Category Archives: 3-Short Stories

The Three Who Should Have Known

First, just a little background.  The following was a short story that my Character in my current WIP wrote.  I decided that it was unnecessary and perhaps confusing to include it, but what to do?  I decided to just toss it to the wind here.

Ned, and my actual main character share a similar backstory, they both got dumped unceremoniously by all of their editor, agent and publisher.

*Note, this has in no way been edited/proofed outside of a few read-throughs by me.

The Three Who Should Have Known

If there were three people in the world who knew what Ned Gulf was capable of, it was Tammy, his editor, Ryan, his agent and William, his publisher.  He had all the signs; he knew he fit quite neatly into the little profile.  Most people merely thought he was eccentric, after all he was a writer and he wrote strange dark and twisted tales, what they didn’t know was that he was smart enough to know what he was and self aware enough to know he needed an outlet.  It was as if his mind was being filled with a constant flow of insanity and the only escape was from his imagination through his fingers into the keyboard and out to his readers.  They had taken that away.  He couldn’t feel guilty about what would transpire; after all they were the ones that sealed his outlet.

As his characters did in his story he started off studying his victims, researching them, learning their habbits and looking for patterns he could take advantage of.  It wasn’t hard to find cursery data on line, he was already friends with Tammy and Ryan on various social networking sites and they hadn’t had the presence of mind to remove him from their lists.  William didn’t have much of a personalized on-line persona but there was still a lot of info.  If you never go on-line you likely don’t have the where with all to limit the amount of information people can dig up.

He followed the three physically as well.  He had learned so much in his years of writing and his thouroughness in research had paid off, his detective skills were as successful in practice as they were in theory, it also helped that he was following three people that weren’t expecting to be followed, this was rarely the case in his writing.

It was early, or late, depending on how you looked at things.  Ned sat outside Tammy’s house waiting for her to come home.  He’d been expecting her since nine o’clock, it was now well past three in the morning.  Good ‘Christian’ girls shouldn’t be out so late especially the night before the Sabbath.  Parked between two light posts a half a block from Tammy’s apartment Ned could see her coming from either direction.  It wasn’t hard to miss her yellow Pontiac Solstice.  He spotted headlights coming towards him and ducked down.  It was her.

It was an upscale apartment complex and as such had cameras.  Ned didn’t want to take any chances.  It may make him stand out to search through the list of names and not buzz anyone.  His vigil was simply to see where she lived.  Her parking spot didn’t give any information either.  Two previous nights he had waited, once she was already home and the second time no lights came on from the street side of her apartment building.

As soon as she went by he quickly exited his car and ran across the road.  There was a small knoll on the opposite side of her building and he sat there waiting for a light to turn on.  One did, and better yet it was only on the third floor and he could clearly see her through the window.

He stood up to return to his car then saw her staring out the window, he froze hoping not to get noticed.   Just before she closed the curtains he saw hands wrap around her, feminine hands.  Something else good ‘Christian’ girls don’t do.  Two passionately embraced silhouettes left shadows on the curtains as bodies entwined.  Ned stayed far longer than he’d needed to.  He knew that he would never be able to get the identity of the other woman tonight.  The lights of the apartment turned out and were replaced by a soft glow from another small window that he could only assume to be the bedroom.  couldn’t see in.  Reluctantly and still mildly aroused, Ned made his way back to his car.  When his mind worked past the distraction of lesbian lovers it got to work on the next part of the plan.  He let out an evil laugh then thought he should be taking this far more seriously.

He waited in his car for a while to decide whether or not he could stay up long enough to see if Tammy’s friend would leave.  This may not even be Tammy’s apartment; it may be the other woman’s.  When he’d followed Tammy here from her office he hadn’t even bothered to see if she stayed.  He would have to follow her again.  He resigned himself to having to put off the first part of his plan and go home.

Ned’s dreams were not at all what he had hoped and instead dealt with another part of his plan, William.  William was another culprit in this whole mess and another person that had to “go” in order for Ned to feel that justice had been served.  He was an older man but smart, wiry and fit.  In his dream Ned had seen William get the better of him.

