Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

Finishing the washing up, I moved on to drying. I heard my wife moving around and it sounded like she was tidying the dinning room. I really hoped she was going to go out soon, I needed to phone Bob, Bill and Jim. My memory from yesterday evening was hazy and I needed them to confide in.

Putting the dried plates, cutlery and tea things away, I chased down the idea to question my wife about today’s activities. She was suspicious about me enough. I turned off the radio and went into the dinning room to get my newspaper, I hadn’t finished reading it. My wife had moved it and herself into the sitting room.

I settled into my favourite armchair and took the newspaper from the side table where she had placed it. The TV was on some drama show my wife liked and she was looking through her small diary. I turned the newspaper pages loudly and buried myself once more in the articles.

‘Perhaps,’ my wife said slowly, ‘I’ll go and visit the vicar’s wife. Though, everyone else is probably doing that. Their daughter was in my school, you know and I am a key member of the village council now.’

I nodded, tried of her reminding me about that.

‘Are you going to the allotment?’ she asked sharply.

‘What, darling?’ I asked, lowering the paper.

‘The allotment, dear. Are going today?’ my wife pressed.

‘Yes, yes!’ I cried, she had just given me a great idea and the perfect cover.

‘I’m not deaf,’ she tutted.

‘No, sorry, love. I had forgotten you see…I was going to show the lads my…erm…lettuces! I should give ’em a bell and remind them,’ I added.

Tossing my newspaper down, I hurried to the phone and called them one after the other. Bill, Bob and Jim were all confused at first but I talked them into it without giving away anything. Then I hurried to change and gather my things whilst trying to keep yesterday evening out of my head.

‘I’m off then, dear,’ I called from the front door.

‘Here,’ my wife called from the kitchen before hurrying down the hallway.

She give me a thermos of tea and a plastic box containing sandwiches.

‘Remember, be back before five. I’m cooking lamb chops,’ she stated.

We kissed goodbye and I left quickly. I hurried down the street, caught the local bus and went to the edge of the village. Getting off, I walked down the lane to the allotments’ gate. It was unlocked and as I walked to my patch, I could see a few other people moving about. Luckily, they were all too far away to over hear me.

I unlocked the wooden garden gate and stepped into my fenced allotment. In neat rows where growing all kinds of veg. I walked up down, checking them in the glowing sunny day.

‘Just a little water,’ I mused.

Soon after I’d done, that my friends arrived. We greeted each other and showed them the few things that were really coming up now.

‘What is that about really, Gerald?’ Bob asked.

‘The news this morning,’ I whispered, ‘did you see it?’

‘Of course! The whole village knows about the murdered vicar!’ Bill said loudly.

‘Hush!’ I hissed, ‘look, I don’t remember much, so I wanted to know if any of you saw anything in the church.’

They fall silent in thought.

‘We heard a scream, a thud and someone running out the other door,’ I said to jog their minds.

‘Yes, then we ran the other way,’ Bill put in with a shrugged.

‘We thought we’d be caught too, remember,’ Jim added.

‘I was too drunk,’ Bob announced with a scrunched up face.

‘And we didn’t…None of us saw the vicar?’ I asked.

They shook their heads.

‘We going to the police?’ Bill questioned.

We all looked shiftily at each other.

‘Why? What can we tell them?’ Bob cut in.

‘I don’t know….That we heard something and saw a figure but we didn’t know what had happened?’ I suggested.

‘Then they’ll want to know why we didn’t check the place out,’ Jim replied.

‘And what we were doing there,’ Bill tagged on.

‘Maybe, we should keep mum,’ Bob spoke out.

There was a muttering of agreements.

‘If they ask though…?’ I broke in.

‘Then…we weren’t there,’ Bill declared, ‘we were in the pub and everyone there can confirm that. When we left we dropped Bob off then went our separate ways.’

I flashed back to this morning. I’d rather face down a policeman then my wife.

‘So we agree then?’ Jim said.

