On Halloween

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On Halloween

Murder dripped from my mind as a dark and unctuous treacle; it coated me in death.
And so it was I stole upon her unawares, my once love, my once life. She combed her long, raven hair with the brush I had bought her when first we met, a trinket to me, rather more to her. Here I watched from the shadows of an unlit hallway. Here my spite grew bestial.
I launched myself upon her with the vicious confidence only fear could manifest. Exactly ten years to the night, on Halloween, to be exact, I would end the turmoil of our love. My fingers closed about her throat, a sick adulation shining from my eyes.
She did not die. She would not die. The mirror as always stood empty and silent.
I’d married a witch, my fault, my lapse. I’d married a witch, and I sought to end it. As ever, she refused. She tossed me aside like a rag doll. I crumpled. She laughed.
“Maybe next year,” she sneered.
She could be sure I’d try.

The New Shoes (3)

img-alternative-textI bumble my way across the dining room to the foot of the stairs. Here, I pause. I know full well the first three steps creak from shoddy workmanship. Even though our house is still new in the timespan of such things, the stairs are a constant noisy annoyance. I step to the right which negates said creaking, but creak it does and I curse again. I blame my new shoes. It must be them.
If I wake Helen, she’ll get cross. But if there’s someone here, an intruder, as I suspect there is, then time is of the essence. What to do? What to do?
In my usual way, I compromise. I’m a man who always compromises. From the house we live in to the shoes on my feet, I have made compromises. I moved here for Helen to be close to her mother, an ailing chicken of a woman who hates me. The shoes I wear are brogues; I hate brogues. I bought them because Helen liked them and now their stupid, unforgiving leather is slowing my climb to save a woman who, in turn, is a compromise. Hey-ho, what’s a man to do? I climb. I ascend.

To Be Continued…

The New Shoes (2)

img-alternative-textI run my fingertips across our new kitchen doors; they seem less polished, more ragged than the lacquered finish that cost me a holiday and a year of moaning. I don’t know why this is because I bought them for Helen, or so I convince my obsequious self each new day that I fawn upon them. One… two… three doors to the left and I reach back to the light switch. The switch has gone!
More alarmed now, I manoeuvre myself into the open-plan dining room banging my foot on a chair that usually resides pressed back to the wall. My new shoes are going to hate me, they’ll be ruined before the day is through.
It is a relief to grab the patio curtains and fling them aside, but I’ve forgotten there’s no moon tonight and it’s still as dark as ever. I curse under my breath. Cursing is a frequent pastime.
I want to shout out, to hail my wife and receive an answer. I don’t though. Whether it’s because it’s close to midnight, or whether I fear the reply, instead, I shuffle to the stairs.
Where are you Helen? Where are you?

To Be continued…

Unknown


He was unknown to us that night. A tall, dark figure framed by the lightning of an uncommon storm, the stranger tipped his hat, grinned, and then ordered a beer. He drank this with the eyes of the town upon him, wiped his mouth, nodded, then left.
"Bye," I said, out of nerves more than politeness.
He grinned the grin of a crocodile and winked. The storm swallowed him in moments.
"What did he say? What did he say?" asked the others once he was out of earshot.
"For now," I replied.
I shivered then though I didn't know why. I left in a hurry with no intention of ever going back because I was sure of one thing with a clarity like polished glass, when the unknown man did return, I wouldn't get the chance.

As the Lights Dim

“There’s never been a day without darkness.”

I remember my dad’s words with a clarity not afforded much else. He’d adjusted his starched collar with one finger as he spoke them, a bead of sweat noticeable beside one eye. This was unlike him; he never got flustered.

As I’m sure you’re thinking, too, every day is followed by night, so why the need for such melodrama? Why the need for such histrionics?

Now, as the lights dim to a claret night and the fire burns behind my eyes, as bones crack and the animal appears, I understand the truth. Soon, so will you.

50 Word Stories: Bathed in Green

Two in the morning and I still can’t sleep. The night stands silent bereft of even cicadas. Everything is still. My bedside alarm blinks in slow motion illuminating a small, green patch of table, then flicks to darkness. When it flicks back, you’re there. You’re always there bathed in green.

50 Word Stories: The Dilemma


Thump! Thump! Thump!

Lust or love?

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Warning or alarm?

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Her eyes appraise as she licks crimson lips.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

She sways like a reed in the wind, unbending.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Pull it together, man.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Those lips purse.

Thump… … … Damn!