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The Purge

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''This is not a test. This is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the Annual Purge sanctioned by the Australian Government. Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All other weapons are restricted. Government officials of ranking 10 have been granted immunity from the Purge and shall not be harmed. Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Police, fire, and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning until 7 a.m., when The Purge concludes. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and Australia, a nation reborn. May God be with you all.''

The announcement always sent a cold chill down Bridget’s spine. She sighed heavily, setting down her glass of wine and picking up the remote to her state of the art security system. She had paid a small fortune for it, but nothing gave her peace of mind quite like the ability to fortify her home with the simple push of a button. She pressed it firmly and sent the house into motion. The dim light from the windows disappeared slowly as the steel window coverings slid into place. Soon enough, she was trapped inside to hide for the next twelve hours. She quickly turned on the speakers of her home to play the softest of classical music, trying to forget about the outside world wreaking havoc on one another all for the simple fact that they could. Human nature would always fascinate the psychologist. Without the world of law and order, how far would humanity stray?

She herself couldn’t fathom the unthinkable of taking someone’s life all for the simple fact that she could. How could someone live with that on their conscience for the rest of their life? No. She much rather preferred hiding in solitude until the world returned to normal. She’d prepared herself for client no-shows for the weeks to come, knowing that some of them would never be returning to her office after this wretched night.

She settled in on the couch, prepared to ride out the storm alone. She tried her best to distract herself by getting lost in a book, but nothing could keep her from seeing the gun placed on her coffee table. It remained still outside.

The hours passed, albeit slowly. But they were passing just the same.


It was after midnight when she heard the tapping from outside her backdoor. Panic gripped her immediately, and she rose to pull the gun close to her form. When the silence returned over her still home, her heart rate began to slow back to normal. That is until someone had pressed the doorbell.

Bridget scrambled to open her phone and turn on the camera to see what had caused the bell to sound. Maybe it was a glitch, she tried to reason with herself. No neighbor in their right mind would be out ringing for a cup of sugar on this night. When she brought the screen to her eyes, she initially saw nothing. Her hand relaxed, letting the gun in her return to the coffee table. Just as she was about to set her phone back down and return to her book, she noticed a hand on the screen reaching up to touch the doorbell once more. A hand that was covered in blood.

“The house is armed and so am I,” She stated firmly as she pressed the microphone function on her device. She hoped that her threat would warn them off.

“I don’t want in, I just need medical,” the strained voice finally spoke. If only Bridget could lower the camera to see who was currently bleeding out on her doorstep!

“The ambulances will not respond to calls until 7am.”

“Please, lady. I just need gauze or something, anything,” the voice begged again.

Bridget didn’t respond or move at all for several minutes, praying to god that the voice

would give up and go to another home.

“Please,” they asked again softly. Bridget watched as the bloodied hand fell from the bell and they disappeared from sight entirely.

Had they died? On her doorstep?

Unable to sit any longer, Bridget rose with the gun in her hand.

She pressed the microphone once more.

“Are you still…” she couldn’t bring herself to finish her sentence.

“Alive? Yes, for now.” She could have sworn she heard the strained voice chuckle


“What do you need?” Was she really willing to help a total stranger that she couldn’t even see?

“Just bandages, I swear.”

“How do I know that this isn’t a trap?”

Bridget heard as the voice struggled to bring themselves up to stand by gripping onto her plant pot. The body attached to the voice wasn’t what she’d expected to see. A tall, brunette with pale skin raised into the screen.

“See? It’s just me,” the voice promised as she fought to remain upright against the wall. Dark splotches of blood covered her flannel shirt around her right shoulder. Bridget felt her mouth go dry as she wrestled with herself for what to do next. She knew she only had one emergency press on her alarm system. She could raise it once, and then it would not be set to release again until 7am when the Purge was lifted. She grabbed the first aid kit from the hall closet. Was she really going to do this?

“Back away from the door.” She commanded firmly. She watched on her phone screen as the woman stumbled backwards on her porch.

