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The Final Battle

Arthi Lokaiyan

 

The battlefield was unfamiliar. Link would’ve preferred it if he could’ve done reconnaissance before stepping on it, would’ve preferred it if he’d been allowed time to fully analyze his enemy, but the mission had been thrust upon him so suddenly, with the side-note that it was “life-or-death,” so he’d had to forgo his normal pre-battle rituals. He was going in blind.

The glass doors slid open, a surge cool air rushing to greet him, tussling his disheveled chocolate brown hair. Rows of pale shelves cut across the rough, gray carpet before him, stocked to the brim with cheap products his publicist would’ve chastised him if he’d tried to use.

Link’s feet carried him to the back of the pharmacy, the sweet aroma of watered-down body spray and knock-off makeup morphing into something akin to the stink of wet socks. He stopped in front of the shelves that stood side-by-side with the freezers. His enemy glared back at him.

Get the 8-hour-protection ones , Kristal’s voice sounded in his head. But no wings. I hate wings.

As he studied the packages before him, Link came to a sudden realization: There were about—and this was a rough estimation on his part—50 million variations of the “8-hour-protection ones” (without wings), and Kristal had never specified which ones she’d wanted.

“Fuck,” he grumbled. He ripped his phone out of his hoodie pocket, dialing his friend’s number for assistance. No answer. He tried again. And again. And again. Each time, he was met with her obnoxious, “Heyyyyy… Psych ! I can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave a message after the beep !”

You’re a beep , Link wanted to reply, but instead ended the call and went back to staring at the packages, rubbing his chin in deep thought. After a few minutes, he decided fuck it , and grabbed the nearest one.

Size 5 , it read. Extra Heavy Overnight. He had no idea what any of those words meant, but the product within was wrapped in a beautiful seafoam green, Kristal’s favorite color, so it couldn’t be too bad.

Satisfied, he turned to make his way down the aisle, tucking the package underneath his arm, but was stopped by a shrill voice calling out from behind him. “What a dear,” someone said. “Is that for your girlfriend?”

Link peered over his shoulder, meeting the warm gaze of an elderly women. Her thin lips were pulled back into a sweet smile, the wrinkles that lined her face highlighted under the lights, her dark eyes glinting knowingly.

He wasn’t going to deal with this tonight.

“No,” Link replied bluntly. “It’s for me. I’m going to use it to commit a murder.” The woman’s eyes widened ever-so-slightly, her jaw dropping. Link offered her a lazy wave as he continued to the check-out counter, “Have a good night.”