He leapt out of the bushes.  William was supposed to have been startled, maybe even have a heart attack.  Ned rushed him with piano wire outstretched but before he could wrap it around William’s neck he took a Karate stance, Ned wasn’t out of range of a devastating leg kick and before he knew it William was on top of him holding the piano wire.  He pulled the wire taunt then plucked it and again and to Ned’s surprise began playing chopsticks.  Frightened, Ned fought to get out from under William, who was now Tammy, which weakened him greatly.  Tammy was playing La Cucaracha.  Ned tried to reach up and peel off Tammy’s shirt but when he did so it was William again and back to Chopsticks.  When chopsticks turned into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star he wasn’t surprised to see Ryan, his other soon to be victim sitting on top of him with the piano wire.  Beside Ryan, swaying to Twinkle Twinkle, was his wife.  Ned recognized her from the photo on his desk.  The dream awkwardly and nonsensically eased into sleep where Ned stayed well into the morning.

The best way that Ned could describe Ryan’s wife was that she was a handsome woman.  He had never seen her in person, but she had strong features almost manlike without being unattractive on a woman.  In his dream she was very tall, broad shoulders, strong hips; a vision of strength without the butchy masculinity of it.  He remembered best her long jet black hair neatly tied back that swung back and forth to the music and the way her heavy soft breasts, which were obviously unrestrained, swung softly as well.  Of all the people in his very bizarre dream he wondered why he had remembered her best.  She did stir sexual desire in him but it couldn’t be just that, then it hit him.

On the fateful day that all of this started, William, Ryan and Tammy were all in the room together.  Tammy and Ryan had never met or so it seemed and at least William believed they didn’t know each other or he wouldn’t have introduced them.  Ryan looked at Tammy as most men did, genuine pleasure at meeting an attractive woman whilst keeping a professional edge and not staring too long or commenting on her looks.  Tammy on the other hand looked awkward in meeting Ryan.  Ned thought nothing of it at the time.  Tammy was a bit bookish and shy but thinking back to it that wasn’t the kind of discomfort that Tammy portrayed, it was more of an “I shouldn’t be here”.

Ned puzzled over it.  If Ryan really didn’t know Tammy but Tammy knew Ryan, or at least of Ryan, and was uncomfortable around him what would be the cause.  His mind popped up an image of Ryan’s wife in again.  He didn’t want to think of this woman as gay.  It seemed like an archaic understanding of powers of same sex attraction that would make him think that a woman who gave off an air of strength was automatically a lesbian, still it did fit into the realm of possibilities and wasn’t an argument against Tammy’s discomfort at meeting Ryan.  It was an avenue worth pursuing, although to what end Ned was unsure.

He felt he’d stalked Tammy long enough.  It was Ryan’s turn.  He was planning to start preliminary work on the ‘William Plan’ but was now curious to see Ryan’s wife.  He doubted he could recognize whether she was the one in Tammy’s apartment but he might be able to eliminate her.

Tammy was the only one who hadn’t had an address listed in the phonebook.  Ned didn’t like sitting around in his car in broad daylight on a weekday especially in this neighbourhood.  It was one of those: daddy works long hours and makes a shit-load of money while mom spends the day doing yoga and Pilates and taking tennis lessons and screwing the pool boy while the maid cleans the house and the nanny watches the kids.

As he suspected Tammy headed out promptly at 9:45.  Off to The Church of Hypocrits to repent her sins from the night before along with sixty-eight percent of the congregation (eighty-seven percent if you only include those between ten and fifty-five years of age).

His extra reconiscense had paid off.  Following the esteemed Mrs. Ryan Glendale had paid off in spades.  It was indeed her that Tammy was sleeping with.  Mr. Ryan Glendale was also quite helpful in that he took out the garbage in the evenings leaving lots of time for Ned to dig through and find a nice little piece of incriminating evidence.  He had found it by way of a broken wine glass.  It had been used and had no lipstick marks.  With any luck it would have the fingerprints of Ryan on it, but not his.  Crime shows and hands on police research had taught him how to handle evidence.  He retrieved his little piece of evidence with a wooden tong, freshly boiled and bleached and put it into a ziplock bag from a new box handled only by his latex gloved hands.

