Perfect smiles

He polished them himself till they shone like pearls in their velvet beds.

Not even his assistant was allowed to touch them.

He loved when people smiled.

The next door shop assistant had been flashing her perfect smile at him for weeks.

So last weekend he happened to meet her and had taken her home.

This Monday, he sat at his table polishing his new acquisition and hummed.

His collection of perfect smiles was growing.

He smiled at the 24 sets of pearly white teeth displayed in the glass cabinet.

No one ever suspected.

Being an Orthodontist rocked.

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This is my first submission for Velvet Verbosity #379.The challenge is to write a 100 word fiction/poetry  using the word prompt. The prompt at Velvet Verbosity this week is “Collection.” For more details on rules of participation or to read what other writers have submitted for this challenge,hop over to visit http://www.velvetverbosity.com/100-words/

The Painting

“Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes,” said Jose’ and shuddered.

“Come on Junior, it’s been almost six months and its time you put that behind you, “commented Juan wryly.

“I know Pa but  I just can’t shake that image from my mind. It was as if he was accusing me of betraying him!”Jose stared at the fire burning in the grate, his eyes full of an unknown fear.

Juan came over and put his arm over Jose’s shoulders and squeezed lightly-a rare gesture of affection from this seemingly unemotional man. José understood and on an impulse hugged his father.

Looking a bit embarrassed by this show of emotion, Juan quickly strode towards the table where the blueprint of a floor plan was spread out.

“I know you do not like bloodshed and this was your first time. Possibly this is the reason why you feel the weight on your conscience. Our times were different. By the time I was your age, I had already dumped half a dozen bodies into the sea. Your Gramps, as you know, formed this gang when he was just 19 and he has killed more men than he can remember. It’s our family business son.”

“Yes Pa and look where it sent poor Pedro even if he was a bad ‘un.” grumbled Jose.”Then there is cousin Moe doing time and cousins Alberto and Francesco are missing since the past ten months .If all the males in the family keep falling prey to this business, where will our women and children go?”

“Juan and I have been discussing this for the past few months. Drug dealing is losing its sheen. There is too much competition among the cartels and not enough to go around. The cost of shipment and the blood money that we have to shell out is neither satisfactory nor desirable. On the other hand, the Policia has become more active and is not so easily bribed. The need of the hour is a change of business,” said Carlos.

José looked at his Grandpa in astonishment.

“You mean a new business Gramps? What else can we do?”He asked excitedly.

“Hold on to your horses’ young lad”! His Grandpa chuckled. “Yes, we have decided to branch out .Our clients are high end consumers. They may be private collectors who love the risk involved in acquiring something which nobody else owns. Then again, they may be just interested in the exorbitant money that would exchange hands if such a deal went through.”

Jose whistled.

“Wow!”

“We thought you would like it. The risks are high but the returns are sweet-sweeter than anything we could have ever imagined,” said Juan with a smile.

“There is more good news. We have already been commissioned for one such deal. Juan continued, “The job is to “spirit away” a painting by Albrecht Dürer from Casa Guidi, in Florence. Here is the replica of the painting which you have to use as replacement. You are in charge of this mission José. Juan will help you.”

José came forward to have a look at the panting and almost screamed. Somehow he steeled himself to look at the replica. “Those eyes remind me of Pedro’s glassy stare after I throttled him-ugh! Who would want to own such a creepy piece of art?” He mused.

Next Friday night Juan and José were at their destination. The four uncooperative guards had been dispatched -temporarily. The last one was inside the surveillance room. Juan stood guard while Jose entered the museum.

Shining his torch on the painting José shivered. The light fell directly on those eyes. He was sure he was being watched. He shook his head. His imagination was playing tricks. Suddenly he heard a familiar voice from behind, “Hello José! I have been waiting for you. Did you miss me?” Shocked to hear Pedro’s voice, José turned to look back, only to feel icy hands grabbing him and pulling him up.