We agreed.

‘Look at those clouds,’ Bob spoke, ‘don’t like the look of ’em.’

Looking up, I saw there was a bank of dark grey clouds rolling in. The sun seemed to have dimmed too. There wasn’t meant to be any rain today, but it seemed no one had told the clouds that.

‘I’m off,’ Bill said, ‘I’ve left Molly with the grandkids.’

‘I should mow the lawn before it rains,’ Jim spoke next, ‘Anne’s been getting on my nerves about it.’

‘I..got…’ Bob trailed with a scratch of his head.

‘It’s fine. See you all later,’ I said and waved everyone off.

Watching them all leave, I wondered if we had done the right thing. But what would we really told the police? And surely, because we all intoxicated they couldn’t really take our word? I shuffled around the bed where my carrots were, debating what to do.

‘Did we really witness a murder?’ I muttered.

I tried hard to recall what I’d seen but it was all shadows and dust. Deciding to go home, I finished my tea and packed everything up. As I waited for the bus, spots of rain fell. It seemed I had left just in time. My thoughts were still stormy like the sky when I got on the bus then off it at home.

My wife wasn’t in, I guessed she was still out visiting the poor vicar’s wife. I put the TV and lamps on then sit in my armchair. I couldn’t settle though. Finally, I reached for the phone and called the local police station.

‘Hello, I’d like talk to someone about the vicar’s murder….I have some information.’

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Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

‘This says he was killed yesterday evening,’ came my wife’s voice from, behind the newspaper.

I grunted, shuffled my own paper and turned the page.

‘Up at that old church in the glen!’ she added.

Grunting again, I reached around and felt for my teacup. My fingers clinked against the bone china and I groped for the handle. Finding it, I raised the cup and brought it to my lips, taking a few mouthfuls of tea.

‘Dear? Weren’t you up there the other night?’ my wife asked in a pondering voice.

I chocked on my tea little then coughed loudly to cover it up. Setting my teacup back on it’s saucer and my newspaper down beside it, I looked at my wife. She was looking fine in her Sunday best dress which she had worn to church earlier. Her grey hair was curled tightly and pinned up. There was a puzzled expression on her wrinkled face and a demanding look in her blue eyes.

‘What? Er, no. Course not. No where near!’ I spluttered.

Her face hardened, turning into the pinched and knowing look she had been famous for as the headmistress of the girl’s high school years ago.

I felt a wave of guilty school boy in my belly. There was no lying to my wife. I had to be careful now.

‘Oh, maybe we did a little,’ I said, trying to wave it all a way.

‘What did you do?’ she asked sharply.

I shrugged before replying, ‘just stayed at The Woodsman pub, talking and drinking. Played some darts, arranged that golf rematch with Bill. Then four of us went for some fresh air and we took Bob home. You know, he lives close to there…’

I smiled and picked up my teacup again. Dropping my eyes to the small table as I drank, I saw the reminds of our Sunday breakfast; greasy plates, empty toast rack, jar of jam, bottle of brown sauce, the teapot with it’s knitted cosy on, the small jug of milk and the sugar bowl.

My wife ruffled her newspaper again and looked down at it, ‘no details of how he died,’ she muttered under her breath, ‘police still investigating and asking for witness….Who would kill a vicar?’ she said loudly.

‘No idea,’ I answered and got to my feet.

I began cleaning the table, avoiding my wife’s staring eyes. Gathering up the plates and other things on the tray, I went into the kitchen. I put things away then began washing up. My wife had left the radio on and there was some song from the sixties playing. I hoped she didn’t come in here and went out instead. I tried to remember if she was visiting anyone today.

Washing the plates, my thoughts turned to yesterday evening. I hadn’t told her the whole truth. We had been up in the church, we had all been drunk and fancied a laugh. It had been Bob’s idea really, he had a spare key to the door but it had been Ernie who’d come up with the ‘joke’.

