Today’s flash is based on three pieces I wrote for my writing group, the Northumberland Scribes. We meet twice a month and at each meeting someone suggests a topic for the next meeting. We’re limited to 150 words, which is not as easy as it sounds. The following is an expanded version of three of these prompts that just seemed to flow naturally together – the body in the road; the face in the window; and the shadow at the door.
As if expecting her, the white lace curtain on the attic window was already pulled back. She had come up here hoping the view would have some how changed, but no, she hadn’t imagined it. The body was still lying in the road, lit up by the street light like the show piece for an expensive museum collection.
This meant she hadn’t imagined the rest of it either – the screech of tires on the pavement, the grinding crash of the car hitting the body and the thud of the body falling to the pavement; the smell of decaying leaves overpowered by the acrid smell of burning rubber as the car sped away. No, she hadn’t imagined any of it.
Slowly she made her way back down to the kitchen. She stared at the phone for a moment before reaching out, unsurprised when her hand passed right through it. Turning with a sigh, she wondered how long it would be before she was discovered.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Jace was at the donut shop on the corner of 7th and 10th when the call came in. Reluctantly, he left his coffee and half-eaten cruller behind and hurried out into the cool, autumn night.
Flashing blue and red lights strobed through the dark, illuminating the body lying motionless on the road.
“Looks like a hit and run,” one of the officers told him when he arrived.
“Anybody know who she is?” Jace asked, reporter’s notebook flipped open, pen poised to start writing.
“She lived over there,” the officer pointed. “Looks like she got hit crossing the street.”
He glanced over at the crumbling Victorian house. Movement from an upstairs window caught his attention. A face briefly appeared in the attic window, then pulled back again.
“Have the next of kin been informed?”
“No one to inform. She lived in that big old house by herself.”
Jace felt a shiver run up his spine.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
The house had always been a dream of his. He’d been out of town the first time it went up for sale; it was snatched up so quickly the ‘For Sale’ sign barely had enough time to go up before it was down again. How had a middle-aged spinster been able to afford it, all on her own?
He went out of his way to be nice to her, to make friends with her. Little did she know he was just pumping her for information, looking for something he could use against her. Too bad she was such a law abiding citizen.
She was alone in the world. No family, no relatives. He bided his time and when the opportunity presented itself, he took it. While the police and the gawkers were huddled around the body in the road, he was busy scrubbing the blood off his fender.
Afterwards, he walked past the house every day, waiting for it to go up for sale again. He ignored the face that sometimes appeared in the window – it was probably just a trick of the light – just as today he ignored the shadow at the door. This was his house now.