It had been cold out on the balcony, Calgary is not known for warm summer nights.  His black clothes were more for stealth than warmth although a long sleeved shirt and gloves and a full faced toque did provide some warmth.  This part of the plan was the most foolish.  He had been watching her routine for three weeks but if for some reason this Sunday she decided to not go to church he was stuck on the balcony all day, trying his best to remain undetected under the cover of her barbecue until night fell and he could sneak back off her balcony again.

He had never seen her use the barbecue and he could from the ground he noticed that there wasn’t even a propane tank.  He was more concerned when he arrived and realized it was hooked into the gas of the building.  Still he wasn’t all that concerned about her popping out for a morning steak.

The patio doors of the apartments were old fashioned sliders with drop locks that any idiot could open.  A common security measure was to block the door with a stick, something that Ned had already determined Tammy had not bothered to do.  Most people assume that their apartment won’t get broken into if they have nothing valueable to steal.

Ned stole a glance of the parking lot five minutes after he heard a car start up and leave.  Tammy’s parking spot was empty.  He crawled out from under the barbecue, his legs ached from his contortionary position.  Desperation took the place of patience which had long since thinned to non-existance.  A quick lift and shake displaced the lock of the patio door and granted him entrance.  He quickly and quietly closed the door and stopped the movement of the curtain, then lay on the floor waiting for the ache in his legs to give way to pins and needles and finally sweet relief.  “Anytime now with the sweet relief,” he thought.

Once he was certain that he could move without falling he explored the apartment.  It was clean but not tidy.  The bed had been unmade and there were clear signs of an intimate evening followed by a frantic tussle of lovemaking.  Maybe he just saw the signs because he had been just on the other side of the wall as these events were unfolding.  Thinking about it and then being there where it happened aroused him greatly.  A saner man may have not been able to contain himself and would likely contaminate the future crime scene with irrefutable DNA evidence of his presence.  Ned resisted.

He had an idea of the story he wanted to create.  Ryan discovered his wife was having an affair, he stormed over to Tammy’s apartment to confront her.  They had a struggle and in his anger he strangled her with a… Ned looked around for the perfect weapon.  Hanging from the bed post was a soft white scarf, feminine, sexy and soon to be deadly.

“Hello, Ryan Glendale.”  He had made this call a couple of times before, each time from a different Pay-as-You-Go phone, another trick he had learned from shadowing police investigations and watching TV.

He unravelled a story about his girlfriend having an affair with Tammy and finding out about Ryan’s wife and so forth.  Ned could weave a story, after all, that was what he did.  It didn’t take long for Ryan to be convinced to confront Tammy.  Ned already knew that the soon to be former Mrs. Glendale spent every Sunday at her mothers.  He hoped all would play out as planned.  He had spent weeks laying out dominoes and it was time to watch them fall.  He set a trap that he hoped wouldn’t be noticed if set off.  He had unscrewed the knob on the deadbolt so it could easily imprison someone, it was obvious that the deadbolt was in disrepair, a small screwdriver was close at hand and the screw holding it on was almost completely stripped.

Within twenty minutes an angry car pulled into the parking lot of Tammy’s apartment complex.  Ryan made no attempt to hide his anger.  The buzzer went off repeatedly.  Ned heard yelling from outside.  He had known Ryan for long enough to have seen his temper.  Although they were far from friends it was a quick study to know which buttons to push.  Ryan was a man, a man’s man and it was no surprise that his wife having an affair with another woman was as big an affront to his manhood as losing his penis.

Ned checked the clock.  11:55, Tammy would be home any minute.  Now was the tricky part.  What would happen?  Would she see him and run?  Would they have a confrontation in the parking lot?  Sweat poured off of Ned’s forehead as he stood patiently awaiting the outcome.  He heard feet going down the stairs.

Ryan’s voice pleaded with an exiting resident to hold the door for him.  Feet came back up the stairs then a pounding on the door.  “I know you’re in there bitch!”  He said, knocking harder.