At the wooden front door though, we had heard voices shouting, a scream then a thudding noise from within. Bob had flung open the door and we had piled in to see a shadowy figure fleeing through the back door.

To be continued…

Numbered

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Greyson got the hotel room were the murderer had stayed. The supervisor had thought it was funny he’d request that number as everyone else refused to stay in that room. It interested Greyson though, not from a supernatural point but a psychological one. Sitting on the bed, he got all the papers he had gathered about the murderer and her victims. He re-read everything carefully, thinking over the facts and figures. It was a twisted case but being in that room helped him to put everything together. Perhaps, there was hope Greyson could help her now.

The Secret

Free stock photo of bricks, wall, garden, door

My mother had been buried under the gardeners’ compost heap just like my step-great-uncle had always told me. I could see bits of creamy bone and scraps of dark red dress coated with damp soil and roots. Her death wasn’t a secret any longer but now I was about to join her.

(Inspired from; http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/07/05/writespiration-123-52-weeks-in-52-words-week-27/ with thanks)

 

The Reaper Cometh

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Going out in a hail of bullets and under the wheels of the ten ton lorry was the only way to go. Well, I didn’t have any other choices really because there was no way I was going to jail. The murders they had pinned to me would have meant total life imprisonment and that wasn’t an option.

Committing suicide had also not been an option up until that point, to be honest. I don’t know, maybe, I was thinking I’d dodge the bullets or they’d hit non-important places and that I’d just avoid the lorry’s wheels like they do in the movies. But nope, my number was up.

Once the heavy crushing pain had faded and blackness had come I knew it was the end. When I next opened my eyes, I was standing at the side of the motorway, looking across at the scene. There were flashing red and blue lights everywhere and the sirens were so loud that they blocked the rushing traffic. Though of course, most of the cars were stopping now and people were taking in what had happened.

Police swarmed the scene; searching my fancy BMW, whilst others blocked the view of my body wedged under the lorry. The driver of which was hushed off to one side into a police car like a sleeping baby. The police officers’ whispered voices came to me; is he really dead? The serial killer? The one the papers nicknamed The Red Shadow? He killed ten people we know of, but there maybe hundreds more. Yes, he’s dead. You can see that, can’t you?

I turned away, wondering what to do. Surely a pit to Hell would open up underneath me? I’d be sucked down and spend all eternity being tortured by demons. But I didn’t believe in that.

To the left of me, I saw a black shape peeling itself away from the trees. Ah, the grim reaper coming to claim my soul!

‘Wait….What are you?’ I spoke, the words tumbling from my mouth before I could stop them.

‘I am your reaper, deary,’ replied a sweet old granny’s voice.

Stunned, I just stared. There before me was a small old woman- eighty or ninety odd-she had a hunched back and skin was as wrinkly and folded as one of those weird dogs. She was dressed in a long flowery pink dress, pink handmade cardie and was holding a large blue handbag. Her hair was dyed a strange blue color and she had large glasses perched on the end of her nose.

‘When you are ready, if you’d like to follow me, sweetie,’ she spoke out, ‘you just take as long as you need, okay? No rush.’

I glanced back at the scene behind me. Cars were parked up now and an ambulance had just pulled off the hard shoulder and was trying to get in close so they could collect my body without the public seeing. Police were all ready trying to stop people from coming over.

‘Oh, I think I got some peppermints here. Somewhere,’ the granny said and began searching in her handbag.

‘No, it’s fine,’ I said, ‘who are you really?’

She looked up at me, hand still in her bag, ‘I’m your reaper, deary, come to take you to the other side.’

‘But…I was expecting demons! Devils! A black cloaked skeleton! Black, fire wings!’ I cried.

The old woman chuckled, ‘everyone believes that, but no. We take a different form every time. Everyone is different you know and often they need to be handled differently too.’

‘Do you know who I am?’ I spit.

‘Were. Sweetheart. Who were you?’ she asked then, ‘oh, here are the mints. Care for one? Go on take a handful.’

