Flashes of Fiction

2016 Fireworks by R.H.W. Dorsey

My very first publication in 2005 was a chapbook Flashes of Fiction Poetry & Prose published by a small press. Flash and short fiction of the eclectic variety is a passion of mine even now as I’ve written a full novel. I’ll share old and new ‘flashes of fiction’ from time to time on this page.

This flash fiction piece was written in 2018 and is included in the poetry collection Papier-mache Dreams: Eclectic Flash and Short Fiction (see here.)

Photo by Mateusz Chodakowski on Pexels.com

Spiral Staircase

(Cell ring tone sounds) April quickly silences the ringer on her phone as she left the upstairs bathroom.

God forbid I wake Frank’ she thought.  After the blowout with her husband last night she wanted him to stay asleep for a while. The dark circles under her eyes were darker this morning than ever. It was a late night of arguing and yelling with Frank that had her exhausted and feeling slightly depressed. She didn’t like arguing at all and especially with her husband. Frank seemed to pick fights for no reason lately.

The spiral staircase was as beautiful as the day she and Frank bought the large home. April slowly descended the staircase that spiraled to the floor below. Headlights of a vehicle approaching the driveway illuminated the dark foyer at the bottom of the stairs.

Who could be visiting at this hour? It’s not even dawn.” April said under her breath.

April looked through the door peephole and saw a white delivery van parked partway in the driveway. She turned on the hallway lights. The van had no logo or lettering, but April recognized it as one of the auxiliary vans used by online retailers at times. “I had no idea deliveries were done this early”, she thought to herself. She opened the front door and saw a figure dressed in black that looked to be female. April opened the storm door.

“Wow, you guys deliver this early?” April said and could now see the person was a woman with what looked to be a bad curly wig on her head. The woman had sunglasses, boots and gloves which immediately struck April as strange.

“I’d like to see Frank” the woman said.

“Frank? Do you have a delivery? I’m his wife. I can sign.”

“No delivery. I just need to see Frank”, the woman said in a slightly demanding tone.

“If you don’t have a delivery what do you want with my husband?” April said and was now getting annoyed.

Suddenly and quickly, the woman brushed past April and ran in the house.

“What the hell? Get out of my house!” April yelled and ran after the woman now at the bottom of the staircase.

“Frank! Get down here! Frank!” the woman yelled loudly.

“Look, I’m going to call the police. What do you want with my husband?”, April yelled.

“I just want to see Frank” the woman said calmly and turned toward April while reaching in her pocket and retrieving a pistol. “No, you won’t call the police.”

The upstairs hallway light came on and Frank appeared at the top of the stairwell. He looked down at the two women. April noticed his face went blank.

“Hey lover, come on down”, the woman said wearing an evil smirk on her face.

“Frank, who the hell is this?” April said as she glared at Frank standing at the top of the stairs. April thought for a moment how she didn’t care at this moment if the woman had a gun. “She called him lover!’, April fumed to herself.

Frank didn’t answer right away. After a few moments he looked at the woman and said: “Hey, what are you doing? Do it now!”

April heard her husband’s words that didn’t make any sense to her. “Frank, what’s going on?”

“Come on down, Frank!” the woman demanded while pointing the gun at Frank now.

Frank started down the staircase and stopped after two steps. “I don’t know what you’re doing but stick to our plan and do it now”, Frank said to the woman.

(muffled shots fire from the pistol fitted with a silencer) Frank fell on the steps and rolled as if he were a pinball bumping against the sides of the spiral staircase.  

April screamed and ran over to Frank lying on the steps unresponsive. Blood was coming from his head and torso. The woman closed the front door and walked over to April. April looked up at the woman with a look of terror and devastation on her face.

“I’m sorry, but you’ll thank me one day”, the woman says and pulled a medium sized envelope from inside her jacket and tossed it at April’s feet.  “Frank wanted you dead and had it arranged. He took out a large insurance policy on you. I just found out he did the same for me without my knowledge. I guess I was going to be next at some point. He picked the wrong one in me. Consider yourself lucky. You’re welcome.”April’s mouth was wide open, and tears welled from her eyes as she watched the woman hurry out the door. Sounds of the vehicle speeding away rang in her head. April, partially in shock, looked at the lifeless body of her once dear husband. She looked up at the once beautiful staircase that was now an ugly memory. Blood stains of the man she thought she knew were splattered aimlessly on the stairs.

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