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Text Message Murder

Writer’s Digest hands out writing prompts to tickle the creativity bone that lives somewhere in the body. Many are silly, but every once and awhile one comes along that I can’t resist.

Text Message Murder (750 wds or less)

You’re sitting at work one day and receive a text message from an unrecognized number. The text says, “I have the money and hid the body.” You think this is a practical joke from a friend, so you play along at first. But the more texts you receive, the more you realize that it isn’t a joke. Write the text conversation you have with this unknown texter.

“AC 371, Tower, runway 27, position and hold.”

“AC 371, position and hold.”

“Messaba 243 contact Departure.”

“Over to Departure, good day.”

“AC 371, Tower, cleared for takeoff 27.”

“Cleared for takeoff, 371.”

The day was overcast, hot, and the bank had started. During this time, I can’t so much as avert my eyes from the fifty story tower I sit, than take a breath. That day, I remember easily, I got a message. My phone vibrated on the table next to me and I glanced down. The outer readout on my phone read, “Unknown”.

“Delta 41, Tower, traffic holding short, cleared for landing, 18 center.”

“Cleared 18 center, 41.”

“Comair 421, Tower, hold in sequence.”

“421, hold in sequence.”

“AC 371 contact Departure.”

“Departure, 371.”

My arm was vibrating again, another unknown. There was a short break; I took the chance and flipped open my phone. Two messages; first, “I have the money”, and second, “The body is taken care of.”

I shot my head up, scanned the crowded tower, everyone deep in weeds, when I caught sight of a man I had only seen once. He was in training, maybe his first or second day, and I hadn’t met him yet. He was eyeballing me, paying no attention to his trainer jabbering away.

“Tower, Comair 421.”

I pounded the keys as fast as possible, “What?”

“Um, say again.”

“Tower, Comair 421, number one, are we clear?”

“Affirm, Comair 421, tower, runway 27, cleared for takeoff.”

My phone buzzed again, “I said, the situation is taken care of.” I glanced back over my shoulder to see the new guy’s head hung, slouched, holding a phone. I texted back, “Sure, bud, whatever you say.”

“Comair 412 contact Departure.”

“To Departure, good day.”

Another message; ground control was sending me another ten, maybe fifteen departures. I held back my rage and read the message. “He wants to see you, now.”

“Tower, Freedom 6124, visual 27.”

The new guy held his phone and looked up. We made eye contact, something clicked, but he looked away just as fast. I sent another text, “Who?” I watched him close, his mannerisms changed, and he opened his phone and started tapping the keys. My eyes grew wide and my face drained all its blood. He looked back at me, my phone vibrated, and it said, “Him”. With sudden confusion, I snapped my head back to the new guy to see him nod his head towards the guy sitting next to me.

“Tower, do you copy, Freedom 6124?”

Frank, a long time friend and colleague, was neck deep in traffic. Sweat beaded his forehead only to be caught by his black-haired comb-over. His thick, out-of-date glasses sat on the tip of his wart-infested nose. I looked back at the new guy only to find him gone.

“Tower, do you copy?”

“Freedom 6124, Tower, repeat.”

“Freedom 6124, visual 27 for landing.”

“Cleared for landing, Freedom 6124, runway 27.”

“Frank,” I said. He most likely couldn’t hear me, seeing as how his radio ear piece was lodged in his left ear. “Frank.”

“What? I’m a little busy here.”

“I know, I got this message saying the body was taken care of and to talk to you. What the hell?”

He continued his commands and pushed his spectacles further up his nose.

“Frank,” I said.

“Damnit, I thought we had an agreement!” He slid his chair closer to me as I held back the urge to jump out the window. He lowered his voice, “Listen, it is taken care of. We agreed to not to discuss it here. Do you know how much shit we can get into? Like the message said, it is taken care of; over, done, forget about it.”

“What? I don’t…”

“Listen to me, goddamit. I brought the new guy in so we can get it done clean, no problems. You said so yourself, you wanted this done. You said she wasn’t changing, you wanted kids and she didn’t. I tried to talk you out of it but you insisted it be done. It’s done, man; time to move on.”