‘No,’ I stated as I waved my hands and stepped back, when she held out a pink and white stripped paper bag towards me.

‘Not a fan of mints, huh?’ she added with a wink, ‘I got something else in here for you then…’

‘I don’t want anything! Just, let’s go!’ I yelled.

‘Now, now, don’t get upset. I’ll fix it. There now,’ she said and held up a tube of my favorite childhood sweets; lemon sherbet.

She pressed it into my hand, a large smile on her face.

I looked at it in shock then opening the lid, I tossed the white power into my mouth. It tasted just as I remembered; sour and sweet, fizzy and lemony.

‘All better? I knew that would help, petal,’ she said.

I nodded, feeling for the first time in years the sensation of tears in the corner of my eyes.

‘Are you ready to go?’ granny asked.

‘Yes,’ I mumbled out.

She held out a hand which was more like the gnarled, dry root of a dead oak tree.

I took it, feeling no heat or coldness against my own hand.

With her other hand, she patted the top of mine, ‘there, there, deary. It’s all okay now.’

‘So…no demons? No Hell?’

‘Stories!’ she laughed, ‘to scare people. There is no Hell or Heaven. Just the sky.’

I looked up and saw above me the darkening sky.

We started raising towards it. Leaving everything behind. The air rushed around me and as we met the sky, I savored the last taste of sherbet on my tongue.

 

The Dying Cycle

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I’ve been dead for about seventeen minutes, give or take, but who’s counting any more right?

How do I know I’m dead right now though?

I know because I’m staring at my body, well sort of. But what more proof do you need?

I’m standing outside, in my back garden looking at where my killer stuffed me. The green general waste bin lid is only half closed and the black bag containing parts of me is poking out.

No one is aware I’m gone yet.

They’ll know soon enough though.

Why did this happen? I don’t know.

Why am I still here? No idea.

I feel adrift. Like I’m here, but not really. I can see things around me. Grey and black shadows with no real shapes. I can’t actually feel anything. I don’t like it.

I hear a sound.

I look around, trying hard to see through the mist that’s gathering around me. I go to the kitchen window and pass right through it when all I meant to do was peer inside. I turn and twist wildly, not understanding, but realising I’m now inside.

The sound comes again. Footsteps, a door closing.

My killer is still here!

I sense him, but I don’t know how. I just know he’s upstairs right now. I go, tracking him whilst all the while this mist weighs heavily on me. I almost feel like something is pulling me back, but I fight against it. I must see what he’s doing!

In the spare bedroom I find him. He is standing on the rug. Blood, my blood! dripping from the curved knife he was holding in gloved hands. He’s dressed all in black leather, like a motor biker. Only he’s not. I can’t see him clearly, he’s just an outline of red and black waves pulsing off him.

I try to reach for the knife then him, but my hands pass through him! It’s like he’s not there. Or I’m not…

Then I hear the front door and voices. I listen, but can’t make anything out. I sense a woman and two kids. My wife and children…

I leave and go downstairs. Have to warn them! They need to get out! I rush past things, making a breeze in my wake that moves papers, light shades and doors. Where are they? I can hear them, but they are not in any of the rooms.

Desperately, I search. I scream and scratch the walls.

‘Get out!’ I shout.

I don’t hear my voice, so I try again and again.

I fly around the house like a storm. Things get knocked over, smashes. I tip chairs and tables over. Strength I never had alive racing through me. Anger pounding inside of me, madness over taking.

I scream and scream. Try to rip my hair out. Try to squeeze my head in. All this rage!

I sit down. No voices, no sound, no sensing anyone.

My hands are red…

There’s blood around me. Splashed drops, smear lines, half of a hand print on a family photo.

What happened?

I try hard to think. Think about the events, about my family. I can’t grasp it and everything is tumbling away from me like a waterfall. The mist presses on me, all I can see is black. I let it take me. I have no choice.

