Tuesday, 11 August 2015




Life is like mixing drinks. Adding things together make a whole new thing. A lifetime’s worth of unrequited love mixed with a gallon of faith and trust is a stable compound; stir in a large dash of untraceable money and, sure as shit, it turns into betrayal, with just a whiff of avarice for good measure.
The frost rimed window distorts my view of the street, like looking through a snowman’s kaleidoscope. If I stand in just the right spot though, there is a clear patch, just big enough to see trouble coming. And it is coming tonight, just like it always does.
In the halo of the solitary working street light, I can see her waiting. Cool and beautiful as ever, she wears her designer labels like armour from the cold that she never seems to feel. As she flicks her lighter, the flame illuminates a face more perfectly painted than any Michelangelo ever captured. A face I know as well as my own. I had thought that I knew the person behind it too, but, hell; one out of two ain’t bad.
It goes to show, you can’t be sure about much in his world, but one thing I was sure about was cocked and loaded in my coat pocket.
The thing about the cold is, it carries sound - messages for the brain to turn into pictures. You can create a whole movie in your head from just the evidence of your ears – if you know the back story.
The slam of a car door – no, two doors. A big car, heavy doors.
Footsteps across the cobblestoned street, slow and steady.
The screech of a reluctant gate hinge.
Bam. Bam. Bam. A tired, communal door shivers under the weight of the blows.
The buzz and click of the entry system. Someone decides to let a problem in - to save their door – and in the hope that it isn’t their problem.
Count the treads of four feet on threadbare carpet. Thirteen steps to my floor. Unlucky for some.
Another thirteen steps, but only one pair of feet.
A crash of a door, a scream, a slap, and silence for a heartbeat.
The floor boards creak above me. I follow them across the ceiling, the light fitment trembles briefly and then settles as the steps move to the back.
The back!
I snatch the precious carpetbag and rush to the rear of the flat to cover the old, now disused communal staircase, a relic of the building’s grander days.
Stamp. Stamp. Stamp.
As the echo fades from the flat above, two doors are kicked in.
One above me, one behind.
I fumble for my forgotten 38, but the hammer snags in the lining of my coat.
A sharp metallic tap tap tap bounces down the stairs.
Blinded by the flash, I stagger back, stunned and deafened.
A blunt, brutal, blow buffets my ears and I go down like a house of cards in the Chinook, bouncing once of the wall and once off the floor.
Face down, one eye examines the worn, dirty boards closer that I ever wanted to.
A harsh metallic taste invades my mouth, dripping down my face and pooling dark on the floor, some running away through ages old cracks, into the flat below.
A pair of red stilettos glides into my field of vision and a perfectly manicured hand reaches down daintily for the fallen bag using a slip of white lace handkerchief, to protect from the grubby handles I assume, not from the filthy lucre inside.
As the shoes spin away to leave me to my fate, my 38 shouts from my pocket.
I see one of the perfectly formed feet disappear in a cloud of red mist.
She falls in front of me, face scrunched up and screaming. Not so pretty now, eh?
There you go, Honey, betrayal and revenge, the perfect cocktail.
I call it Consequences.

 660  words

This story was the winner in Jeff Tsuruoka's Mid-Week Blues Buster 3.11 flash fiction contest, and was inspired by this week's song 'Don't Worry Baby' by Los Lobos.
Judge Ruth Long said:-
 Each one of the stories was filled with tension and angst but the devil was in the details. Nick Johns' story was slick, polished, and filled with fresh crisp details that stuck in my head like good song lyrics. In short, it’has a great noir feel that left me wanting more –  much more!

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