Today’s Friday Flash Fics inspiration was this fellow. It took me a while to figure out what his tattoo said, but once I did, I couldn’t help but think of Tyson from Triad Blood. So, this means this week’s Flash Fic needs a minor spoiler warning. This story, “Wrath,” takes place after David, Ethan, and Tyson have formed their pack. It’s also about twice as long as it’s supposed to be. Ah well.
“So how come you look older now?” Ethan said.
Tyson took a sip of his coffee. His first instinct was to dodge the question. His second was to lie. He swallowed, and forced himself to do the opposite. It was a habit he was having trouble with. And it still felt surreal to be able to speak whatever he wanted to say.
“This is pretty much what I default to,” he said. “I looked younger before because…” He paused, not sure how to put it.
“Because it would piss off Curtis better? You looking younger made him madder at what that guy did to you?”
That guy. Tyson nodded and took another sip. The cup also hid most of his reaction. Humiliation. Pain. Self-loathing. At first, he’d dismissed Ethan as the least of their odd triumvirate, but he was starting to realize both he and David had greater depths than they let on. Ethan was a sharp judge of character for someone so young. David knew people, understood how they thought, and could navigate their worst natures.
They’d been in Patterson Park for a few minutes, just sitting on a bench and enjoying a surprisingly warm Autumn day. A group of young men were throwing a frisbee, and one of them had brought a dog. The dog was chasing the frisbee as much as the men were, to less success. When some of the men had stripped off their shirts, Ethan perked up.
“Okay, a few possibilities there,” he said, narrowing his eyes slightly. “Nobody outright lusting after each other, but… some buried thoughts.”
“I think I’d have more luck.” Tyson nodded to one of the men, who was shorter than the others and hadn’t taken off his shirt. “That one is easily frustrated, and the one in the grey hat is making it worse.”
They watched in silence for a few moments longer. Sure enough, the grey hat wearer’s throws always seemed to sail just high enough to make the shorter man work twice as hard as the rest to jump and catch the plastic disk. The dog got the frisbee after the shorter man missed.
“Come here, pup,” Ethan said, barely loud enough for Tyson to hear, and a pulse of heat washed out from their bench.
Tyson looked at him, amused, then watched the dog react suddenly to the allure. It turned almost ninety degrees and ran right up to their bench from across the field, hopping up with its front paws in Ethan’s lap and licking his face. The frisbee dropped to the ground, and Tyson leaned down to pick it up.
“Hey buddy.” Ethan rubbed the dog’s neck, and it continued to lick him. Large, adoring eyes and a wagging tail completed the effect.
“Saint. Down, boy. Saint!”
The shirtless man in the grey hat–he was handsome, and muscular–had chased the dog. The dog didn’t obey in the slightest. Tyson noticed the man had words inked on his skin.
The sight of the tattoo gave him a moment of pain. Ethan glanced at him, one eyebrow rising just a little. The dog, for his part, continued to ignore the man.
Tyson shook his head. He didn’t like that Ethan could sense things from him. The way tattoos disturbed him, for example. He eyed the man’s arm again, and this time he read the words.
Psalms 7:11 – God is a righteous judge, a God who shows his wrath every day.
Wrath. Tyson could feel the man’s frustration. The dog was ignoring him, and he wasn’t used to that. He drew a little on the man’s anger, just a sliver. It was as refreshing as the coffee.
Ethan smiled slyly, looking up at the man. “I think he likes me better than you.”
The man did not like that assessment at all. Embarrassment was a kind of anger, too. He scooped up the dog in strong arms, lifting the animal bodily away from the two of them.
“Sorry if he bothered you,” the man said, not sounding remotely sincere. He turned and carried the dog away from them.
Tyson rose, and waited for the man to put the dog down and realize his mistake. When he did, Tyson felt more of the man’s anger shimmer to the surface. Tyson threw the frisbee back across the field, with a strength born of his demonic nature.
To his credit, the shirtless man in the grey hat gave it a solid leap. But the frisbee sailed an inch or two above his reach. That the shorter man was the one to catch it before it hit the grass was an unexpected bonus.
The flare of anger that raced between the two players was palpable to Tyson, even from where he stood at the bench.
“Poor dog,” Ethan said. “That guy’s an asshole.”
Tyson nodded, sitting down again. “Want to take him down a few pegs?”
“Hell, yes.” Ethan grinned. “I didn’t think you’d ever loosen up.”
Tyson tried a smile of his own. It felt a little closer to genuine than any he’d worn in a long, long time. “Any thoughts on where you want to start?”
Ethan shook his head. “You lead. I’ll follow.”
Tyson eyed the shirtless man who appeared to find wrath something of a virtue. Tyson’s hand rose to his chest. The remnants of the chains that had kept him bound for decades were still there, but they held no power any more. Freedom took getting used to.
Time to practice.