1pm, and she had been hanging out, lemonade flavored booze, and smoking whatever bits of weed she could find in the paraphanelia pile near her dresser. She had put off the drive to the 24-hour laundromat in the nearby strip mall as long as she could, as it was very likely that one more trip to either her fridge or the dresser would leave her without the motivation to do so.

Sniffing at her last wearable shirt caused Maria’s face to wrinkle, and gave her the motivation needed to pull herself out of the black hole of a saggy couch and off to her room to grab a couple of the laundry bags and out the door, offering a brief but unnoticed explanation to the others who dazedly sat in the black hole executing various fighting moves on the Playstation 2 game they were into. Maria had been watching but not watching for the past hour or so as a nice buzz had sunk in. Throwing the sack into the passenger seat of the car in the driveway, Maria slid in, pushing some trash wrappers off the drivers seat onto the floor, started the motor, and put it in reverse. The wagon was not her personal car, she didn’t have one of those, but was more of a community vehicle. She normally didn’t drive it because she didn’t like driving a stick, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Glancing quickly in her rear view to see there was no one behind her or coming down the sidewalk, she began to release the clutch, glancing down at her foot to try and get the feathering right, she found the sweet spot and the car lurched backwards quickly out of the driveway. Their house was on a pretty busy street, but there was a bike path that Maria normally backed into before pulling into traffic. This time was a little different, as when she crossed into the bike lane she felt and heard a thump on the hatchback. This was followed by a louder wet sounding thwack, a honking noise, and then the sound of brakes screeching. The order or specific understanding of these sounds wouldn’t come to Maria until later, because the next few minutes would be spent in shock.

Stopping the car and looking behind she saw nothing, but looking farther down the street where the screeching noise had come from, she saw a graffiti covered moving truck lit under a somewhat far away street lamp. Her section of street was pretty dark, as it sat between that lamp, and another earlier lamp which had been on the fritz. It wasn’t until Maria got out of the car that she saw the body.

A tall, dark haired girl wearing mostly black was sprawled unnaturally in the middle of the road behind and to the right of Maria’s car. The driver of the truck came out after securing their vehicle and stopped Maria from reaching down and trying to help the injured but unmoving girl with a shout. Maria backed up a few steps as the truck driver pulled out a flip phone and dialed 911, a puddle of blood was forming around what looked like a pile of gold coins that had fallen out of the girls bag. The man from the truck shouted something at Maria, but she didn’t hear. Staring at the spill of blood covered gold coins, the idea entered her head that she had run over a leprechaun, and the idea was so insane and inappropriate that Maria burst into laughter, tears streaming down her face. The man from the truck stopped shouting and looked at Maria in geniune fear and confusion, not fully yet understanding that the sound of her crazed laughter would ruin his sleep for years to come. He blamed Maria for backing into the girl, knocking her out of the bike lane and in front of his car, but he had been going about 20 over the residential speed limit. Maria couldn’t figure out why the pedestrian was in the bike lane to begin with, until she noticed the rollerblades on her feet. Maria’s chuckles died down and she sat down on the curb to cry properly, the sound of sirens in the distance, as the young girl with purple streaks in her hair bled out on the pavement.

Read on, Chapter 5: Voltha

Kevin Lohman, Software Engineer, Father, Story Teller, and former US Navy Sailor (who never set foot on a ship)

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