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/

 

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The note

Sonia sat patiently in the lobby of Hotel Amber, waiting for Murdoch, the casting Director. Over the past few weeks, she had rehearsed n number of times; still she went over her lines once again in her mind. There should not be any faux pas-she would not get a second chance, she knew.

A few minutes later, she saw Murdoch striding into the hotel, alone. A good omen, she told herself and moved towards him. Seeing her Murdoch smiled in recognition and beckoned her to follow him.

The elevator journey to his suite on the 10th floor was punctuated only by the frequent phone calls that Murdoch kept making. As they stepped out, Murdoch switched off his mobile and told her, “Don’t want calls to distract us.”

Entering his suite he turned towards her and said, “Not that I mind but hasn’t the agency sent you a little early?”

Sonia smiled and responded, “I believe in being a little early. It gives me time to warm up.”

Murdoch guffawed and said, “I like attitude and I must say the agency has surpassed my expectations this time.” His eyes moved over her appreciatively.“So, what’s on the agenda?” he asked, sprawling in the chair and loosening his tie.

“What about a drink?” Sonia said, moving towards the bar, licking her lips provocatively.

“Sure! Let’s get things started.”

Handing him his favourite drink, Sonia sat across him and crossed her legs. Her dress immediately shot up and Murdoch got a glimpse of her creamy thighs. His gaze was reptilian and though Sonia was prepared, it scared her.

Don’t back out now, she told herself.

After a few minutes, Murdoch decided to take off his coat and shoes. Sonia bent down to pick up her bag, allowing Murdoch to have a good look down her cleavage. She knew the effect her sexy body was having on him and hoped to use that to her favour.

She stood up and began taking off her slinky dress slowly, moving sensuously making sure that Murdoch could see every hidden curve. Looking up, she saw him devouring her with his eyes. She winked, stretched lasciviously and said, “I think we need some music.”

Murdoch was quick to oblige and as she started her striptease, he grew aroused. Soon, Sonia was wearing nothing but her high heels and stockings. Murdoch lunged towards her but Sonia laughed and moved away. She said, “What’s the hurry? Wait a few moments while I go get ready for some more fun.” With that she picked up her dress and bag and went into the bathroom.

Once inside, she locked the door, took out her mobile and quickly sent two messages, then slipped back into her dress. She flushed the toilet and came out smiling.

Murdoch looked puzzled. She crawled into the bed and bit his ear playfully and said, “How about you and me playing a game? I pretend to be a scared virgin and you try to rape me?”

Sonia knew that it was playing with fire but she was ready to face the consequences. She had waited too long. Murdoch needed no more incentive. He jumped up to chase Sonia as she ran around the room. He pounced at her and scratched her arms. She fell, with him atop her. She whispered seductively, “Bite me” and he did. She wriggled away as his greedy fingers caught on her dress and the sleeve tore. She ran, with him at her heels and snagged her stockings. He caught up and kissed her viciously and her lipstick smeared. Her arms had bruises and her hair was all awry.

Just then there was a knock at the door. Sonia kicked a surprised Murdoch on his shins and ran screaming to open the door. “Help me please! This monster was trying to rape me!” Sonia sobbed and fell down in a faint. Murdoch was bewildered to see the Police and the media gathered outside.

It became the biggest scandal in the town’s history. Medical examination provided enough evidence to send Murdoch behind bars. He lost his reputation. His family and friends disowned him.

A few months later he received a note and a 5 year old news clipping. It reported a young girl’s suicide. She had been accused of seducing an upcoming Director. Her suicide note said, “I loved him. Was that a mistake?”

Understanding dawned on Murdoch as he read the attached note,” The rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.”

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #158 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 750, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the LAST line in your submission: “The rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week is a trailer(video) from the movie,”Love in the time of Cholera”. For more details and rules,please click on  the url below-

http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-158-open/

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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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/

His nemesis

the speakeasy at yeah write #148

His nemesis

It was such a beautiful night. After her parents left to attend a late night dinner party, she sat looking at the sky, counting the stars. She felt happy and at peace. An hour later she was snuggling into bed when he came and stood at the door. She smiled and said,” Need anything?”  He came in and locked the door. She sat up and asked in an alarmed voice, “What’s wrong?” He did not answer but strode over to the bed and threw himself on her. Shocked she became immobile for a few minutes but then as she felt his hands and lips everywhere, she panicked. She kicked and fought with all the strength of a fifteen year old but he was stronger and older. He murmured sweet nothings and then he ravaged not only her body but her tender soul. She was scarred for life. Not that he cared. After it was over he said, “No one could ever know what happened here.”

Brenda had been tailing him for days. She knew her hunch was right. She watched him now from behind the trees near the park.

This was her tenth such case. She was determined to bring the culprit to book and make this her 1oth successful mission.

He had been sitting on the bench, hiding behind the newspaper, which he was pretending to read.

Brenda knew that his eyes were on the girl in the pink dress-a sweet girl about fourteen. He had been following her for the last two weeks. What he did not know was while he was trying to trap his prey, he was also being hunted. Brenda gave a satisfied smile.

She loathed such men who preyed on innocent young girls, raping them and many a times murdering them-just for kicks!

She knew where he planned to take the victim and had already alerted her team. They would be waiting for him. Not that she would let that happen but just in case…

As evening approached, slowly the park started emptying. The girl left with her friend. The man followed.

