My Words, My World

First drafts – A few pages in the large wilderness of the world of writing

Archive for the category “crime”

The end of his tether

He’d often wondered about his tether and the end of it.  Until he picked up a dictionary only a week before he hadn’t known what a tether even was.  Now he knew and now he thought he’d reached the end of it.

He was glad it was winter.   He didn’t mind the cold and the snow and, in happier times, he’d always been an enthusiastic skier.  In happier times.  Yes, he thought, he didn’t mind the winter with its snowy peaks, white crystal frosted fields and the smell of mulled wine in the market square and steaming paper cups warming hands in the cold.

He looked out of a window to the outhouse.  The cold.  The cold was good.  It killed off many of the pests that hung around in warmer climates or even down in the valley, although now other pests had found him and disturbed his peace.  Footprints and a strange indent in the snow crossed the yard, as if a sack of firewood had been dragged.  Yes, he’d reached the end of his tether, and the bodies mounted up in the outhouse.

50 word fiction – Beebee

“Have you seen Beebee?”

“No, where’d he go?”

“He was out of whisky, out of smokes; he went to the liquor store.”

“Where the fuck is he now?”

“He must still be there man.”

“Did he take…?”

“Don’t know.”

“Did you give…?”

“No.”

A siren screams in the night.

“Beebee.”

Hell’s kitchen

The Sous-chef was on the floor. I left the knife where I found it, in a red puddle beside his foot. Its blade pointed towards the door, as if indicating the escape direction of the guilty party. The stainless steel worktop dripped and I noticed more splatters up the wall, behind the sink. A saucepan had overturned, spilling its now-smoking contents over the hobs.

A constable came in. “We have him sir; he was outside the rear entrance, behind some dustbins,” his face registering shock as he looked around at the scene.

“Where is he now?”

“In the car, sir.”

“Keep him there.”

The constable backed out slowly as I turned around, taking in details. A handprint, red and smudged, hailed me from the fridge door. I felt something drip onto my left shoulder. I knew what it was even without looking up, but I looked anyway – curiosity is like that. Then I heard a muffled voice behind me.

“Yes!”

Knee joints clicked as the Sous-chef rose to his feet, a look of triumph on his face as his arm withdrew from under the fridge with his prized wooden spoon, a gift from Keith Floyd apparently.

“So much for Hell’s Kitchen eh, officer?”

“What happened?”

“Well, when the Maître announced Gordon Ramsay’s arrival the chef became agitated, to say the least. Then, while he was plating Mr Ramsay’s Penne al Pomodoro, I happened to mention he’d forgotten the basil and then …” He waved his spoon around the kitchen.

Flash Fiction Friday 146: Colours frozen in time by Chris Farley

My ever present and never diminishing thanks once again to Morgen.
I’m still unsure as to whether I should be disturbed about the fact that I sat in a pub looking at a tattoo and invented this story around it…

MorgEn Bailey - Creative Writing Guru

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and forty-sixth piece in this series. This week’s is a 436-worder by Christopher Farley.

Colours frozen in time

The tattoo was the first thing I noticed; it was beautiful. She sat opposite her friend drinking Belgian beer from a huge glass and I saw it as I walked past, making my way to the men’s room.

Her thin, white arms poked out from her even whiter t-shirt, then a waterfall of colour burst from the sleeves of the t-shirt. Three lotus flowers, red, green and pink, one on top of the other. But oh, the arm. How could something so pale and delicate suffer so much pain? I returned to the bar and pretended to look at the game on the big screen. Her friend rose from the table and headed for the toilet.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t help…

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The dark kitchen

Another tip of the hat to Morgen Bailey and this time her poetry prompts. “the dark kitchen” immediately took my fancy and this time I had it down in less than a third of the allotted time.  Once again, thanks for that Morgen.

The Dark Kitchen

The dark kitchen
The darker drawers
The still darker knives,
Each telling their story

The darkened oven
Black from the roasts
The un-cleaned fat
That spat; and sizzled.

The dark old woman
Dressed all in black
Black widow in waiting
Black venom giving

The death-grey husband
Now ever in the dark
Her dark kitchen her web
Her poison pernicious

The dark pantry
Away from the light
Locked in tight
Opened only at night
When all is black

Walking Out

The wall clock ticks off time as I sit in the pre-dawn darkness, a small white table lamp throwing faint shadows on the wall every time a bug goes near it.  I turn in the revolving office chair and look out into the darkness, trying to gather what kind of weather awaited my day.  I don’t want rain, I’m sick of it.  Every night for the last two weeks the only sound that has accompanied my dreams is the hard, flat beating of water against the hard, flat roof above my head.

I sit with my hands in my lap.  I look down at them, now almost devoid of colour, intertwined and wrestling with each other, a habit of mine.  I want to feel the sun on my skin, warming it, burning my face and reddening my neck.  Of all the things I miss the most, the sun is in my top two list.  The other is Lizzie, my daughter, the only family that has come to see me during the last 6 years.  I see the sun when I see my daughter, all beaming smiles, overflowing long, dark curly hair smelling of apple-scented shampoo and with wrinkles of laughter around her eyes; always pleased to see me.  Together we’ve sat and planned this day when I would finally walk from this cell and now, finally, that day has come and I sit at this wooden desk, scarred from a hundred cigarette burns and awaiting her arrival.  Even the guards had treated me differently this morning, maybe even those hard-noses appreciate the importance of today.

