Edward Jones, slowly flipped through the open folder lying on his desk. It was a pointless act, since he knew its contents by heart. Still, it gave him a few precious minutes to compose his thoughts, before telling the couple sitting in front of him, that their daughter might soon die.
Closing the folder with a sigh, he removed his glasses and placed them carefully to one side. Looking up, he folded his hands in front of him and said, “Mr and Mrs Hartaway, it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I don’t see a thing I can do to help you.”
Mr Hartaway looked down at the desk top. A plump, balding man, heading into his fifties, he tried very hard not to let anyone see the tears forming in his eyes. Mrs Hartaway, a heavyset woman in her forties with brassy hair and feral eyes, looked across the desk at Jones, like some half wild beast. A mother desparate to protect her child, her bright, probing, eyes burned into Jones, like a searchlight on a moonless night.
“What do you mean you can’t do anything”, she snapped. “You’re the moderator in this case. All you have to do is snap your fingers and the whole things is over. I can’t believe that you would even consider letting a girl barely 18 years age engage in a duel to the death! What’s wrong with you people anyway?”
“Mrs Hartaway”, Jone’s replied, spreading his hands before him. “I wish it were really all that simple, but I am bound by the laws governing these cases. As much as I hate this, your daughter is legally an adult and as such is entitled under the American Duelling Act of 2013 to challenge and fight anyone she wishes. If it were up to me, I would refuse this challenge in a minute, but even if I did, it would just be reauthorized by the appeals board.”
“She only turned 18 a month ago”, Mr Hartaway said, looking up and speaking for the first time since they had entered Jone’s office. “Isn’t there any sort of waiting period on a crazy thing like this. I just can’t believe that two teenage girls can come down here and say they want to duel to the death and our government just says, OK.”
“I’m sorry”, Jones replied, “but the law is clear. Anyone 18 years of age or older can challenge any other competent adult to a duel. The only other requirements are that both of them be in comparable health and of roughly equivalent skill level. In the case of your daughter and the Thompson girl, Ellen, the medical board has ruled them to be in excellent health As for skill level, neither of them has had any formal training at fighting whatsoever. That makes them equal under the law. I can’t find any grounds to legally deny their request. I tried, believe me, I’ve tried. There’s simply nothing left.”
“What’s left”, Mrs Hartaway snapped, “is a grown man who plans to lock two beautiful young girls in a room together stark naked and leave them there until one of them is dead!” Half rising from her chair, Mrs Hartaway, trembled with anger until her husband reached gently over and pressed her back down into her seat.
“Its not his fault darling”, he whispered, “This was Julie and Ellen’s idea, not his.”
“Have you spoken to them”, asked Mr. Jones. “Surely you or the Thompson’s can talk some sense into one of them. After all, if either one of them refuses then the duel is off.” “We tried”, Mr Hartaway, replied with a sigh. “We talked and screamed and begged, but it like shouting at a wall of stone. Both of them are convinced that this Davis boy, Jim, is the great love of their lives. Neither of them believe they can live without him and have vowed to fight each other to the death to for him.”
“That’s just you’re typical teenager talk”, Jones smiled. “They always feel that about their current love interest. In one month, maybe two, neither of them will even remember his name. Can’t you get them to delay this even for a little while. I bet even a short delay would allow this whole mess to just blow over.”
“We tried”, Mr Hartaway, said with a catch in his voice, “God knows we’ve tried, but they just won’t listen. Everytime I talk to her, she just rolls her eyes and say, ‘Oh daddy, you just don’t understand.”
“Well then there is nothing we can do, but let them go through with it”, Mr Jones said as he closed the folder. “Still, things may not be a bleak as you might think.” As Mr and Mrs Hartaway looked at him, he smiled and said, “Lots of people have these romantic notions about dueling, but the truth, is its as ugly, nasty business. Its one thing to dream about fighting all comers for your one true love. Its another matter entirely to find yourself, shivering and naked in a small room with another shivering naked person and the threat of eminent violence hanging in the air.”
Leaning forward, he continued, “we don’t advertise this very much, because we want people to consider dueling a serious matter, but the fact is very few duels ever actually take place. Usually, the hour passes and when the door is opened two cold and embarassed people come walking out out of the chamber without ever having laid so much as a finger on each another. That occurs nearly 50% of the time. I’ve actually had people apologize to me for not killing each other. Its laughable really. I just tell them to forget about it and go on home. They walk out the door and I never see them again.”