“What? When did I say this?”

“Seriously? We had this discussion last night over drinks. You don’t remember?”

The memory flashed; beer bottles and tequila shots.

I jumped from my chair, threw off my headset, and said, “What the hell did you do to Susie, you prick?” My phone vibrated in my hand as I glared at Frank. I reverted my gaze to the phone.

“Susie was nice. I had some fun with her before it was over. So sad, she would have made one hell of a wife.”

I ran to the stairs on the other side of the tower, pounded the down button to the elevator, and what seemed years later I was outside. I shot my head this way and that; tears welled in my eyes and then caught sight of a car exiting the parking lot. It was the new guy. He raised his arm out of his car window and waved.


Street (Flash Fiction)

Since the beginning of time, from Adam and his mythical first-wife-born-from-dust Lilith, to Adam and born-from-Adam’s-rib Eve, there has been a never-ending battle between Good and Evil. Each of God’s creations is faced with moral dilemmas every day, hour, and minute on which path to choose; concerning their own moral decency and pose. More often than not, evil will win; then spreads like wildfire. Evil is an ever-changing, ever-powerful virus that once created, will replicate itself so fast that there is no comprehensible way to put an end to them.

Legend has it that there is one man who is said to be the most powerful Demonologist; one man who nobody has seen or spoken to, but calls to from the depth of their own evil-infested soul, named Street.


The darkened room was only lit by one flickering candle, sitting atop a small nightstand, throwing shadows across the room in soothing, rhythmic beats. Street knelt on the floor in the middle of the small, somewhat comfortable room. A sheet-less cot, shoved against the battered concrete wall, a bucket filled with one can only assume to be rotting human feces and the candle-holding nightstand were the only physical presence in the room. The darkness elsewhere encompassed space like a thick fog, never breaking. He pulled a small piece of chalk from his beaten and seen-too-many-days leather satchel that was slung over his shoulder. The chalk itself had also seen too many concrete floors, walls, and ceilings in its days and Street felt a faint panic rise to his throat. Many things were hard to come by and he wasn’t sure if he’d ever find another piece of chalk if he tried.

Street pulled a self-rolled cigarette from his satchel, lit it and inhaled deeply. “One of the very demon’s curses” he muttered to himself. He then gently grasped the chalk from his satchel in one hand, careful not to pinch his fingers too hard, and started his ritual markings on the floor. The actions that followed are so deeply embedded in his mind that he’s not sure even remembering learning and quite certain cannot be taught. He lightly drew a circle, about two feet in diameter, and then drew a large X through the middle, which each stem drawn further out, north and south. Street dug through his satchel once more and found what he was searching for. He pulled a pocket-sized Bible out and placed it on the floor above the circle, in between the northbound stems of the X, then placed a silver plated Crucified Cross opposite. Street slid off his knees and into a sitting position, squinting between the smoking cigarette between his lips, and began to prepare his mind.

The flame from the candle wavered slightly, almost too slightly to notice, which woke Street from his meditation state. He stood up, knees popping the sound of a pistol crack, and slung his leather satchel that rested on the small of back. He quickly tightened his belt, which there slung two ancient revolvers waiting patiently and quietly for their number to be called, and rested the palm of both hands on the butt of each revolver. The flame wavered more violently now, then winked out. There stood Street, in the thick of the darkness fog so thick it was suffocating. The only light left now was the cherry burning on his cigarette, which he now grasped and flicked towards the middle of the circle. He sighed deeply, pulled out both ancient revolvers, and rested them at his side.

“It has begun.”