 

 

This story was inspired by a prompt from here; http://www.everywritersresource.com/10-even-more-horrifying-horror-story-prompts/

Sycho

Dr. Guylian, the psychologist, consulted his appointment list and with a slight shake of his head crossed out the third name on the list. His eyes flickered to the newspaper next to him on the desk and he saw the same name: Margaret Dales printed on the open page. There was a photograph of a young petit woman with curly hair under a headline of; Suicide Verdict For Depressed Mother Of Six.

The corners of Guylian’s mouth give a slight flick up as if to grin, but then became straight. He had work to do. He glanced at his laptop clock and saw it was a few minutes to nine. Mr. Kingsly was in the waiting room having checked in according to the computer.

There was a soft knocking at the door.

‘Come in,’ he called sounding like a school headmaster.

The door opened and his P.A, Miss Tibet, waddled in. Her chubby arms were loaded with brown paper files and her huge breasts were spilling out around them almost as if they were eating the files. Her stomach to floor black skirt threated to trip her up and did nothing to hide or support her bulging belly. Her dark cream blouse looked loose enough, but had one button too many open at the top. Her face, acne and pockmarked covered, was masked by makeup that unfortunately still showed what was underneath.

Dr. Guylian tried not to cringe and kept a blank face.

Miss Tibet dumped the files down on a small desk to his right and began fixing them, ‘Everything is in order,’ she stated loudly, ‘I’ve removed Mrs. Dales from your appointment list. I’ll sort out her files for the police- if they want them- later on if I get a chance. Is that okay with you, Doctor?’

‘Yes. Thank you. Please send Mr. Kingsly in,’ Guylian responded with his eyes fixed to the computer screen.

‘Of course,’ Miss. Tibet said gruffly and left.

The door didn’t click back into place behind her and Guylian growled. He got up, straightening his black suit and white shirt. He tweaked his tie and patted down his short black hair. Then balancing his black framed glasses on the end of his nose and picking up his notepad he went to the comfy leather chair next to the red fabric sofa.

There was knock and Guylian welcomed his client in. Mr. Kingsly shuffled forward, quietly closing the door behind him. He was wearing a rumpled old suit and looked as if he had just come from a funeral. His face drooped with heavy wrinkles and tiredness. Kingsly settled onto the sofa, laying down with his legs together and his arms over his chest and his fingers linking.

‘How are you feeling today?’ Guylian asked.

‘Tried, Doc. So tried. I didn’t sleep at all last night nor the night before,’ Kingsly rasping voice answered. ‘I tried hard. Pills and everything like you said. But it was no good.’

‘Why do you think you couldn’t sleep?’ Guylian let the question roll off his tongue.

‘Stress,’ Kingsly answered with a slight shrug, ‘the debt collectors are gonna get me.’

‘I’m sure they aren’t,’ Guylian cut in, ‘that can’t be all that’s troubling you.’

Kingsly eyed up and swallowed loudly.

‘You are safe here, remember.’

‘It’s…her,’ Kingsly muttered.

‘Her?’ Guylian asked after a few moments.

‘It doesn’t matter. It’s nothing. Nothing, I’m sure.’

Guylian tapped his pen against his pad and watched his client shifting on the sofa. Kingsly was really nervous. Guylian waited for him to go on.

‘Can you give me something to sleep, doc?’ Kingsly spoke.

‘Did the last stuff not work?’ Guylian questioned, ‘I guess we could try something else….’

‘Like what?’ Kingsly asked with a slight rise to his voice.

‘I have another client who likes to smother herself. She claims it’s the only way she can sleep. Of course, I don’t advise that. It’s dangerous,’ Guylian explained.

‘Why does she…? No, I don’t want to,’ Kingsly rushed and got up off the sofa.

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.’

‘It’s okay, doc. I need to go now. Thanks,’ Kingsly turned and walked to the door.

Guylian kept his head low and wrote across his pad. He heard the door open and close softly. He carried on writing for a few moments then let out a sigh. Getting up, he went back to his desk and woke up his laptop. He began typing up his notes whilst his mind ticked over.