“In those cases where the opponents do fight, it is still unusual for someone to get killed. The simple true is that most people don’t like fighting and aren’t very good at it. All it takes is a bloody nose or a split lip and the whole thing is over. That happens in about half of the cases, where anything happens at all.”
“But that means that about 25% of the time, they fight until someone does die”, Mr Hartaway, said with a worried frown etched on his face.
“That’s true”, Jones, acknowledged as he sat back in his chair. “There are cases where people have deepseated grudges or major differences that no amount of talking will solve. Many of these could easily end in murder, if it weren’t for the availability of the dueling chambers. That was why they were created in the first place after all. To keep otherwise decent people from going to jail for situations that might never occur again in a life time. Still, in a case like this one, I think we can probably hope for the best.”
“I guess we’ll have to”, Mr Haraway said in a somber voice. Rising from his chair, he turned and took his wife’s hand. “Come dear, we wasted enough of Mr Jones time for one day.”
“No waste at all”, Mr Jones hastened to assure them. “I’m just sorry there isn’t anything more positive I can do to help. The duel is scheduled for tomorrow morning I believe?”
“Yes at 9:00”, Mrs Hartaway replied as she stared into the distance.
“Are you coming to witness it”, Jones asked, dreading the answer.
“Yes of course”, she answered, “If our little girl has to fight for her life tomorrow, then we have to be here for her, no matter what happens.”
Reaching the door, the Hartaways left. Jones sat down again and stared at the folder a few moments, before dropping it on the stack to his left. So much pointless misery, he thought, so much pointless misery…
(The next day…)
The next day, Mr and Mrs Hartaway were at the dueling center by 8:30. Julie had arrived earlier, driven there by her best friend. An attendant, dressed in a white uniform lead Mr and Mrs Hardaway to a small, dark, room, with nothing, but a padded bench bolted solidly to the floor. The bench faced a thick glass wall, looking into a small white room. The walls of room beyond the glass appeared to be covered in vinyl pads.
“What’s this”, Mrs Hartaway asked as the attendant motioned them inside?
“This is the witness room for the challenger”, the attendant replied.
“Why is so dark in here”, Mrs Hartaway continued?
“The viewing window is tinted glass”, the attendant replied pointing to the glass wall. “By keeping the lights bright in there and dark in here, you can see the duelists, but they can’t see you. The glass looks just like a mirror from the other side. It allows the witnesses to watch without distracting anyone in the other room, during the duel.”
“What about noise”, Mr Hartaway asked?
“The glass is actually, two sheets of plexiglass, each of which is over an inch thick and separated by a small air space. The duelists can’t here any sound you make and you can’t hear them.”
“Oh”, Mr Hartaway, replied as he turned away and stared out through the glass.
“There is one more thing I have to tell you”, the attendant continued. “Federal law requires that we to lock the door to this room, before the duel begins. We are not allowed to open the door again until after the duel is finished. Frankly these things can get upsetting for family members. On a personal note, I would like to advise you not to stay. Mr Hartaway looked hesitant for a second, but Mrs Hartaway turned and said, “We’re staying”, in a voice that would brook no argument.
“OK then”, the attendant replied, “I’m required to ask.”
Turning he quietly left the room and a minute later, Mr Hartaway heard a small click, as the lock was turned. He noticed with a shudder that there was no handle on this side of the door.
Stepping up to the window, Mrs Hartaway, ran her fingers down the cold glass and then stepped back and sat down, folding her hands neatly in her lap. After a second or two, Mr Hartaway joined her and they sat in silence, just waiting in quiet terror.
After a few minutes, a small door opened in the room and Julie entered the chamber. At eighteen, she was somewhat on the tall side and coltishly thin. Her dirty blonde hair, lighter that her mother’s, fell loose about her shoulders and hung half way down her back. Her young breasts were small, but firm, riding high on her narrow chest. In the chill air of the dueling chamber, her nipples quickly hardened to thick, pink, points.
She’s so thin, Mrs Hartaway thought. She ought to eat more. Mr Hartaway swallowed and looked up, seeing his only child pacing nervously back and forth, naked, in front of the glass. He hadn’t seen her this way since she was 12 and his eyes couldn’t help but follow the firm, young, muscles rippling in her tight behind, or notice the wispy batch of blonde pubic fur growing from between her shapely legs. He sat in silent horror as below, he felt his manhood stirring turgidly to life.