Before she arrives I have to have another interview with the warden.  While I sit looking at my white, continuously wringing hands he comes in, his hands resting on his thick, brown leather belt and trying to smile.  Yes, today they all seem happy for me.  If smoking were still permitted inside the building I think he may have even offered me a cigarette, hell, possibly even a cigar.

“So Mr Onfray,” he says, trying to wedge himself between the wooden arms of the chair and not doing a very good job, “your last day.  I guess it’s a stupid question but I want to ask how it feels.  How do you feel Mr Onfray?”

My hands stopped trying to strangle themselves and I look him in the eyes.

“It’ll be the last time my Lizzie sees her daddy in these prison blues, Warden.  I’m thankful for that.”

He raises an eyebrow and one side of his mouth, which I take to be a smile, and nods his head, his bulging neck doing its best to escape his shirt collar.

“I guess you’re right,” he says.

After all, how many men had he seen walk out of here, their last meal served at noon no longer weighing heavily in their stomachs.

That long, last walk.

Sound Travels

In the cold January air flame and smoke disappear

but the sound goes on forever. 

The pistol crack; the victim’s gasp,

dead before his wide-eyed head smashes against the pavement;

the screams of the passers-by;

the shouting policemen holding them back;

the wailing ambulance;

the knock, apologetic, on the door;

the crying, desperate,

left without a husband and father;

the monotone of the priest;

the 12 clicking heels take the coffin;

the sobs of the veiled

and the final, definite scraping of soil,

thrown from shovel to grave. 

The shot was still ringing out.

The Snowball Effect

I’m sat next to my brief.  My shirt’s the same one I had on yesterday but I’m sure no-one notices.  I have the same, now well-rumpled suit I’ve been wearing throughout my trial; well, they’re not exactly going to let me out shopping at Armani for the day are they?  My shoes are pretty clean though, which is more than I can say for my defence.

The jury has retired for verdict.  My heart is pumping blood at a normal rate around my body.  I’m calm.  What else can I be?  I just look ahead.  I don’t want to see anyone.

They think I killed them all.  Sometimes I think I killed them all.  Sometimes however I believe I only actually killed just one person that day.  For his death they just need to decide whether it was premeditated.  How do you define premeditated?  How long does an action have to be considered and thought-out before becoming premeditated?  5 minutes? An hour?  A day?  I know I didn’t leave the house that morning to walk the dog through the woods, which are separated by a noisy motorway, with the intention to kill someone.  By the time I came home however I was a guilty man.

The prosecution have made a meal out of the fact that I’ve shown no remorse.  I’m not an actor; I can’t show what I don’t have.  Anyway, what came after was an accident, with no intention whatsoever.  However, they don’t see it like that.  They don’t seem to understand the metaphorical snowball effect and all that.  If I hadn’t have rolled that little snowball from the top of the mountain, there wouldn’t have been an avalanche in the valley below, so to speak.  I can sort of see their point, the trouble is they can’t see mine.

Memory can be a bastard.  Why can’t I remember someone’s name from one day to the next yet the filing cabinet of the mind throws out memories from years ago without warning and just at the wrong moment, like when I saw the kid on the bridge.  Some of you might remember this.  I do.  I was a teenager during the miner’s strike back in ‘84 but I still clearly remember how shocked I was when some miners dropped a kerbstone from a bridge at a passing taxi taking a scab to work.  It left me cold then and leaves me cold now.  What a horrible way to die.

So when I saw that kid hoist up to his waist a broken lump of wall, I flipped.  He was so intent on choosing his target that he didn’t see me come down the footpath, pick up a fist-sized flint and step on the bridge.  The block was resting on the handrail of the bridge, against his stomach while he chose his victim. Then I saw what he was waiting for; an Esso petrol tanker was making its way down the slow lane.   I had to stop him.  I threw the stone.

I guess the truck driver saw the kid’s intention as I heard the air horn blare below me.  Too late.  The stone hit the lad in the head.  The lad’s legs gave way as blood poured from his temple.  The brickwork tipped forward with the momentum, his grip didn’t loosen.  Both concrete and kid were gone in a second.  I heard the truck’s brakes howl.  Have you ever noticed how a car’s brakes will squeal in an emergency stop?  A 38 tonne truck’s howl and what a God-awful noise it is, I can still hear it in the long nights in my cell, when sleep evades me.

I felt, rather than saw, the movement of the jack-knifed trailer as it separated from the cab and passed at speed under the bridge, swatting cars like summer flies.  It then hit the central reservation, flip on its end and over, and explode into the oncoming traffic.  The force of the blast rocked the bridge and knocked me to the ground.  The dog came off worse.  She scarpered into the trees from where we’d come from but when I finally found her she was dead.  Internal injuries I suppose.  I cried then.  I showed emotion then.  The families of the 14 that never made it back home that night wouldn’t give a toss about that but then again, why would they?

The jury’s back.  You 9 men and 3 women: penny for your thoughts?  Why am I asking?  It’s the judge that wants to know if they’ve reached a verdict.  They have.  He nods his head slowly.  Putting on his small, wireframe glasses he tells me to stand.

My lifetime freedom for an accident.  I guess the 3 seconds it took me to pick up that stone counts as premeditated.

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