Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 43 of the 52 week writing challenge!
The prompt for Sunday 29th October is ‘Horror’:
This weeks attempt is based on the Flash Fic Hive prompt:
One of the locations is inspired by the #Turtlewriters prompt too!
The above line seemed dark enough to attempt a horror story. I tried to be scary, but I’ve struggled to define what this story is. Warnings for knives and murder. Not for the squeamish.
Maria had a problem with handling knives. The weight of them in her hand, the way they slashed through the air. It was too much to resist…
She hacked into the meat with all the precision of a charging bull. The beef tore into pieces and sizzled as she threw it into the pan. Brown crept through red, and Maria smirked.
‘Presentation is key you know,’ a smarmy voice called from behind her.
‘Customers not gonna look at the shape of the chunks, Carrie,’ Maria retorted, arms crossed and knife, marked with the logo of Giovanni’s restaurant, touched to her own arm.
‘We’re always under scrutiny in our line of work. Be proud and show a little consistency.’
‘Pride doesn’t matter. It’s enjoyment that counts.’
Maria smirked. ‘I like chopping things up.’
Carrie smiled. ‘So do I, but watch.’
Maria watched as her boss walked with grace to her chopping board and pulled a knife free from the block. She brought it down with one graceful movement to the meat in front of her and began to chop with gentle strokes, fingers barely touching the meat itself. Each fleshy blob fell in a neat pile beside the next, uniform, smooth. Perfect.
Maria rolled her eyes. ‘We all have our own style.’
‘And those who are sloppy get in trouble sooner or later,’ Carrie warned.
Maria frowned and looked up at her. ‘What do you mean?’
‘We’re a five star restaurant, hon. You continue to churn out work like that? You’ll get caught out and lose your job. Learn to be more precise.’
Maria looked away, and her eyes caught the clock. ‘I’ll try better tomorrow,’ Maria promised, but when Carrie nodded and turned away, she stuck her tongue out and slid her knife into her bag. Time for the real work to begin.
Maria banked right as she left work and stalked through the alleyways, hood up and gloved fingers curled tight around the hilt of the knife she borrowed. As the clock in the bell tower chimed midnight, she came to a stop, crouched in the alley opposite a row of pubs. Friday night, but no one moved her way, not alone. Everyone was in pairs or groups. They’d heard about her. She was famous, and they trembled when they were alone, walked quickly and with purpose.
Finally, fingers chill even through her thick gloves, Maria spotted a woman in her thirties, arms tucked around herself and head down as she shuffled towards the alley.
Maria waited until the woman neared the entrance and called out, voice high pitched and terrified, ‘Help me, please! I’m lost!’
The woman paused and peered into the alley. ‘Who’s there?’
‘Marie,’ Maria replied, and added in a sniffle for good measure. ‘A bad man snatched me, but I ran away. I’m lost.’
Maria smirked as the woman peered into the alley and took a couple of steps forward. She’d gotten so good at this.
‘Can you come into the light?’ the woman asked. She was still hesitating. Time to go in for the kill.
‘My legs hurt,’ Maria said with a sob. ‘I can’t stand up. I’m scared the killer will get me!’
The woman moved into the alley, towards Maria. Perfect. Maria pounced and her knife blade flashed as it tore into the woman’s stomach. The woman screamed. Blood spurted from the wound and splattered Maria’s face. She licked her lips and dragged the knife across the woman’s throat.
Her victim stilled, but the scream would have been heard. She didn’t have much time to grab a souvenir. Maria cursed and slashed at the body. Hacked off pieces of flesh and stuffed them into her pockets. Footsteps thudded on the pavement outside the alley, and Maria glanced up as a flash light illuminated the blood on the walls.
‘Hey! Get away from her!’ a man yelled.
Maria shot to her feet, only too happy to oblige. In her panic her knife clattered from her fingers to the floor. She had to leave it, she had to run. Heart pounding and chest heaving, Maria ran back down the alley. Each twist, each turn, put distance between her and her kill.
The shouts faded, and Maria paused to listen. No footsteps. Nothing. She’d got away with it. As she leaned against the wall to catch her breath, a figure appeared at the end of the alley. Maria pressed herself to the wall, hidden in the shadows. The figure looked right at her and shook its head. Maria frowned as it slunk away. What was that about? Her fingers closed around the flesh in her pocket and she grinned, figure forgotten. She may have lost the knife, but she had her souvenir, and tomorrow one lucky restaurant patron would feast on her spoils.
When Maria entered the restaurant kitchen the next day, she blanched as white as her apron. Two detectives stood side by side in front of Carrie, whose eyes darted around the kitchen.
‘Found a knife marked with your logo at the scene,’ Maria overheard as she rushed to her station. She glanced behind her with nervous eyes as she dug a bag out of her pocket and dumped the human flesh in the pan. They were too close.
‘We need to question all your staff,’ the taller detective added.
‘Not now you can’t,’ Carrie protested. ‘It’s lunchtime rush.’
‘Yeah, we don’t care about that,’ the taller detective snapped. ‘There’s a serial killer at large.’
