Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the seventy-fourth piece in this series. This week’s is a 791-worder by novelist / short story writer and interviewee Neal James. This story will be podcasted in episode 26 (with two other stories) on Sunday 2nd June.
I am… here, where I have been every night for the past week. Unseen, I maintain my vigil, unmoving I remain invisible to the naked eye. They have no idea as to my location, and the natural foliage provides me with the cover I need for the task at hand. They, on the other hand are open to my scrutiny at all times, and I see every aspect of their daily routine as it unfolds before me. This will assist in the final stages before I take the action upon which I have decided.
I am… watching. Patience is the key and just one slip will almost certainly result in the failure of my plan. Patience is something which has always been second nature to me and victims too many to name would testify to that…… if only they were still alive to do so.
I am… waiting. Waiting for the perfect moment and biding my time until I have them all just where I want them. Nothing precipitate will be allowed; I have taken too much care for everything to be wasted in one moment of utter madness. No, this is not something that must be rushed.
I am… a killer, a cold-hearted assassin devoid of all emotion save that to please myself. I have always fulfilled my needs in this way and my skills have been honed to perfection through years of practice. I am the supreme ‘predator’; I do not need to kill, but do so nonetheless. It has always been so. Nothing is too small to be outside my remit, and the night vision equipment gives me ‘eyes’ where they cannot see. I find this amusing.
I am… coming. They do not know when or where I will make my move, but make it I will. It will be slowly as always; care and precision are my watchwords and the final delivery will be made with a consummate ease and economy of movement. They will be unaware of the direction from which I will launch my move.
What was that? Unexpected movement! A figure at the back door – framed dark against the back lighting provided by the fluorescent tubing on the ceiling. He stands looking out into the gloom, but I am too far away for him to detect anything. Now another figure – her this time. Asking ‘Anything wrong?’ He shakes his head and they both return inside. High powered audio equipment gives me an added edge.
Too close for comfort there, and the slightest movement would have betrayed my position. More waiting and watching. Lights going out across the ground floor signal a likely opportunity and the chatter of voices from the first storey confirms my thoughts.
I am… moving now. Slowly, carefully, over the fence at the bottom of the garden area and into the perimeter. Stop. Look around and crouch out of sight as the dog from next door comes out for a last minute ‘visit’. Downwind of it I will be undetectable even to its powerful sense of smell. It’s gone now and I am once more alone in the blackness.
An open window. People such as they never learn and it will just serve to make the job so much easier. It’s small but perfect for my needs and I will be inside without a sound. Now is the time, there will be no better opportunity and I will leave no clue as to my presence. Carefully now… push against the pane… it swings inwards and pressing with a shoulder has me halfway through without a scratch. Just one more twist and I am inside and then… damn!
The pane bangs shut behind me and the sound is like a firework going off. Suddenly there is movement upstairs and the sound of feet descending towards my position. I turn… oh no! The escape rout is closed by the non-return catch. I struggle with the mechanism, desperate to escape before… too late.
“George! You naughty boy! Where on earth have you been? Come on you’re wet through. Now where did I put that old towel?”
I am… Georgius Maximus Decimus Meridius, general of the ninth legion, trusted soldier and close ally to Marcus Aurelius, Caesar of Rome and ruler of the known world.
Actually no I’m not; I’m just a cat with a big ego. Bugger this for a lark, where’s my dinner? Don’t you know how cold it is sat there at the bottom of that garden under the Hydrangea bush? You should be prosecuted for letting a poor defenceless thing like me stay out all night in the freezing cold. I’m off to bed now… lights please! Crikey, what does it take around here to get some peace and quiet?
I asked Neal what prompted this piece and he said…
My cat George… bless him.
I loved it. Thank you, Neal.
Since then, he has released three novels and an anthology of short stories.
‘Full Marks’, his fifth book in as many years, is a crime novel and a product of a vivid imagination set against a backdrop of exposés dating back to the mid-1970s.
He is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and regular contributor to local newspaper features. Details of all his writing can be seen on his website www.nealjames.webs.com.
As an accountant for over three decades, he has drawn on his background to provide an insight into much of the substance required in the creation of his writing to-date. He lives in Derbyshire with his wife and family.
If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here, or up to 5,000 words for critique on my Online Short Story Writing Group (links below).
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