My god, he thought, I’m getting turned on by the sight of my own daughter, and now when her life may be in danger. What’s kind of animal am I, he asked himself. Guilt washed over him like a great black wave, but his penis continued to jerk and twitch with a life of its own, as his eyes wandered over the pale white body of this woman-child that had so suddenly appeared before him.
“Where are the Thompson’s”, Mrs Hartaway sniffed. “I can’t believe they care so little for their own child, that they would miss this”?
“Wha…”, Mr Hartaway, replied his mind snapping back to the present.
“Oh they would be in a room just like this on the other side of the chamber.”
“Why don’t I see any glass then”?
“Uh, that’s because there is a partition in the center of the room that separates the two combatants before the duel begins. I read all about it, in the brochure.”
Mrs Hartaway, was about to ask another question, when the lights in the room beyond the glass flashed red three times very slowly, then, almost faster, than the eye could follow, the far wall vanished and Julie was no longer alone in the chamber.
Standing across the room, in front of a floor to ceiling mirror, was another nude girl. Ellen was also tall and lean, but a little shorter than Julie. Her hair was a light shade of brown, and her skin was covered in freckles, like some teenage tomboy fresh from a baseball game. Her breasts were a little smaller and her hips a little wider.
The two girls instantly locked eyes on each other…Julie’s green eyes, staring deeply into Ellen’s grey.
Hands at their sides, they each took a small, hesitant step forward, looking at each other, like it was the first time they had ever seen each other.
Hands clasped in his lap, Mr Hartaway began rocking back and forth, praying silently,…please….please, don’t let this happen. Let them argue, let them cry, please let them do anything, but fight. Please don’t let this happen…
Mrs Hartaway, watched as the girls drew a little closer. Ellen is not nearly pretty as my Julie, she thought. What could that boy possible see in that flat-chested, little slut?
Stopping several feet away from each other, Julie said something. Mr Hartaway couldn’t hear what she said through the thick glass, but he could see her lips moving in profile. Ellen’s face hardened, and she took another step closer, wagging a finger accusingly at her rival as her lips formed a soundless reply.
That’s it, that’s it…he chanted to himself, just talk. You two can just talk this thing out, nothing here to fight about, just keep talking.
As he continued to watch, Julie spoke again, her lips moving silently beyond the tinted glass. Her reply was short and from the set of her lips, probably harsh.
Ellen put one hand on her left hip and stepped a little closer, her head coming up as she spoke again, her tiny chin jutting out at her rival.
After a moment, Julie put her hands on both hips and swaggered closer, her small white teeth bared, her eyes flashing with anger and hate. Now the two girls were almost touching.
Talk…talk…Mr Hartaway pleaded in his thoughts. That girl,s face isn’t even pretty, Mrs Hartaway remarked to herself silently. She looks boyish if you ask me. The girls were almost touching now, their slim bodies swaying back and forth, their firm young breasts, just inches apart. They began to step around each other in a tight little circle. Their angry faces screaming at each other as they made violent motions with their hands. It was like watching a kettle come to a rising boil.
Suddenly, Ellen reached up and slapped Julie across the face. Her small hand, leaving a angry red mark on Julie’s pale cheek. Everything froze for a moment in shocked silence.
Taking half a step back, Julie touched her tender cheek and looked up again, almost in wonder, then quickly, like a striking snake, she slapped Ellen back, knocking her rival back a step with the force of the blow.
With a soundless scream of rage, the two young girls threw themselves at each other. Their slim, pale, bodies, slamming together with sicking force. Fingers leapt to hair and legs curled around legs as they tangled themselves together and slipped to the floor, locked in mortal combat. With a helpless groan, Mr Hartaway covered his face with his hands, as beyond the glass, the death fight began. Trapped together in a tangled ball of naked, writhing, flesh, the two girls rolled across the floor of the chamber, the battle reflected back from the mirrored wall.
Long, powerful legs, kicked and twisted together as slim but strong arms, tore at hair and scratched bare flesh. Turning over and over, like some crazy human top, the two fighting girls, rolled over and over, ripping at each other furiously. Clumps of blonde hair mingled with brown on the floor as nails left long ragged scratches down pale white skin.
“They’re fighting…they’re fighting”, Mr Hartaway wailed in a small lost voice.
