Tag Archives: murder

Black Water – Mid-week Flash Challenge

Sunbeams glanced through the pines in a ricochet of dancing light across broken roof slate, and the wind wandered aimlessly exhausted amid the boggy heat.

Lance and Scarlett had fallen for the property, literally, upon first sight. Scarlett’s fingers had shaken as she clutched the details in her sweaty palm, and Lance had visions of renovation and luxury whirling through his head. It had been the easiest sale, and they hadn’t even gone to see the house in person.

The Estate Agent had watched the couple leave her office and finally let out a shaky breath. Shivers tingled as she tried to forget the day she and a colleague had visited the long abandoned property to take pictures. It was done, sold, out of her hands.

Fixing the place up would be a long and expensive job, but Lance couldn’t wait to get his hands dirty and his creative mind busy. This was their dream.

The woodland could be curbed, the tangle of brambles and bush, trained, and the pond turned into something truly beautiful. The house, the original stone actually made Lance’s heart somersault, would be lovingly rendered and he’d already made investigations to roofing companies to find the closest match to the tiles. The photo on the page was enticing, but the finished images in his head completely bewitched him.

Scarlett grasped his hand as they fought through the undergrowth, following the wall beside the overgrown driveway. Excitement was palpable as the tip of the gables and the tiny attic window came into view. Lance squeezed Scarlett’s hand and let go as they began to hack at the brambles, already brown in late autumn’s warmth.

Scarlett took a moment to shove a long stick into the still green water and swirl it around. “It’s not deep,” she said as her stick bumped into whatever constituted the pond bed. “Probably deeper in the middle…”

Lance grinned and wiped the sweat from his brow. “C’mon!” The concrete yard was much clearer of debris and they stood in front of the house. “After years of no care and attention, this place is finally going to get the love it deserves!”

Scarlett pulled her shirt away from her clammy skin and leaned up to kiss his cheek. “So much love!”

“Let’s explore. This place has so much history, and we know nothing of it!” Lance could barely hold himself back and took Scarlett’s hand again. They crossed the threshold together, staring up into the dark, damp house with joyous anticipation. “Let’s discover its secrets!”

The wooden stairs creaked and strained, roof tiles shivered, and timbers itched with stories to tell. Floorboards, rotting and splintered, with deep holes leading to dark cellars, urged each step. Up in the attic, a partition wall, built to conceal, shook as sunlight from the fragmented roof shone in touching cracks and tell-tale interior scratches.

Slates gripped battens and rafters, and cracked pitch and roofing felt hung in stiff curved capes, ready to crumble at the slightest touch. Weathered beams braced, and plaster, paint, and mildewed wallpaper trembled and curled as mysteries clung in sanguine stains like red wine.

Outside, humidity cleaved to the trees, draping them in beads of perspiration and heavy sighs. The heat hung like a cloak and the blanket of algae swathing the pond sat in undisturbed silence, hiding its treasure beneath a mantle of green.

The house and its grounds whispered, telling secrets, not least its latest, as the Estate Agent’s colleague lay trussed and knotted beneath the calm shroud of black water and green weed.

0000. Divider

Feeling emotional today so this was cathartic… Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge and a photo taken by Flemming Beier, a Danish Photographer, click his name to see the picture this story was inspired by.

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

Visual Dare – Candid

I remember childhood tinged with yellow. Fields behind my house, long grass with ox-eye daises teetering on the breeze and scratchy corn itching my back as I lay staring up at gold-edged clouds between pages.

Then there were rosy sunsets and flushed cheeks and hands clasped tight as first love blossomed.

I wished for bouquets of red roses and a white wedding dress. I wanted teal bed linen and seafoam walls, and trails of green ivy climbing the brickwork. I wanted pink wine and black coffee, and multi-coloured years, merging into the silver of growing old together.

But life’s palette will be never more than my crayon box colours as I rest in a lost, brambled corner of the field behind my childhood home. My bones are bleached by time and the sanguine pools beneath me long consumed by mother earth as my first love became last.

(147 Words) 

00. VisDare BadgeWritten for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare – One week, 150 words, one black-and-white photo that could spawn a hundred different stories.

Go take a look at the stories in her comments, each a different take on the picture above!

Blues Buster: Gun

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

The barrel sat still warm in his hand, still soothing and fluid within his grip. He clenched his knees together and pressed his toes firmly against the soles of his shoes. The blazing fire in the hearth disguised the stench of sweat and the acrid smell that rose about him. He lifted the gun to his face gently brushing the metal across his stubbled cheek, like a lover would her lips. Blood pulsed through his body, muscles tensed, and his ears rang. He sat on the edge of the bed, sheets crumpled and dirty, and he inhaled as if a cigarette hung from his mouth.

For a moment he basked, letting the excited tension that consumed him relax and allowing heady delight room in his mind. The gun settled on his thigh, resting with ease and the sense of a job well done.

He closed his eyes and exhaled, enjoying the moment as you would a long-awaited gulp of whisky. The fire crackled and spat and the bed beneath him shook.

His eyes sprang open and his head whirled, as if he’d forgotten his deed, as if he’d neglected the woman sitting wide-eyed and terrified at the top of the bed.