Ned tip toed into the kitchen and looked around.  Hanging from a rack above the counter was an old fashioned cast iron frying pan.  He placed it on the counter just out of sight of the door and undid the lock.  Ryan came bursting in then saw Ned and stopped.  Ned smiled.

“Hi Ryan.”  Ned said.

He was speechless.  Completely confused and unsure of what to do.  This was as far from what he had expected as he could possibly imagine.  Ned could read the sudden lack of brain function on his face as all of his mental computations clattered away at impossible functions and illogical logic loops until finally he said.  “What are you doing here?”

Ned walked past Ryan and locked the door and removed the deadbolt latch.  “That’s a good question Ryan, and I’m glad you asked.”  Ned said toying with him.  “By the way, your wife really is having an affair with your editor, just thought I’d clarify that.”  The comment added to Ryan’s confusion.

Ned watched out the window for Tammy’s yellow sportscar as he stalled Ryan, trying to keep him angry enough to be confused but not so angy as to become unpredictable.  He saw her car pull up.  “Let me get you a drink.”  He said and left to fetch the Frying Pan.  As he walked up behind him, Ryan turned.  Ned dropped the glass of water and using two hands gave a home run swing across Ryan’s jaw sending him sidelong into the china cabinent bringing it crashing to the floor.  He winced.  He didn’t want to bring any more unnesesary attention.

Ryan’s jaw hung broken with pieces of teeth scattered on the floor.  Blood trickled from his ear but he was still breathing.  Ned jumped up and ran to the bedroom to retrieve the scarf.  He used Ryan’s hands to grab it and make a motion that would smear his blood onto it in a somewhat natural way.  He would worry about adding Tammy’s blood later.  He waited again just out of site from the door for her to come in.

There was a click and an opening door.  He was lucky she hadn’t noticed the broken china or the fallen man.  The first thing she noticed was the missing deadbolt lock which was on the floor.  As she bent over to pick it up.  Ned pounced.

She tried in vain to fight.  She was focusing more on trying to get the scarf freed from around her neck.  Ned pulled tighter, using Tammy’s weight to help.  She fell limp.  He waited another minute then loosened the scarf.  His heart raced.  He’d actually done it.  He had planned everything, brought everything together and although it wasn’t quite the way he wanted it, it worked out.

He layed Tammy down next to Ryan, Ryan was still alive.  Ned took a few steps back.  Obviously Ryan had to die, but somehow by Tammy’s hands.  He had considered sending them both over the railing.  It wasn’t really high enough and Ryan could survive the fall.  They may also be able to tell that he wasn’t concience when he went over.  Ned also didn’t think he was strong enough to set it up.  Too many variables.

A stabbing was always good.  Ned went into the kitchen.  “Who doesn’t have a friggin’ knife block?”  He said outloud.  He opened a drawer and found where she kept them.  He carefully pulled the drawer all the way out, he was trying to be quiet.  The incident with Ryan was far too loud, killing Tammy was a bit quieter but still dumping a drawer of cutlery wasn’t such a shit hot idea.

He re-inacted how the scene likely would have gone.

“Ryan has the scarf around her neck, Tammy flails, grasping for things.  She gets the drawer.”  Ned opened the drawer, “her hand grasps for a knife… spilling cutlery all over.”  He placed some stuff on the floor as they likely would have fallen.  “Tammy finds a knife, luckily the handle side,” it was too late for a minor cut.  Ned picked up a breadknife, “Oh messy!  Now he pushes her forward into the drawer.”  Ned put the drawer back in and pulled it out.  He kicked the cutlery that was in the way forward then pushed on the drawer.  It eventually gave way in a splinter and a crack.  He put it on the floor.  “Now Ryan would be pulling her backwards.  Tammy will have the bread knife in her hand and stab him in the side.”  He hoped that the police would believe that the adreniline of the fight wouldn’t have caused Ryan to stop strangling her.

Ned picked Ryan up from his ‘resting’ spot and carried him over to the wall behind the kitchen.  He used his body to prop Ryan against the wall then he reached back and stabbed him in the side.  Ryan awoke, as Ned assumed he would but was in no shape to fight.  “Sorry old friend,” Ned said, “but you should’ve seen this one coming.”

