Flash.Fiction: The Sucker Punch

As soon as I read this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction challenge, I knew the story in my head. I just had to write it.

Photo Copyright K. S. Brooks

The prompt is:

Blaine slipped out the back of the wedding hall. He couldn’t believe Tiffany was marrying that no-good cowboy. Roy McCoy had slithered his way into Tiffany’s life while Blaine was in Iraq. It wasn’t right. He had emailed her every day and Skyped whenever he could. Why hadn’t that been enough? He wasn’t really gone that long. She should have waited for him.

He gazed upon the unprotected refreshments. His grip tightened around the bottle of ipecac. “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” wafted out from the hall. Blaine took a deep breath…

And my response (250 words):

The green punch, old Roy-Boy, his onetime best friend, would go for the green punch and add a hefty dose of JD to it while that lying little— while Tiffany wasn’t looking.

Blaine was pretty sure the ipecac wouldn’t hurt anyone, anyone abstaining that is. Besides, if he remembered correctly—and his memory was a bit hazy these days—Tiffany and all her friends were teetotalers. Something about the ipecac… The very bottle in his hand had been in the last “care” package she’d sent him. In his head, something flared like distant artillery.

Sure he had a problem. But barfing up what little they got to eat… Barfing in that heat wasn’t going to make Iraq a happier place. What made things better was a good dose of anti-reality, easily found in the rotgut liquor all too available in Iraq.

“—may kiss the bride.”

Too late. Blaine heard the crowd exploding as the happy couple walked down the aisle.  He pocketed the ipecac and stepped back into the shadows of the reception hall.

And who stopped right in front of the alcove in which he hid? The Bride and Groom, of course.

“Don’t cry, hon,” Rat-Roy said.

“You know I love you.” Two-Timing-Tiffany sniffed into a tissue. “But this, this isn’t what I pictured.”

“I loved him too, you know. I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t—”

Something fired in Blaine’s memory.

“I’d already planned,” Roy said. “I’m going to make a memorial speech at the reception.”

~ o ~

NOTE: On Wednesday (January 21st) afternoon, IU opens voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

I’d really really — really —  love it if you’d vote for my entry. No login / user account creation is required to vote.

Flash.Fiction: The Ghosts of Northgate

Every week, Indies Unlimited has a flash fiction contest, and every now and then, the image and prompt calls to me. I love all things grizzly and creepy. If you’ve read my novella Couillon, you’ll understand. I think I scared some of the people in my writing classes because in my short stories, someone always gets killed in a disturbing way.

This week’s flash fiction prompt was the picture included here and a prompt:

Photo Copyright K. S. Brooks

Northgate Sanitarium was an extension of the state prison system. The facility specialized in  experimental treatment of the criminally insane. Some horrible stuff went on there.

Abandoned in the 1950s, the old building has been linked by rumor to a few recent disappearances.

I had just gotten my first job as a journalist, working for the Northgate Observer. I thought it would make a good story to spend the night in the old sanitarium. Back then, I guess you could have called me a skeptic…

This is my response, my story:

Snow had fallen the night before, covering the campus and dampening any sounds from the surrounding areas, making the outing feel isolated and forbidding. And just downright cold. I followed along behind the shivering research students as they investigated the Northgate lockdown area, you know, the ward where the real crazies were kept. Now that the facility was closed for good, these students had keys to even the most appalling parts of the building.

I kept asking them questions, trying to steer them in the right direction without literally pointing out that they didn’t have a clue, but the arrogant little prats just ignored me. I could show them things. Scary things. Real things. After all as a reporter I had investigated Northgate, way, way back before some of them were born. They should at least pay attention. Should at least give me some of the respect I deserve.

This group wouldn’t even be here if only I’d been allowed to write the article I wanted to write, an article exposing the experimentation done on the unwilling. Unwilling, insane criminals, yes, but still unwilling. In my original research, I had uncovered atrocities that needed to be exposed. Doctors allowed to do whatever in the name of science. Doctors allowed to maim and mutilate. And kill, all in the name of science. If only…

If only I could just get these students to listen, I’d show them where the bodies were hidden, where my body was buried with all my notes.