After waiting for 30 minutes, Juan sneaked in to the surveillance room where the unsuspecting guard was put to sleep. Strangely, he could not find any trace of José in the museum. Puzzled and worried, he decided to have a look at the CCTV footage. What he saw was so eerie that he fled……

Next day there was a big brouhaha at the museum. Experts scratched their heads in bafflement at Albrecht Durer‘s painting where a new blurry figure had made its appearance.

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #162 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 748, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the first line in your submission: “Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes .” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week is a painting  by Albrecht Dürer  . For more details and rules,please click on the url below-

http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-162-open/

 

Do you see her much?

Do  you see her much?

 

Oh, all the time, all the time! 

Oh, I see her everywhere.

Why, oh why won’t she let me be?

When all is over between her and me?

I did her in and buried her

Then, why won’t she just lie still?

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This is my response to this week’s ultimate question at Gargleblaster #157. The challenge was to answer the ultimate question “Do you see her much?” in exactly 42 words. If you are interested in joining the fun,rush over to the site  for complete details by clicking on the url http://yeahwrite.me/gargleblaster-157/ but hurry for the grid closes at 42 entries.


The harvest

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

 

The harvest

 
Butch looked at the vast corn fields spread out in front of him and his heart lifted. As far as the eye could see it was a sea of lush gold. A slight breeze was fanning the ears of the corn stalks and they seemed to beckon him.

 
The Sun had decided to call it a day and was preparing to retire .The sky blushed wearing the warm red and mellow orange coat. Time to pack up, thought Butch.

 
Whistling under his breath, he swung onto his truck and drove to his farm. This year, it was going to be a good harvest and he was pleased. He shed his work clothes, put them into the laundry basket and entered the shower. He was a man of meticulously clean habits.

 
Butch lived alone with only an occasional visitor. He neither entertained, nor attended any local social parties. The small community was used to his strange ways and left him to his devices. He was an excellent farmer and had the best livestock .The many awards adorning his living room was proof enough of that and the locals respected his need for privacy.

 
Dinner over, Butch decided to go check his most prized stock in the barn. The stack of gold in there brought a smile to his lips. He needed to add a few more this season. Picking up the scythe, the gloves and a small bag, he made for the darkening corn fields. As he walked through the corn stalks, they whispered to him,”Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty!”

 
Butch nodded and bent down to drag something from between the stalks. A golden haired young girl , bound and gagged, looking terrified, pleaded silently to be let loose. Butch lifted her to a sitting position and touched her hair reverently. He inhaled the fragrance of her glorious golden curls. It still smelled of the shampoo he had used last night. He took out a brush from his pocket and started combing her hair. All the while, he kept humming .The girl, unable to take it anymore had fainted.

 
This displeased Butch and he shook her like a rag doll, yanking at her hair, snarling at her lack of response. Then, releasing her, he fumbled in his bag and brought out a bottle of water, a pair of scissors and a jeweled mirror.

 
Sprinkling some water on the girl’s face, Butch revived her and then thrust the mirror into her tied hands. Gesturing her to look into the mirror, he expertly sheared off all her hair. As she watched in horror, he took out the scythe and with one sharp sweep chopped off her head. As the head rolled and blood pooled at the roots of the plants, he set to work, clearing the field of all evidence of his “ritualistic orgy”.

 
He had a lot to do before the Sun came up. He was happy to have this bounty of tonight’s harvest to add to his stock in the barn.

 

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The above story was written for Write on Edge,writing prompt,2014,week 12. The challenge was to write a piece of fiction or poetry in 500 words or less(mine is 500 words,including the title)based on either the photo above (I decided to pick the photo)or use the quote ,”Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” by J. R. R. Tolkien ,or use both.For more details or to participate please click  on this http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-12/

 

The sleuth

Friday Fictioneers

Yay!Its Friday!No?What do you mean it is Wednesday?At FF,it is Friday and if you don’t believe it,you sure need to visit our amazing hostess Rochelle Wisoff Fields at her blog http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/friday-fictioneers-2/.Every week,she inspires over 100 talented writers  from all over the globe to write a 100 word story based on a photo prompt.

