Lost: One Bench #Throwback Thursday

English: Wooden bench at Marriott's Way, Norfolk
English: Wooden bench at Marriott’s Way, Norfolk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘How can you forget where you left it?’ Samantha demanded, shooting Michael a withering look before closing her eyes and counting to ten. In a moment she would let out a deep sighing breath and give Michael her best, why do you insist on embarrassing me stare before ordering another drink from the bar and forgetting the subject altogether.

1,2,3,4-

‘I mean really Michael!’

Michael blinked, confused as to where the last 6 seconds had gone and why she hadn’t ordered a large glass of red wine. She wasn’t following the natural order.

‘It’s a bench!’ Samantha spluttered. ‘You cannot misplace a bench! Especially not one of yours! They’re massive and made of wood. WOOD MICHAEL! WOOD!’

Everyone else in the pub had fallen silent now, the hum of conversation dying as all eyes turned to stare at the couple having the argument. Or rather, Samantha yelling at her bemused husband since Michael rarely said two words to anyone about anything.

‘I could understand a nail or two, perhaps even your level metre, but misplacing a bench is on a whole other level.’

Michael fixed his stare on what was left of his pint as Samantha continued to berate him for losing the garden bench he had made on commission, for Miss Appleway’s new patio. He really didn’t understand why she was so concerned; he would remember where it was and then collect it. Forgetting the rest of his pint he stood up from the table and headed for the door, leaving his wife purple faced and furious.

Hailing a cab he climbed in, sat down, and nodded when appropriate to the driver’s chatter. He didn’t notice the manila folder sticking out from beneath the front seats until he was almost home. Ignoring the driver’s comments on the weather Michael ducked down, and yanked the folder out.

There were three sheets of paper inside, all gibberish and slightly crumpled. There was nothing to say who they belonged to, or what they were about, just block text and narrow margins.

Rolling the folder up, Michael stuck it into his jacket pocket. I didn’t fit of course, but it stayed where he’d put it. In the morning he’d ask around the town and see if anyone had lost three sheets of nonsense.

‘Here we are mate!’ The driver said cheerfully, throwing a grin back over his shoulder as Michael clambered out of the taxi. ‘Nice looking place!’

Pulling out his wallet Michael paid him, watching him drive off before diving into his trouser pocket to search for keys. His house was one of row of terrace building, set back in tiny manicured gardens with box-hedges and gravel paths. What set his and Samantha’s apart from the rest was the array of strange wooden carving dotting the lawn and perching in the hedge.

‘Excuse me Sir?’ The voice came from an older gentleman stood beside the garden gate.

Michael acknowledged sadly that his house keys were not in his pocket and turned to face the man approaching him instead.

‘May I ask where you found that document?’ The man pointed at the folder sticking out of Michael’s pocket.

‘Taxi.’ Michael responded, gazing up at the front of his house and wondering how long it would be before Samantha got back. She’d probably be late home, thinking that it would punish him for abandoning her.

‘Did you read the content?’ The man asked, glancing at the folder in a way that would seem to suggest he was about dash in and snatch it.

Michael shrugged.

‘Utter nonsense.’ he told the man.

The man in the suit sighed. ‘I’ll take that as a yes then. I am terrible sorry for this, but you never can be too careful in these situations.’

Michael nodded, assuming that whatever the man had said required his agreement, he had been more occupied with the splintered window ledge on the second floor.