Against her better judgement, Bridget pressed the disarm button for the backdoor. She heard as the sliding steel rose and she stopped it halfway before opening the door to pass the first aid kit. As she crouched down, her eyes connected with the wounded woman on the other side of the door. She reached for the first aid kit as if it was the elixir of life. Without thinking Bridget set the gun down, and pulled the woman into her home by her uninjured side. She quickly re-armed the system before opening the first aid kit and setting to work to save her.
Bridget carefully pulled away the woman’s blood-soaked flannel to search for her wound and quickly pack it with gauze. She had no idea how long the woman had been bleeding or if she had any chance at survival. Bridget knew she had to at least try. And then Bridget’s eyes settled on the unbroken, pristinely perfect skin.

The wounded woman had lied, and now Bridget was trapped inside with her.

“I can explain.”


Panicking, Bridget reached for the gun and aimed it at the woman’s heart. The brunette cringed and closed her eyes with her palms raised up. She waited for the shot to ring out, but it never came.

“Start talking,” Bridget snarled.

“Can you please put that down? I promise I won’t hurt you.”

“You’ve already proven you are a liar, what the hell makes you think I’m going to believe you?” Bridget did her best to keep her voice from wavering with her fear. She knew that she was completely fucked. Her intruder was much taller and could easily over power Bridget without much effort at all. The psychologist knew that without the threat of a gun, she was nothing.

“I just needed somewhere to shelter until the morning,” the brunette explained. She made no attempt to move as she stared down the barrel of the gun.

“So you decided to lie to me in order to get into my home? To put my life in danger?” Bridget’s volume increased.

“I’m sorry,” The intruder’s voice was lined with remorse. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Who’s blood is that?” Bridget motioned to the blood-soaked flannel. Had she really been so foolish as to invite a murderer into her home?

“My wife’s.”

“Where is she?”

Judging by the sound of silence that fell between them, Bridget could guess that wherever the woman’s wife was, she was no longer among the land of the living. Perhaps she did just need a place to hide. Perhaps she had no intentions of harming Bridget. But was she really prepared to take that chance?

“You are gone as soon as the Purge is lifted,” Bridget relented.

“Thank you,” the brunette whispered gratefully.

“Now get up,” Bridget instructed. The woman listened, knowing better than to argue with an angry and armed woman. Bridget led her towards the fireplace mantle in the living room. “Sit down.” As the woman sat, Bridget pulled the pair of cuffs from her emergency kit, making sure the gun fell from its raised position. She never imagined in her life that she would actually use the handcuffs that came within the pre-made Purge kit provided by her Homeowner’s Association.

“You’re kidding,” the woman tried to laugh as Bridget motioned for her to place her own hand against the grate of the fireplace. The stoic look of Bridget’s normally warm face was enough to show that she was deadly serious. One press of the button and her arm would be sent up in flames.

Bridget could see the fear ticked in her bright green eyes as she brought her hand down towards the cinders that remained from its last use. Bridget clicked her into place and walked backwards before she came to sit on top of the large coffee table. Her gun never once lowered.

She glanced at the clock.

1:13 AM

Bridget settled in for a long and sleepless night.


“What’s your name?” Bridget asked in an attempt to break the silence.

“Do you even know how to use that thing?” Franky cocked her chin towards Bridget’s gun resting gently on her knee still pointed directly in Franky’s direction.

“Would you like to find out?” Bridget turned her head and raised an eyebrow.

“It’s Franky.” Franky waited for her to introduce herself in return, but soon realized that was out of the question. She swallowed, the scratchiness of her throat was beginning to become unbearable. “Can I please have some water?” Franky eyed the bottle in the unopened bottle of her captor’s purge kit. Carefully Bridget extended it into Franky’s range. Wincing, Franky had to extend her arm as far as the cuff would allow. She then used her teeth to remove the sealed cap.

