Cassie & Dragon: killer fugitives in love and at-large

{ Here’s a working story, possibly either a short story or novella, that evolved from real life. The plot is loosely based on an interaction, or better, a near altercation, I observed in a mall in Virginia while on vacation. I merely worked out the altercation to my end which is to introduce Cassie & Dragon, a killer couple. }

Cassie & Dragon“I’m going to use the bathroom,” Dragon said to Cassie. The petite blonde with freckles on her cheeks and shoulders was wearing a faded flower sundress and holding a John Sanders book from the remainder table.

“Don’t know where they are in this store, baby,” she said turning the book over in her hands.

“I’ll find them,” he said. Dragon looked left towards the inside of Valley Mall and saw an information desk at the entrance to the Books Galore store. A stout pudgy blonde with short hair and bright red face was making marks on a piece of paper. “I’ll ask the clerk.”

Cassie looked in his direction, and said, “Ask the fatty where the best french fries are in this mall. I’ll bet she knows.”

“There you go with your fries again.”

“You know I love ’em,” she smiled at Dragon, then replaced the Sanders book with a Dennis Lehane novel.

“I don’t know where you put them, doll,” Dragon said. “You never get fat.”

“That’s because you always help me work them off.”

“There’s always that.” He grinned thinking about her eager sexual appetite. He stepped away, saying, “ Gotta find that john.”

“Hey. This book looks good,” she said of the Lehane.

“Later, baby,” he said over his shoulder, half way to the information booth. “I really got drop a load.” His voice carried.

“Shush, baby.”

Seeing the frowns of two older ladies in the cookbook section, Dragon added, “Gotta give the Obama family a water ride.”

The info gal said the bathrooms were in the opposite direction and to his right by the side of the store. Dragon picked up the pace, wondering if his IBS would cause him problems before he would get there. He found two unisex bathrooms in a short hall, both occupied, doors locked.

“Damn.” And he waited at the hall entrance. Two minutes passed with nobody exiting the toilets. Dragon could feel his bowels rumbling. Two fried eggs, home fries, bacon, and sausage at Terri’s Roadside was working to irritate his insides.

A young man, with large ears that stuck out from under unkempt brown hair cut, arrived with his son, maybe eight, maybe ten, and skinny like his dad. Both wore matching blue Dallas Cowboys tees. The Dad had number 8, Aikman’s old number, the boy number 4.

“Try the back one,” the father said to the son, and he took a seat in a worn canvas chair at the end of a book rack. The boy blew past Dragon in a hurry, one hand holding on to the top of his jeans. The bathroom door opened as he neared and a tall woman with an expensive leather handbag exited. The boy nearly knocked it off her arm as bolted for the door and inside. The woman passed, giving a slight smile to Dragon. She didn’t acknowledge the father at all.

Dragon groaned or was it his bowels. He looked at the father who was opening hunting magazine with a picture of a camouflaged hunter holding up the head of a large buck.

“Jesus! You gonna let you kid do that?” he said tossing his hands in the air.

“Do what?” The father blurted.

“I’ve been here ten minutes waiting to take a shit, and you let your kid jump ahead of me.”

“How the hell should I know that?” The father said closing the magazine. “What am I, some fucking mind reader.” His voice raised again. “Don’t give a fuck about your problems. My kid had to go.”

Dragon’s bowels didn’t matter anymore. His ire overruled his discomfort. He measured the man. He looked like he just rolled out of a some Virginia holler in a rusty Ford F-150 pickup with nearly bald tires. Medium height. Slight, and skinny in the arms. Scruffy beard that made him look like Schnauzer in the face. Dragon had two inches on the guy at the very least, maybe 20 pounds too. He could take him. Easily.

“You are a hillbilly dick, aren’t you?” he said.

“At least I’m not some long-haired pussy that’s gonna shit his pants.”

Dragon hated that. People talking trash to him, putting him down. He could talk way to others, but nobody spoke to him that way. Never.

The first bathroom door opened and another woman left, cell phone to ear, and talking away. Holding the door open, he smiled at the father, and said, “Let’s see how far you want to go with that mouth after I take a shit, dumbass.”

“Yeah. Okay. Go shit yourself.”

Dragon entered the bathroom hearing the father add, “Stupid retard.” He didn’t waste time. IBS had a way of moving all things along in the proper time for him. He just wanted to deal on this guy. Knock some sense or the shit out of him. But he thought better of it. The guy was just a country hick dick. Dragon was out in less than two minutes.

The father was still sitting in the chair, waiting on his son. He started past the man, stared but didn’t say or do anything, when father spoke to Dragon.

“Yeah. Hurry along. Get out of here, you prick.”

Dragon stopped momentarily, his anger returning, and said, “Not until I get that Lehane book for my girl.”


