Death by Bic

messy desk

© Yvette Prior

“Between the booze and the coffin nails, it’s like a monument to death, right Turner?”

Detective Gerard Harrington waved his hand over the desk of the deceased while nodding at Officer Dawn Turner.

“I guess so, Sir.” She wasn’t a fan of the flamboyant homicide investigator’s style, but everyone in the department knew he was the best in the business. “So this was a murder?”

“Nah. It’ll take an autopsy, but I’m betting these leaky cigarette lighters he collected did him in. Lung disease didn’t help, but it was the butane fumes that killed him.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 95. Do you know how hard it is to write a murder mystery in less than 100 words?

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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Only One More

soap

© Fandango

It felt so good to get the crap off of his body, even the nausea-inducing odor with which he was always saturated after each job.

This was number eleven. Only one more to go. Each of these increased the chance of him leaving some clue, though so far, the police were chasing nothing more than their tails.

Looking down, the last of the blood was swirling around the drain, about to be consigned to the sewers.

He turned off the shower and grabbed the towel hanging outside. Drying himself off, he thought of the oath he swore over his family’s graves.

A year ago, the infamous “Gang of Twelve” raided his father’s house, tortured and raped his mother, his sisters, and his daughter, beat and tortured the boys and men, then finally murdered them, all because of rumors that the patriarch had a horde of gold bullion.

They never found gold, but the ex-intelligence agent, who had been traveling that weekend, vowed to end each gang member in the most brutal manner possible. Only one more death until he achieved his goal. But even if the souls of the dead would rest easier, his own spirit would be haunted forever.

I wrote this for the 12 August 2018 edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Interestingly enough, I’d just taken a shower before sitting down and writing this story, so the feeling of getting clean was very fresh for me, if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun. For some reason, the smell of blood (like from a bloody nose) popped into my head. The rest of my tale just fell into place.

To read other stories based in the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Lady in Black

woman in pool

Image credit Mari Lezhava via Unsplash

The lady in black, as the tabloids dubbed her, had drowned in Victor Fountain’s swimming pool five years ago and now she was back. Marcela Saenz was twenty-eight when she died. Mr. Fountain, CEO and President of one of the top software engineering companies in the world, was on holiday with his family at the time and had no knowledge about how the personal assistant for his company’s Marketing director had gotten onto his property.

The coroner declared the case death by misadventure. Based on the contusion on the back of Ms. Saenz’s head, and the amount of water in her lungs, he determined that she must have fallen into the pool, struck her head against the side, rendering her unconscious, and subsequently drowned.

Her body was found by Johnny Morales, an employee of a pool cleaning service, some forty-eight hours after she died. The nineteen-year-old quit his job the next day.

Marcela Saenz drowned in Victor Fountain’s swimming pool five years ago today. The pool had temporarily been drained to repair a cracked drainage pipe.

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The Long Wait for Retribution

naddaf

PHOTO: Mohamed Naddaf has been jailed for at least eight years. (AAP: David Crosling)

I know why Norman Sharp was convicted of the murder of his wife Inbar Rahal in Melbourne. His story was that he found her in their car, beaten, stabbed, and bound. Sharp took her inside and treated her wounds, not calling for help because DHHS had already threatened to take their three children because of filthy home conditions.

Authorities found him hugging her corpse five days later.

He went to prison and the children to foster care.

To this day, Sharp continues to declare his innocence, and denies any knowledge of how Inbar had come to be so mistreated.

As for the Jinn who had possessed him, I’ve only been hunting him for twenty years, but his grievance with Inbar spanned centuries. One of Inbar’s ancestors had murdered his own daughter, whom the Jinn had possessed because he loved her. The Jinn had his revenge and someday, I’ll have mine.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google Maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, I looked the place up, but there was way too much information for me to quickly decide on a topic, and I need to get the yard work done before it gets too hot.

I looked up their local news and found the ABC news story Death of woman ‘slow, miserable and avoidable,’ judge tells husband. I used the basic facts of the case as the basis of my story, changing some of the details and, of course, the names.