There was a rumble that came from outside the room. Street rested his chin to his chest and concentrated. This was the part he hated; this was the dirty work, and this part was what stole his sleep. The first rumbles and screeches came and went from outside his room, and Street waited. He was hoping against hope that the ever-changing demons still succumb to his own bullet concoction; another he can’t remember learning. He felt goose bumps; all hairs rose on his body, and then knelt to one knee. A rush of cold air, so cold and so fast it ruffled his hair as it blew over his head. The room was still black, but their stench follows them. Street opened fire. Each bullet that raced from the barrel cracked with deafening precision, light flashing with each powerful kick, lighting the room to catch glimpses of the retched demon. He did not need to know where he was firing, he knew where they were at all times; he could feel them, smell their disgusting stench. The intruder flew at him, just as he knelt, and got caught in the world-wind circle he had just finished drawing. Screeching came in deafening bursts that not only hurt his ears, but felt tearing at his soul. Street could see the beast with each bullet blasting, piercing him in different regions as the demon got caught in the upper corner of the room. Its flesh, if blackness can be given such a name, was tearing apart with each bullet never missing. He unloaded his clips into the howling thing as it let out one more deafening screech. It twisted and twirled, being drawn by some force not of its own. Street took a step back and watched haggard. His mind started to wobble, his vision blurred, and his leg muscles started to give out; all the while never losing eye contact with the demon. The demon was still screeching, stuck in a whirlpool of force, spinning around the room about the drawn circle. Each time it passed over where the Bible and cross lay, the screech would intensify. Spinning, circling, and with one last gnash of its black hole mouth, struck Street across the cheek, then vanished with a pop.

Street spat blood to the floor and whispered, “May God have mercy on your soul.” He holstered his still smoking ancient revolvers and stepped out the door.

The Unfortunate

I came across this article on CNN this morning about how a man turned in a missing girl from 1988. This man watched his father kill her, burn her, and had never said anything about it until 22 years later. This is my flash fiction interpretation of how that day may have gone.

The mosquitoes were hellashish that afternoon, Chris remembered. Hiking up that mountain of a hill, through the heat, thick brush, thorn bushes, and an occasional snake were somewhere near his vision of Hell. What his father and Chris packed was not the normal “Father/Son” picnic brunch. They brought nothing but the girl, a water bottle filled with gasoline, and a mountain of tires; which Chris was in charge of dragging into Hell.

To hide from the affects of his daily life, Chris mastered the art of “drawing-inward”. He hadn’t thought of this day in a long time, but at the same time was haunted by it every night. He remembered reading something, an article out of a newspaper he found or a discarded magazine, about mosquitoes and how they act. The author was convinced that if you smack and kill one on your skin, the army feels the death like a body feels losing an extremity. They then focus on you and attack. The only way to appease them as a whole is to just swat absentmindedly in their direction. Sounds silly, but as Chris found out that day, that was his only escape.

“Move faster, we’re almost there.”

Chris’s father had that tone, the tone of a madman masked by a civil face. He is the reason he is here, he is the reason for his pain, and he is the reason Chris cannot sleep. If he had only stopped by the local gas station for a pop, if he had only stayed at school a bit longer, he would have never came home to see what his nightmares consisted of every night, for twenty two years.

“You’ll thank me one day, son”, his father said over his shoulder, “you’ll thank your old man and what he taught you.”

Chris was doubtful, but there is one thing that he can thank his father for, only one thing; how to read people and their selfish intentions.

“Doubtful”, Chris muttered under his breathe. The tires were heavy, but he would not stop or slow down. Fear can be a body’s steroid.

“You say something, boy?” There it was, the sun creeping through the thick fog, his unrelenting anger.

Chris decided it was better not to respond. In most cases his father would immediately forget that he had said anything at all, let alone wait for an answer. There wasn’t anything in his mind that wasn’t selfish and that is where his mind stayed.

“Here we are. Leave the tires there; we’ll throw her in this ditch.” Chris’s father pointed in a swaying motion with his middle finger. He plopped down on a tree stump; his other hand went to his pocket, pulled out a Salem and lit it. He peered through the curling, swaying smoke at his son. Chris was starting to get the jitters. He padded from one foot to the other, swatting directly in front of his face at the grouped mosquitoes; scared for her, who was still alive and scared for him, for his sanity’s sake. He was mainly scared for the girl, she didn’t deserve this. His father was a fucking madman and she was the unfortunate. The girl who would be lost for years; dub her The Unfortunate, fucking sick.