Ryan mumbled something incoherently from his broken face then Ned helped him slide to the floor.  Ned picked up Tammy’s body and layed her head in Ryan’s lap then put the scarf back around her neck, wrapping the ends around Ryan’s hands.

It wasn’t easy to do but Ned managed to get Ryan’s hands crossed, he fought a bit but when also fighting unconscieousness it was a weak battle.  Ned crossed Ryan’s arms to tighten the scarf then held them in place with one hand.  With the other arm he pulled Tammy’s lifeless appendage back and used it to wiggle the knife around, twisting it, helping to put Ryan out of his misery.  He heard his shallow breaths get further and further apart until they stopped altogether and his body went limp.  Ned let go, allowing things to fall naturally.

He inspected the scene and tried to view it from a Detectives perspective.  Here is how it would have played out.

Ryan received a phone call from an unknown person.  In that call he finds out that his wife was having an affair with Tammy.  The neighbors would likely cooberate this as would his wife.  He waited for Tammy to come home after showing that he was very angry.  Once again witnessed by many he was sure.  Someone had unsuspectily let him into the building and once inside he gained entry to Tammy’s apartment.

Ned paused.  He looked at the lock with the missing thumbturn.  He picked it up and unscrewed the holding pin all the way and dropped it from the height of the lock.  It was lost in the brown carpeting.  It was imaginable that Tammy didn’t lock the door because of the broken lock, a coincidence perhaps, but not a big stretch or unheard of.  Ned decided to place the screwdriver he used close at hand to maybe indicate that there had been a problem for some time.  The main lock was easy to pop open with a credit card.  Ned took out Ryan’s Airmiles card and used it to ‘pop’ the lock on the bathroom door.  It left a good deal of damage on the card.  Ned cleaned up sign of that task and then slid the card under the stove.

Back to the Investigation

Ryan had closed the door behind him and went straight to the bedroom where he found the scarf.  Ned had seen it in place and knew that it had possibly been used for some light bondage, hopefully there would be evidence on it to show this.  Ryan had obviously gleaned that his wife had indeed been in Tammy’s bed.  He was still holding the scarf when she came home.  He surprised her but not before she hit him over the head with a frying pan.  It failed to knock him out, (hopefully the fact that that was not true wouldn’t come to light) he managed to get the scarf around her neck.  In the struggle she had gotten a knife from the drawer and fatally stabbed him but it wasn’t instant and before he died he had strangled her to death.

Easy.  Ned looked around for any signs of anything that may indicate that was not what went down.  He was startled by the ring of a cell phone.  It was Ryan’s.  A few minutes later Tammy’s rang from her purse.  Ned had not yet planned his escape.  It was early afternoon and people were buzzing about.  There had been footsteps in the hallway, people coming and going.  He thought of waiting until dark then sneaking out the way he came in but he didn’t want to spend all day at the crime scene.  The longer he stayed the higher the likelihood that he would leave some evidence of his presence, not that he could be traced, but it could throw a wrench into things.

Same sequence of rings happened again.  It was time to go.  He took a plastic bag from beside the fridge to put his mask and gloves into, made one last check in the mirror for any visible signs of blood and went to the door.  He could make out about three quarters of the hallway through the peephole.  He quickly opened and closed her door.  There was no one there.  He could only hope that no one was spying through their peepholes.  He pulled off his hat and gloves, stuffed them into the bag then walked confidently out of the apartment, across the street and into his car.

He started the car, opened the door, and immediately threw up.

—–

Of course the murder made the paper.  Everything had gone exactly as Ned had expected.  It was big news.  There aren’t that many murders in Calgary and not ones as juicy as this.  Everything pointed to the murder as a homicide/self defense.  After a month of investigation the police officially closed the case.  Ned of course had been paranoid ever since he got home but as time went on and he thought more and more about what he did he got excited.  He was excited because even though he had connections to both of these people no one peiced them toghether or thought it was worth following.  He was excited because he had gotten away with murder, and not just gotten away with it but there were no suspects, there were no wrongly accused in jail, there was nothing that would indicate his involvement.  It was time.

