Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the fourth piece of flash fiction in this new weekly series. This week’s piece is a 986-worder entitled ‘Horror story’ by Theodore P. Druch.
It never occurred to me that I might actually kill her.
This was never a plan, yet here she is, lying dead in a pool of blood. There she is, I should say. I can’t look at her. The sight makes me gag.
I can’t believe that I actually did it. It just doesn’t seem real somehow. That can’t really be her, and this can’t really be me standing here holding a knife in my hand with no idea at all about what to do next.
Maybe, if I close my eyes, it will all go away.
She’s still there. I can just see her feet if I look down.
The knife is still in my hand, too.
Time for plan B.
I didn’t even have a Plan A.
No. I must have dreamed it. It can’t be real.
But it is. I can’t deny it.
Her feet tell the truth, and those disgusting slippers she wouldn’t throw away. Her big toe is protruding through the tear in the threadbare fabric. It’s even more disgusting than her whole body, which I will not look at.
Not that I’m sorry, it’s just that it was never supposed to happen, and I haven’t a clue as to what to do next.
I’d never thought about it. It wasn’t supposed to happen.
I already said that, didn’t I?
But it did.
Strange. I don’t feel any panic, or anything. Just numbness.
The rage is gone. I can’t even remember it.
I think that I should feel something. Relief? Fear? Sorrow? Remorse? Joy?
Nope. Just numbness. I even have to look down to make sure I’m still holding the knife.
I can’t feel it. I can’t even feel the floor beneath my feet.
My mind feels numb too. It refuses to think beyond the scene.
This can’t have happened.
I said that, didn’t I?
Strange. I think I should feel something.
I don’t though.
I try to remember when it happened.
It feels like a long time ago. I can’t connect me standing here holding a bloody knife to anything in the recent past.
It doesn’t seem possible that she was standing here less than a minute ago.
It can’t have been more than a minute, so why does it seem like years?
Like I’m remembering a scene out of the past. Like I’ve been living with this memory for a long time.
How can that be? The minute hand on the clock hasn’t even moved to the next mark.
Maybe it will never get there, and I’ll just stand here forever, holding a bloody knife, standing over Blanche’s disgusting dead body, unable to feel the floor.
Maybe time will stop, and I won’t have to do anything.
Except stand here over Blanche’s dead body with a knife in my hand.
Maybe it’s I’m the one who’s dead, and this is Hell.
It feels like Hell.
Blanche certainly looks like hell.
Why am I laughing?
She always did look like hell.
I can barely remember a time when I didn’t hate her.
I never thought about killing her. I never planned it.
So why am I standing over Blanche’s disgusting dead body holding a knife in my hand, unable to feel anything?
I don’t even feel like laughing any more.
Did the minute hand move?
God, I hope not.
Why didn’t I just walk away years ago?
I thought about it.
I don’t know why. I just didn’t.
I really never thought about killing her.
I can’t remember now. She’s dead. It doesn’t matter.
I try to remember what it was like a long time ago – when she was alive. All I can remember are her disgusting slippers, her disgusting bathrobe, and that ridiculous, disgusting bun on the top of her head.
That’s all I can remember about Blanche.
I don’t want to remember anything more.
Now I remember her constant nagging.
That reminds me of her voice.
I’d rather forget.
She’s dead now. I can forget now.
So why am I remembering?
“Take out the garbage.”
“Wash the dishes.”
“Why can’t you clean up after yourself?”
“Why can’t you make more money?”
The memories echo in my head, banging into each other, merging and blending into one long nag.
Just a nag.
I shake my head.
The echoes die away.
The clock has advanced another minute.
Maybe I’ll just walk away.
And keep walking.
That sounds like a plan.
I could walk forever.
First I have to feel my feet.
They’re working. I still can’t feel them but I’m floating towards the front door.
Didn’t I close it behind me?
I can’t remember.
I float out the door, along the front walk, and out onto the sidewalk.
I still can’t feel my feet.
I float towards the corner.
I see Mrs. Crabtree coming around the block.
She smiles when she sees me.
Now she’s screaming.
Why is she screaming?
Why is she pointing? What is she pointing at?
I look down.
I’m still holding the bloody kitchen knife.
I can see that my shirt is all red too.
Mrs. Crabtree is still screaming.
It hurts my ears.
Why doesn’t she stop?
I see people coming out their front doors.
They must have heard the screams.
I don’t think I can float anymore.
I sit down on the sidewalk.
The knife is still in my hand.
I still can’t feel it so I can’t even let it go.
I think time has stopped now.
A million years later, I hear the sound of sirens.
Maybe somebody is sick.
Now I remember Blanche’s nagging.
Now I remember Blanche is dead.
I remember now.
I killed her.
I suppose the cops are wondering why I’m laughing so hard.
So am I.
I asked Ted what prompted this piece and he said…
The inspiration for Horror Story came from an essay I wrote about the good old days, in which I remembered an incident in which the man across the street hacked his wife to death. I can still remember his totally blank expression as he was hustled into a police car, and I wondered what he might be thinking.
And now we know. Thank you Ted.
Born in Milwaukee, educated at Brandeis and later at the Timothy Leary commune in Millbrook, NY, Theodore P. Druch, Ted to his friends, spent most of his life in trivial pursuits – like making a living. After chucking it all and traveling around the world for ten years like a dandelion seed on the wind, he settled in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He is an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group, and conducts a weekly workshop for serious authors.
In the last two years, Ted has published four full-length non-fiction e-books, and is currently working on his first novel, a historical fantasy of 1492 called King David’s Harp. He fully expects it to be a blockbusting best-seller, filled as it is with pirates, adventurers, corrupt popes and priests, several heroes and heroines, and a search for clues to the hiding place of the harp of King David, the recovery of which might bring about the return of the Messiah.
Footprints on a Small Planet is also available as a trade paperback through Amazon.
If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.