The Man in the Dark

shadow man

Black soul – Foto Giovanni Dall’Orto – Wikimedia Commons

Autumn 2017 – London

“Here’s what we’ve got from your video and description of the suspect. Amanda Thomas, 48 years old, born Zuhal Amanda Clarke, Father George Sanford Clarke, British, a nationally syndicated columnist and novelist, Mother Aliya Fowler, moderately successful painter of mixed English-Arab descent.”

Mikiko expected to be debriefed or briefed or whatever in some official government office, like the British Secret Intelligence Service building where MI6 was headquartered, but she found herself sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair with several other people, none of whom she knew, listening to Geoffrey Colins speaking to them in a darkened room in what seemed to be an out-of-business clothing boutique, or rather the break room of said-business. A small, portable projector was throwing images on the blank wall behind him, showing a loop of the video she’d taken last night of the woman now called Amanda Thomas.

She didn’t get back to her hotel room at the Premier Inn Heathrow until after midnight this morning. She’d walked back to the nearest bus stop from the house she’d been watching and then, in her normal identity, got on board a bus traveling in the general direction she had come from. She’d received a text from Colins as to which stop she’d exit the vehicle. Once on the street and with the bus out of sight, she heard a car engine starting two blocks away and then drive toward her. At the same time she got a text from Colins stating “Get in the back.”

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The Shower Scene

bedroom

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The old motel wasn’t what Norman imagined. He thought an old Victorian in the California countryside converted to an inn would be charming and tasteful. But his room reminded him of “old woman bedroom.” Oh well, at least there was plenty of hot water for a shower. Cheap shower curtain but that part didn’t matter.

“What?” Norman thought he heard something but the shower water was too loud. “You know, if I didn’t know any better…”

The last thing he saw was the shower curtain being ripped aside and the old woman plunging a butcher knife toward his chest.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

As I hope you can see, I was going for a twist on the 1960 film Psycho which starred Anthony Perkins as the infamous Norman Bates. Unfortunately, 100 words isn’t a lot in which to be able to build suspense before the reveal.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

TV Series Review: Containment

containmentI watched the last episode of a CW limited TV series Containment last night and it was powerful. In fact, the entire series is extremely impressive, and I don’t say that much about television anymore.

Here’s the series summary from Wikipedia:

Containment is an American limited series, based on the Belgian TV series Cordon. The show was officially ordered as a series by The CW on May 7, 2015, and debuted on April 19, 2016. The series follows an epidemic that breaks out in Atlanta, leaving a section of the city cordoned off under quarantine and those stuck on the inside fighting for their lives.

Oh, no wonder it seems original, it’s based on a television series from another country.

Actually, the Wikipedia description hardly covers it.

The show starts out at Day 13 of the containment with National Guard troops entering the cordon, the area is surrounded by barbed wire fences and stacks of cargo containers to form a solid barrier, to suppress a riot. Entry and exit to and from the cordon is controlled through certain of the containers guarded first by police, and then by soldiers as desperation escalates.

Jump back to Day One. Supposedly, patient zero, is a young Syrian man who has just arrived in Atlanta. Sick, he goes to a hospital emergency room but leaves against medical advice…but not before infecting his doctor. The doctor dies horribly hours later, hemorrhaging blood from every orifice.

Then our cast of characters are slowly introduced, a collection of individuals and families who, on the surface, seem to have nothing to do with each other, but a little at a time, how they are connected is revealed.

As the infection, supposedly a mutated flu virus that is 100% fatal in every case, spreads, Dr. Sabine Lommers (played by Claudia Black) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) takes charge under federal jurisdiction, and orders a Cordon Sanitaire, around an area of Atlanta which includes the hospital. This traps 4,000 people inside with no way to escape, leaving them at constant risk of exposure and death. This was only supposed to last 48 hours, but then things go horribly wrong.

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