Saturday, August 8, 2015

Flash! Friday: At Bay

by Michael Seese

I had a howling good time writing this week's Flash! Friday entry. (Horrible pun intended.) 

Our mission: to work off the Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale starring celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes, who uses his (arrogant) genius to solve murders against a backdrop of a legendary, terrifying hellhound.

So the story elements were:

* Conflict: man vs man
* Character (choose one): arrogant detective, retired doctor, a lord under a family curse
* Theme(s) (choose one): cunning, guilt, superstition
* Setting: isolated country manor

I chose the latter two, and ignored the picture...

... I guess, in writing "At Bay."

A man's blood can be rather tenacious. Try as I might, I cannot rid myself of the stain.

From my clothing.

From my hands.

From my soul.

Each time I rend another's still-beating heart from his chest, a small portion of mine dies in concert.

In repose by the window, I hardly savor the final vestiges of freedom, as I await with imponderable dread the inevitable.

Were that I could trade lives with one of them. My victims. Then the nightmare finally could end.

The full moon glides out from behind the Coromandel screen of a cloud, baring her soul, and forcing me to do likewise. My hands distort as the talons erupt from my fingertips. My mouth aches as the fangs assume their devilish station. My scream morphs to a howl, my body to an abomination.

At last, it ends.

I look upon my wife, sleeping, then crawl to her bed, on all fours, like the animal I am. She is so beautiful. So at peace. I cannot bear the thought of what is to transpire.

She opens her eyes, eyes which no longer reveal anything within.

She smiles.

At that moment, the moonbeam that had been slithering across the floor strikes her face. Her body contorts, wracked by the curse we share. Or better said, the curse she chose to foist upon our house.

Unlike me, she seems to enjoy the pain wedded to the transformation. After a brief recovery, she stands and strokes my hirsute cheek.

"The moors beckon, my love. 'Tis time for us to hunt."

As you can tell, I've been spending a lot of time over at

Tomorrow (surprise, surprise) is another Janet contest. My entry is well under way.

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