He wanted to wait before plotting his revenge against the third member.  The biggest culprit, William Walters.  He had followed him around a bit before he focused soley on Tammy.  He knew where he lived and some of his routines.  It was difficult to find anything that would put him in a place to get murdered.  In a perfect world, which Ned was beginning to think he may be close to living in, William would have somehow been involved with Tammy and or Ryan.  He wasn’t.  Outside of his professional life he had nothing to do with them.  Ryan’s wife would never go to him for comfort, he likely attended Tammy and Ryan’s funeral but that would likely be the end in his involvement in their lives.  He needed another angle.

Ned had gathered William’s trash a couple of times.  He took some medication, high blood pressure, cholesterol; typical things for a somewhat overweight man in his early sixties to take.  He was hoping for something to go on, maybe Viagra, anti-depressents, major meds that indicated a severe medical condition.  There was nothing.

Somebody in the Walters household was a compulsive shredder.  Not a scrap of paper ever ended up in the garbage.  There were bags of confetti in the recycling bin but piecing tiny strips of paper together was beyond even Neds idea of patience.

Ned followed William for weeks.  One thing he had going against him was his schedule.  It was rigid.  At work at 7:00am, lunch in the buildings food court from 12:15 to 1:00.  He always left work promptly at 6:00pm.  On Mondays he met his daughter for coffee after work, Tuesdays he met old friends at the Petrolium Club.  Wednesdays and Thursdays he went straight home.  Once he took his wife out for supper on the Friday night and one Thursday he ran his dog to the Vet.

At home his schedule was just as tight.  He woke every morning at 5:30, spent twenty minutes in the bathroom then, fully dressed, walked King, a Scottish terrier until 6:15.  With a cup of coffee and two pieces of toast with jam in hand he drove his Audi downtown to his office.

On evenings that he was home he would walk King again and often spend a couple of hours in the basement.  He always went to bed at 11:00 and at 11:30 the house went dark.

Weekends were far too random for Ned to plan around.  The only time that he could see being able to get to William was in the mornings during his regular walk.  It would be tricky.  It wouldn’t take long for someone to notice him missing and assume he’d had a heart attack and search for him.  It was time for a plan.

Ned scoured the neighbourhood; he walked the trail that William used and looked for signs of anything.  There were no vagrants that frequented the part.  Kids didn’t hang out there drinking or doing drugs or fucking or whatever kids did in dark areas.  First off Calgary really wasn’t a mugging type city, and if there were to be muggings this wouldn’t be the place for it.  It was too far from downtown for some crackhead to have wandered out to and too far from the highway for a transient bum to have stopped and taken a rest in the park.

Any kind of crime in this neighbourhood would attract way too much attention and too much attention would lead to finding things that Ned may not want found.  A foot print from his shoe, a purposefully common shoe in a size ten, pretty average size for a man, may still lead to a profile and he had been around this area quite a bit, someone may recognize him.  Ned knew he was being paranoid, but paranoid before he committed the crime would help reduce paranoia afterwards.  At least it had with Tammy and Ryan.

Ned sat on a bench and thought about his options.  Inducing a heart attack had crossed his mind but it was way too easy to disprove and then trace the compound that did it.

Then he saw it, a freak accident just waiting to happen.  Beside the bench he was sitting on was an old poplar tree.  It was forked just above his head.  He saw it because it creaked everytime the wind blew.  Obviously the city hadn’t noticed it yet.  There had been a terrible wind storm a few days before and it likely caused the damage.  Ned went over to examine.

Even the slightest movement of the tree widened the crack.  It was hard for Ned to not test it but it was so close to coming down that he was afraid that any extra pressure would send it right over.  The problem was though that Ned may have been wrong.  The tree might have had that crack for years and it wouldn’t fall over no matter what happened.  He had to have an “A” plan (to try to make it work) and a “B” plan (if it didn’t).  Research time.

Using Google Street View Ned could see that that tree had indeed been in better shape the previous year, that gave him some hope.  Now it was time to figure out how to bring it down.  Obviously it would have to look natural.  The heavier side of the tree, and the part that looked most likely to fall was aimed directly at the bench so he wouldn’t have to direct it.  It was unpredictable enough however that he didn’t just want to sit in the tree and push the weak part over, he could very easily get killed in the process.