This week the photo prompt has been provided by none other than,the Prima Donna ,Rochelle ,herself.Well,as you all can see,this is a tough photo and I had a hard time  orchestrating my lines.Thus,if it sounds off -key,kindly bear with my unskilled play.I promise to practice and do better next time(and do remember promises are meant to be broken,har!har!).My 100 word story follows just after the photo prompt below:-)

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

                                 Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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The sleuth

‘I don’t like our neighbour. Looks like Jack the Ripper. ”

“Beatrice!”

Beatrice loved crime serials and fancied herself to be Sherlock Holmes.

“Arthur, can you hear odd sounds from upstairs?”

“No.”

“Something heavy is being dragged.”

“The bed?”

Later…

“Arthur, there is blood in the drain.”

“I don’t see any.”

“You blind? Am sure he has killed her.”

“ARTHUR! Come quick-he is escaping.”

“Go to bed.”

“But he had a sack…Am going to call the police.”

“Yes Madam, we found traces of human blood .An APB has been issued. Thank you for your call.”

Beatrice beamed.

 

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A touch of colour

Friday Fictioneers

It is Wednesday everywhere,except for FF lovers who enjoy their Friday fare starting on Wednesday.Confused?Don’t be.Hop over to our  beautifully talented host Rochelle Wisoff-Fields page  (http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/friday-fictioneers-2/) and check out for yourself how over 100 talented writers from all over the world ,flock  to this contest and spin amazing tales of 100 words or so woven around the given photo prompt.Read,enjoy and join the fun:-)

 

This week’s photo prompt( below), has been provided by Danny Bowman and really made me scratch my head.Finally I came up with my 100 words,which follows just after the photo.Hope you all find it enjoyable 😉

 

Copyright - Danny Bowman

                                        Copyright – Danny Bowman

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A touch of colour

 

Stan gazed at the landscape on display.

His critical eye was not pleased.

It lacks boldness, he decided.

A dab of red would make it perfect, he mused.

An art lover, he always carried brushes, but where to get some red paint from?

He scanned the art gallery but it being late, no one was around.

Then Stan saw him.

He beamed.

The guard was immersed in a racy thriller, an empty mug at his feet.

Stan slashed the guard’s throat.

Holding the brush, he looked appreciatively at the red hot lava spilling from the volcano.

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No foul play

well

 the speakeasy at yeah write #151

No foul play

“Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.”

Gerry stopped writing and shut his diary with force. Anger and sorrow struggled with each other to gain foothold. Sorrow won. He missed her. If only…

He went and stood by the window. Night had decided to wear her star spangled coat and was busy romancing the full moon. He closed the window. Such beauty pained him.

His mind went back to the time when all was orderly, or so it seemed. His Dad was a soldier and was home only on short holidays. He was a good father and a dutiful husband but nothing more. His mother on the other hand, was an artist with a passionate temperament, which she kept well hidden under routine. He was an ordinary boy living an ordinary life.

Then one day, when he was fourteen, it all changed. His Dad came back from Afghanistan sans his right leg. Wallowing in self –pity, his Dad took to the bottle. His mom tried her best to take care of the family by taking up odd jobs but it was not enough. She had been a beautiful woman, but her face stated to lose its glow with the constant worry. Soon, his father started becoming abusive. Initially it was only verbal but then it escalated into physical blows.

Life dragged on, with no respite for the family. The only silver lining on the black cloud called “crisis” was Gerry’s excellent grades at school.

One night, when Gerry was sixteen, he found his mom in the basement painting the walls furiously. He was astonished to see the vibrant colours and bold strokes that she used. He watched silently, as she added a cobalt blue and then contrasted it with a flaming orange. Later he convinced her to let the artist in her take charge.

She surprised everyone by excelling in her chosen field and very soon, many art galleries were showing interest in her work. She had her first independent show, when Gerry turned eighteen. Soon after, he left for college on a full scholarship. Life seemed to have steadied itself.