“Yes, they’re fighting”, Mrs Hartaway, replied with a growl, “and our Julie is going to KILL that man-stealing little slut!”
“KILL HER! KILL HER”, she screamed as the two girls battled each other soundlessly from beyond the glass. Fighting in a tight knot they rolled into the far right corner and broke apart, as they struck the wall. Hoping against hope, Mr Hartaway watched, as the two lay on the floor gasping for breath after their frantic struggle. Hope quickly faded as the two girls climbed slowly to their feet and began to stalk each other in the tiny little room.
The initial damage was frightening. Both were covered in shallow, but bloody scratches. A huge purple bruise was forming under Ellen’s right eye, where Julie’s small fist had struck with love scorned fury. Julie’s nose was bleeding slowly as was her split, lower lip.
Crouching, the two slim, young women, circled each other closer and closer. Their hair hung down wildly about their faces as they stared at each other with expressions of murderous hate.
Hands held high and nails out, Julie leapt forward, clawing with one hand for Ellen’s face. Ellen slipped quickly to the left and grapped for her rival’s flowing, blonde, hair, but was too slow as Julie skipped back out of reach. Ellen darted after her, claws reaching for Julie’s soft, young, breasts. Julie quickly slapped her rival’s hands aside and raked her left nails down Ellen’s tangling right boob.
Ellen screamed and clutched her injuried breast with one hand, while driving her left fist deep into Julie’s stomach. Julie quickly doubled over and Ellen seized her hair in both hands before bring her knee up full into her rival’s face.
Mr Hartaway, could almost imagine the sound of crunching cartilage and bone as Julie dropped backwards onto the padded vinyl floor. Grinning demonically, Ellen moved forward, straddling her fallen enemy as she bent forward to seize her by her breasts. Her face covered in blood, Julie howled silently as Ellen’s nails sank deep into her tender boobs. Grabbing at her rival’s hands, Julie’s foot shot up and planted itself hard in Ellen’s exposed snatch.
In a soundless scream, Ellen stumbled backwards and fell, clutching at her injuried sex. Julie was up in a flash and lunging at her enemy. Ellen rolled to her knees only to have Julie land fully on her back, taking them both down to the floor again in a tangle of flailing limbs.
Julie wrapped her long, pale, legs around the waist of her rival as the left arm snaked across Ellen’s throat. Ellen’s hands quickly shot up to try and pry the arm away, but Julie hung on with grim determination as her right hand slipped forward and began to crawl the brunette’s right boob.
Struggling slowly, Ellen twisted left, then right, her face distorted with pain as she alternately tried to pry the arm from her throat and pull the clawing nails from her aching breast. Reaching back and upwards, she tried to scratch for Julie’s eyes, but the blonde kept her face down, making it hard for her rival to find her mark. Finally Ellen hit on another plan, one hand darted down and behind, sliding down Julie’s hard, flat, tummy until Ellen’s questing fingers found a fine batch of blonde fur. Curving her nails into vicious hooks, she savagely racked her rival’s cunt, sending the blonde scuttling backwards with a soundless wail.
Swarming up and on top of her now, Ellen pounced on her rival. Straddling Julie’s stomach, Ellen first clawed at her opponent’s breasts and then wrapped her strong fingers around Julie’s throat.
Mr Hartaway, sat in stunned silence, like a man watching a wreck in slow motion, at the events unfolding beyond the glass. Somehow the silence made the whole thing feel distant, like a bad dream that was barely remembered upon awakening. Quietly he watched as Julie began to choke and gag while Ellen sat atop her, glaring down as she slowly throttled her rival.
“Kick her, bite her, tear her tits OFF”, Mrs Hardaway screamed as she beat her clinched hands in her lap. Julie, struggled on the floor, as Ellen leaned over her, her small breasts hanging down and dripping sweat onto her rival’s reddening face. Tighter and tighter she squeezed as Julie’s heels pounded the soft vinyl floor. Julie’s hands flew to Ellen’s breasts and her nails quickly began to scratch and rip at the brunette’s delicate boobs. Ellen gritted her teeth in agony as Julie’s long red nails covered her breasts in ugly, bloody, marks.
Determination burned in her clear, gray eyes as she only squeezed harder, making Julie’s tongue hang from her mouth as her face began to purple.
