Undetected Innocence

This week’s flash was entered in Rebecca Clare Smith’s #SatSunTails challenge. She enjoyed it, but found it too confusing. I thought I’d post it again here for your amusement and to see what you guys think, which bit confuses you etc.

The stories had to clock in at around 150 words. The prompt was “undetected innocence” and this image:

The story wasn’t titled at the time, but I guess Undetected Innocence is as good as any. Here it is:

The chains are cold, the ground wet. The Lord’s tears pound my skin, as though he sees what has become of me. If I’d listened to Mother, I wouldn’t find myself so crudely bound. She’ll be cross. But it’s too late now.

Or is it?

The Devil’s workers sleep, ignorantly warm inside their metal boxes. They think me weak, innocent. But Innocence is nothing more than a name, given to me before my own thoughts formed. I’m told it’s proved to be ironically apt.

The chains are cold, hard. And easily slipped. The Lord’s shouts will conceal my escape, which I intend to make once my job is complete.

On their table, the Devil’s own tools lay unguarded. Various devices for fiendish human interaction. One calls out louder than the rest. Leather grip, sharpened steel. It will do.

I’ll make Mother proud.

I’ll finish the Lord’s work, and then escape. Undetected.

Shadow

See if you can guess the film I watched this past week…

Shadow

The expectant audience watched on as Malcolm the Miraculous wriggled and flailed. Water spilled from the glass box, covering the stage and the baying men in the front row. They lapped it up, hungry for the climax. Malcolm shook and kicked the glass. Bubbles frantically fluttered to the surface. The rusty lock around his neck remained untouched.

The room fell silent.

* * * *

A tall man lowered his hand and the camera flashes stopped. The gaggle of reporters flitted away to their seats. Quiet muttering slowly receded as Barry the Brave cleared his throat.

“I still mourn his passing.” He paused, dabbing one eye with the corner of his sleeve. “But the show must go on.”

He answered their ensuing questions gracefully and sympathetically. The room even shared a chuckle at one point.

The tall man rose from his seat and opened his arms wide. “So make sure you come along to see his opening show tomorrow night!”

* * * *

Two men raced onto the stage from either side. One climbed to the top of the box and reached down. The other smashed into the glass with a small fire axe. The glass was strong, durable, and offered full resistance. The other man soon found his arm’s were too short to reach the scruff of the escape artist’s neck. His hands flailed wildly in the water, like an angry fish caught in a net.

The bubbles stopped.

The men in the front row leapt to the stage. One pushed past the man on the top of the box and jumped inside. He raised Malcolm to the surface where his buddies helped pull him from the glass tomb. They all fell to the floor.

The room gasped.

Then, silence.

* * * *

“Yes, that’s him.”

The attendant pulled the cover back other the dead man’s face.

Barry the Brave watched on as the body was slid back into darkness. A tall man placed a cold hand on his shoulder and squeezed. Barry shrugged.

“I know it’s tough,” the tall man said. “But I have a proposition for you.”

His back turned, Barry smiled.

* * * *

A child’s screams grated on his pounding head. He wanted to step out from the shadows, to shout at the mother to make it stop. But not today; he couldn’t draw attention to himself.

He watched on as his brother lay motionless on the old stage. Several men tried in vain to resuscitate him. A doctor in the audience made himself known and scurried to the front. A shake of the head told everybody what they already knew.

The audience was quickly ushered from the theatre; Barry the Brave made his exit hidden amongst them. Nervous whispers and shocked mutterings filled his ears. It had been quite a show.

He wandered home alone, quickening his pace to make sure he’d be there when the phone call came. At the first sewer grate he passed, he took a rusty old key from his pocket and dropped it deep into the depths below

Him and Her

You know when you have a story idea, play around with it in your head (maybe while in the car) and then sit to write it and it comes out pretty much fully formed? Yeah, that.

Edit: I’ve written a companion piece to this one, making it a 2-for-1 #FridayFlash. Enjoy!

Him

He tapped the vial on the rim of the glass. The remainder of its contents fell into the sparkling liquid below. He shook the glass gently, careful not to spill any, and placed it down on the extravagantly decorated dining table. Roses and candles and expensive china covered the table’s heavy oak. She was in for quite a surprise.

* * * *

She smiled as the taxi pulled away. She could already see the house was dimly lit; nothing but the faint glow of candle light seeped out from behind drawn curtains. She pushed aside thoughts of dresses and rings and centrepiece decorations as she bounced as carefully as her heels would allow her up the stone path. At the door, she took a deliberately deep breath.

* * * *

The sound echoed around the court room as stern gavel met unflinching wood. It had been an extravagant slam to end the most irregular of proceedings.

“We find the defendant… not guilty.”

The room gasped.

* * * *

He watched as the judge struggled to retake control of his court room. Family members screamed, some cried. The jury struggled to keep calm, impartial. He sat and watched, waiting to be set free. His lawyer tapped him on the shoulder and gripped his hand.

He smiled.

* * * *

She brushed down the front of her crimson dress and straightened her back. She leaned forward and knocked the door handle twice. She then crossed her left leg in front of her right and packed brightly-painted finger nails tightly into sweaty palms. She waited for the man she was to spend to the rest of her life with to answer the door.

Her

“This way.” He pointed down the alley. “I know a short cut.”

He took a step forward, alone. “It’s safe, I promise.”

He placed a long arm around her shoulder; the act of ushering disguised as kindness.

He felt her shiver underneath his borrowed overcoat.

“It’s not far.”

* * * *

She liked him, she really did. He was kind and generous, made her laugh. And yes, he was beautiful. She felt herself swell as he placed his arm around her. It was a cold night, but she felt warm in his company.

“You’re really hot,” she whispered softly. “It’s nice.”

She noticed his smile. It really was a lovely smile. She gripped him a little tighter as they walked deeper into darkness.

* * * *

The street lights were gone, building lights faded. The alley long devoid of people. Nothing but trash cans and old bottles. He was happy.

He pushed her up against the wall. “We’re here.”

He noted her flinch; it would be the first of many. He liked it. She had a puzzled look on her face, he liked that too.

“Relax, baby.” He pulled off the overcoat and dropped it to the floor. “Just enjoy what you’ve had coming to you for a while.”

She smiled.

* * * *

She slid the strap of her dress to one side, offering her neck. The smug glee on his face made her feel sick. His disgustingly wet lips began exploring her exposed skin.

It was too easy.

“You’ve had this coming to you for quite a while,” she whispered in his ear.

She sank sharpened teeth deep into soft, warm flesh

He flinched. It would be the first of many.

The Architect

It was a bad day for Ben Brown when the zombie apocalypse began. His book had just become a best-seller; an “apocalyptic masterpiece” one Amazon reviewer had not been paid to say. His audience was hungry; they consumed it in their droves. Until the dead started to rise…

His audience quickly lost their appetite. Living out his nightmare was a lot less fun.

The fact it all played out just as he had written did concern him a little. What concerned him more was the sudden lack of sales. Zero is never a good figure.

He needed to do something about it. Something major, something drastic. If he had started it all, could he end it?

It would need to be one hell of a sequel.

How do you reverse a world overrun with zombies? There would need to be a startling revival, a sudden shift in the tide. A miraculous cure could work, but it wouldn’t be sensational enough to grab his (decimated) audience’s attention.

A super-advanced alien race would be better. They could remove the zombie problem – with giant robots and massive lasers – and help the humans retake the planet. He’d have to write it very carefully. Yes, this would be an alien encounter with a perfectly-written happy ending.

That’s definitely a story the survivors would need to read.