It would take Samantha another three months before she noticed it, and then another five before it was fixed.

~~~~~

Michael Remmet

Aged 29

Died 17th September 2012

Short-Suffered Husband

Has anyone seen his bench?


Written for the writing challenge on http://outwherethebusesdontrun.com/2012/09/14/prompt-this/

My prompt was “The absent-minded carpenter found the top secret document in the taxi to avoid the argument.”

NaPoWriMo – Day Fifteen: Bluebeard’s Wife

It was not cold enough to keep her whole

when Spring sprung anew to curdle her soul,

so he wept just like the castle walls

as they shed their sorrows at the thaw

and the ice around her heart did melt

as much as any love she’d ever felt

when confronted with his face and gait

so apposed to the words he’d carefully placed

in letters crafted on cold summer nights

in rooms empty of laughter, or of life.

Now she lay among her sisters past,

flowers sullied, bloomed all too fast,

victim to the warming months

where little for her condition could be done

except to watch her cheeks give way,

her skeleton to rise

beneath layers of decay,

and press his lips to white of her throat

when all that remained

was spinal column and bone.

img_2004-1


I might have gone a little off target with today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation and is revealed to be human (but still evil)”.

I’m not sure I managed to make Bluebeard sound in any way, shape or form human, but the prompt did inspire the poem so I have that at least.

Apologies if I sound croaky in the audio recording, I woke up feeling a little under the weather today. Nothing terrible, just a slightly sore throat and a stuffy nose.

P.S – I’m still looking for NaPoWriMo participants to take part in a series of guest posts in May showcasing their favorite poems from the month and a review of how they found the April challenge. You can find more info here.

Watching Them Dig My Grave

It could have been worse I suppose. I could have been alive when they put me in the ground, but I was dead thank God, because the whole thing would have had me spinning in my too narrow, too shallow grave. Metaphorically of course.

I had hoped for a spectacular death or a quiet one. An ending that became the warped framework of urban legend or left people saying: “At least she went peacefully.”

Neither of these scenarios ended up fitting with my actual death. I got pathetic, depressing end. Dazed with a blow from the cat’s litter tray and strangled with a faulty phone charger. Not a death to really brag about.

There was no great, white light. No tunnel or long lost loved ones. Just the grotty ceiling tiles of my rented kitchen, and the realisation that the mould above the oven was back.
My murderers were panicking; two less than athletic men with women’s tights as masks. Clearly new to the criminal game they stood bickering in the doorway. Clearly they had never killed anyone before and my death had not been part of their evening plans. However, I was more concerned with the corpse cluttering up my kitchen floor.

My ex had been right. I was not good-looking. Frog eyed and puffy faced; I did not make a pleasing sight. My state of appearance might have had more to do with my recent death than any general daily impression, but I was inclined to believe that even life could have done little to improve on what I could see.

Before any certain decision could be reached on my part, the two idiots by the door had finished squabbling and began tearing apart my kitchen instead. One dived beneath the sink while the other rattled through the drawers.

The banging alone was enough to wake the entire building, and then what would the neighbours think of me?

The one beneath the sink popped back out, grinning and waving a roll of bin bags at the other. They shoved, twisted and wrapped my poor corpse until it resembled a macabre present, held together with liberal applications of gaffer-tape.
I went down the stairs headfirst. They had managed four flights from my flat before losing their grip and sending me crashing down the final five.

When they finally got me outside I was thrown into the boot of a thirty year old Skoda where you would have been better off pointing out where there was paint left than trying to say where it had flaked off.

There were mutterings of shovels and borrowing Jim’s before the lid slammed closed and I found out first-hand how dark car boots actually were.

All of this led to my too shallow, too narrow grave on the edge of Hemmingway Woods and watching my murderers curse tree roots and throw glances at the rising sun. They said it would have to do.

I knew the dog walkers would find me first; the ones who trek out to Hemmingway Woods at six in the morning with hiking boots and walking sticks. They would call the police who would bring white tents and hazmat suits.

Dog walkers are worse than any informant. You can’t go anywhere without being seen by some fanatical dog walker.

Within the week the finger-prints on the bin bags would be matched to the criminal records. All those petty crimes my murderers committed rising up to bite them for their stupidity in their first attempt at the big time.

I could rely on one thing though. There would be no jail sentence and the press would find something far more interesting to report on the following day, leaving my death firmly unsolved. Evidence would fall on the desk of some barely know officer; vanish without trace, and within the fortnight the case would have crumbled.

Those who knew me would speculate on what had happened and soon enough there would be all sorts of stories telling the truth behind my death. People would be free to take their pick. They wouldn’t have to find out I was murdered by amateurs. No one would ever find out that I was murdered by amateurs.

Ismae and Michael

“And where have you been?” spat Ismae, throwing her hair back over one shoulder as she spun to face Michael.

He slumped against the doorway, one hand covering the gaping wound beneath his ribs.

