Samhain 2016 submissions will open on Friday 1 July 2016 and run until Friday 4 September 2016. This will be our usual mid-autumn e-issue and print Three Drops from a Cauldron seasonal special R…
© 2015 Caroline Raggett
“Smile!” she said in a cheery voice. My wrists are raw from the cable tie binding both hands to the chair. She dances like an innocent child playing with finger paints.
Her paint is my blood, and her work is superior to my own.
“Smile”, she said again, seriously this time. Her face distorted; her eyes turning cold. She approaches me with the razor blade to carve into the canvas of my skin.
Too often I told her to keep smiling, hide her bruises and tell no-one of my fists sculpting her scars.
One final slice.
Her lips opened up to his.
The tiny facets of her resistance shattered. He held her in place with arms like a vice. What tiny amount of guilt he felt melted away when he felt her melting into him.
If they found out it would be over for him. His methods of persuasion weren’t exactly kind. He had inundated her with calls and messages. And when he’d skinned that little yappy dog of hers…she’d been frightened.
But he’d won –
His victory drained.
The blood poured from the knife wound in his stomach.
He stepped back.
This was written for a flash fiction competition whose deadline I missed. I was limited to 400 words and had to include a naïve war hero, a racist salesperson, an ancient spellbook and take place in a bedroom. I’d never done flash fiction before so it was a challenge but I think with practise I can start to nail the themes a bit better. This is a first attempt and I’m quite pleased considering the constraints!
A Literary Devil
© 2015 Caroline Raggett
“This book will change your life Charles” the saleswoman pushed it across the dresser until it touched Charles’s hand.
He stared at its ancient, yellowed pages held together with leather. It appealed to him. The book had an energy that seemed to thrum in the leafs like a heartbeat. The saleswoman also had an energy Charles couldn’t ignore. Now she stood in his tiny rented bedroom.
“Charles, I know you want more than this. How many stripes did you earn? You’ve come back home to be treated like a nobody. With your medals and bravery you deserve to have something to show for it”
The saleswoman was completely relaxed, her tailored suit filled out all the right places, some more generously than others Charles thought as his eyes quickly darted down to her chest for the tenth time. She smiled wickedly, perfect glossy lips framing perfect white teeth.
“The company I work for is always recruiting. You could repay us much later. As long as you sign a piece of paper saying you’re happy to exchange work – as and when required – for this book, then it’s yours”.
She stepped in closer, her hand on his wrist now. Her scent was intoxicating; she spoke so low and soft that Charles could barely register her words
“Take the book Charles, it’s only a little labour in exchange for altering your entire life” The pen was in his hand, the paper beneath the nib. Her lips found his and suddenly her tongue of fire was in his mouth, branding him.
The Saleswoman stood over him, the grin widening as her face turned red. She shrunk; her tailored suit disappeared revealing red skin and an arrowed tail slithering like a snake. Her cloven feet stepped out of expensive Jimmy Choos that promptly disappeared.
Yes, her company would have you, as long as you were a good soul. A good, white soul preferably. There was nothing more delicious than a decent Caucasian war hero.
She picked up the signed piece of paper and turned to leave, only to see the building supervisor standing at the opened door. His black skin paled at the sight of the demon.
She snapped her fingers. He screamed as he was engulfed in white hot flame, incinerating him into grey ash.
Then giggling like a child caught killing an ant with a spyglass, she vanished.