 “Women are like fish, son. Have you ever thought of that? There are millions of them in the sea, all different sizes and colors, and all with the same agenda; attempting to never get caught. Well, my hobby is catching them. I find them wherever, stumble on them in the stream with their scales glistening and their tails wagging. God is great, Chris. Sometimes He just plops them right in my lap. He knows what I like and he sends them to me.” He methodically unsheathed his knife from his belt. Chris didn’t remember seeing it there; maybe dragging the tires blurred his vision, or the mosquitoes. 

“Sometimes you find one particular fish, one fish that you just can’t throw back.” He sent the side of his blade down the girl’s cheek, past the blindfold, over the rag stuffed in her mouth, and down to her chest, cutting open her bra. “Like this. Have you ever seen something so beautiful? They are so perky and full of life. I had my fill with her, been keeping her locked away, son. There is nothing than the feeling of knowing she is waiting for me, legs open, all tied up. Our time has ended now, Chris. We end her now.”

At that, Chris’s father brought the blade to her throat, with one fast impulsive moment, slit her throat. Blood gushed down from the wound and she didn’t even make a sound. In a way, she was prepared and shut her mind down. She had already died before her throat was cut open.

Chris looked away immediately. Vomit rose to his throat, tears showing at the corner of his eyes, and he swat at the ever-present mosquitoes. He sniffed, then looked back just in time to see his father give her a kiss on the cheek and dump her in the ditch.

“Chris, throw the tires on now.” Chris was reluctant, couldn’t hold back his terror and tears. His father shot out a laugh, felt compelled to comfort for a split second, then got angry. “Throw the fucking tires on!”

Chris did as he was told. He never looked at his father in the eye from that day on. His father knew he was terrified of him and that’s the way he liked it. Fear is the body’s steroid.

“This does not leave the woods, son.” Chris’s father grabbed a water bottle filled with gasoline, poured it on the tires that covered the girl’s body, and struck a match. The fireball was instant, but the tires would burn for a long time. “You will never tell another soul of what happened here today, or what you saw. This is between us; between father and son. Do you understand?”

 All Chris could do was shake his head. He wiped the tears from his face and started back towards home, knowing the instant he walked into his house he would pack his shit and bolt; end of story.

 The mosquitoes weren’t as bad on the way back, which was a gift from God. Chris mapped his way back, went over it and over it again in his head, never missing a detail of the trek back. One day, one day, he would tell the world where to find The Unfortunate.

The Sill (Flash Fiction)

She straddled the window sill. A wet, salty tear dropped from her chin to the backside of her hand. She wiped it away absentmindedly with one hand and swiped at her cheek with the other. Her time over the last year was spent in this same predicament; an emotional split between hard reality and hard consequences. The night tore into darkness as she spun and stroked a keepsake keychain, tumbling from each finger to the next. A small fish engraved on the metal keychain symbolized one small truth that is more difficult to except to some, more than to others; life.

Another crash echoed to her sill from the main floor. That was a drinking glass, she thought to herself, Mothers favorite. The arguing has not seized to end for what seemed to be an eternity. Her Mothers new boyfriend – He could be the one, she would say – was in yet another drunken stupor, fighting and clawing, insulting her life and what it has come to. Only that one turned into two, then to four, and then to seven; each with their own drunken meanness that never seemed to vary. Her Father was long gone, as another tear dropped from her chin and landed on her pant leg, and he was never coming back.

Her state of depredation, plundering food from waste cans or friends dropping dinner left-overs from their own bedroom windows, has sent her into a new realm of sadness. She would drop into her own Elsewhere, eyes distant and mind even further, on the first sign of raised voices; her solace. This window sill she sits, one foot planted firmly on her bedroom floor and the other resting on the roof from the second story, has become her anger; anger to choose what a child should not have to be confronted with.

Finally, after another large crash and rage ensuing, she snatched her backpack from her bedside, shouldered it, wiped yet more tears from her cheeks, thrust herself through the window, onto the roof, down the emergency fire escape ladder, and through the thick of backyard clutter. She would be back – she bit her lip in frustration – at some point, in an hour or three, after she plundered for dinner. She slowly holstered the stray hair in her face behind her ear as she glanced back at the faint light from her window sill. The keychain was still in her hand, tumbling through each finger, and yet another tear dropped from her lash and found a home on the metal. She rubbed in the tear, smiled, and whispered; Life.

