Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the fifth story in this new weekly series. This week’s piece is a 411-worder entitled ‘Halloween night’ by Marla Madison.
A mottling of blue, powder-puff clouds curtained the moon. When I left home, it had been free of encumbrance, a demi-moon, torn in two as if by an invisible, galactic predator.
Now as I walk this deserted lane, two spaces opened in the clouds, pale light from the moon creating glowing eyes, evil orbs peering down at me from the heavens. I walked faster as a corner of the moon appeared in one of the eyes in the clouds, creating a malevolent, one-eyed presence.
Shivering, I turned my eyes to the ground and kept walking.
I had to know.
Not wanting to be seen, I’d parked my car at the end of the cornfield. I moved stealthily toward Jonathan’s cabin, where I suspected my love to be snuggled in with another woman. Did he have the bed scattered with rose petals for her as he had for me on our first night? Was the bedroom aglow with candlelight?
I had to know.
Something snapped in the field beside me. I started, but kept up my pace. The soft, crinkly rustling of the autumn corn seemed to whisper, “Go back.” I walked faster. A dead tree, its branches black and gnarled against the sky, reached for me, its branches crusty, jagged tentacles. I gasped, but continued my journey forward.
I had to know.
There were no lights on in the cabins near Jonathan’s. The frigid fall air and steady drizzle had kept the weekenders away.
The mossy, damp scent of the lake reached my nostrils as I heard a gentle lapping at the shoreline behind his cottage. Soft light flowing from the windows barely illuminated the approach to the front door.
I knew every inch of the yard, from the rusted mailbox, to the weather-beaten window boxes Jonathan filled with yard tools rather than planting with flowers. I peered over one. My breathing ceased at the sight of my beloved with his arms around another woman, their lips melding together in a passionate kiss.
My mouth burned with the acrid taste of jealousy. I longed to crawl into the woods and let the creatures of the earth have me, let dead leaves form a shroud around my wasting body.
Now I knew.
Running back to the road, I stumbled. I’d nearly fallen on the tines of an old, wood-handled pitchfork; my beloved had a habit of leaving tools lying about. As quietly as possible, I leaned it against the shed where no one could step on it and injure himself. But why should I care if Jonathan or his slut pricked their feet? I pictured her with blood drizzling from dainty, pink toes, her long, curly hair falling over her pained face.
Jonathan never used to lock his doors. He probably still didn’t, in spite of the unfair restraining order he’d filed against me. I had to make him understand the depth of my love for him. I picked up the pitchfork, caressing its rugged shaft in my trembling hands and moved toward the house.
I’m coming, my darling. Now you’ll know.
Ooh… thank you Marla.
Marla Madison works part-time doing arbitrations for the State of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. Working full-time as an author, Marla is busy penning her second novel of suspense. She’s Not There, her first, is now available as an ebook. At home in Northwestern Wisconsin, she lives on Prairie Lake with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter. Some of her favorite things are playing duplicate and tournament bridge, golfing, reading, pontooning, and taking long walks with her dog.
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