At college, he made friends and enjoyed studying. He received letters from his Mom which told him about her shows and he was happy that she was tasting success. He was unable to visit home for the next two years as there were some extra courses he had opted for which needed him to stay back during the breaks. So, when he went home, he was a little puzzled to see his mom looking radiant but a little flustered, as if she had a secret.

Two days before he was due to return, he learnt of his mom’s secret. She told him that she had met Bud, another artist-a sculptor- six months back and they had fallen in love. However, as his mom was not free there was no future for them. Gerry was happy for his mom and expressed his wish to meet Bud. A meeting was arranged and he was pleased with his mom’s choice. However, his Dad posed a problem. He was not ready to let his wife go and said”no” to divorce. His drinking and violent behaviour took a turn for the worst. Bidding her a fond farewell, Gerry promised his mom to be back during Christmas to find a solution.

But that was not to be. Six weeks to Christmas, he received news about his Mom’s death and had to rush home. Police officers said that they had found his mother lying with her neck broken at the end of the stairs leading to the basement. Possibly she had slipped .They ruled out any foul play as his Dad was found dead drunk, on the sofa in the hallway. Gerry had his reasons to believe otherwise.

A few days after the funeral, Gerry plied his Dad with drink after drink. He kept egging him on and implying that he was glad his mom was no more. Still, his blood froze when he heard his Dad confess.

“Ah, I hated that bitch! Pushing her that day felt damned good. No one leaves me!!”His Dad growled in a slurred voice.

A week later, Gerry slipped back into the house, unnoticed, and pushed his drunken Dad down the stairs. He was satisfied to hear the squelching sound his Dad’s head made when it struck the corner of the marble slab at the bottom.

Police ruled out any foul play, again.

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This was written for the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, the speakeasy at yeah write #151 ,which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 748 words,including the title) (a) using “Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.” as the first sentence,and (b) include some sort of reference to the photograph posted above, taken by Czintos Ödön.If you are interested in reading all the entries or joining the challenge please click on this url- http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/151-open/

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Sleep Baby,sleep

Friday Fictioneers

Aha,this time it really is Friday-at least for me.Over at FF,our  immensely talented host,the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posted the photo prompt some 3 days back,setting the bar high with her amazing story.As I write this,already 81 writers have spun their magic using the photo prompt,provided by one of my favourite writers on FF,the admirable Sandra Crook.Thank you Sandra .:-)

I am late for two reasons-one I was rushing to get too many things done and second,c’cos this prompt had me stumped.However,after untangling my scrambled neurons and soothing my jangled nerves,I came up with my 100 words which follows just after the photo.

In case you are interested in participating or reading what other fantastic story tellers from around the world have come up with in just 100 words,do click on this link and pop over there to check it out http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/friday-fictioneers-2/

 

Copyright -Sandra Crook

                                             Copyright -Sandra Crook

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Sleep Baby, sleep

 

Maude drove the tractor –trailer out of the farm at an easy pace.

Ricky’s trench coat and boots sat well on her.

She pulled the cap a little lower and adjusted her sunglasses.

Not that anyone was around at this time.

Soon the town was behind her.

Ricky sure had been surprised to see her.

He thought she was dead.

Maude touched the scars on her face.

All through their marriage, Ricky’s constant complaint was,”I am going to pieces woman, let me sleep.”

Maude turned her head.

Between bales of hay, lay Ricky, finally sleeping.

In pieces…

 

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No dues

No Dues

 

Thunder rolled on like loud drum beats and rain pelted the car’s roof in a rhythmic staccato. Lightning continued to slash at the black velvet of the sky.

Pam cursed her luck. What a day it had been! Her alarm hadn’t gone off and she had been late this morning. In her hurry to reach office on time, she had no breakfast. On the way she had realized her car was low on gas and had to take a detour to tank up. On reaching, she was frazzled to learn that the executives meet was rescheduled. Worse was to come. Her usually reliable assistant had goofed up and forgotten to get some important documents. Somehow, the day had then slipped into a neutral mode making her heave a sigh of relief.