His phone buzzed and he picked it up.

Miss. Tibet’s voice crackled through, ‘Mr. Meta has arrived. Shall I send him in?’

Guylian’s eyes flickered to his computer clock, ‘give me a few more minutes,’ he said and hung up.

He finished up the notes then dug out his next client’s file. He flipped through the pages and decided to see how hard he could push Meta. The man seemed close enough to the edge now. A lick of anticipation acrossed his face and Guylian picked up the phone and called Meta through.

‘Mr. Meta. How are you today?’ Guylian called, getting up from his desk as the door opened.

Meta stumbled in. He was short, bald and his stubble beard unshaved. He was wearing dirty jogging pants and a t-shirt. Meta collapsed onto the sofa like a rag doll.

‘Mr. Meta?’

‘Bad,’ came the raspy voice.

‘Please go on,’ Guylian pressed trying to hide a hint of a smile.

‘The voices are still talking to me. Yesterday, they told me to jump from a bridge,’ Meta declared, ‘I got up on the railing, but I just couldn’t do it.’

‘Don’t you want your pain to end?’ Guylian said pleasantly.

‘Yes, yes,’ Meta sobbed, ‘I’ve nothing left now. It’s all gone.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that…maybe it’s time…you moved on?’

Meta took in a deep shaking breath, ‘how?’

‘Perhaps, you should listen to the voices and do what they say?’ Guylian suggested, hiding his Cheshire cat smile behind the notepad.

37

I have always been able to see the numbers. They float in the air above peoples’ heads in an array of colours. It’s the same, I image as people being able to see ghosts or auras. However, this is the first time that I’m admitting to seeing the numbers. If as I child I ever did speak of them, I and family have no memory of me doing so. That might come as a surprise to you because you know kids, they can never keep their mouths shut about things. However, and I shouldn’t be reminding you of all people about this, I was a sick child with disabilities. As far as anyone can remember, I uttered my first words at eight years old then rarely spoke afterwards.

I have just realised that you are probably wondering what this is all about. I’ve not started this letter out right at all, but as my dad all ways says ‘I’ve the brain of a monkey in a zoo.’ I know I shouldn’t fall back on it or make it seem like that’s true. We both know I’ve a lot more brain then that. It’s just, this is all so hard to put into words and even writing it is difficult, but all I think about is that I’ve to get it out of my head and maybe, I won’t have to give you this letter because I’ll have come up with a solution.

So, here it all is. I was driving over to yours’s to propose to you today. I know we’ve talk about and I know how your family feels about two girls being married and all that. I just keep thinking about how much we love each other and want to be with each other. The world needs to buck up and accept it. Anyway, the numbers were above everyone’s heads and they either say zero or one. Sometimes, I’ve seen a two or a three, once I really did believe I saw a four! I stopped at a traffic light and spotted this group of teenagers fighting. I got a bit scared, but told myself I was safe in my car and I’d just put my foot down when the lights changed.

I saw a guy getting stabbed and the number above his attacker changed from zero to one.

I panic and stalled at the lights as the kids ran away. I wanted to get out and go and help him, but I just couldn’t. No one else seemed to have noticed and there was loud honking coming from behind me. I started up the car and drove off.

Outside your house, I tried to get out of the car, but I couldn’t do it. I badly wanted to tell you what had happened and feel your arms around me. I know you wouldn’t have told me I was being silly and it was all in my head, but and I think if you are reading this, we both know the really reason why I couldn’t see you.

The number above your head is 37.

(Writer’s note; if I hadn’t been constricted for time I would have wrote this into an actual short story. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it and do just that. Thanks for reading)

Perfect In Death

She was dead on the kitchen floor. I was lying beside her, staring at her from the angle that my head was at as it lay on my arm. I could see the sharpness of her jawline, some of the veins in her neck and collar bone, because her head was twisted upwards, facing the kitchen window.

