Tag Archives: flash fiction

The Broken Purse

 

Some kind of a weird noir parody. Best read with a sleazy saxophone solo playing in the background, because that’s how it got written.

 


 

I can feel this seedy bar etching itself into the backs of my eyelids. Once you’ve been in a bar like this, you can never really leave. Smoke from the lungs of a hundred scumbags saturates your soul, and then it seeps out of your pores for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how clean you get or how freshly pressed your suit; good honest folks can still smell it, and wrinkle their noses when you walk by.

She knew I was looking her way. Animals like her have a sixth sense for these things.

Well, I tried not to think about it. But then she sidles on over to me and starts purring like a kitten.

“Buy me a drink,” she says.

“Baby,” I says, “I’ll buy a dame like you a whole bottle.”

So we get to talking. Turns out she’s from Maine. Land of the lobsters, I say. She says nobody talks like that and I don’t know jack shit about Maine.

As we talk I get to studying her face. You can read some faces just like a book. Where they’ve been, what they’ve seen. Behind those velvet eyes lay a Pandora’s box of trouble. She’d seen more than most, lost more. She had a low speaking voice, the kind you had to really listen to hear. And a slow motion walk, like she carried in her hips the watery swells of the great lakes. Maine. Nobody ever leaves Maine. It’s too good there.

She tells me she’s been shopping, that she bought a new purse. That the strap broke today. She looks at me with those deep black eyes and my heart split into twenty pieces of silver.

“I’ll fix your purse, sweetheart,” I says to her. And I stretch out my hand.

She hands me the purse. Charming the way she tied it together. A perfect square knot, not a loose strap of leather anywhere. An organized woman.

Yeah, I offered to fix her purse. But I wasn’t playing straight with her. I didn’t know the first thing about sewing. But I knew something about knots. I knew about tight places. Ah, she had a dress on so tight, it could strangle a python.

I sneak myself a peek into her purse and I see a shiny wallet, a set of keys, lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara, and $300 in cold hard cash.

Yeah, I’m a lousy guy, and I love a beautiful woman with sad eyes, but I ain’t a sucker. I tell you she had a contact list in her phone that was a mile long, all of them Johns.

“Sweetheart,” I says. “It’s been a pleasure. I’ll fix this for you in a jiffy, just gotta run to the car.”

She looked kinda troubled when I said that. “Wait,” she says.

I get up and I move fast. She’s got too much of the Great Lakes in her, those rolly hips balanced on high heels couldn’t get any speed. She says something at my back, I think it was, “he’s got my purse! You son of a bitch!”

A couple of heroes try to stop me but I hit em right where their weight settled and knock em down.

Yeah. I am a son of a bitch. I’m a fast son of a bitch. And no one will ever catch up to me.

 

I made a choice that night. Sometimes, when I’m in bed, my thoughts come sneaking in through the crack of light under the door. I close my eyes and I see the bar again, and I see the girl from Maine with the velvet eyes. And when I look at the tattoo those three hundred dollars got me, I wonder if it was all worth it. A Woody Woodpecker caricature lasts a long time in ink. But a kiss from a woman like that, maybe that’s what forever tastes like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Dos and Don’ts with Turkey

 

This was written by my friend Liz and me when we were in 7th grade, so about 12 years old? We spent all day at school just passing stories back and forth and giggling insanely. I’m surprised we didn’t get into more trouble, really.

This was an early one so it’s extra random. We hadn’t honed our process yet… haha

 

 


 

 

The boy was killed.  Then Suzy came and buried him. Bob killed Suzy and a horse ate Bob.  The horse was the one who originally killed the Boy because he was eaten by a thawed-out turkey.

Does this make sense to you?

The horse killed the boy first, then was eaten by the thawed-out turkey.

Then Albert caned the turkey. Albert told the turkey as he caned him, “Don’t make friends!”

The turkey screamed.

Albert jumped back.  Did it just scream?  He was terrified!  Then… did its wing twitch?  What was going on?

Albert felt his heart pumping harder and faster.  He started breathing faster.

