passed on

Flash FictionAs sometimes happens, this story is a bit raw. It’s half thought-out, and not really something I’d call ‘polished’. I think it’s a good beginning. The idea is downright eerie, but the execution (forgive the pun) isn’t quite there.

To be perfectly honest, I was planning to write a 100-word story this week, but The Prediction, my go-to for flash fiction prompts of late, is irritating me. The site keeps suggesting prompts that require the inclusion of odd, rarely used words. This week, the prompt suggests a story that includes ‘accent’, ‘elect’, and ‘moribund’. The first two are fine. The last one–what the hell? No one uses that word. To force it into a story would undermine the story. I won’t do it.

And really, that’s the reason the story below isn’t fully finished. Because in its current form, it’s a bit forced. The voice is there, but all the details haven’t been ironed out. Eh, I can live with that. Perhaps I’ll revisit it later.

In the meantime, feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. What works about it and what doesn’t? If I get at least a few good bits of feedback, I’ll rework it and post a finished version for you.

passed on

I’ve got a secret.

You’re listening now, right? You’re probably already salivating. Well, look–it’s not that kind of secret. Not the juicy kind you can’t wait to tell someone else. It’s not fun. It’s devastating, at least to me. If you’re going to act like a kid in a candy store, I won’t even tell you. Got it?

Ready to be an adult about this? Okay then, here we go. I killed her.

I didn’t mean to. And no, that’s not what everyone says. I really didn’t. I was angry, sure, and we said things. We were both pissed. But I didn’t mean to hurt her. I loved her.

We were out at the cabin. My family’s cabin. Just the two of us.

For God’s sake, stop grinning, you ass. It was a weekend away. Yes, we had sex. I start to tell you about how I accidentally killed my lover and you’re all hung up on two girls getting it on in the woods. So typical. Listen, that’s not the point. Big picture, please.

The first day was great. Relaxing and fun. But that night we got into it. She was upset about something–I don’t even remember what. You know, the standard couples fight. We both screamed. I cried. We didn’t even sleep in the same bed. I got up early the next day to make pancakes. It was supposed to be a peace offering. She likes fried potatoes with onions, so I was making that, too. I was in the kitchen, knife in hand. I was crying from the onions and halfway through cutting up the spuds when she crept up behind me.

She said my name. It startled me and I spun around. She saw the knife and jumped back, but her ass hit the counter and her feet slipped. She fell forward, right into the fucking blade. All the way to the handle. I could feel the warmth of her abdomen before either of us had a chance to really register what was happening.

The blood. Oh my God, the blood. It was dark. Almost black. Not a good sign.

She wheezed a few times, coughed and spoke. She told me to do it. I nodded agreement without even thinking, and she smiled. That smile. It was the loveliest she’d ever looked, her face framed in crimson. Then she closed her eyes and she was gone.

The codex. The mortem exponentia. The unholy incantation.

I gathered what I needed while her body was still warm. We had all the materials on hand. We’d been planning to indulge in some low-level spell craft while we were there. The mortem exponentia isn’t a particularly difficult spell. There’s nothing complex about it, aside from the need of a fresh corpse. It took less than 15 minutes to do the deed, and then she came back to me.

A wraith. A wisp of a soul, half-held to this world.

How could I have known pulling her back would be torture to her? I was only doing what she asked me to do. It was a death wish. A last request. A gift to a dying lover. But she was clearly in pain. She still is, and she’s my constant companion.

I see her in the dark when I’m lying in bed, whether alone or with someone. Her eyes are always open. They don’t even blink. I hear her voice in my head, scratchy, like she’s just smoked three packs. I feel her nails on my skin, brittle and dry, dragging hard enough to draw blood even though she doesn’t leave marks. I can’t get away from her, and she won’t leave me. I only know one way she can.

I have to. You get it, right? To be haunted is one thing, but to be haunted by someone you love, someone you killed, and to have that reminder with you all the time, waking and dreaming, that’s hell. Sure, I could kill myself, but I’m a fighter. I always have been. So I’m doing the only other thing I know to do.

I’m giving her to you.

The words are spoken. If you listen, you can already hear her voice. I’ve passed her off, from me to you. No, it’s not fair, and yeah, you’ll hate it, but it was more than I could bear. Call me a selfish bitch if you want to, but a word of warning. Anything you say about me, even think about me, she’ll hear. And she still loves me.

Okay, I’ve got to get going. I’ll drop by from time to time to check on her.

Don’t give me that look. You said you wanted her back. How many times have you said that? Well, now you have her. Forever. Take good care of my sweet girl. Oh, and I wouldn’t sleep with the lights off. She’s fond of the dark, but it brings out her wild side, and not in a good way.

I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.

Okay. I’m out. Enjoy getting reacquainted with your ex. I’m fairly sure she’s going to enjoy her time with you.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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