I went to play with her hair, using the arm I was laying on to reach out my hand and tangle it within her sun drenched locks. I wonder if that was her natural blond shade or if she had dyed it? The hair was soft under my fingers and seemed to shimmer when it caught the sunlight coming in from the window.

I didn’t want to get up, but it was time to move. Slowly, I pulled away, careful not to disturb the position she had fallen into. Sitting up, I folded my legs and rested my hands in my lap. Her dress had rode up, revealing more than it should do, not that the tight red dress had left a lot to the imagination anyway.  I pulled it down, pinching just the edge of the silky material as I did so and covered her up.

That done I cast my eyes down her slim, tan legs and noticed that her shoes had come off her feet. Kneeling across her, I pushed the shiny red heels back into place. I licked my dry lips and moved to sit by her head. I had shut her blue eyes before, but I could still feel them staring up at me. They had been a light shade of blue, like a spring sky or crystal waters of a calm sea. Happiness had shone out of those eyes, life had shone, youth and so many other things which she was now robbed of. I noticed her lipstick was slightly smeared at the bottom edge which was closest to the floor. I wanted her to be perfect, perfect in life as in death, but to fix that lipstick smear would mean moving her head…..

I left it and traced the curve of her neck downwards. There was a thin sliver chain around her throat at the end dangled a small flat heart. I remembered it sitting in the hollow of her throat before. She was on her side now and I doubted that the heart would stay there again. I pressed the heart between my fingers and put it into the hollow. Luckily, the bones were raised and the heart rested on one of them.

Did that mean she was un-weight? I hadn’t seen any other bones sticking out…..I dipped my hands to her chest and pressed down, I felt a slight stickiness on her skin and a faint tingle of the perfume wafted over to my nose. I had forgotten that smell, it had faded somehow. No bones raised against my fingers, so I guessed she was okay. My eyes moved down, the neckline of the red dress dipped very low and it was now clinging to her skin. I pulled it out a little.

There she was almost perfect….but the scene was not. I shuffled back and stood up. I had to leave her and the kitchen to gather what was needed. Around her, I arranged the small, thin glass candle holders I had taken from the bathroom. There were six of them, one at her head, and another at her feet and then two on each side of her, spaced so that an oval shape was created. I had put in fresh candles- vanilla scented- the only ones she had left and they were a cream colour in the glass holders.

There was a box of matches on the kitchen top. I opened the box and struck the first match, it flickered out.  The smoke rose and I could smell burning. I knelt down and struck another. The flame sparked and caught this time. I lit the first candle and then lit the rest using four matches in all. I threw the used ones in the bin and then replaced the box.

How peaceful she looked, almost like she was sleeping only there were no movements and the kitchen floor shattered the image of her being comfy. The light from the candles was a gold halo on the floor and the smell of vanilla drifted upwards, covering up the scent of death which had settled on her before. She looked nice in all that red and was another satisfactory offering to the Reaper.

A noise outside drew my attention away; the low rumble of a car engine as it slowed down. There came a slight squeak of the wheel as it hit the curb. Time to leave. I went to the backdoor and after a last glance around I stepped out into the sunlight, a smile on my face.

***

I saw it in the newspaper the next day; it must have been Thursday because it was a free newspaper that got delivered through the door. I flicked through the paper over a late lunch, until I found the article; a photo of her caught my eye. A quick read of the small article showed me that everything was still fresh and the police were giving nothing anyway. I threw the paper into recycling after I had read the ads for jobs page.

I stayed inside that day, watching TV and staying away from the news. I could no longer bear hearing the reports about the murders and watching the sobbing family members begging the public to help them. Instead I watched cartoons, recalling fond memories of my childhood and wishing to be back in that innocent state.

