Write about now

January 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Motif

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: , — Eva Therese @ 7:09 pm

Challenge is, a usual, courtesy of Chuck Wendig and can be found here. My random picks were: Blood as motif, Supernatural Romance as subgenre and A King’s Bedroom as setting. I had a lot of fun with it, even though I kinda had to cheat with the king’s bedroom thing and you’ll have to imagine that the romance hasn’t started yet.

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Flash fiction challenge – choose your motif

A wail pierced the peaceful summer afternoon. Ben turned and saw that the sound came from a small child – it was impossible to tell whether it was a boy or a girl – who had tripped and fallen. The child’s mother rushed to its side and pulled it to its feet. On the left knee small pinpricks of blood were visible and quickly growing, like rosebuds preparing to bloom. Then the blood was obscured from view, as the mother dabbed at the wound with a paper napkin.
Ben turned and went inside. The air-conditioning was cranked up to max and made him shiver after the warmth outside. He found a custodian, a woman who eyed him curiously as she showed him the way to the manager, Mr. North’s, office.
The office was even cooler than the rest of the building, yet Mr. North was sweating. He was a huge man, almost as wide as he was tall. He gave a grunt as he raised to offer Ben a wet handshake and another grunt as he almost fell down back in his chair.
He asked Ben to take a seat and then he stapled fat, ringed fingers and looked shrewdly at Ben over the tips. It was an appraising look, as if he tried to reconcile how Ben looked with what he was supposed to be.
It was a look Ben was used to, but it still made him move uncomfortably in the chair. He cleared his throat to break the silence, the ventured: “You have a ghost, I understand?”
Mr. North nodded slowly, the movement adding and subtracting double chins. Still he said nothing.
“The ghost of Elvis?” asked Ben in a lame attempt at a joke. The staring was making him sweat in spite of the cold.
Mr. North gave a grunt. “Of course not! If that had been the case, we could probably have made money of it. But we have no idea who this is.” He scratched a couple of his chins thoughtfully. “Those who have been closest to it, claims that it is the ghost of a women. Can’t give adequate reason for why they think so, mind you, but there you have it.”
Ben took out a notebook and a pen. “I will need to know, when the ghost was first observed.”
“It was first reported around two months ago, but one of the custodians claims that she had felt it before that. That there had been weird cold spots.”
Ben didn’t find this hard to believe, but he doubted whether it didn’t have more to do with the air conditioning. Still, he dutifully noted this information as well..
“I should like to see the haunted room,” he ventured.
Mr. North gave him a hard look, as if to say that he had expected this, but was not happy about it. Then he got to his feet and started waddling towards the door.
Ben followed him down the corridors, since there was no way they could walk side by side.
Mr. North stopped to catch his breath, then he pointed into a room. “There,” he wheezed. “Elvis Presley’s bedroom.” He made a grand gesture with his left hand, the right was clutching the door frame.
Ben went inside with a look that he hoped was suitably impressed. He scanned the room looking for anything out of the ordinary. “Was this where he died?”
Mr. North gave a snort and Ben turned around, worried that the stroll down the corridor had been too much for him. But the manager simply looked annoyed. “Of course not. He died in the bathroom. Don’t you know your history?”
Ben muttered something about this particular detail having slipped his mind and went back to looking around. There was nothing unusual to see, but there hardly ever were. He turned back to Mr. North. “You say that the ghost shows up at all times?”
Mr. North nodded. “At all times. If there’s any pattern to it, we have yet to discover it. But it’s almost always in this room.”
“There’s two possibilities; one is that the ghost is haunting the place where it died, but I suppose you would have told me if there had been any deaths in this room?”
“Of course.”
“The other is, that the ghost is haunting this room because it meant something to it, when it was alive. It might have come here often. Does this ring a bell with you?”
Mr. North mulled this over. “Can’t say that it do. We haven’t lost any custodians recently, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Ben nodded grimly. “I suppose there’s no way around it. I’ll have to spend the night.”
“What? Sleep in Elvis’ bedroom? Unheard of!
“I don’t plan to sleep,” answered Ben. He had started pulling out drawers and looking inside. I plan to stay wide awake and hopefully I’ll make contact with the ghost.” He looked up and smiled at Mr. North. “Find out what keeps it here. If I’m really lucky, the ghost and I can be out of your hair in a couple of days.”
Mr. North grumbled something, but finally he said. “All right. What do you need?”

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