Suddenly Julie’s right hand, sprang from Ellen’s breast and raked viciously down her enemy’s face. Ellen sat bolt upright as if jolted with electricity. Releasing Julie’s throat, she covered her face with both hands. With a surge of returning strength, Julie threw her to one side, where she lay rocking back and forth with her hands still covering her face, as Julie crawled away, gasping for air. Sprawled on the floor, the two hurt girls, lay apart from each other. Julie’s color was returning and she slowly got to a sitting position, her legs half crossed in front of her.
A few feet away, Ellen crawled to her knees and sat up dropping her hands from her face.
Mr Hardaway’s stomach did a slow roll as he saw the blood pouring from Ellen’s right eye. Mrs Hardaway crowed with delight as Ellen fingered her face and screamed noiselessly when she realized her right eye was GONE. Getting her right foot under her, Ellen’s face swiveled from left to right, until her good eye spotted Julie sitting only a few feet away from her. With a howl of rage, she threw herself onto the blonde, carrying them both back and onto the floor. Tumbling over and over the fight resumed, as Mr Hardaway closed his eyes and simply wished he could die.
Battling wildly, Ellen forced Julie onto her back and clutching her around the waist with both arms, began to fight her way up Julie’s twisting body biting and scratching all the way, like some wild animal.
Julie squirmed in her grip, clutching at her hair and kneeing her in the ribs and sides, but the pain seemed only to enrage her rival and lend her new strength. Ellen worked her way higher until he r questing teeth found Julie’s right breast. With a vicious lung, she snapped forward, her fine white teeth closing over Julie’s small, pink, nipple.
Julie, screamed and threw Ellen to one side. Sitting up as blood jetted from her right breast. Ellen turned her head and spit something onto the floor. It took Mr Hardaway several seconds to recognize what was left of Julie’s half chewed nipple.
The vomit rose in his throat and he dropped to his knees, retching loudly as his wife jumped to her feet and screamed in rage and horror.
Beyond the glass, Ellen was crawling toward Julie again. Julie spun on the floor and kicked her half blind rival full in the head with one beautifully formed foot. Ellen fell back to the floor, stunned as Julie flung herself forward and onto her downed opponent.
As Ellen rose on one arm, Julie locked her legs around Ellen’s waist from behind. Falling backwards, she jerked the brunette down and onto the blonde’s chest. One slim arm quickly snaked over Ellen’s throat. Locking her ankles around her rival’s waist, Julie gripped her wrist with her free hand, and began to tighten her grip around Ellen’s neck. Tangled again in deadly embrace,it was Julie’s turn to grin as Ellen slowly choked. Pulling on the encircling arm with both hands, Ellen squirmed and twisted in her enemy’s grip. Clinched tightly, they writhed on the floor together, two once lovely girls transformed now into blood soaked angels of death.
Realizing the futility of pulling on Julie’s locked arms, Ellen reached upwards, feeling for her rival’s face. Julie tucked her face down and into the niche formed by Ellen’s shoulder and neck. Ellen’s nails raked her head and pulled at her hair, but couldn’t reach her eyes.
Mr Hardaway looked up from the floor to see his wife’s face illuminated by the light from the glass wall. All compassion was gone, erased and replaced by an expression of unholy pleasure as she watched her daughter slowly strangle the “other girl”.
“She’s got her now”, she exclaimed, her hands pressed tightly against the glass. “Strangle her! Choke her! Throttle the life out of that little cunt!”, she screamed as she pounded the glass in her excitement.
Fighting fo r her life now, Ellen dropped her hand and reached back between them forcing her fingers between their clinched bodies until her fingers found course fur. With a wail, Julie released the choke hold as Ellen’s nails found her delicate sex and dug in, scratching and gouging. Half sitting up, she tried to scoot back, only to have Ellen turn and drop full on top of her. The brunette’s nails continued to maul her clit and vaginal lips, even as the blonde seized her rival’s hair and shook her head from side to side like a rag doll.
Ellen released her grip on Julie’s sex and her nails slashed forward, both hands finding her rival’s face. Julie held onto Ellen’s hair with one hand, while her free hand clawed for the brunette’s left eye. Nails clawed flesh and bodies convulsed as the two tore at each other and then fell apart.
They lay still once more now. Mr Hardaway looked up from the puke spattering his new pants to see them both sprawled face down, blood everywhere as their bodies shook and twitched like puppets on invisible strings.
“No, oh no, they’ve killed each other”, he cried, struggling to get to his feet.