‘Start with Maria,’ Carrie replied with a sigh. ‘She’s the most useless one here.’
Maria flinched but turned to face the approaching officers. ‘How can I help?’ she asked, with a glare towards Carrie.
‘What time did you finish last night?’ the shorter detective asked.
‘Just after eleven,’ Maria replied, and she hid her smile as she glanced at her boss. ‘Carrie and I had an argument.’
‘What was the argument about?’ the taller detective asked with interest.
‘She didn’t like my technique,’ Maria replied. She turned away and dropped her voice to a whisper. ‘She told me she likes to cut things up… You don’t think she’s the killer, do you?’
‘We’ll look into it,’ the shorter detective promised, and she handed Maria a card. ‘If you think of anything else, let us know.’
‘I will,’ Maria replied with a forced shudder.
When they turned away Maria heaved a sigh of relief. The heat was off, and firmly on Carrie where it belonged. Serves her right.
After the detectives interviewed her, Carrie criticised Maria for the rest of her shift, and Maria was glad to leave when the restaurant closed. Knife stuffed into her bag and hood pulled up, she took a left this time and snuck into the alleyways once more.
All was silent, but Maria’s eyes darted around, wary and on edge. A few times she thought she glimpsed a figure out of the corner of her eye. Was someone watching her? If they were, they’d be surprised when she drove a knife into them. A clatter pierced the air behind her, and Maria spun on heel. They’d given themselves away. Time to strike. The huntress pulled her knife from her bag and crept towards the sound.
Her heartbeat raced, and Maria grinned. Cloaked in darkness and armed with her knife, gripped tight in her hand, she wasn’t afraid of anything, especially not a noise in the dark. How dare someone stalk her? In the dim light of the moon, Maria made out three saucepans scattered across the floor with the logo of her workplace etched onto them.
‘Creepy, but still not scared,’ Maria muttered as she kicked the nearest saucepan.
It clattered across the floor, and that’s when it all went wrong. Strong arms grabbed her from behind, and Maria began to struggle. She couldn’t yell out: The hand at her throat cut off her air. She tried to swing the knife in her hand, but her arms were pinned. She kicked out. Her target yelped and threw her to the floor. Straddled and pinned, Maria wasn’t afraid until a cloth covered her mouth and her vision began to blur. Her struggles faded as her eyelids drooped, and Maria lost the battle to stay awake.
When she awoke, she was in an abandoned, isolated house, surrounded by fog and hidden by trees. Maria didn’t know that of course. She was blindfolded. Captive. Unable to see anything but the darkness she once loved.
‘Where am I?’ Maria asked, voice raw, choked. She felt the rough wood of a chair beneath her, and her arms were restrained.
‘Oh, you’re awake,’ a voice drawled to the right of her, creepy, but eerily familiar.
Maria’s head shot to the side and she struggled against the ropes. ‘Let me go. We’re on the same side!’
Her captor laughed, deep and hearty. ‘I don’t think so, Maria.’
The blindfold was pulled free, and Maria blinked up at the smirking face of her boss. ‘Pleased to see me?’
‘Is this about what I told the cops?’ Maria asked. She glanced around. Bare walls. Broken floorboards. Nothing she could use to escape. Was she in danger?
Carrie shook her head and laughed. ‘I hate you for that, but then, I already hated you. Your technique is sloppy. Your victims barely suffer. They should feel true fear.’
‘So you’re a serial killer, like me?’
‘I’m better than you!’ Carrie yelled. Her eyes flashed dangerously as she drove the knife into the arm of the chair. Maria flinched, but Carrie ignored her. ‘I tried to teach you to cut properly, but would you listen? Of course not. You put us all to shame!’
‘I kill people and I enjoy it. What else matters?’ Maria replied with the best shrug she could give under the circumstances.
‘You’ll see.’ Carrie yanked the knife free and dug a shallow cut into Maria’s arm.
Maria grit her teeth but refused to yell out as her skin split. ‘You don’t scare me.’
Carrie smirked. ‘Oh, but I will. You don’t deserve to live, but before you die you’ll understand exactly what it means to be afraid.’
Carrie re-secured the blindfold. Maria couldn’t stifle her gasp as a needle pierced her arm.
‘What are you doing?’ Maria mumbled through heavy lips.
‘This is only the beginning,’ Carrie replied, calm and in control as she untied Maria. ‘You’ll know what I’m doing, but you won’t be able to stop me.’
Arms circled Maria’s waist, and her arms flopped uselessly by her side as Carrie scooped her up. Footsteps echoed through the empty corridors. They passed a window, and outside Maria saw nothing but forest. They were alone. Even if she could scream, no one would hear her. Maria whimpered and closed her eyes. She hadn’t been afraid of anything, but perhaps she should have been.
Thanks for reading!
Apparently I couldn’t bear to write an innocent MC in a horror story, so both the main character and the antagonist are serial killers. My internet search history looks terrible after this!
Next Sunday’s prompt:
The prompt for 5th November is ‘Sparkle.’
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 5th November, and leave a link in the comments so I can read it 🙂
If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