TBAM – Chapter Two: C

See the rest of the novel here.

In Helena, Litia’s capital city, there was a morgue reserved for those whose deaths were unusual. Ordinary murder victims did not qualify. Police workers who had their suspicions consulted Dr. Kine, who was the sole person to work in this section of the police department. He was paid very well for this job, mainly because there were not many people who were capable of doing what he did while being willing to complete so much paperwork.

It takes a magician to recognize a magical death, and Dr. Kine had been very persuasive when negotiating his salary. Trained as a healer, he’d hated hospital work from the moment he began, and considered dropping out on numerous occasions. Graduating with passable exam results had been a struggle, but now he had no regrets.

There was only one part of this job he considered unsavoury.

When Keats teleported into the morgue, corpse in tow, Dr. Kine didn’t even look up from the notes on his desk.

“So, which poor soul inspired your wrath today?”

“I missed your sense of humour, this was just an excuse.” Keats replied, deadpan.

He finally glanced at her, only to convey his expression of non-amusement. He noticed that she was bleeding from a wound on her upper arm. He could help her, but he didn’t quite feel like doing so. Besides, she didn’t look especially bothered by it.

“Sonya promised me that I would be seeing less of you from now on. Have you any idea how difficult it is to put the bodies you bring here through the system? Especially when you never fill out the paperwork?”

“Hey, it’s not my fault there isn’t a box you can check which says ‘Got what they deserved.’”

“And remind me why this guy deserved to be killed? Actually, don’t. Write it down on the correct forms instead.”

“Sorry, no can do. I need to find Sonya and inform her about what’s happened,” Keats lied. What she really needed was some rest before Sonya found her. Keats teleported out of the morgue, leaving Rappel’s body on the floor behind her.

Dr. Kine regarded the corpse from behind his desk with exasperation before he continued with his notes. It could wait there a few more minutes while he finished this report.


Sunday Photo Fiction – A Conversation with the Ocean

Fog lingering around Dover Western (Cruise) Docks. [Image has been adjusted so it can be seen properly]

Photo by Al Forbes, who runs the Sunday Photo Fiction blog. Check out the other submissions and instructions for entering your own story here.

How many men have you swallowed up? How many times have you pushed yourself inside their lungs and separated them from the oxygen they so desperately need?

You consumed the body I threw to you last night, when you were considerably less placid than you are now. A single image flickers on my inner eye: Her dress billowing in the wind, legs flailing, wild auburn hair concealing the face I thought I loved. You were the one who dragged her down, your tumultuous surface a match to my own rage. I roared with the wind, damning her to your cold bed, where her beauty could rot and she’d have no choice but to be faithful.

I stand on the deck, calmly facing the fog that covers you like a blanket. I can’t see exactly what’s ahead, but I’m not concerned. After all, it wasn’t me that killed her. It was you.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Prisoner

This is Thor - one of the Ravens from the Tower of London. Taken in 2009 It is said that if the Ravens ever leave the Tower, then England will fall.

Copyright – Al Forbes

If you’d like to write your own flash fiction about the picture, or see other stories, click here. I think this story is darker than my usual work, which is saying something.

If I remember correctly, there was a special feeling when natural light touched your skin. It was like warm breath on your shoulders. Of course, I could be romanticizing the past. Anything but what I see now is a distant memory.

The stone floors and walls were originally an enemy, but we’ve grown to like each other over the period of my imprisonment. I whisper stories to them about childhood and adolescence, the time when unexpected things would happen every day and I might not even notice. Sometimes we are uninterrupted. Sometimes I’m taken to a little black room, but I never tell them what happens in there.

The door creaks and I hear my husband’s footsteps on the cellar stairs. I expect he’s bringing food, but when I stand I see his hands are empty. My heart sinks.

Today is another black room day.

The Last Coffee

The warm aroma of coffee beans surrounds me like a hug. An eclectic mix of people are in the same queue as I am, but all are slumped and silent, craving the bitter caffeine hit that will take them through to lunchtime. Every time the door opens, cold air invades the shop and the girl in front of me shivers. She rubs her arms and looks wistfully at the pastries and muffins on display. My mouth waters when I look at the range of sticky, buttery, flaking goods behind the glass, and I know it must have the same effect on her. They’re hard to resist, and after looking at the prices, one suspects that the shop owners know exactly how tempting their wares are.

As we approach the till, the odour of cinnamon and vanilla grows stronger, and I examine the oozing bottles of syrup next to the barista. The woman who takes my order doesn’t smile, but I get the impression that she’s trying to. Half past eight in the morning and she’s already so tired the muscles in her face won’t slide a millimetre upwards. I’ll probably feel the same way in a few hours.

When I finally obtain my drink, I raise the cup and bathe my lips in the steam, flirting with the dangerously hot liquid. I get a taste of caramel syrup and milky froth for my trouble. The condensation freezes on my face as I step outside, my limbs involuntarily contracting before they adjust to the winter temperatures. Before my fingers go completely numb, I run them down the left side of my body until I reach the handle of the knife.

I savour my coffee. It might be the last one I have.

Friday Fictioneers – Behind Door No. 1

copyright - Kent Bonham

Copyright – Kent Bonham

Time for another round of Friday Fictioneers! If you want to read more FF stories or submit your own, click here.

Jack tasted dust and fear in the night air as he slowly ran his tongue across his lips. He took his time walking down the stairs, knowing she could hear his boots hit the cobbles, imagining the nausea she’d feel in her throat and the way her gut would clench with every footstep. Jack paused outside a green door, waited five seconds, and then smashed the lock through with a single kick. The crunch of splintering wood mingled with a wail of desperation.

She was pressed against the wall, backed into a corner, defenceless.