“Shutup you fool”, Mrs Hardaway snapped. “She’s going to be all right, she’s just resting, that’s all, just resting.”
Lapsing into silence, they stood there, watching as the two slashed and mangled bodies of once beautiful young girls lay trembling on the cold floor.
Slowly there was movement. Julie was first, rising unsteadily to a sitting position and staring outward from two blood streaked sockets that had once held striking green eyes. Across the room, Ellen sat up too, her face now an bloodcaked and sightless as well.
Mr Hardaway trembled now, his heart pounding like some distant drum in his chest. The sickness poured out of him in gasping, wheezing breaths.
“My baby. My baby. Look what that dull-eyed, witless little tramp has done to my baby”, Mrs Hardaway howled as she struck at the glass with her fists.
At least its over, Mr Hardaway thought, there’s nothing left now. Nothing to do, but wait till they open the door and the attendants take them away to the hospital. Jones had been a fool he thought. In his heart Hardaway had known that there was too much fire and passion in his daughter to let this matter pass unmarked. If only the Thompson girl had been different, he thought bitterly. With surprise, he realized that his wife had fallen silent. He looked up and saw to his horror the events unfolding beyond the glass.
Sightless, blood falling in thick drops from their mangled faces, the two girls were beginning to feel around the room for each other. Blind and on their hands and knees, they crawled forward an inch at a time, supporting themselves with one arm, while the other made wide sweeps, searching for their bitter rival.
Hardaway looked down at his watch. How much time had passed, it seemed like forever. After an hour had passed the attendants would open the door and stop this terrible thing. To his complete shock, Hardaway discovered that only 18 minutes had gone by. Looking up just in time, he saw Julie’s hand brush Ellen’s as the passed near to each other. Turning toward the contact, they reached outward and touched each other. Moving forward, they gripped each other tightly, both reluctant to give up their hold as they worked their way closer together.
Clutching arms and legs and hair, they pulled themselves to each other and began to wrap themselves together. Exhausted, but driven by some animal urge to hurt and kill, they tangled their bodies together, slowly drawing each other into a tight deadly embrace from which no more than one of them could possible emerge alive.
Legs wrapped over and around each other’s body. Arms clutching bloody backs and sweat drenched hair. They twisted more and more around each other until Mr Hardaway could no longer tell where one blood soaked girl ended and the other began. Then, slowly and deliberately, they began to bite at each other.
Julie’s head moved inward, and she found Ellen’s right breast using her questing tongue. Her teeth quickly closed on the fat little gland and she bite down hard, shaking her head until she ripped a chunk from the savaged breast.
Mr Hardaway felt his stomach flip again but couldn’t look away. Ellen curled her head forward and down until she found Julie’s left ear and quickly bite half of it off. Julie jerked backwards and then surged forward again forcing her head under Ellen’s chin and pushing upwards as she searched for the brunette’s throat.
Ellen twisted her head free and pulled her chin in. Pushing downward, mouth open, she found Julie’s nose and bit down once more, snapping the tip off before Julie could react.
Julie angled her head back and caught Ellen on the mouth ripping her bottom lip wide open. As blood poured down her chin, Ellen turned her head to the left and forced her mouth into the cleft between Julie’s neck and her right shoulder. Julie arched right and found the corner of neck and shoulder on Ellen as well.
Winding tighter and tighter together. They strained against each other in this final embrace. Like two school girls trading secrets, they buried their chins into each other’s shoulders. Strong white teeth found soft flesh and began to bite and chew as each battled to open her rival’s throat. The struggle had gone beyond teenage attraction and petty rivalry. Now it was an animal struggle for mastery. A savage conflict from which only one could rise the winner, if indeed even one would survive.
Trembling bodies pressed and strained and then suddenly went slack. Crumbled like some worn and discarded dolls, they lay, locked together in bloody union. Mr Hardaway sank to the floor while his wife mindlessly struck the glass with her hands.
Time passed…no one moved. The two tangled bodies lay as if dead. The parents of a once beautiful young girl, too shocked to do more than breath. Finally the red lights flashed again and a door opened. Men in white suits entered the room. Adjusted to a diet of horror, even these stern men, paled at the sight which greeted them.
Moving forward, they pried the bloodied tangle of woman flesh apart and checked for signs of life. The Hardaway’s stood silent now, holding their breath in hope that something could yet be saved. The man kneeling over Ellen motioned for a stretcher to be brought. The man kneeling over Julie looked up and shook his head.
