Opening Line Prompt #5 — Finished

The world is full of people who despise Jane Marchant. Thus, being Jane Marchant is not a comfortable thing to be. But I don’t have much choice. I could change my name and my face and my location, but, hell, that’s how I got to be Jane Marchant in the first place.

The dentist’s waiting room smells of the usual disinfectant and bottled-up terror. A small, blonde boy sits on the floor, coloring in a book that his mother had pulled out of a long-suffering tote bag. He alternates coloring with a blue crayon and a red crayon. He occasionally glances up, just to glare at me.

I can’t tell if it’s because he recognizes me from TV, or if it’s because every time he looks up to glare at me, I’m watching him.

Aside from the boy, not a person in the room looks directly at me, but every one of them is watching me. Jeez. You bring down one entire government (that anybody knows of) and all of the sudden; you’re the center of attention.

I can feel how many people in the room are secretly grateful for me, and how many of them are barely suppressing the urge to attack me. It’s 3-to-1 in favor of murder, with the boy a question mark. Just as I brace myself to defend a lunge from the dude to my left, the door that leads to the inner sanctum of the dentist’s office opens.

“Ms. Marchant?” The receptionist who calls my name is not a fan of mine; she is bristling with disapproval. She’s one of those people who believes that someone ought to do something but then then finds that person impertinent for doing that thing. I sigh, internally.

I stand, as Mr. Angry reins back his rage. After all, murder is still illegal, even without a government, probably, right?

The receptionist leads me through a hallway that is identically pristine and terrifying to every other dentist office hallway that has ever existed. We pass by three closed doors. The usual torture noises emanate from each of them. When we reach the room at the end of the hallway, the only one with an open door, the receptionist indicates with a jerk of her head that I should go inside. “The doctor will be right in.”

I smile and enter. I like a dentist who insists on being called a doctor. It’s cheeky.

I perch on the edge of the dentist’s chair, where my feet would go if I were actually here to get my teeth worked on. After about five minutes, I realize that no one is in a hurry to come to my dental rescue. I open up the little drawers and cupboards, one by one, looking for loot.

I snag a full bag of cotton balls and a package of tongue depressors and stuff them into my backpack. I consider what use I’d get out of a full set of dental tools, still shrink-wrapped, and after five more minutes, I add that to my backpack. Three minutes after that, I toss in a new pack of post-its.

I’m eyeing an oxygen tank when the dentist walks in. Even without the white coat and the clipboard, I’d recognize his profession by his air of martyrdom.

“Ms. Marchant,” he says, closing his door behind him. He takes a step toward me as I turn and stand. He knows who Jane Marchant is. He’s holding her dental records. The only physical copies. The digital ones have already been erased.

His gaze takes in everything. The post-it notes sticking out of my overstuffed backpack. My gun. My face. I wait for him to recognize me, and maybe it’s something about that expectation that makes him take a closer look. There’s no reason for him to recognize me, not with all of the plastic surgery I’ve had, but I see the moment when recognition registers, followed by disbelief.


Opening Line Prompt taken from here:

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