Bridget watched as Franky cringed bringing the bottle up to her lips and taking several long gulps. Her eyes glanced down noticing how tightly Franky tried to keep her arm pressed against her side.

“Are you hurt?”

“You already checked, remember?” Franky set the bottle down on the mantle beside her.

“Your side. You keep wincing.”

“It’s fine,” Franky shook her head.

“Show me.”

“I said it’s fine,” Franky snapped back, momentarily forgetting that she still had a gun pulled on her.

Bridget stood and crouched down in front of her again.

Franky fumbled to unbutton her shirt one handed, her other still trapped in the fireplace. Relenting, Bridget set the gun out of reach and unbuttoned it the rest of the way. Instantly Bridget’s eyes were met with a beautiful tattoo along the whole left side of her body. The cherry blossoms continued in both directions, their origins hiding underneath the top of her dirty jeans and her bra. Sure enough, a smooth cut ran along Franky’s right side.

“You’re bleeding,” Bridget was unable to hide the shock in her voice. How long had Franky been handcuffed to her mantle? “Why didn’t you say something?” Had her face grown pale?

“Kinda hard to focus with my hand stuck in a fireplace and you pointing a gun in my face,” Franky tried to tease. Bridget was a lot softer without the piece of metal dangling in her fingers. Bridget stood to retrieve the discarded first aid kit, and she silently set to work cleaning and examining Franky’s wound. In such close proximity to the handcuffed woman, Bridget could hear her labored breathing.

Once Bridget had finished bandaging Franky’s side, she stood back up and left the room to dispose of the bloodied gauze.

Franky sat in silence, her shoulder blade searing with pain as it rested against the stone of the hearth behind her. She’d already considered breaking her hand to slip the cuff, but knew that she’d never be quick enough to beat a gun. So she waited with her eyes resting uncomfortably on the weapon just out of her reach. Maybe she would have been better off on the outside and not in the house of the world’s tiniest assassin. Franky still didn’t even know her name. She searched around the space for any bit of information she could gather. Across the living space on the far wall, Franky could make out the detailed script of a University degree. Bridget Westfall, it read.

Before Franky had time to investigate the walls further, Bridget returned from the other holding a folded towel and clothes.

“What are you going to do to me?” Franky found the courage to ask as Bridget returned to kneel in front of her.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to harvest a kidney,” the blonde teased softly. Franky bit back a smile. “I thought you might like a change of clothes,” Bridget held out a clean sweatshirt. Franky nodded gratefully. Anything to get out of the scratchy flannel stiffened with dried blood. The smell of iron flooded her senses. She did her best to forget whose blood it was. Bridget set down the clean clothes and wash cloth before returning to the coffee table and retrieving her gun. “I’m going to hand you the key to uncuff yourself and change. As soon as you finish, you lock it back on your wrist and give it back to me. Understand?”

“Yes, I understand.” As soon as Bridget was confident in her answer, she placed the small key into Franky’s palm and let the woman uncuff herself. “Don’t suppose you could give a girl some privacy, eh?” Franky tried half-heartedly as she slid out of her bloodied flannel and set it into the waiting bag placed beside her by Bridget. She then retrieved the wash cloth to wipe the remaining patches of blood from her chest. She only had to pause briefly to stifle a gag from her stomach at the flashing memory of those cold dead eyes on the pavement.

Bridget watched silently as Franky’s tattooed arms came into full view. The colorful display was mesmerizing the way it swirled over her solid biceps.

“Like what you see, Ms. Westfall?” Franky teased with a tongue between her teeth.

“How do you know my name?” Bridget’s brow creased and her back stiffened.

“Relax,” Franky pointed to the framed degree on the wall. “Not like I’ve been up sifting through your mail.” Once she’d cleaned off as much blood as she could, Franky added the washcloth to the bag and tugged the clean sweatshirt over her. Begrudgingly she reached her hand back into the fireplace. She paused briefly, debating her next move.

“What are you waiting for?” Bridget took one step closer.

