They still fed him: by bucket.
Her ghost was quieter than she.
The confusion came upon her climbing out of the suitcase alive. One policeman, a great donut of a man, scratched his balding head and just shrugged. Another almost swallowed his whistle. Inspector Max Action, renowned for his forthrightness and blunt replies, looked at the smiling girl and growled, "Case closed."
Author's Note: In matters of life and death experience always trumps youth. Just another ditched scene, but as my knees are aching it seemed apt.
He sat at his desk oblivious, tap-tapping away on the typewriter, the words flowing from his fingertips. A lukewarm cup of coffee stood still steaming in the cold study, the old man too tired to set a fire when there was work to be done. He shivered, but not because the door had clicked open.
The assassin smiled. An easy job made easier. His target, the once much vaunted Sam 'the man' Witty, creaked even louder than the leather seat he sat in. A sneer escaped his lips as he raised his gun and levelled it at the back of the old man's head.
The shot came. A body fell to the floor.
A final tap of the keyboard and Sam stretched, his right arm still holding his trusted revolver as though it belonged there. He cracked his stiff neck, the sound louder than the silenced gunshot, and cast a second look to his reading glasses; the assassin was as dead in the left lens as he'd been alive in the right. Another dead body in a life full of them, Sam thought. Sixty years old he might have been, but experience counted in the game of death.
You Have to Hand it to Him.
“Damn, that complicates things. Have we a suspect?”
“Has he admitted to it?”
“Hm, I see.”
“I’m presuming you’ve located the murder weapon.”
“Stranger still. Murder, as a rule, is carried out by a singular weapon be it a gun, knife, sword, etcetera, etcetera. But you say in this case there are two.”
“There are, sir.”
“And you’ve located them?”
“Dare I ask where?”
“Wrapped about her neck, sir.”
“The murder weapons, they won’t let go.”
“And by murder weapons you mean…”
“His hands, sir. He says they’re sentient. They have a life of their own and they’ve chosen to disobey his commands. He claims there’s nothing he can do about it.”
“Really. I’m right to assume you’ve tried to remove them.”
“Oh, yes, sir. I can assure you they’re locked solid.”
“Clever. That’s clever beyond all words. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re the smartest pair of hands I’ve ever come across in my many years of service.”
“How so, sir?”
“Simple. If they remain locked about his…”
“His wife’s throat then we shall be unable to take fingerprints.”
“But his hands are around her throat, sir.”
“He could be holding head her neck together. He could be stopping the bleeding. He could be warming her larynx or any number of excuses that a barrister might concoct.”
“So, what do we, sir.”
“Turn off the heating.”
“Turn off the heating!”
“Yes, and lay out some warm gloves.”
“And lay out some warm gloves!”
“Indeed. Then, we draw up a seat and sit and wait. If they’re as sentient as he insists, then sooner or later they’re going to get cold. When they do, they’ll reach out for those fur-lined beauties, and we’ll nab them.”
“That could take an age, sir.”
“Good point. In that case, get the innocent party, the husband himself, to drink cold water from a glass with a straw.”
“He’s a man isn’t he?”
“Nature will do the rest.”
“Brilliant, sir. But, sir?”
“Where do we put the handcuffs?”
Beloved Be Loved
A Murder in Three Acts
I loved her with a passion that burnt through my body to singe the earth beneath my feet. Every thought of every day belonged to her, every moonbeam bore her features, every sunburst was her eyes. I lived for her, breathed for her, would’ve died for her, and then done so again. She was my beloved.
She eyed me with a mysterious mix of revulsion and curiosity. I might have been something she’d stood in, or an old blouse given to charity then spied on another woman who’d accessorised it with patches in the image of my face. She turned away because she couldn’t bear to look, not for her sake, but my own. Pity, I think? She pitied me. I was pitiful.
I trailed her with eyes upturned; her perfumed perfection provided a trail. Life wouldn’t allow me to part from her. Life, that’s a joke, I had no life without my beloved. To turn away was to fall into hell with a boulder strapped to my back and lead-lined shoes. Torture some might have called it, and they would’ve been right. Having a beloved who wouldn’t be loved. Could you imagine anything worse? I couldn’t. That’s why I ended it in one foul sweep of an over-sharpened blade. Ended it for us both.
They deemed it unnecessary, whilst I deemed it essential.
“Containment is the watchword, gentlemen,” I forewarned.
“Containment is the last thing on our mind. She…”
“It,” I intervened.
“She!” they bellowed as one.
“She is impeccable,” Charlesworth continued. “Come in, dear,” he said.
She entered the room dressed in the finest fabrics the orient possessed. Her clip-clopping feet were in perfect time to the batting of her overly long eyelashes. She paused, took in our little enclave and bowed with a creaking and clacking of unoiled cogs, then stood motionless.
“Perfect,” oozed Charlesworth.
“Divine,” grinned Robshaw like Mister Carroll’s Cheshire cat.
She’d beguiled them all.
I left them to their lecherous desires slamming the front door in my wake. I’d barely made it out of the gravel drive when the screaming began.
As I’d stated, it was all very unnecessary. After all, who should understand her faults better than the man who’d made her? And more pertinent, why he’d made her?
I took out the silver cigarette lighter that was far more, flicked the cap and shivered at the ensuing explosion. My movable mannequin had done her job well.
Again, only I knew why I’d made her and her purpose was to kill.
Good riddance, I detested each of them. They were the most unnecessary of all.
The Cold Plunge
I dipped beneath the world I knew in a cold plunge of ethereal grace. The fog that had clouded my mind diminished with the iced injection, life fell away in layers. I was an orange peeled in one long, unravelling length, spaghetti wound around a fork, a vacuumed ghost. I was all this and more, but I never once forgot you.
I remained anchored by those eyes, your eyes, attached to the world I was meant to leave. I slowed, though my body felt nothing, stalled, though my mind said not. Paused between reality and a dream, I coalesced into something bigger than my once self, and the fury built.
Surfacing like a submarine from the Marianna Trench, a place so deep as to be unknown, my anger should not have been, yet it was and it did, and I did, too. The one who’d separated us would pay.
“The cold plunge,” said another. “You’ve felt it?” as I passed.
“I have,” I whispered, though my mouth never moved.
“Take us with you,” said another faceless being in this faceless place. “Please!” begged another.
And so I raised from the stone floor on which I’d fallen, the blood still dripping from my chest, a gaping cavern all that remained of my heart. I was not alone. The mob knew fear then, I would see to it.
My army of ghosts squeezed them away to that place beyond death to die a million times over, then die some more. The heat from their bodies would diminish by the cell and the ghosts would take every atom.
When I turned to my darling she screamed, and I died again, not from anger, not from pain, but from love. I was an abomination she loved no longer. Her fear drove me away.
Yet still I lingered as fog, the mist in the mirror, the unsettling dream. For me, death had just begun.
Well, it is almost Halloween.
Willow trees have always held a certain allure. When the wind blows through a willow’s skirts, you catch a fleeting glimpse of perfect nature like the tide at midnight or the moon on a clear blue day. Some call it beauty, although I call it convenient. I buried you underneath.
She pressed a kiss to my wet lips, her fingertips leaving impressions of the past. Her delicate smile soothed, allayed my fears, whilst I looked on through waterlogged eyes, my tears lost. She comforted me in those final moments, but never for a second took her foot off my head.