As Mrs Hardaway sank to the floor screaming and tearing at her hair, Mr Hardaway watched as the body of his once lovely daughter was placed in a bag, zipped up, and taken away.
Once the girls were removed from the chamber, men came with hoses and began to wash down the walls and floor. Behind them Mr Hardaway heard a distant click as the lock to their room was opened. Staring through the glass, he stared into space as his whole life washed down the drain in the the floor, along with his daughter’s blood…
(Three Months Later…)
Edward Jones, slowly flipped through the open folder lying on the desk before him. Like some old rerun of a bad television series, Mr and Mrs Hardaway sat once more before him. He couldn’t get the sadness of this out of his mind as he looked at Mr Hardaway’s lost and distant face and his wife’s half crazy, half crafty smile.
“Mrs Hardaway, I can’t believe you really want to go through with this. What’s done is done and there’s nothing you or I can do to change to past. Won’t you please change your mind.”
“What’s the matter Mr Jones”, she smiled. “Am I not a competent adult, choosing of my own free well to challenge a health rival of equal skill”?
“Yes that’s true, but this is nothing but revenge and a hollow revenge at that. Fighting Mrs Thompson will not bring your daughter back. Mrs Thompson felt like you did, she opposed that duel from the start. What can you possibly hope to gain by killing someone who has already suffered and shared in your loss.”
“Shared in my lose you say”, Mrs Hardaway replied, her smile gone brittle. “In case you haven’t noticed, her daughter is alive and mine is dead. I don’t think you can understand my lose.”
“Her daughter is alive yes, but is a blind and mangled cripple. It will take years of plastic surgery to restore her features to even a shadow of their former appearance. I’m not sure that she would agree that she got the better part of this sad event.”
“I don’t care if she agrees to that”, Mrs Hardaway snapped. “All I care about is that she’s agreed to fight me and that she’s done.”
“I don’t understand that either”, Jones replied.
Like a man talking in his sleep Mr Hardaway said, “My wife told Mrs Thompson that she would kill her daughter one night, if she didn’t agree to the duel. She knows my wife doesn’t care whether she lives or dies any more and thus is capable of anything. That’s why she agreed to the duel, to protect her child.”
“Is that true Mrs Hardaway”, Jones asked, his eyes gone hard and black. “If that is so, its a felony crime.”
“Of course not”, Mrs Hardaway smiled, her eyes gleaming in triumph. “That would be illegal, just as you say. But don’t ask me, ask Mrs Thompson, she’ll tell you the true….I’m sure.”
Jone’s closed the folder with a snap.
Looking up at Mr Hardaway, he said, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do.”
Mr Hardaway looked at at him a second and then looked into no where again. His voice distant and detached, he said, “I know, there is nothing we can ever do.”
The next day, Mr Hardaway stood again in the witness room. Like a bad dream that only comes back again and again, he stared out into the white room beyond the cold, glass. Timed passed like small drops of water falling from a leaking faucet and then a door opened and his wife of 23 years stepped into the room, naked.
Her strawberry blonde hair, shot through with streaks of grey, fell in tight curls around her neck and shoulders. Her heavy, sagging breasts rested just above her somewhat pudgy stomach. She stepped quietly into the middle of the room and turned to face the partition. He could see the dimples in her heavy thighs and the pale, rounded flesh of her fullsome buttock as she waited, hands on her hips. Suddenly the lights blinked red and just as if a magican waved a magic wand, the separating wall was gone, leaving only the mirrored surface beyond and Mrs Thompson. Mrs Thompson, had dark hair, cut short with bangs. Shorter than his wife, she had plump, conical breasts and was wide in the hips. There was none of the nervous pacing of the girls or the hesitation. These were two mature women, who knew why they were here and exactly what they had to do. This was not a fight over summer love or teenage passion. This was two females fighting for their young, one lost and one yet to be saved. Neither of them could leave the chamber satisfied if the other was still alive. Both were willing to die for their cause and both were willing to kill, neither would give mercy or expect it.
Without haste or pause, they simply walked into each other. Bodies met and melted into each other from breast to belly to thigh, as they reached out and gathered each other up in their arms. Clutching each other tightly now, they sank slowly to the floor and began to roll slowly, over and over, locked in what both knew would be a long and brutal fight to the death…