“Can I please switch hands?” Franky asked, fearing that Bridget would raise the gun back on her yet again. “Please?” She tried again softly. Bridget nodded, permitting Franky to cuff her other hand into the grate. Once she’d heard the secure click, she held out the key for Bridget to take.

Franky settled back down, trying to make herself as comfortable as she could while still being chained into a fireplace.

She glanced at the clock.

3:49 am


The pair had fallen into silence for nearly an hour, neither one trusting the other enough to fall into a sleep that they so desperately longed for. Bridget could see the weariness that had settled into Franky’s bones. She wondered what had happened that would drive her to lie her way into her home. What atrocities had she experienced?

Franky’s stomach growling loudly brought them both back to reality.

“Are you hungry?” Bridget asked

“Gonna feed me, are ya Gidge?”

“It’s Bridget.”

Before Franky had a chance for her next retort, her stomach growled loudly again. Bridget left the room once more, this time taking the gun with her. Franky closed her eyes and tried to relax as best she could.

“Here,” Bridget’s soft voice brought her back to reality. Jumping, she opened her eyes to “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” Bridget extended a small plate with a sandwich towards the intruder.

“Your gun says otherwise.” Franky glanced at the plate and then back up to Bridget’s eyes. Sighing, Bridget took a bite out of the corner before swallowing.

“See? Not poisoned,” Bridget promised. Smirking, Franky took the sandwich and

devoured it in an instant. She then watched as Bridget switched the gun into her other hand. She clenched and unclenched her dominant hand, rolling her wrist .

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” Franky stated smartly as she rattled the handcuffs on her own hand for good measure. “You can put it down, I know you won’t use it.”

“What makes you think I won’t?” Bridget didn’t need to finish the question. Franky already knew what she was asking.

“Because if you were going to kill me, you wouldn’t have cleaned that cut or made me a sandwich. There’s a reason you’re locked in here and not out there.”

“And why is that?”

“Because you’re not a killer. Not for sport anyway,” Franky read her like a book.

“And what does that make you?” Bridget didn’t know if she was fully prepared to know the truth of Franky’s true nature.

“What are you trying to ask?”

“Why were you out there on a night like this?”

Franky sat stoically, her mouth shut tight.

“I was beginning to think we’d have something to talk about.” Bridget got up to clear Franky’s empty plate.

“I’ll talk. Sit down.” Franky nodded for her to return to her post on the coffee table.

“I’ve got a kid. A little boy. We were trying to get him out of the country with his grandparents before all of this happened. Didn’t want to risk it,” Franky finally confessed the truth as to why she lied her way into Bridget’s safe home.

Bridget’s heart sank in her chest.

“We got him on the plane, but the fucking traffic... we didn’t make it back home before it started. The car came out of nowhere, unprovoked,” Franky shook her head, unable to continue.
“I’m so sorry, Franky,” Bridget whispered, finally connecting all the pieces together. Franky wasn’t a swindler or a killer. She was a mum desperate to save her child. Silently Bridget turned the safety on the gun and set it down. She rested her hands on her lap.

“He’s safe. That’s all that matters,” Franky said out loud, mainly to remind herself.

“What’s his name?”

“Your turn to share. Do you really know how to use that thing?” Bridget was no longer holding the gun in her hand, but it was still within her reach, a fact Franky was very much still aware of.

“I do, but I haven’t had to.”


“That’s a beautiful name.” Franky reached behind her into her back pocket to retrieve her wallet. She gently tossed it into Bridget’s lap. When she flipped it open she was immediately greeted with a wallet-sized photo of a round faced, green-eyed boy. He couldn’t have been more than three years old. “He’s gorgeous.” Bridget smiled.

“Do you have kids?” The limited photos of Bridget’s home gave away nothing.

“No, my partner and I never did,” Bridget admitted. Franky didn’t dare to ask the question. “They died during last year’s...” She didn’t need to say more.

“I’m sorry,” came Franky’s heartfelt apology.