Ned finally came up with a plan.  He listened carefully for the weather report and waited for a forecast of wind, it didn’t take long.  With a wratchet tiedown in hand, a good set of gloves, a wedge shaped piece of iron and the biggest rubber mallet he could buy, Ned set off.  He climbed very gingerly trying not to put too much pressure on the damaged limb, as high as he could and wratcheded the damaged fork to the main stem, he stopped when he heard a loud pop of cracking wood.  He broke off a branch with several smaller but thick branches off of it that could serve as a weapon if need be.  The final step before further weakening the tree was to wrap wire around the release mechanism so he could loosen the tiedown from a safe distance.

He went to his car and carried over a large block of wood to stand on.  The mallet made very little noise as it struck the wedge but did the job of opening up the crack.  The branch moved more freely and Ned hoped that when he released the wratchet the branch would come crashing down, now all that was left to do was wait.

The old tree creaked and moaned as the wind picked up.  Another tree nearby lost a few branches as gusts picked up.  Ned had chosen a spot under a thickly branched spruce that was just as far as the roll of wire would let him go.  He could see a little ways up the path.

William was five minutes late.  Ned was getting concerned.  He didn’t want to leave his set-up for a day, someone would notice it and may even wait to see who it belonged to.  It had to work, there was no choice.

Finally William came.  If he sat down on the bench like he usually did then it would be easy, if he didn’t Ned would have to catch him and try to subdue him with the stick he had carefully broken to be more lethal without looking suspicious.  William came closer to the bench.  Ned held his breath.

“Fucking little dog!” Ned said under his breath as William tried to stop but the dog pulled at it’s leash.  Ned would be within leaping distance when William came around the bend but that wasn’t the best plan.

William walked three steps past the bench then looked down at his shoe.  It had come un-tied, lucky break, well for Ned, not so much for William.  As soon as his foot hit the bench Ned pulled as hard as he could on the wire.  There was a quiet click as the release let go, the branch didn’t move.  Ned’s heartrate jumped, he gave another pull on the wire hoping to cause at least a bit of an unbalance, it worked.  The branch creaked and popped.

William didn’t have a chance.  He looked up as three hundred pounds of wood came crashing down on him.  Branches punctured soft tissues and broke bones, blood gushed from a gapping wound on around a stick in his thigh that had pierced his femoral artery.  He stared up at the sky wide eyed as the blood drained from his body.  His dog barked and pulled at his leash so hard that he finally broke free then bolted in the direction they had come from.

Ned pulled on the wire some more and managed to free the tie down strap from its wooden embrace without disturbing the scene.  He whistled as he walked away.  William drew his last breath, a victim of an oh-so-tragic accident.

William’s death was a mere blurb in the paper, the bigger story had been about his damn dog running home and forcibly leading the wife to the scene of the “accident” where she attempted to recuscitate poor Bill.

Ned had really felt nothing towards William.  Killing Tammy and Ryan had made him almost mad for a few days.  A week afterwards he still thought he saw blood on his face where there had never been any.  The whole day while he waited for news of the murders to hit the media he bounced back and forth between eating and puking.  William seemed to ease his tensions.  He felt nothing.  If he was at all concerned about his ability to be the man he thought he was then William had proven that he indeed was.

Now it was time to get back to his writing, after all he had an audience to feed and they must be getting a little hungry, perhaps he could self publish but if it didn’t work out suicide wasn’t really a healthy option.

Medusa the Sculptor

Medusa the Sculptor

He was once known as Alexandros of Antioch, I simply knew him, or thought I knew him, as Alex.

It was not uncommon for us to take lovers, like all creatures we have our needs and having them fulfilled by those like us was not an easy task.  The gods connived and plotted, there was no such thing as sex for the sake of sex, a mortal lover, on the other hand, had no such plans.  They were content lay with a god, make love to a god and be showered with the affections of a god; that was enough.  Mortal’s power struggles were nothing of concern to us.

