Friday, September 22, 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 21

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Everyone likes a little flash fiction, right? Thanks to a prompt from Miranda Kate's 21st Mid-Week Flash challenge, you're going to get some! This is from Miranda's post:
This week's photo was taken by an online friend of mine, Stuart Hancock while he was travelling in America. It shows legs of the pier on Pismo Beach, California. I asked him if I could use it because it is begging to be written for. So many tales are glimpsed between those posts. What will yours be?
If you want to join in, here's what she's looking for:
General Guidelines:

Story length: Anything up to 750 Words (no minimum).
How enter: Either provide a link in the comments, or post the entire story in the comments.
Deadline: I will post a new one every Wednesday, but if you're inspired by a previous weeks, go ahead and write for it.
Genre/Theme: All/Any - completely open. It doesn't even have to refer to the picture.
And so, here is my entry for this round of the Mid-Week Flash Challenge...


    By all outward appearances, Vanessa was her best friend. She always smiled when they met, always had something flattering to say. Catherine also noticed how friendly she was with Robert, her boyfriend. It seemed innocent enough at first, but soon grew to the point of open flirtation. Although there was no indication Robert took it seriously, Catherine watched his eyes when she was around, concerned things might go further. Eventually, the situation became more than she could bear. Vanessa needed to learn her place.
    Catherine invited her for a walk along the water to have a talk and enjoy the day. The early morning air had a chill. Few people were on the beach. When Vanessa turned to look out over the ocean, the thin piece of driftwood Catherine had used for a walking stick came crashing down on her skull. It was enough to knock her down, enough to leave her helpless. Catherine dragged her to one of the pilings near the waterline. She took a length of strong twine from her pocket and looped it around the piling and Vanessa's neck, tying it tightly. The sharp edges of the barnacles cut into Vanessa's face. All the better, Catherine thought. Vanessa looked up, struggling with consciousness.
    "Robert's my boyfriend, Vanessa. I want you to think about that while the crabs chew on your toes. I'll be back once you've learned you're lesson—maybe."
    Time can get away from you when you're having a nice day on the shore. When Catherine returned, the water was several feet higher. She waded into the surf and searched around the piling, but Vanessa was gone. She looked up and down the beach. There was no Vanessa, no body—nothing. She hadn't meant to kill her—just frighten her a bit. She thought the tide was already in.


    Catherine sat upright in her bed, breathing heavily. Her hair was damp with sweat, her head throbbing. It was that nightmare again. It was always the same. She would fall asleep and her dreams would take her to the beach by the pier. Just before waking, the faceless form of a woman would appear, dripping wet and covered in green tendrils. It had to be Vanessa.
    Catherine got up to take something for her headache. She noticed how tired she looked in the bathroom mirror and turned on the hot water. The rising steam felt good. When she looked up, the words 'beware water' appeared on the mirror as if drawn by a finger. Catherine backed out of the bathroom, her heart pounding. She took a few steps when her foot touched something cold. She jumped back, then reached out with her toes to feel it again. The carpet was wet. Catherine turned on the light. Glistening footprints appeared at the foot of her bed. There was something green on the carpet. It looked like—seaweed.
    The phone rang startling her badly. It was her boyfriend, Robert. A woman's body, it seems, had been found on the beach, badly decomposed. There were no clues as to her identity or how she had died. He wanted to know if she was all right.
    Catherine broke down weeping. "I didn't mean to kill her."
    "Kill who?"
    "You're not making any sense, Cathy. You couldn't hurt anyone."
    "I tied her to the pier, Robert, and she drowned. She wasn't supposed to die!"
    "It'll be okay, Cathy, but we need to discuss this. Meet me by the pier around nine o'clock. And try not to panic."
    "Okay, Robert. I love you."


    Catherine was pacing and visibly upset when Robert arrived.
    "Okay, Cathy—take a deep breath and tell me what happened."
    "I tied Vanessa to the piling."
    "Show me exactly what you did. Where was Vanessa?"
    Catherine sat on the wet sand and leaned against the shell-encrusted wood. A cord pulled tight against her throat. She tried to scream, but couldn't. A pair of hands grabbed Catherine's wrists, pulling her arms back.
    "Cathy, I'd like you to meet Cheryl. Sorry we don't have time to chat, but—what is there to say?"
    "Oh, and nobody blames you for Vanessa, honey," Cheryl added while checking the knots. "Things like that can happen when a girl messes with your guy. I hope you understand."
    Robert looked at Cathy, then shrugged. "Well, I guess this is goodbye. You know, they say two's company and three's a crowd, but four—that's just crazy."

 742 words without the title and tildes... 

 I wonder what Vanessa's spirit will do now...if it was Vanessa.

© 2017 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. 'just frighten her a bit'? LOL

    And then Robert too? LOL What happened to 'it's not working out, let's just be friends?' LOL

    Great stuff Kevin. Love the barnacles in her face, nice touch.

    1. Wow, you read that fast!
      I did say a "little" romance! Me, I'm going to stay away from the beach for a while...


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