Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Flash Fiction Friday

I've had a go at this week's Flash Fiction Friday story.

The rules:

Less than a thousand words and this line as a start:

Taut and alert, she lay in bed with a cell phone in one hand and a candlestick in the other.



Here's my attempt...


Clueless


Taut and alert, she lay in bed with a cell phone in one hand and a candlestick in the other. “You sure this is how you play Cluedo?” she said to the phone.

“Uh huh,” the phone replied. A man’s voice, deep and crisp but not even.

She wondered why she’d agreed to this. Murder in the hotel, an all inclusive murder themed holiday. “Come on,” Jen had said. “Be good to meet new people. It’ll be fun.” What she hadn’t said was they’d all be misfits and weirdo’s.

“You have six moves,” the voice said. Dry, rasping, like he was eating sandpaper on toast.

“Okay.” She pulled back the covers and stood up. “Do I leave the candlestick?”
“Yes.”

She walked out of the bedroom. Mats on the floor indicated each move. Choice of left or right. She chose right and ended up outside a bedroom door on the sixth move. “Okay,” she said, “Miss Scarlet is done.”

The phone was put on hold. A unclear song chimed through. Pan pipes, ruining yet another classic. The door opened. One of the guys stood there, phone crammed against his ear. She’d seen him earlier, creepy eyes and a beer belly. If he wasn’t single then she was a nun.

“Sorry,” he said, his eyes darting around. “You scared me.”

She shrugged her shoulders and shivered. It’d got cold, a lot colder the past minute. He walked away, counting aloud as he went. Luckily, he had enough steps left to enter the far room. The so-called Billiard room, that was actually full of arcade machines. That’d keep him busy for a while.

She waited. The pan pipes killing another song before the voice came back.

“Miss Scarlet?”

“Uh huh.”

“Seven moves.”

She opened the door, sure the weirdo had just come out, but she had to try everywhere. Had to end this god forsaken game soon and hit the bar. Actually, she wouldn’t hit the bar. Her and Jen were the only girls amongst too many weirdos.

Looking in the room, the bedroom had been changed into a dining room. Bed removed, table and chairs inserted. She saw something. Her eyes froze, mouth hung open. Atop the table, Jen. Lying down, eyes closed. Blood on her head.

“SHIT, Jen.”

Jen’s right eye opened. “Hi, how’s it going?”

Her heart pounded, she breathed in and out. “Shit. Thought you were...”

“It’s only a game, remember,” the rusty-metalled voice said.

“Jeez, I need a drink right now.”

“You’ve found the body,” the raspy voice continued. “You still have five moves left.”

“Jen, I’ve had enough, babe. Wanna go home?”

“No way. Have you seen Colonel Mustard? He’s a real cutie. “

“You’re kidding me. They’re all live at home dweebs. I’m bored Jen.” She tried her whinging voice, but it didn’t work.

“Just another hour or so, please.” Jen’s whinging voice was better, it always had been.

“Okay. So what, you’re dead, who did it?”

The dry voice, “No cheating girls. You’ve still got five moves left, please leave the room.”

“Later.” She stepped into the hallway. The next room down used up her moves. Again a bedroom, it was now a poor attempt at a conservatory. A couple of pot plants, comfy sofa and a screen made to look like a window with a garden outside.

On the couch, lead piping. She picked it up, blood on one end. Well, not blood, red paint or ketchup or whatever. “Lead Pipe with blood on, do I win yet?”

“Not quite,” the voice was heavy, almost panting. “Just need the killer.”

“Colonel Mustard?”

“No. Turn’s over.” Pan pipes again.

“Oh come on.”

She sat on the sofa. Another three minute wait was coming. She shook her head. Never again. What they hell had they been thinking doing this?

A noise outside, creaky floorboard. She heard another noise but it didn’t register at first. Like metal squeaking. Then, the door shuddered. It’d been locked. She jumped off the sofa and pulled at the handle. Locked from the outside.

“Hey...”

A scream. From next door. High pitched, female. Deafening even through the wall. The scream became a gurgle.

Then it stopped.

“Hello?”

No answer. Footsteps in the distance as someone ran away.

“Jen, you okay?”

Still no answer. She pulled the screen from the window. Outside, darkness, but the cars had gone. Everyone had gone.

“JEN?” She was screaming now. Picking up the lead pipe, she tried hitting the door. Solid oak, it wasn’t going anywhere. Back at the window, it was jammed shut. Two storeys up, even if she smashed the glass, she couldn’t jump.

After ringing the police, all she could do was hit the door, over and over again until they arrived.


Jen was dead. Bludgeoned with the candlestick. The hotel had been deserted for two months since the owner’s had shut it down. The police didn’t buy the story of the murder theme night. All they knew were the facts. The murder weapon was the candlestick and Miss Scarlet’s fingerprints were all over that and the Dining room.

8 comments:

Beach Bum said...

Nicely done!

Carmen said...

I *love* your take on this prompt. I didn't think it was possible to get away from the "girl in bed waiting for monster to attack her" or "girl in bed doing magic ritual and/or waiting for lover" plot with this prompt, but you did it! When I read your story, I immediately called up the friend I throw ideas around with to tell him how YOU handled this prompt. Genius!

The ending seemed a bit rushed considering the depth of detail you included in the earlier parts of the story (the mental commentary about the nerdy male player, the setting, the girls' dialogue). 1k words is a tight word limit and you handled it better than I did; I ended up going over by almost 400 words.

Kym Hamer said...

Great Job!

Charlie Wade said...

Thanks, Beach Bum.

Charlie Wade said...

Carmen,
Thanks, appreciate your comments. I read the first line and just saw the girl in my mind saying, "You sure this is how you play cluedo?" Don't know what that says about me! If she hadn't been holding a candlestick, the story would have been a lot different.
The ending is rushed, one reason I ran low on words and time, the other I like quick endings after a twist. It was maybe too quick though.

Charlie Wade said...

Thanks Kym.
As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read my stuff.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Excellent take on the prompt... I see we went in opposite directions with the same starter sentence.... I love you used this... great job!

Yes, 1,000 words is a bit tight, isn't it?

I love the plausibility of the story... that someone would take a board game and set it up as a murder theme party to 'cover' his/her dark deed!

Charlie Wade said...

Thanks Veronica,
One of the most interesting parts of this is seeing just how different the stories can be from the same line.

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