Alex was a gentleman, with hard but tender hands, artist’s hands.  He was a sculptor, but only the rudimentary type, making grave markers, both ornate and plane.  He claimed to have been a sculptor of statues and figurines, but none of any I have seen.

“Why have you not sculpted me Alex?”  I asked one day.  We laid upon the soft ground, him tired, yet satisfied, myself satiated yet not yet fully satisfied.

“I have not yet found the motivation.”  He replied.

I stood.  Naked against the warmth of the sun, the perfection that only a god could contain exposed to the trees and rocks, and to him.  “Perhaps this motivates.”  I responded.

“You have been sculpted many times Aphrodite, why by me?”  He asked.

“For I am your lover and you are an artist, these moments are fleeting for you.  Do you not wish to capture my beauty before it is too late?”  I responded.  “Do you not want the world to see my beauty and know that it was you who captured it?”

“Why are you gods so vain?”  He asked.  “Do you have no modesty?”

“Perfection requires no modesty, but you would not know.  You are an imperfect lover and man, I shall find another.”  I fled, angered.

“Wait!”  He called.  I continued.  He gave chase, finally catching me near the Amphitheatre of Milos.  “Aphrodite.”  He grabbed my arm, I turned and hit him, knocking him to the ground.  My cold stare was my undoing.  It was then that I realized who Alex was, yes he was a brilliant sculptor but he did not sculpt with his hands, but rather with his heart and with his eyes.  His hair began to grow and wriggle and his form changed from that of a mortal man to the shapely outline of a woman, a woman that I knew too well.  My own anger and vanity was my undoing, before I fully realized upon whom I was looking my likeness was sculpted.  Sculpted not at the hands of Alexandro of Antioch, as my captures at the Louvre would tell you, but by the treacherous god Medusa.  The punishment for my vanity.

A Farewell Slogan Challenge (On Threadless)

The Gardener

The sun rose warmly over the old man’s garden, glistening off the dew covered leaves. The pea vine stretched in the warmth, even the crab apple tree was more chipper than usual, allowing the birds to stay just a while longer before shaking it’s branches and sending them skyward.

The creak of the storm door told them the gardener was coming. Each settled in to enjoy a morning pluck and to be rid of those nuisance neighbours growing willy-nilly between the rows. The potatoes were beginning to feel a little exposed and were hoping for a fresh coat of dirt to keep their tubers from the sun and the carrots, feeling rather quite crowded were looking forward to a thinning.

He appeared as he did every morning, stooped, hoe in hand in his black galoshes. A wide brimmed hat, more befitting of a scarecrow than a man, was doing a poor job of blocking out the sun through its tattered straw.

“Good morning my love,” he said to his plants. They all wished they could return the well wishes. “I must take good care of you today.”

He went about his business, declaring his intentions to each of the plants, apologizing to the lettuce as he pulled leaves, thanking the beans for their bounty and taking a moment to congratulate the pumpkin on its ever growing girth. None of the plants minded his care, even the dirt was happy for the chance at a different task and the exposed soil loved the new found warmth. Only the weeds seemed to be offended by his presence but knew it was their own fault for attempting to steal the valuable nutrients.

He hummed as he hoed, songs from a memory of days gone by. He had been to Woodstock, met his wife during the summer of love in San Francisco and they wed, naked, under the priestly presence of a giant red wood tree with only God and a chipmunk to witness their vows then made love in the soft moss of the forest floor.

“Sweet Gloria,” he murmured, “oh how I miss you.”

The last drops of dew fell from shadowed leaves, sympathy tears for the man as he grieved.

Under the shade of a pear tree the gardener took refuge from the hot sun. He was more worn than usual today and had not been able to complete his chores before the sun was high. He closed his eyes just for a moment.

He awoke to a soft touch. “Gloria?” He said. There she stood, her years had been repelled and she looked as she did on the day they met, flowing blonde hair crested with a crown of flowers.

She took his hand and led him away. The plants moved to him, hugging him warmly, each expressing their love and gratitude; then, with the guidance of the woman who had nourished them for so many years, carried the gardener and his love back to earth, from whence they came.

Slogan:
If vegetables had feelings hippies would starve
of 25 votes, 36% like it