Prompt: Write a story using the following word list: Traffic, New Shoes, Calculus, Bus Stop, School, Principal
Word Limit: 1000
This week’s flash fiction was supposed to be about starting school, at least that was what the introduction to the prompt insinuated. But I don’t want to start thinking about school just yet, I’m still on summer vacation, and I plan to enjoy every last second of it. I’ll worry about books, and pens, and tuition when September rolls around. So my contribution is a little different, and fun, and in a genre I’ve been interested in for a while.
Unfortunately i went a little over the word limit: 1,031…oops
Her lips were painted white, but there were cracks filled with drying blood. She was still warm; a fresh kill. We probably just missed the killer. What a bummer.
“Do you know how she died?” My partner: asking the obvious yet again. Of course I knew how she died. She is whispering in my ear as we speak. I trusted him…he betrayed me…me…betrayed… I had to say something or she’ll turn. It was part of my job after all. But after a lifetime of whispering I was so tired, all I wanted to do was tell her to piss off and move on.
“You don’t belong here anymore. Go home Sylvia.” I whispered back. The wind grew violent around us, kicking up dust and scattering the papers that stuck out loosely from the backpack next to her dead body. A sheet struck me in the face and I saw white, and numbers; Calculus probably. She was only sixteen. Shit.
“What is she saying?” My partner: the imbecile. Does he really think that listening to ghosts is easy?
“Maybe if you stopped talking I can actually hear her.”I replied tersely. I didn’t like him. He was clumsy and skeptical, and that was dangerous for us. Not only that, his clothes really pissed me off. Who comes to this job wearing dress pants and new shoes? He really isn’t cut out for this.
“Oh, sorry Curtis.”
“Just stay quiet and listen to the air. They use the wind.”
“Right. Sorry, I knew that…sorry.” He stepped a little away from me and put away the annoying notepad he whips out every time we come across a new victim. But notes aren’t going to help him. We are chosen for a reason, but there’s something more that needs to be within us if we’re going to succeed in this job, and it can’t be learned. I would feel sorry for him if I wasn’t so damn jealous. He shouldn’t want to be chosen.
It wasn’t him…but he was there… Her voice is broken; she is in so much pain even after her death. Unfortunately her murder wasn’t quick either. She was choked, and through her matted strawberry blond hair, the bruises were dark and ugly around her slender neck. I have no idea how we’re supposed to break the news to her parents that she was having an affair with the principle of her school.
“Why the hell are teenagers so goddamn rebellious?” I mumbled more to myself than to my partner. He stared at me in confusion though, not quite catching my words but wanting to gain my affection by acting like a confidante.
“Maybe there was something she was trying to escape from?”
“From what? A Caucasian middle class family who gave her practically anything she wanted?” She was getting violent now, she heard me scorn her. Why am I so sloppy tonight?
He told me he loved me…love…he loves me… She was screaming, drowning out the traffic that sped by us. Our reality was beginning to distort, at least, it was for me. I looked over to my right and stared at my partner. His facile expression was blank and he stared at me with white eyes, the colour had bled out of him. Slowly he walked towards me, the wind now finding a pattern as it circled around us. We were enclosed, and trapped. I slipped my hand in my pocket to feel for my prayer beads; I might need them soon.
“Sylvia, calm down.
“You laugh at me! You have no idea…the pain… shame!” My partner’s eye’s narrowed, his face contorting into a snarl. But it was Sylvia now, and she moved his legs, jerking him towards me, raising his arms and clenching his fingers with the desire to create bruises around my very own neck. I let her catch me, and as she bore his lifeless eyes into mine, I could feel the blood from her limp body rising, leeching out of it. It covered my feet, pooling upwards and completely obliterating the world as we knew it. There was no city, no street or bus stop, only Sylvia. Goosebumps erupted on my skin and I broke out in spasms. I screwed up, and waited too long. Jesus, what am I? Some sort of amateur?
Now there was fear in my heart, because I knew what she was trying to do. Fuck, I didn’t want it. I couldn’t witness her murder and still follow my plan to leave this job. I didn’t want to sympathize, and I knew that if she sucked me into her lacerated soul, I would be forced to find that bastard and kill him.
“Sylvia, don’t! I do understand, please just let this go.”
“Why? Why!!” Tears streamed down my partners face, and he began to shake. I reached up and touched the hands that were wrapped around my neck; they loosened slightly. “All I wanted was to be acknowledged…Curtis…was I too naive?”
Scenes flashed before my eyes. Emotions ripped their way into my heart: joy at seeing my lover finally walking towards me, and the creeping confusion upon realizing that he was not alone. Reality sets back in briefly as I fight her. I can’t see this, and she shouldn’t dwell on this either.
“You were betrayed Sylvia, but you are innocent, don’t let him corrupt you.” I was trying my best, but after a lifetime of placating ghosts, it was getting hard to find the sincerity. I was so tired of this job. Now there was a fury that was trying to consume, as my lover began to threaten and dismiss me. “Not…your…fault…”
It ended as quickly as it escalated. My partner dropped to the floor.
“Wha..what happened?” He was coming too, finally. I watched in relief as the colour steadily returned to his eyes. They didn’t always come back; not everyone can survive a violent possession and stay completely intact. Maybe this kid does have that little something extra. “Is it over?”
“Yeah. It’s over. We should go, I can hear the sirens.” I helped him up then dusted the poor fellow off. “Hey kid?”
“It’s John, right?”