The turkey’s leg moved.  There was no mistaking.  This thawed-out turkey was still alive.  Albert’s cane slipped out of his sweaty palms.  It clattered on the ground.  He stared at the turkey.  He couldn’t move his eyes off of it to find his cane.  He started shaking.  Was he crazy?  Was this all a dream?  He turned to run away, but he felt a cold, clammy wing on his ankle.

 

Suzy came in the kitchen.  Where was Albert?  Oh, well.  She cooked the turkey for dinner.

She put the oven on 3,500°F and °C and after 3 hours the oven was on fire.

But the turkey was still alive.  It burst out of the oven.  It was flaming.  It ran toward Suzy. She screamed.

Grandma came in.  Where was Suzy?  Oh, well.  She cooked the turkey again.  Then her granddaughter ran in and said, “I love turkey!  Where did I come from?”  Grandma said, “You came from a Sears box with instructions on how to put you together.”  Then the turkey was gone.  It had run across the street and gotten hit by a car.

Sarah looks like a turkey.

The driver drove a new Mercury Villager.  He cleaned the guts off his car and drove away.

Sarah still looks like a turkey.

Liz looks like a buffalo.

Then the turkey was still alive.  It gobbled its way to its death at the dining room table.

Liz still looks like a buffalo.

Sarah stopped looking like a turkey.

The End

PS  Liz stopped looking like a buffalo.

James is now an unmentionable fat creature with tentacles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

AC

 

She exhaled. The air froze her breath, turning it to mist.

She turned, her high ponytail bouncing, and headed towards the fridge.

In her home hung icy stalactites. The floor was slick as a rink.

She cracked off an icicle as she passed through a door and picked her teeth with it.

Once this room was stiflingly warm, full of chaos and arguments and pets and children and steaming meals. Every blanket was a shared blanket. There wasn’t enough house to go around.

Now things were much better.

She checked her fridge and swore to herself. There wasn’t enough milk for her to make the ice cream. It was already time for another grocery run?

Grabbing her keys, she put on a visor and sunglasses, a light shawl, considered sunblock but decided against it.

When she opened the door, the sun hit her hard, even through the sunglasses. She took a deep breath of conditioned air before heading out. Her mantra would get her through this: only five minutes, only five minutes. Then she could be back home, making ice cream, enjoying the cold dark quiet isolation of her safe, safe house. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to talk to a single person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Housesitting

 

Checking up on my friend’s house while he was on vacation, I did a quick walk through, tweaking the thermostat, flushing the toilets.

As I was poking through the fridge for expired items, movement caught the corner of my eye. Something white on the kitchen floor. Before I could focus my attention on it, it had already slipped through the archway.

I followed to investigate, but it was no longer there. Perhaps it was my imagination.

No, there it was again! Going into the bedroom. It looked like the hem of someone’s dress.

Panic gripped me by the neck. There was no one else here. Not one sound but the abnormally audible ticking of the kitchen clock.

Hesitantly, I followed it into the bedroom.

And just saw the edge of it going into the bathroom.

There was nowhere left for it to go now.

Bracing myself for… I don’t know what, my hands shaking, I forced my weak legs to follow after it.

I rounded the corner and saw a woman in a white wedding dress standing before the mirror. She was taking down her old-fashioned hairstyle, removing hairpin after hairpin from her chestnut locks.

I blinked, and she was gone.

Before, I was shaking from fear. Now I was shivering from the unnatural cold that sank straight into my bones. I could see my breath.

Nope.

Rushing back through the house, I grabbed my purse and left through the front door, pausing to lock it behind me with trembling hands. I’d accidentally left my water bottle in there, but I wasn’t going back.

I texted my friend. “You don’t need a housesitter,” I typed. “Someone is already staying here. You can keep your $50!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Just for Fun

The best thing about it being October is that means I can indulge in as much horror writing as I want, and nobody can complain! *evil laughter*

 


 

Ellen opened her orange flowered backpack and pulled out a small journal, as long as her hand, bound in ancient red leather. It looked very old, the corners worn thin.