She sat upon the pillow, curled up tight beneath a cherry-stained, yellow-streaked sheet. Tears ran muddy rivers down her cheeks and pale, rigid fingers clutched the bed sheet up to her neck.

He gazed at her and her eyes stared like a rabbit’s right back. She shook like a leaf in a gale, uncontrollably and violently. The yellow puddle beneath her seeped through the sheets and he failed to supress his curled lip of disgust.

She refused to look away and his finger, resting on the gun, trembled. He looked to her side and his heart thumped, his excitement growing ever richer. Beside her, the black-haired body, the mound in the bed, blossomed red, wine red…blood red. He chuckled and his eye twitched.

She shrank against the wall, her skin stuck to it with the sweat of fear.

He lifted the gun again, stroking the barrel with quivering and calloused fingers, and watched her shaking body writhe. He shuddered in anticipation. She spoke, or at least words tried to leave her mouth.

“Didn’t get that, sweetheart?” he drawled.

“No one will love you, not ever, no one…” The words escaped with a vitriol he hadn’t expected from one so afraid for her life.

The gun brushed his arm, and he licked his lips, twitching again involuntarily.

“No one,” she repeated, suddenly forgetting her fear and leaning forward. “When they see what you did…you’ll have no one,” she hissed.

He lifted the weapon to his lips, but it was cold, the metal unforgiving, and his arousal vanished. The hate glistened in her eyes, black as night, and flashing crimson as demon against the red firelight roaring in the fireplace. Spittle frothed on her pale lips and revulsion spat. “They’ll hate you!”

Her intonation took only a split second to invade his fragile mind, to infect the deepest parts of him, to turn his rage inside out.

The gun gleamed in his hand, and the shivers that twisted down his spine grabbed at his heart. He shook the gun at his wife then turned the muzzle toward his face, caressing the beloved metal that threatened to curse him. It sang in his hand, whispered in his fevered mind and the kiss it offered burst like summer rain as his mind splattered across the bed and his unfaithful mate.

(587 Words)

An explosive tale for this week’s Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files prompted by the song ‘Gun’ by Emiliana Torrini.

Blues Buster: Broken Up

Having finished an intense period of editing, flash fiction calls! The prompt for this week’s Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files is The Break-Up Song by The Greg Kihn Band.

Drinks Drunk

Please do not use without permission © Lisa Shambrook

Broken Up

My head thumped in time to the music, and my hand shook as I raised the tumbler to my lips. I downed the shot and slammed the glass onto the bar.

“Another,” I growled.

The barman opened his mouth to speak but I shook my head, and he shrugged as he poured the drink. I lifted the glass and the harsh liquid burned its way down my throat.

“And again!” I demanded.

“Not my business,” he said as he placed another shot before me.

“Damn right!” I scowled, oscillating the molten fire within the glass and staring into its hypnotic depth.

This one slipped mellifluously down my throat, pooling in the centre of my chest, raising a gilded shield around my swollen heart. The music slowed, and my anger softened, and the swaying bodies filling the dance floor merged together into a rainbow of swirling colours.

This time the barman anticipated my request, and the glass appeared on the shiny counter leaving a trail of silver water shimmering in its wake. I caught it into my hand and spilled the golden glaze as my hand trembled. I fastened both hands about it, to stop it dancing, and laughed as its twin hovered before my eyes.

“You okay?” asked a voice at my side, and I spun on my stool, my head following moments later.

A shock of red hair tumbled down upon her shoulders and concern shone from her eyes. I nodded. “Is he all right?” She turned to the barman, who shrugged and moved to another customer.

“I’m fine,” I slurred. “Just having a good night, a good riddance night…all to myself. So if you don’t mind moving on…”

“Leave him.” Her friend tugged her away and they disappeared into the throng.

“We broke up!” My words echoed incoherently inside my head and faded into the music. “We finished!” I had no idea who I was talking to; the red-head or the barman or anyone who would listen. “We’re done, really done, finished forever this time!” My voice rose, whining through the music and the dizzy dancing. “Another drink, my man!”

Lights flashed, beats shook, sirens wailed, and I clasped the new, cold glass in my unsteady fingers. The drink sloshed over the sides, and I hurriedly sucked at it before I let go as it threatened to slide out of my grip.

“And another!”

“No more…” The voice was soft and mellow and I turned to the red-head.

“I told you honey, I’m done with women…” I blinked at the woman as her ponytail shook along with her head.

“Yes, you are,” she said. “For rather a long time, I’d imagine.”

The glass slipped from my hand, rolling, empty, across the bar, neon lights sparkling across its glistening surface. Blue lights revolved from the door as my arms were pulled behind my body and the click of metal reverberated through my spinning mind.

“Anything you say…” I tuned out as she recited my rights, and the night’s shots threatened to reappear.

More hazy shots rang out in my head, ones resurfacing in my memory, from a couple of hours ago. My legs yielded, and as I fell to the floor I recalled her body, her eyes, her blood, as she crumpled before me. As the policewoman at my side pulled my gun from my belt, I knew that tears and booze and no amount of drink in the world would ever conceal my sins.

(576 Words)