I also researched Exorcism in Islam and found a Jinn might possess someone because they are dangerous to the Jinn, they are in love with the person, or just because the Jinn is evil.

I created my “Jinn hunter” because I needed a narrator.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Industry

abortion industry

Image found at the European Centre for Law and Justice – ACLI Site Banner – Credit unavailable

Dr. Edna Thomas had drawn the proverbial short straw this month, and was assigned to the “Disposal Unit,” a slight euphemism for the plant that provided for the orderly disposal of what was left of the aborted “material” once the stem cells and other useful biological components had been removed.

Since inadvertent contact with the remains was always a possibility in so massive an operation, she had donned the required smock and gloves, though she wouldn’t use the mask and protective lenses unless the needed to personally examine the “leftovers” on the “production” floor.

“Reynolds, have you go the latest audit info uploaded to the database yet?” She turned to the IT tech sitting next to her at the control console in the glassed-in observation room.

“Just now, Doctor. Nationally, we’ve extracted and processed 108,773 units this month alone. That should keep the bosses happy.” Glenn Reynolds seemed to authentically enjoy his work here, and was totally unphased by all of the blood and tiny body parts passing by in buckets on six parallel conveyor belts.

“What about our plant?”

“Statewide? Wait one. Yes, here it is. Just over 2,100.”

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The Halloween Monster

monster

© Liz Young

Arthur stopped off at his sister’s last night, realizing he was too drunk to drive home from the bar. Staggering into her backyard the next morning, he discovered the apparition. Melissa followed him, looking bemused.

“Like it? I’m putting it out front for Halloween tonight.” It was then he noticed she was pointing a pistol with a silencer at him.

“Hey, what’s that?”

“Last year, you got off on that drunk driving charge where you killed a little girl. I’m fixing justice.”

That night, Melissa got a lot of compliments on the realistic display of a monster in a cage.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

For some reason, I thought of a man who was hung over coming across this scene and being totally bewildered. The story wrote itself after that.

To read other tales inspired by the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Lorenzo’s Gulls

gulls

© wildverbs

“Come, my friends. I’ve got more food for you.”

Lorenzo Thornton had been friends with the gulls for decades, but then he was as good a murderer as they were scavengers. He’d found easy prey in hitchhikers and runaways along the coast highway near his cabin behind the white dunes, and his private graveyard was only a few hundred yards away. No one would miss his victims.

But he never buried the bodies before the gulls came and picked them clean. He knew they loved him, and he loved the gulls. They were the only thing he did love.

At seventy-eight, he sat in a lounge chair, drank a bourdon, pondered his disability income from wounds suffered in war, and his successful kill rating in the decades since. It was in the afternoon sun of July when he dozed off and his black heart finally stopped.

Then the gulls gathered, hundreds of them, and they watched and waited. As the sun began to set, they allowed Lorenzo to provide them one last meal.

I wrote this for the 173rd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 173.

Of course I looked up Gulls and discovered that they’ll eat just about anything, living and dead, and sometimes will “feed in association with other animals, where marine hunters drive prey to the surface when hunting.”

It wasn’t hard to write my wee tale after reading that.

To discover other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Stones

park

© Michelle De Angelis.

The beautiful park, the gentle couple strolling just ahead of him, the cool of the summer evening only made a dull impression on him, all because her blood had added one more stain to his soul.

“She was only three years old, God. Why did that butcher have to murder her?”

Detective Keith Simmons was due to retire soon. This would be his last murder investigation and he thought he’d seen it all. Then he saw the blood and her torn, battered body.

He suppressed sorrow and summoned rage. Prison was too good for that scumbag. There was a better justice.

“Excuse me.” He looked up and saw one of the people who had been ahead of him. “I believe you could benefit from this.”

Keith mutely accepted the note she was holding. As she turned back and started walking with her companion again, he unfolded it and read, “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.”

Tomorrow, he’d visit the child’s family again. It was his first stepping stone.

I wrote this for the 172th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Yesterday, I read a news account (actually several) about how a man with a knife attacked nine people, six of them children, at a girl’s third birthday party. The three year old died.