Just the way he liked them.

Friday Fictioneers – Everything Is Breakable.

dismantled keyboard

This photograph belongs to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and if you wish to take part in Friday Fictioneers, head to her blog. Just a warning, my contribution is quite dark this week.

Andrew felt his girlfriend’s hand tightly grip his own as they followed their guide past groups of eclectic objects. She claimed they should spend more time together, but perhaps she’d hoped for something more romantic.

“This is a keyboard they found in his apartment,” the guide began. “He liked to take things apart.”

After seeing broken clocks, torn books and smashed ornaments, they were taken to an eerily dark room. The walls were saturated with bloody images of unrecognizable humans.

The guide gestured to a photograph.

“This was his first victim.” The guide paused. “He liked to take things apart.”

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – Revolution

30 10 October 20th 2013


This photograph was taken by Alastair Forbes and the challenge comes from his photo fiction blog, which can be found here

These grand castles, with their ostentatious towers and proud relics, are symbols of an aristocracy we learned to despise. Their trophies and heirlooms are not theirs. They were made with our blood. We were squeezed as dry as the marble in their pillars, but it has made us hard, like granite. We will crush them, not to take their opulent artefacts for ourselves, but to bring an end to this age of inequality.

Our anger is righteous and must not be squandered. Let it drive us to create a better society, free from the parasites that have burdened us for so long. Let our treatment of them reflect the amount of compassion they have shown us. These vermin have shown themselves to be unfeeling, so are undeserving of mercy.

Hate. Burn. Destroy. Kill.

Their death is the bridge to peace. 

The Killer Question – Part Seven

See the original post here.

Dear Mr Empwood

I am glad to hear that you are willing to take part in the study. The surveys and instructions have been mailed to your prison supervisors. I know that the formalities can be tedious, but they are necessary. The corruptibility of “good” people is exactly what I study, Mr Empwood. There are a lot of factors which influence a person to commit crime. Deindividuation, genetics, their parental models (or lack thereof), do you think any of those factors apply to you? Or do you think that some people, including yourself, are simply “villains”?

I refuse to believe the latter is true in any case. Until we stop categorizing people as good or bad and start appreciating how complex the human mind really is, we will never truly understand why some people commit violent crimes and others do not. More importantly, we can never hope to rehabilitate criminals successfully until we understand exactly what motivates such behaviour.

Your supervisors inform me that you are a model prisoner. I know that the prison has a rewards system in place, is that what motivates you? You have your theories about me, I have my theories about you.

You say Sid’s survival was merely down to luck, but you let him slip through your fingers. You knew where he lived and could have found him again before he found you. Your prison supervisors claim they’ve never had trouble from you since that riot. You prevented me from being harmed by another prisoner.

Are you “repenting”?

Yours sincerely,

Emma Atkinson.

P.S. I drink neither Pepsi or Coke. Just the smell of cola drinks makes me nauseous.

The Killer Question – Part Five

See the first letter here.

Dear Mr Empwood,

I gained both my degree and my master’s in Psychology at the University of Exeter, under the tutelage of the very skilled and able professors who work there.  My interest in Psychology, especially surrounding violent crime, developed during my teenage years. Unless I am mistaken, you met my father while he was incarcerated. It was after his death that my desire to understand the motives behind his crimes began.

You may already know that the Stanford Prison experiment was the very study which highlighted the need for certain ethical guidelines to be compulsory, and its aftermath produced the foundation for the rules we follow today. Let me reiterate, you may withdraw from the study at any time you wish. You do not need to give a reason and your decision will not affect your treatment. Your concerns are taken seriously.

I cannot say I have a “favourite” victim of yours. However, your behaviour after murdering Hayleigh Jones was unusual and inconsistent with your other crimes. Your other victims were simply left in their beds. After strangling Hayleigh, you dressed her in her wedding gown and left her outside the church she was due to be married in three days later.

Was this simply to gain attention? If so, you certainly succeeded. It was the murder which sparked the media frenzy which did not end until well after your capture and imprisonment.

Yours sincerely,

Emma Atkinson

P.S. I’ve always preferred moths to butterflies. They’re much less ostentatious.

The Killer Question – Part One

It’s finally September, which means I’ll be back at university in a few weeks time. I’m actually (as sad as it sounds,) really excited about going back. I think it’s going to be a good year. I do have time for one more project before I get busy with coursework and lectures and revision. I’m doing a collaboration with Inkwell Knight, which will consist of a series of letters between a psychologist and a man convicted of several violent murders.

We should be posting every five days, but we’re keeping everything quite flexible as we’re both quite busy.

We both hope you enjoy the project.

Dear Mr Empwood,

I am currently a post-graduate student at the University of Exeter, and undertaking a research project on the topic of criminal rehabilitation, specifically on how perpetrators of violent crime recall their actions. I have discussed this project with my supervisors, your prison supervisors, and with the UK’s board of ethics, who have agreed this project can be pursued with your consent.

You were chosen for this study based on your crimes and your admission of guilt in court not because of anything that occurred after you were imprisoned. The project will involve me asking you for written accounts of the crimes you committed, and also asking you to fill out various surveys both before and after writing these accounts. It will also involve me asking questions related to your treatment and activities within HM Prison Wakefield. This will be supervised by prison employees.

You are not in any way obliged to take part in this study, and your decision will not affect your treatment at HM Prison Wakefield. You may discontinue your participation in the study at any time. All of this information, along with my contact details, is listed on the consent form, which is attached.

Your participation would really help me, not that I expect you’re capable of much empathy after what you did, but then

I think you owe it to society

What was it about me that made you do what you did?

Yours sincerely,

Emma Atkinson.