“This is it,” she said, passing the book to me as we sat together on the edge of the bed. “My grandmother passed this down to me. She said one of my ancestors, who was put on trial by Puritans in the 1600’s, wrote it.”

I touched the cover with my fingertips reverently, then opened it.

Handwritten Latin script, nearly faded. Some pages were written in rusty brown. Blood as ink? There were diagrams of spells, recipes. Charms to get well. Curses and hexes. The writing was hurried in places, missing information in others; clearly the author had not intended for this to be seen. It smelled like old, old paper. Gorgeous. I couldn’t believe any spellbooks from this period had survived.

“Here’s the one you were talking about,” I said, pausing my perusal and translating as best as I could. “’Malit Bond. To conjure a demon to do your bidding.’ Oh wow, does it say it needs blood?”

“Human blood,” she said, nodding. She was always better than me in Latin class.

“Have you tried any of these?”

She shook her head. “Too scary to try alone,” she said with a weak chuckle.

“We have to try it together then,” I said. “This is too cool.”

“Yeah… but… what if it’s real?”

“Yeah!” I said. “What if it is!”

She squeezed her hands between her knees, a nervous gesture I knew well. “Doesn’t that spell require a bat? Aren’t they endangered or something?”

I grinned at her. “You’ve been over and over this book, you even know the ingredients of the spells, and you’re acting like you don’t want to try it? It’ll be fun. Like Bloody Mary, or a seance. Maybe we’ll meet a demon!”

“It would be fun to be a witch,” she said, a little spark coming into her eye. “I could hex Britney with hepatitis, or make Zach fall in love with me.”

“I’ll get the bat,” I said. “You get the easy stuff.”

 

 

The circle was drawn. Ellen had pricked both of our forearms with a paring knife and mixed our blood to use as ink. She was really getting caught up in it; I’m not sure how she had gleaned so many little details about the ceremony out of that difficult text. Around the circle five were candles lit, in the middle was a sixth unlit one of black wax, a pillar candle she’d stolen from her mom’s Halloween decorations. I’d laughed when she told me that.

Holding hands, we said the last line together: “Malit, we conjure you! Aid us! We will meet your desires as you meet ours.”

Nothing happened.

Just as I had expected. Well, it had been a fun experiment. I was about to make a joke to Ellen about it, when the candle in the middle of the circle lit itself.

We stared.

“Um, your book… doesn’t say what to do next?” I managed.

Ellen shook her head mutely.

The flame of the candle grew, grew. The wax ran, then caught fire as the flame swelled. It stretched so tall, Ellen and I had to step back from the heat.

The flame took shape, hardened, and there it was. A demon. Red, goat legs and horns, hairy, wild staring eyes. Just as the Puritans had drawn him. Although the flame was gone, scorching heat still radiated from his body.

It looked at us, then down at the circle in which it stood.

“We… would like to form a contract,” I croaked.

Malit irritably rubbed out a character in the summoning circle with one hoofed foot. “Amateurs,” he said. His voice was low, with a goatlike tremble. “I am displeased to be here, and summoned by children no less. Do you ask for a bond? Speak quickly.”

I was unprepared for this turn of events. It was a larger commitment than I’d expected to make. My hands were shaking. “I…”

“Yes,” Ellen piped up. Her voice was clear and confident, unlike mine. She wasn’t trembling. Her cheeks were flushed.

She had caught Malit’s attention. He appraised her at length. “You have witch blood in you,” he said. “I would take you as my consort, but there is a cost. To make a bond you must break a bond.”

“I am prepared,” Ellen said.

“Consort?” I said. “Wait. Ellen. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!”

Ellen still held my hand. She squeezed my fingers. “I really do,” she said. “I’m sorry, Kate. You’ve been a good friend to me. But this is my heritage.”

She touched me lightly behind the neck, leaned in close, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Ellen,” I said smally. “What does it mean, you have to break a bond?”

I caught a flash of metal out of the corner of my eye. Deep, deep pain blossomed in my neck.

“I’ll try to do this quick,” she said. She really did look sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

« Older Entries