“I-” He gasped, coughed and dribbled blood down his chin. “She got the jump on me.” he rasped, sinking towards the cabin floor as he spoke.

Ismae titled her head to one side and looked at him, eyes narrowed and lips pursed.

“She got the jump on you?” she said, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth after the last word. “One little rich girl manage to get the jump on you?”

She shook her head, blond hair spraying our behind her. “I don’t believe it.” she said, leaning back against her desk. “I would have thought you had at least enough sense not to fall for her tricks.”

Michael took three hacking breaths and fell silent.

“You have really disappointed me Michael.” Ismae sighed. “After all we’ve been through; I would have thought that you could have at least done me this one favour.” She ran a hand through her hair, pushing it back from her face.

Michael’s lips began to turn blue.

“She murdered her own father. Did you know that? Organised it so that it would seem like the South Banks had killed him in a form of protest; clever I’ll admit, but not that clever.”

Eyes bulging, Michael heaved his one arm into the air, reaching forward only for the limb to land of the wooden flooring with a solid thunk moments later. His bloodstained fingers curled, dragging peelings of pine with them.

“I suppose I will have to send someone else to deal with her now.” continues Ismae, examining the stolen chandelier handing from the cabin roof. “It won’t be easy to find someone, not after what she did to […], but there will be a few willing to ignore that little fiasco if they believe there is enough gold in it.”

Ismae glanced over at Michael.

“Michael.” she said, one eyebrow arched. “Michael! Get up!”

Michael laid where he was, eyes glassy and fingers half curled. He wasn’t quiet dead, the rattle in his chest proved that.

“Groog!” Ismae called, remaining where she was against the desk. “Groog! Get down here and clean this mess up!”

She scowled at Michael, still rattling away on her cabin floor and making no effort to remove himself from her sight.

Groog stumbled to the door, milky eyed and stinking of a mixture of rum and mouse droppings.

“Captain.” he croaked, jowls flapping as he spoke. “Ya call?”

Groog blinked, squinted and then blinked again, eyes failing to focus each time. He shuffled forward two steps, bumping the toes of his boot against Michael’s calf. Groog frowned.

“Ya got a body ‘ere.” he said, kicking Michael again. Michael made no response except to continue with that ridiculous rattle. “Want im overboard?”

Ismae pinched the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger.

“Of course I don’t want him overboard you idiot!” she hissed. “We’re still in port! What would the officials think if they saw one of the crew members dumping corpses into the docks?”

Groog shrugged and blinked again.

“Where’s he goin’ then?” he asked. “Bodies start stinkin’ in a day or two.”

“I don’t anyone would notice the difference on this ship.” replied Ismae. “Most of you ingrates reek so badly that anyone could think you were week-old stiffs.”

Drawing a sweat stained sleeve beneath his nose, Groog snuffled loudly and stared at a spot two inches from where Michael’s head rested against the doorway.

“We could use th’ rum.” he suggested. “Picklin’s good enough f’r herin.”

Ismae hummed and then nodded. “Well… I suppose it could do. Only as a stop-gap though, just until we were far enough out for the authorities not to pay us much mind.”

The rattle in Michael’s chest hitched for a moment and both members of the conversation turned their attention on him. The waited, breathe held, seagulls screaming and wood planks creaking as the ship rose slightly with the swell.

There was a choke and a cough; before the rattling started up again.

“Dam it.” Ismae scowled. “All of a sudden he’s decided that he will be stubborn after all.”

She reached behind her, checking over one shoulder to spot the item she wanted before curling her hands around the silver, filigree dagger handle that had been her last present from Michael.

His blood left an arc of droplets across the cabin floor. Cleaning the blade on dark silk jacket Michael had been wearing, Ismae paused for a moment. There was a glint of gold hiding in the folds of his sleeve, peeking out beneath the cuff.

She snagged it and stood up, dagger turning between her fingers as she paced across the room.

“Get rid of that Groog.” she said, without so much as a nod in Michael’s direction. “I don’t want him cluttering the room.”

 



I have still not written anything new for Henry Granger. I haven’t even come up with any ideas for the new title. I have however, started working on my 2012 attempt at NaNoWriMo. I’ve tagged this piece as Flash Fiction since really, it can be read as a stand alone piece which is quite cool.

The word count is now 18,473 words, so not too much further until I can say that I have completed a nice round 20,000 words. I really need to see if I can find a widget or something that can go on my site and show you how many words I have written for each of my current novels.

I currently have four manuscripts on the go, which includes CampNaNoWriMo since I have a load of notes sitting around my bedroom for that novel.

Hopefully I will be able to post again tonight and tell you that another chapter for Henry Granger has been completed and a new title has been settled on. I shall not hold my breath however, since I may choose to work on Nano 2012 instead since I’m sort of in the mood for it.

As always, feel free to let me know what you think and if you’ve enjoyed this, check out some more of my writing on the site. Look, there is an easy to reach sidebar just there to the right. It is so very, very easy to reach.

Halloween Haiku

Closeup of a human skull.

No.1

I will take my seat,
To watch the skeletons dance,
While you carve my name.

No.2

Crack down to marrow,
Beneath the glitter of blood,
And the ragged flesh.

Written for the ‘Horrid Haiku’ prompt currently running at ‘Morbid-Poets’ on Deviantart.