An Oligarch’s Safari (1,000 words)

This is a work of fiction and should not be taken seriously by anyone. Also, it’s a pretty massive departure from my usual subject matter. It’s for a flash fiction challenge at Chuck Wendig’s blog, TerribleMinds.


Sitting in front of the fire, feeling content as I sip from a glass of scotch, my butler enters and informs me that a new shipment has just arrived.

“Thank you,” I say. “Please prepare my things. I believe I’ll head out for a short while before bed.”

He’s referring to the supply for my expensive little hobby. The annual cost is in the millions, but there’s no comparable thrill. Fortunately, there has never been a better time to be a business man here in the good old U.S. of A. The news may warn of dangerous Socialist plots every night but I know better. My company owns the station– the last news station still allowed to broadcast anywhere—because in my grandfather’s day, the news was always a great concern. Bad publicity was bad for the bottom line. But those were the old days.

I down the remainder of my drink and walk down the hallway to my bedroom. In the corner is a chrome pole that runs from the ceiling and down through the floor. I had it installed a year ago to speed up trips to the ground level– to the armory. I climb on, gripping it loosely and slide down, enjoying the feel of the air whipping up my robe.

The room was designed with the Batcave in mind, from the movies I loved as a child. I’ve grown up considerable since then, but I still like to imagine myself as a real-life Bruce Wayne. Fighting criminal and low-lifes with the power of the almighty dollar!

My gear is camouflaged, except for the Kevlar vest and padding that I’ll wear beneath everything else. I shed my robe, pause to admire my toned, naked body in the mirror for a moment, then put everything on.

The helmet is my favorite piece. For my day-to-day purposes, it’s probably overkill, but it looks great and it came with night-vision built in. The belt has a holster for a pistol and a large hunting knife, which I equip myself with, along with a high-powered rifle.

The back door opens to the outside, in the rear half of my estate. Parked by the door is a golf cart. I climb in and drive towards a large expanse of dense forest, which stands out sharply when you fly overhead, because it’s a perfect circle in the middle of acres of neatly trimmed grass. It’s also surrounded by a 15-foot high electrified fence, which is topped with strings of barbed wire.

Once there, I flip a switch on my helmet to turn on the night vision, verifying that there’s nothing hiding near the gate. Satisfied, I use a specially designed program on my phone to open the gate. Inside, I use it again to lock it and turn the current back on.

With the new shipment in, I have to tread carefully because there are at least eight targets in the vicinity. Typically they’ll cluster together until disturbed, not straying far from where they were dropped.

It would be easy to just sidle up nearby and fire from point-blank range, but the cunning warrior attacks in stealth. I have a series of forts built into the trees and I climb one to better survey the area. My gear makes the climb moderately strenuous, but years of practice have toned my body perfectly for this. Even the bitter cold air can’t slow me down.

With the aid of the night-vision, I spot my targets quickly, exactly as I had suspected—huddled together near the gate. Other times I’ve snuck up close to them, so I could listen. It’s always the same dull conversation though.

“Where are we?”

“Why did they bring us here?”

“Think the fence is really electric?”

Sitting and talking. It’s all they’ll ever do unless you put a gun to their head. That’s why these bums, these layabouts, are in this predicament. It’s what allows us to have them swept off the streets and brought to the various hunting grounds of the new aristocracy. In a way, this is probably good for them.

I take aim with the rifle, lying on my belly to get a better angle. I settle on a target with long hair—probably a woman—who’s facing away from me. She’s sitting, curled up with her arms wrapped around her chest. It never ceases to amaze me how clear this scope’s view is. I can even tell that she’s shivering.

I notice a pleasant tingling in my groin and then take a second to readjust myself before training the site back on the woman’s head. I lick my lips and gradually press down on the trigger. Finally, I pull down hard and watch as she lurches forward, with blood spraying in every direction. I grin.

A few of the other targets dash off instantly, like the shot marked the start of a race. Two of them just stand there, scanning futilely in the dark for their assailant. I pop one of them square in the chest and the other finally goes loping through the trees, off to my right.

I sling the rifle over my shoulder, its strap holding it up like a backpack, and leap down to follow my prey. He’s slowed by his inability to see the trees and I catch up with him quickly. I draw my knife and lunge forward into his back and plunge the blade into his neck. He tries to cry out, but the only sound is a loud gurgling. I then stab him repeatedly in his back, until he stops making noise, and wipe the blade off on his clothes before returning it to its holster.

I start to look around for the others when the clock’s alarm in my helmet goes off. It’s midnight and it’s going to be a busy day at the office. I resolve to finish after work, if I still have the energy, and make my way back home for a satisfying night’s rest.


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