“Me too, about your wife.”

“We weren’t... “ Franky sighed heavily. “We broke up six months ago...I caught her cheating on me. With a man. I dunno it was so strange. Everything seemed so perfect and then all of a sudden things just changed.” The dull ache in her heart was still there, perhaps it always would be. The one good thing that had come from her heartache was Luke. At least she still had him.

“It doesn’t mean you still aren’t affected by her death.” Bridget cringed internally. Now was not the time for psychoanalyzing the woman she’d just met.

“When was your first time with a woman?” Franky tilted her head, a small smile curling the edges of her lips. Bridget understood the subject change. She was treading dangerously close to rougher waters. Sensing the limit, she paddled back to safer conversations.

“Who said I was gay?” Bridget countered.

“Please,” Franky laughed. “I know you’re a dyke. I saw you looking at my tattoos.”

“I was in my first year at Uni.” It was so strange. The two women confessed their truths with such ease. Maybe it was because of the circumstances, the world unraveling outside and all. But maybe, just maybe, it was different. The once hostile energy between them had dissolved into something else entirely

“I dunno how I’m going to tell him...” Franky’s words tapered off, unable to voice the truth just yet. The mother of her child was dead. She had watched her die in her arms.

“This is not your fault, and this grief that you’re feeling... It will get better,” Bridget did her best to reassure the grieving parent.

“How do I raise him alone?” Franky wiped the tears forming in her eyes with her free hand and let her head fall back against the solid brick behind her.

Bridget paused in thought. She stood slowly and approached Franky before dropping to

her knees. Without hesitation, she uncuffed Franky and began to rub her wrist tenderly. The newfound freedom allowed Franky to pull away and bury her face in her hands. Instead of scurrying back to her gun, Bridget settled down on the floor and placed a reassuring hand on Franky’s shoulder.

“You just will. You’ll find a way to be strong for him.” Then Bridget did the unthinkable, she carefully pulled Franky in to hold her against her chest. She knew that the only thing that she needed in that moment was comfort.

“Tell me about him.”

“He’s quite the little terrorist,” Franky laughed through her nose.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone refer to their own child as a terrorist before,” Bridget was intrigued. She continued to run her open palm over Franky’s back.

“Well if you met him, you would understand. Potty training him has been an absolute disaster. Most of the time he ends up pissing in the plants,” the brunette confessed.

“He sounds more like a terrible gardener than a terrorist,” Bridget teased, Franky’s booming laughter filled the air.

Too lost in conversation, both women jumped when the coverings of the house began to raise slowly, releasing the morning light into the once darkened home. How was it 7am already?

“I guess that’s my cue to scram, huh?” Franky remembered her promise that she’d made to the blonde those hours ago. It felt like a lifetime had passed since then.
“I could make breakfast? It will be a disaster out there until this afternoon. ” Truth be told, Bridget just wanted an excuse to spend a few more hours with Franky without the threat of death looming just beyond the walls of her home. She had to see if the energy between them was real.

“If you insist,” Franky relaxed and followed the blonde into the kitchen, grateful to finally escape the fireplace.


Breakfast turned into lunch, which then turned into dinner. It was nearing 8pm when the pair finally made their way towards the front door.

"I gotta hand it to you, Gidge. That was probably the weirdest first date I’ve ever had," Franky chidded with her hands shoved into her pockets.

“Does that imply that there will be a second?” Bridget cocked her eyebrow only to be on the receiving end of Franky’s bright smile. The brunette winked before walking out the door to return to her own home.

“Hey, Gidge?” Franky paused in thought at the end of her porch.

“Hm?” Bridget turned back around to face her.

“Thank you for opening the door,” Franky said sincerely, lining her gentle voice. “And the next time you bring the handcuffs, I hope it's under different circumstances,” She bit down on her tongue. Bridget shook her head and smiled as she watched her intruder disappear. Soon enough the world would right itself once more. Order would be restored, but her memories of the green eyes and soft smile would remain.