The Flash Fiction Challenge over at TerribleMinds this week was to write a Five Ingredient Story. Mr Wendig provided a list of ten possible ingredients, and we had to choose five to include in our 1000 word story. The list of ingredients are below. I’ve highlighted the ones I chose in pink.
- A mysterious rabbit
- An unborn child
- A missing corpse
- A broken music box
- An ancient curse
- A half-burned notebook
- A sudden storm
- An indestructible tree
- A venomous creature
- An impossible doorway
This story started out going in one direction, and then veered sharply in another. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I’d love to know what you think.
A Crime of Passion
A man wearing a suit approached the desk where Selena was waiting impatiently. “Ms Scott?”
He slid into the seat opposite her. He was cute, in a Seth Green kind of way. Not at all her type. “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting,” he said.
“Yes, Ms Scott. I’m sorry. We just had to—“
“I don’t care what you had to do. You’re the cop here, not me.” She grabbed the backpack at her feet. “Can I go?”
“No, Ms Scott. I’m Detective Craig McCutchins. I need to ask you a few questions.”
“I’ve already answered a few questions,” Selena snapped. “I answered a few questions when your boys picked me up on the street and I answered a few more questions when I got here.”
“Yes,” Detective McCutchins said. “I know. But I’m sure you understand how serious this is. You were found in an alley with a dead body.”
“No I wasn’t.”
“It says here…”
“Show me the body,” Selena interrupted.
“If I was found with a dead body, where is it?”
“Well, there appears to be some confusion—“
“Selena, then. I’d just like to clarify some of the information I’ve got in this report. It says here that you were found in the alley with…” he paused to look through his notes. “The body of a deceased woman, a notebook, a music box, and a scorpion.”
Selena didn’t respond.
“Two officers heard raised voices and approached. They saw what looked like a murder scene. You threatened them and then set everything on fire. Is that correct?”
“Selena, this is serious. Surely you want to tell your side of the story. As it stands, we can charge you with arson, assault, trespassing, and murder.”
“No you can’t.”
“You can’t charge me with anything. If you could, you would have already done it. You’re just hoping I’ll confess to something if you keep me here long enough. Well, fuck you.”
“For a start, you can’t charge me with arson because nothing’s burnt. Right?”
“There is some confusion regarding—“
“And you can’t charge me with assault, because no one’s hurt.”
“Actually, you threatened the police officers. That’s a felony.”
Selena leaned back in her chair, a smug smile on her face. “Prove it. Prove I threatened them.”
The Detective peered at his papers again. “It says—“
“—What? That I threatened to put a curse on them?”
“—that you threatened to…” He stopped. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Selena grinned. “Let’s see you talk about that in a court of law.”
“Regardless, you set the area on fire. That put them at serious risk of injury.”
McCutchins reached across the desk and opened the archive box he’d brought with him. He plucked out a plastic baggy and tossed it on the desk. “There’s this,” he said.
Selena peered down at a half-burned notebook inside a plastic bag. “What about it?”
The Detective’s brow furrowed. “It’s burned.”
Selena shrugged and leaned back. “So? I burn a lot of candles at home. The book caught fire a few days ago.”
“And you just carried it around with you?”
“Yeah. Is that a problem?”
McCutchins licked his lips. “And this?” He pulled out another plastic bag, this one containing a broken music box.
Selena peered at it. “What about it?”
“How did it get broken?”
Selena shrugged again. “I don’t know. It belonged to my grandmother. She didn’t tell me before she died.”
The Detective sighed and pulled out the third and last bag from the case box. “Then perhaps you could explain why this scorpion is burnt to a crisp?”
“No, I can’t explain why that scorpion is burnt to a crisp. Why would I know anything about burned scorpion?” She rolled her eyes. “Fuck.”
“So you’re saying this isn’t yours?”
“No, it’s not mine. It’s an insect.”
“Nevertheless—“ Detective McCutchins began.
“Look, you can’t charge me for arson, because there’s no proof of a fire. You can’t charge me with assault unless you want to tell a judge that your cop friend was scared of me saying I’d put a curse on him. You can’t charge me with trespassing, because I was on a public street. And you can’t charge me with murder,” She paused to give him a triumphant smile, “because there’s no body.”
“No. Er… yes. Ms Scott, you’re not doing much to help your situation. If you’d just cooperate—“
“Cooperate? With what? A witch-hunt? You’ve got nothing. I don’t even know why I’m still here. Are you going to charge me with something?”
McCutchins looked at his notes again, at the account of a fire that burned blue, a vanishing corpse, and a woman screaming that she’d curse any man who stepped through her circle. He sighed. “No.”
Selena smirked and picked up her backpack. “Goodnight, Detective.” And with that, she walked out into the night.
Outside the station, the street looked empty. And then a tall, blonde woman stepped out of the darkness.
“Diana,” Selena said, embracing the other woman. “Did you have any trouble getting rid of the body?”
Diana rested a hand on Selena’s belly. “None. How are you feeling? Are you okay?”
Selena smiled and put her own hand on top of Diana’s. “I’m fine.”
“Did it work?”
Selena nodded. “I think so, but I guess we’ll know for sure in a few weeks. The ritual was pretty simple. A body for the flesh and blood, music for the soul, writings for knowledge, venom for strength.”
The two of them finished together, “And fire to create a life.”
Diana wrapped an arm around Selena’s waist and drew her close as the two women started down the street. “Pity about the cops getting involved.”
“Yeah,” Selena says. “But it still beats getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.”