Brenda knew that the girl would part from her friend at the fork in the road and the man would be making his move then.

She waited to ambush him.

She saw the girl coming and waited for the man to appear but he seemed to be taking forever. Had he changed his mind? But why should he change his modus operandi? Had he become suspicious? Many thoughts and apprehensions raced through Brenda’s mind.

A blue sedan came honking by and stopped next to the girl. Brenda saw her smile, .nod and point to the opposite lane. Then to her utter surprise she saw her climb into the car. Before she could react, the car sped by. She was shocked to see that the man was at the wheel.

No time to get her car, she thought as she raced to the road and hailed a cab. She was glad that her team was waiting for this rascal but soon was dismayed to see the blue sedan heading in the opposite direction. She contacted her team and told them to send back up as soon as possible.

As the blue sedan swerved and took a sudden right turn, her heart lurched for she saw that it was entering a secluded area. She asked the driver to stop when she saw the sedan slowing. As she had suspected it stopped in front of a run down two-storey building. The man got down; dragging the now shrieking girl after him .Another man came out from the house and said something to the first man. Then he picked up the girl, turned and entered the house, while the second man left.

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Brenda paid the cab driver and walked into the house.

The man was bent upon the spread–eagled girl on the bed, who had fainted in terror.

The man was saying, “My sweet one! From now on you belong to me!”

That voice!

No one could ever know what happened here.

 And Brenda was 15 again!

 “No!! Not ever again, you dirty scumbag!”She screamed.

He turned and froze seeing the gun in her hand.

But then recognition flooded his eyes and he drawled,”Lookie, it is sweet little sis. Come gimme a kiss!”

Brenda’s skin crawled. She could not bear it anymore.

“You hateful bastard! You are no brother of mine!” cried Brenda and fired all six bullets into him.

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This was written  for the Speakeasy at Yeah Write. This week, the prompt sentence is: “No one could ever know what happened here,” which can be located anywhere in the story  and also made some sort of reference to the song Counting Stars, by OneRepublic. Word count-750(including the prompt and title).

To check out what others have written or to join the challenge click on this link –  http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/148-open/

Red Herring

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

This week I am really running late for Rochelle’s 100 words flash fiction contest and when I just checked,already 104 writers from across the globe have  made it to the arena.The lamps must be aglow with happiness and all these  energetic writers must have had some really bright ideas ,looking at the cool photo prompt for this week,supplied by Down M.Miller.Well,the bulb in my mind must be  on a holiday and thus,,if you find my 100 words a little “dim”,blame it on the absence of illumination,lol!

For those of you who want to check out what the bright ones have posted or those who would love to write  for this amazing site ,do check  Rochelle Wisoff- Fields amazing site by clicking on this link-http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/friday-fictioneers-2/

Here is the photo-prompt for this week and my story follows it:-)

Copyright - Dawn M. Miller

                                                Copyright – Dawn M. Miller

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Red herring

When it made contact with the target, the resulting crunch sounded very satisfying.

Sharon looked at the broken shards of the lamp -poetic justice, huh?

Now, all that remained was to tidy up the place and remove all evidence.

Then she had a brainwave. Why not implicate the other?

She so hated Simon.

Sharon laid the body on the carpet

Later in the evening, she returned to the crime scene.

Aunt Amy lay in bed, moaning.

“I hate you Simon! How could you break my favourite Tiffany lamp- just for a mouse!”

The cat sat outside, looking miffed.

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Trapped

Trifecta: Week 111

This week’s one-word prompt.
 

MANIPULATE (transitive verb)

See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.Csr5i3fe.dpuf

Here are my 332 words:-)

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Trapped

 It was two in the morning when he entered the hospital. An accident victim was being wheeled in. He took advantage of the melee and was soon on the 4th floor.

 His first pit stop, he thought and chuckled inwardly at his own wit.

Locating the men’s room, he got to work. Soon he was dressed in a Doctor’s coat with the signature stethoscope around his neck. Looking at himself in the mirror, he smiled. Now on to room number 610-his next pit stop.

No one was around in the corridor. Cautiously he opened the door to the room. In the dim light, Jen’s golden hair was visible on the pillow, though her back was turned towards him.

Taking the gloves from his right pocket and the ampoule and syringe from the other, he injected the same poison that had brought Jen here, into her IV bottle.

It was all her fault.

Granted they had been in love and that he had promised to marry her but then his Boss had died. The Boss’s daughter Clara had inherited his million dollar business. Clara had always had a sweet spot for him but her pug face and flat body made her easy to resist, till now.

He was a charmer. Thus, it was a cake walk for him to manipulate his schedule in the office such that he and Clara kept dashing into each other. Inevitably, sparks flew-from Clara’s end at least. She wanted him-for keeps.

But he could not manipulate Jen. She threw a fit and threatened to sue him for fraud.

Feeling trapped, he poisoned her coffee yesterday evening. Then he heard that she had survived but was unconscious. Thus this nightly visit to finish the job before Jen could spill the beans.

Ah, final pit stop-home. He smiled.

 He turned to leave and froze.

Cops!!

A voice boomed, “Raise your hands Stuart Pinto. You are under arrest for the attempted murder of Jen Brooks.”

Behind him, he heard Jen snigger…

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