After reading it, I wrote my own commentary, feeling the hope being drained out of life because of such events.

Today, I’m trying to be a bit more optimistic and not let things like this defeat my spirit. It isn’t easy.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Hope is Being Sucked Out of Life One Person at a Time

memorial

A Boise mass stabbing left nine people hurt, including six children, after a man attacked a 3-year-old’s birthday party on Saturday, June 30, at an apartment complex near West State Street and Wylie Lane. Four of the victims were critically injured.

I don’t know if I successfully communicate this on my blog, but I do try to understand people who aren’t like me. I may not always agree with them, but I want to know where they’re coming from. After all, I’m not the sole source of human knowledge, and I’m not the ultimate moral and ethical authority in the universe. I suppose my efforts are wasted, at least with a few folks who really, really need the world to be polarized, and if you aren’t like them, you’re evil. Nevertheless, I do want to get some sort of comprehension about people, even those who (probably) hate me.

This stuff like this happens and it sucks all of the hope out of the room. Really, I’m suffocating.

A 30-year-old guy was staying in an apartment complex in Boise, Idaho near where I live. He’s from Los Angeles, and I can’t really glean from the news stories why he was here in the first place. Apparently, there was some sort of trouble with the apartment manager and/or tenants, and he was asked to leave.

So what is his response? He gets a knife and, targeting a child’s birthday party, stabs nine people, including the birthday girl who was turning three. She was flown to Salt Lake City for treatment and just died of her injuries.

A three-year-old little girl is dead and for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The suspect is in custody and being held without bail. The victims were all recent immigrants from Ethiopia, Iraq, and Syria. All they wanted was to escape the violence of their countries and make a new life here in the U.S. This guy (I won’t honor him by posting his name or photo) took away the hope they found here.

Every time something like this happens, my faith in humanity diminishes just a little bit more, I become more cynical, and I become more like the pundits on social media who demand the (metaphorical) heads of their enemies on a platter just because they dared to disagree with them.

I know we live in an evil world and human nature isn’t really a great nature. We have to work hard to overcome the lowest levels of who we can be. Apparently, this person didn’t feel like working that hard and now a three-year-old girl is dead.

My granddaughter turned three last week.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t like people very much right now.

595 Hitori Kakurenbo

595 old house

© C.E. Ayr

The Occultist had been a small child when he was last here. He remembered playing in the yard, ringing the now rusted bell next to the forlorn gate, playing behind the trees out back, and eating pizza with his Grandpa on the shaded patio. All of his memories of this home were happy and joyful except for the one that was horrifying.

The house and grounds had been neglected for the past twenty years. When his Dad inherited it after Grandpa’s tragic death, he didn’t have the heart to sell it or have the structure demolished. Raymund stood at the gate, closed his eyes, and said a silent prayer of gratitude. If the house at 595 Hitori Kakurenbo had been destroyed, he would have no hope of discovering the identity of the inhuman being who had slaughtered his Grandfather two decades ago. Raymund had only been seven years old when it happened, and was the only witness to the murder.

His Grandfather’s long career as a paranormal investigator had finally caught up with him. Raymund spent the past decade training for this moment. Tonight, he would discover the identity of Grandpa’s inhuman killer and bring it to fearful justice.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of July 1, 2017 hosted by Susan. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

Yesterday, I again discovered the hazards of allowing children unmonitored access to the internet. My nine-year-old grandson showed me a video on YouTube called 10 Paranormal Games You Should Never Play. He wanted to incorporate some of them into a game we’ve been playing (role playing game, so it all exists in the imagination), but after viewing them, I said absolutely not.

Chances are, all of these are hoaxes, but if you have faith in God, you have to accept that there is a supernatural realm, and the danger of falling into evil.

I borrowed the villain and the street name from the original appellation of one of those games to act as the murderer and the address of the crime scene. Yes, today’s wee tale takes a turn into the darkness, however, I rarely can let evil win, so I’m also planning for redemption.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.