Exhausted and hungry, she had thought of leaving with the others instead of staying late as usual but her hard -nosed Boss, Martin had called her for another briefing. The discussion had been lengthy and complicated and Martin had to catch a flight to Germany. He was leaving for a conference. So he suggested that Pam drive him to the airport so that they could finish the discussion on the way. Pam had no choice. Still, she had hoped for a peaceful ride back home and a relaxed night. But, it was not to be. As she left the airport, the weather had revolted.

Now, a storm was raging and she could hardly see the road. As she neared the turnpike leading to her neighbourhood, she accelerated a bit, keen to reach home. She entered the by-lane and her eyes widened with shock and fear. A figure was lurching onto the road .She screamed and stepped on the brakes, swerving the car to avoid crashing into the figure on the road. The slick road did not give much purchase and it slithered and skittered, finally shuddering to a stop but not before it had rammed sideways into the figure.

Pam sat hunched over the wheel, trembling. She was terrified to look up. Had she killed someone? Oh God! Please let it not be true, she prayed. No! Not again! She had never touched a drink again! Be brave, she told herself. This was not your fault-not this time! After a few minutes, she gathered her courage and looked around. She could see the figure lying crumpled in a heap on the left side of the road-immobile. Not a soul was to be seen.

Licking her dry lips nervously, Pam slowly unbuckled her seat belt..She opened the car door and fell down in a heap- her legs seemed to have turned to jelly. She crawled to the figure and saw it was face down. Gently, she turned it to face upwards and realized it was a man. There was no blood and when she checked his heartbeat and pulse, all seemed to be in order. Relieved, she went back to the car and taking the bottle of water, walked over to the prone man.

A few sprinkles of water and the man came to. After sipping a bit of the water, he felt capable of walking up to the car. Miraculously, he was unhurt. In the pouring rain, they sat in the car and he told her his name was Chris. He was new to the area and had lost his bearings in the storm. He seemed genuinely apologetic for the alarm and trouble he had caused Pam.  He wanted to know if Pam could be kind enough to drop him at some motel nearby.

Pam was in a dilemma. She knew there were no motels nearby and in this weather no way could she allow Chris to go his way. In a way, she felt responsible for Chris’s accident therefore, for his well being. Wondering if she should tell him to leave or accompany her to her house, she kept Chris engaged in small talk, all the while watching him and weighing her options. He seemed to be a little older than her-maybe thirty, was well built, had brown hair, gentle eyes and she liked his smile. On the whole trustworthy, she decided. So, she asked him if he had any objections to coming with her up to her house, for that night. A little hesitant at first, which appealed to Pam, Chris agreed.

Turning the car, they headed home. Pam was surprised at how at ease she was with Chris. Once home, she found Chris to be charming company and they had a nice hot meal. Later Chris helped her by washing the dishes. That night, for the first time in years Pam felt a stirring and heard her heart beat.

The weather played up and continued to be nasty over the weekend, preventing them from leaving the house for the next two days. This was instrumental in bringing them closer faster than months of dating could have.

Soon, Chris moved in with Pam. He took interest in everything and he was especially interested in Pam’s family. Strangely though, Chris never spoke of his family. Having grown up in a happy and supportive family, Pam could not understand this. However, she was thrilled when Chris proposed .He also promised to talk about his family, once they met her parents. Pam agreed and they flew to her parent’s home.

Next day, the police found Pam and her parents murdered in their beds. A note said, “It takes two to make an accident. Re-paid with interest.”

Police investigations revealed that there was more to the story than met the eye .Years ago, when Pam was 19, she had run over a man, killing him instantly. At that point she was at the wheel and was drunk. Her boyfriend Matt was also with her. There was a furore but Pam’s Dad had pulled some strings and Matt had taken the rap. Both Matt’s family and the victim’s family had sworn vengeance.

Now search was on for the suspects..