I didn’t kill for days after that. I went out once to buy food; readymade meals, some fruit, some snacks and a bottle of blackcurrant juice. I liked the young woman at the till who severed me, she kept smiling at me- I must have looked good that morning. I didn’t want her to be next, but I had a feeling she could be. I had killed enough of my long distance friends and family members now, I had started on friends of friends and girl/boyfriends, but I knew the police were clever and would figure out who was at the centre of that circle.  I had to start on strangers and take up a different method.

It was raining. The sky was a dull grey colour and the wind was tossing around some rubbish in a corner. I was shivering in my coat, but I had to stay hidden. She must have been working a late shift, because there was no why she could have sneaked passed me. From this angle I could see the staff door and the main door. I didn’t want it to be her, but it had to be someone……

The staff door opened and into the rain she stepped. I watched as she shook out the umbrella and started walking away. I followed her, pacing slower behind her. The car park was empty, but for a line of cars and it was to one of these she was heading. I couldn’t let her get into that car. I had to take her now.

I crept up behind her and slipped the knife from my pocket. She had stopped by a small green car and was fumbling for keys. I swung my arm around her neck, she struggled and went to scream, but I drew the knife quickly across her throat. I hear her choke and felt the warm blood pouring down and across my arm. I pushed her away, but she twists around as she falls and I see her wide, brown eyes staring into mine.

I have to wait till she dies, but she’s still struggling for breath, maybe the cut wasn’t deep enough? The knife is shaking in my hand, I can’t cut her again. It was a mistake to kill her in this way….it’s not a perfect death. All that blood gushing, her struggle, the pain and fear in her face. I reach out for her with my other hand, but before my fingers can touch her warm, wet skin, a door bangs shut.

I shoot upwards, my eyes fix on the staff door and the two men walking over. I clutch the knife in my hand and flee the scene, but they see me and start yelling. I run on, my feet pounding the wet tarmac, blood dripping off the knife and the edges my coat hitting me. I hear feet pounding behind me, someone gasping for breath too closely! I get out of the car park, hit the street and take the turn off into the woods.

***

It was early in the morning and someone was banging at my front door. The sound vibrated through my head, causing a headache to fire up in my skull. I struggled out of the bed and went to the door.

“Police! Open up!”

I froze at the voice and words….Why had they come for me?

I went to the door and the voices yelled the same thing again. I peered out and saw at least four policemen on the doorstep. I opened the door and stuck my head out, “Is there a problem?” I asked.

The officer asked me my name and when I give it to him, he kicked the door in and grabbed me, shouting, “I’m arresting you for murder!”

“Murder? What? I’ve done nothing!”

He turned me around and clipped the handcuffs on telling me the normal arresting lines as he did so. I echoed the part about the lawyer and then they dragged me off into a police van. I sit in the back, eyeing the cage interior and listening to the police radio announcing things. The cuffs were tight on my wrists. The police sirens were on, so clearly they were in a hurry to get me back to the station. I had too much time to think and as a crime investigation van pulled up, I had already worked out that telling them the true just wouldn’t cut it.

I was quiet as an officer took me from the van and to the desk. I had to fill out some forms and have all my things taken from me. Then came the interview…..I lied and denied everything. It seemed my innocent act didn’t work though and as I sit before a spread of photos- staring at the dead bodies just I had left them-I decided to come clean about my actions.

It wasn’t to be believed of course.

A shaft of moonlight peered in the cell window. I shifted my head to cast I look up at the full moon as it bathed light across the sky. The jail was still echoing with voices and though I had a cell to myself I just couldn’t sleep. This was my second night and I knew time had run out for me. There was no way I could carry on my killing spree in here. So I was just going to have to face up to the fate I had been dodging for years.

As the moon disappeared behind a cloud, the cell suddenly got colder, freezing almost. I looked around, trying to see through the pitch blackness and then I was aware of a black figure appearing out of the wall. I stood up and braced myself for my last audience with the Reaper.

“I can’t kill any more,” I whispered.

He was silent.

“The pact is broken…..there can be no more deaths to allow me to keep living.”

The moon appeared, hitting the scythe he held with a bone hand as it swept downwards to my chest.