Dragon paced past him, then he turned to look. The man had his back to the book row. There was nobody nearby. Mid morning on a Monday and the bookstore was quiet, nearly empty. He scanned the adjoining walls and ceiling, then to the front of the store and the check out counter for cameras. He eyed a single one zeroed in on the cash registers. It may have a wide angle to include the farther right, towards the restrooms, but Dragon doubted it.

He started looking at the bookshelf before him. Most were softcover romance novels, nothing of weight. Cassie approached with the Lehane book in hand.

“Hey guy.” He didn’t respond right away, still scanning the shelves for a good heavy book. Coming closer, she said, “You okay? Find the John?”


“Okay.” Cassie said, just as short. She knew that tone. Taut, matter of fact, nearly emotionless. Consciously, she also looked around for people, cameras, anybody who might notice them.

“Gotta take care of some business,” Dragon said.

She knew what that meant.

Extending an arm, he said, “Let me have your book.”

“I want that one.”

“I’ll get you another.”


“There’s a man at the end of this aisle, waiting for his son in the bathroom.”

“He do something,”


“To you.”

“He needs a lesson in courtesy, manners,” he said. Dragon weighted the book by lifting it up and down. It wasn’t as heavy as he thought, but it had hard spine.

“Those lessons can be hard, especially coming from you,” Cassie said.

“Yes, they are,” Dragon agreed and pointed to the hall and bathrooms. “His kid is in the last bathroom. Make sure he doesn’t see any of this.”

“Okay, baby. But you better make this quick.”


Cassie sauntered forward. Passing the father, she slowed, turned slightly, and smiled. “Hey there,” she said, her voice light and welcoming.

“Hey yourself,” the father said, his attention catching Cassie’s short skirt dance on her buttocks. He straightened up.

“Waiting for someone or just waiting to get in,” she asked moving to the first door. She heard nothing.

“My son’s in the last,” he said.

With Cassie at his attention, the father didn’t notice Dragon moving closer. He shifted the book to his right and tightening his grip around the lower corner, hard spine forward. He gave her a nod.

“Don’t worry. I’ll look after him,” Cassie said looking past him to Dragon, and she put her back to the first door, able to watch the rear bathroom for the son and the bookstore for anyone taking interest.

“You’ll do what,” the father said stiffening. He turned to follow her eyes and saw nothing but the book slicing through the air. It landed on the bridge of the his nose. Broken, it also began to bleed, and the man groaned.

Not waiting for another sound or rebuttal, Dragon hit him twice more. Once to the eyes, nearly slamming the right eye deep into its socket, then another to his mouth causing his lips to catch his teeth. Sliced and slivered, blood flowed from the cuts turning his teeth red and dripping from the corners of his mouth. He hunched forward, the magazine falling from his hands as tried to put his hands to his face.

Dragon pulled his head back up by his hair, then jerked his head back exposing his Adam’s apple. He heard something like, “What the Fu–,” before he brought the spine of the book down on the man’s windpipe with a karate like short hard strike. The cartilage cracked at the viciousness of the blow, and the father gasped and coughed. He spit blood in a spray as his lungs tried to find air.

Dragon pushed him forward where he fell to the floor, rolling on his back, hands grasping for his throat. Dragon hovered over him, book in hand, and said in a calm voice, “What did you think I was doing? Waiting for a damn bus?”

Cassie watched. She had seen it all before. Tension caused her to bite her lip, maybe even worry some, but the exhilaration caused her to smile, even feel giddy. Dragon was tough. Took no shit from nobody. Cassie liked that. It made her feel warm in the belly, warm in the place where she loved to have Dragon after some french fries.

She turned hearing the bathroom door open, and Cassie quickly blocked the son from leaving the room. But he looked past her first and said, “What’s my dad doing on the floor.”

Dragon heard and looked back to see Cassie taking the son by the shoulder and turning him back to the bathroom. She said, “Your daddy had an accident and that man is trying to help him.” She wouldn’t say his Dragon’s name, not once, to the boy.

“Is he going to be alright?” he asked.

“Sure. Sure, baby,” she said closing the door and pushing the lock button. “You just don’t need to see that right now. Just sit down on the toilet. Everything’s fine. What’s your name?”


Dragon hovered over the father and surveyed the surroundings. Nobody was nearby, nobody was coming, nobody heard anything, so Dragon whacked the father several times. Back to eyes, then to the teeth. The man’s blood stained the book’s spine. Then he stepped on his throat. Not hard, but enough make the father’s suffering more painful. Dragon wanted to finish it.

“Good thing you have a boy, you shit. Or you’d be dead by now.”

Instead Dragon got between the father’s legs and kicked him several times in the groin, as hard as possible, with the thick heel of his Doc Martens boot.

“Hillbilly piece of shit. Hope you can never have another kid.”

He left the man not knowing weather grasp his throat or comfort his manhood with his hands. Going to the bathroom door and knocking, Dragon said, “We got to go, baby.”

Craig Hartranft