 

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This 999-word story(including the title) was written for a contest held by Write On Edge This is a voted contest for a chance at publication.  Details are below… if you want to join in, there’s still time – click the badge above to view their site 

  • 1000 word limit, all genres of creative writing are welcome.
  • linky is open until Friday, February 21, at 11:55pm Pacific
  • Use the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote “It takes two to make an accident.” as an opening/closing line or draw inspiration from it, your choice.
  • Community voting opens 2/22 and closes 2/28 at 11:55pm Pacific.
  • Community and editorial choice winners will be announced on Write on Edge andBannerwing Books on Monday, March 3, 2014.
  • All entries must be original work, only published on your personal blog/website, and by entering you give Write on Edge and Bannerwing Books permission to reprint your entry in Precipice, Volume III‘s print and digital formats, as well as permission to edit for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.

The Crusader

Speakeasy #149

MurielStreeter

 

The Crusader

“Don’t blame the sinner, “whispered the cloaked figure, bending over the terrified, supine girl, a dagger poised over her heart.

“CUT!” shouted the Director.”Robert, for Pete’s sake put some menace into that whisper. You sound like you have a bunch of tadpoles jammed up your throat!”

The unit sniggered. This kind of scenario was common when Robert was shooting.

Robert shuffled his feet, looking like an errant school boy, embarrassment writ large on his angelic features. His face was his biggest asset and helped him get some bit roles. This time it had been a meatier role as he was playing the Villain.

“Take 22! Let’s roll-Robert, no mistakes this time”, the Director growled at him.

Robert sighed and took his position.

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It was drizzling and the streets wore a deserted look.

The inky darkness of the night pressed on from all sides, making visibility poor. The atmosphere burgeoned like a pregnant woman, on the verge of giving birth to some evil spawn.

Through the gloom, the lights looked almost feral.

The dark figure stood in front of the cottage in the second lane. There was something about the stance which made even the street dogs stay away. The hood was drawn over the head  and there was no trace of anything below-as if darkness had swallowed it whole, leaving behind an empty shell.

A woman‘s silhouette could be seen through the lacy curtains on the window. She was reading.

After a while, the figure moved and disappeared into the house through the shadows.

The figure entered the room and silently went and stood behind the woman. Sensing a movement, she turned and opened her mouth to scream but before she could, the figure held her swan like neck and snapped it and her head lolled.

Picking up the body, the figure moved out of the house and dumping it beside the neighbour’s garage,walked away.

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 He is 10. He has been naughty and so has been sent to his room. But there is a party at the house and he loves parties and good food. So he decides to slink into the dining hall before the guests arrive. As he enters the passage leading to the dining room, he hears strange noises from his parent’s bedroom and peeks in. He is surprised first and then angry to see his Uncle and Mom kissing each other. Then his heart jumps to his throat as he hears them plotting his Dad’s murder. That night he hides and watches helplessly as his handsome Dad sips the poisoned wine, standing under his favourite painting, “The Chess Queens”.

When the Police arrive, well placed clues lead them into believing that the butler has a hand in this murder and so he is jailed.

His mother acts the bereaved wife perfectly, looking oh so fragile and heart -broken. To him, she looks eerily like the lady in the black gown and veil in his father’s favourite painting.

Ironic, for soon she will look like the ghostly white one standing opposite the lady in black.

Six years later, he kills his Uncle in the same manner and manages to pin the murder on his mother. She rots in jail for a murder she did not commit, mourning for her lost love, yet unable to express her grief openly. He enjoys seeing her lose her rosy hue and gradually become ashen and frayed, falling to pieces like a moth eaten blanket.

Vengeance is his.

Growing up, he realizes that there are more Moms and Uncles in this world than he cares for and they all need to be taught a lesson.

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Sometimes it is his angelic face and at others his bumbling manner which makes the needle of suspicion always point elsewhere-lucky Robert!

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This is written for speakeasy writing challenge #149.For this week’s challenge we were required to use  the following sentence as the FIRST line: “Don’t blame the sinner.”Secondly, we had to let the artwork above ,”“The Chess Queens,” by Muriel Streeter, influence our writing and last but not the least ,submissions had to be fiction or poetry and be under 750 words.(mine is 633,including the title).If you are interested in reading more submissions or joining the challenge,click on this link- http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/149-open/