The Nothingness (Flash Fiction)

The trees loomed, filling a void that a heart has come to be familiar. The Nothingness of the forest trees whispered their mocking hums of appreciation. Even though they were living organisms, knowing in her heart the trees couldn’t speak, they still chatted on. The pure eeriness was distasteful to her original view of trees – she is still feeding on what they omit – but now can only feel that the oxygen which she inhales is now toxic and slowly eating away at her lungs like leaches.

She cannot remember how long she has been in this dreadful forest. The trees locked arms at their peeks, blocking out any direct sunlight. There was no possible way she could tell where they sun was at in the sky nor which direction she was traveling. A couple of times she had seen a single ray of sunlight break through the leaves. Each time she stopped her trek and she would hover in awe as if that single ray of light was her only way out.

There was no way of telling if there was a way out. The only way to track time was by counting how many times she woke up, remembering that she was still in the forest. This tactic proved more difficult as time went by. The rest of her time was spent in fear, trudging and stumbling across the forest floor in and out of consciences.

She had been followed, or hunted. Her awareness of the sound she had been hearing was getting closer, and closer. As she walked through certain areas of the forest, the trees smothered all outside air, only giving her poison for her aching lungs. The sounds she heard now were muffled, like being inside an airtight bubble. Then, the hunter let out a screech so loud that it drummed out a few droplets of blood, oozing down the side of her ear.

She began to run. Running wasn’t much useful if she didn’t know where she was running to. No matter, she kept running. Her eyes were closed most of the time. She found that, whether her eyes were open or closed, loose limbs and leaves still smacked her face, searing her skin with tiny gashes streaming blood down her dirty face. She forced her eyes tighter shut which brought a vision. The vision was breathtakingly beautiful. In the distance, she felt a throb in her head, pounding and pounding. This didn’t bother her much; the vision was just too beautiful and familiar. She felt a breeze, the warmth of sunshine, and the feel of grass under her bare feet. She couldn’t remember much after that. The light, from the sun she supposed, was so bright and warm that all feelings and visions of the forest life passed within an instant.

An Inspiration (Flash Fiction)

“I felt inspired, I felt renewed, and I felt single. My marriage has been over for a couple of weeks that lasted eleven years. Eleven years is a long time. No kids. No major expenses; aside from the house, which she took. Hell, she took everything. The one important thing she could not take away is my pride.”

“The inspiration that hit me that day was harder than I realized. I felt like a thirty-five year old child that just won a trip to SeaWorld, all expenses paid. They were paid for me too; paid to the very last drop of single inspiration to be alone.”

“The beach was empty that day. Walking, breathing, and the ocean breeze where inspiration led. I speak of inspiration because I have never felt so empowered by it. I am not a creative man. I don’t write, draw, or paint. I am a construction manager who has just been divorced, taken a sabbatical, homeless for the time-being, and inspired to do nothing! The beach is where I’m at. One place, one inspiration, and only one thing left to do.”

“Living is an emotional thing. See that? I’m no philosopher, as you can tell, but this is a statement of fact; not opinion. Everything you do is powered by your emotions. Every decision you make is decided by the mood you are in. Take for example my marriage; or divorce. Anger was the top emotion of our marriage for the last year or so, which lead me to where I’m sitting right now, writing. No, I’m no writer, but this is one physical thing I would like to keep from my divorce. Maybe I will become everything I declared I am not. Many philosophers believe that when you make a statement, positive or negative, the adverbs don’t exist. The universe automatically doesn’t receive the fax because there are only verbs, nothing more to declare. So, everything I’ve declared I’m not is everything I will become.”

“Baggage is weight, physical or mental. I am ridding of my baggage by living more free. I am leaving all my physical baggage behind and ridding my emotional baggage on this page. My mark has been set and inspiration will now lead. I want to leave my epiphany for all to see so that someone, even if it is one single person, can learn what I have been through and a possible way to rid it. I will do it here, on this wall I sit.”

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