Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge for this week is simple:
I want you to take your story and it must begin with a dead body. That’s it. That’s the only stipulation. In the first paragraph you must introduce a dead body. Doesn’t matter the context or the genre. But you gotta check that box marked
[ ] DEAD BODY.
Here’s my somewhat random response. Hope you enjoy 🙂
I found the body by tripping over it.
In my defense, it was six in the morning. I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I hadn’t had my coffee yet. I hadn’t even gone to the bathroom yet, because the corpse was lying on its stomach in front of my bedroom door.
It was while I was sprawled on the ground, blood slowly soaking into my pajamas, my ankle aching, that things started making sense. The coffee pot was gurgling downstairs and my house smelled like cinnamon rolls. The radio was on, volume just low enough that I couldn’t tell what they were talking about.
“Good morning to you to,” I muttered as I limped into the kitchen, not surprised to find Jack sitting at my counter. I turned my radio off and turned to look at the one person who had dared to intrude into my new life. He was wearing dark jeans and a black shirt, no sign of his hunting gear except for a knife peaking out of his hiking boot.
He took in my blood-splattered shirt and laughed. “What, did you trip over him?”
“I wasn’t wearing my glasses,” I said, pouring myself a cup of coffee, not bothering with sugar or milk. I needed to wake up. I glanced at Jack, who had moved on to smirking at my bed head. I should have brushed my hair.
“You’re not blind without them, right? You can still see large male bodies strewn across your landing.”
“I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be there,” I snapped. “When will the cinnamon rolls be done?”
He waved off my impatience with a vague motion. “You don’t want to know who he is?”
I glared at him. “You’re like the cat I never had. Bringing me godforsaken dead things in the middle of the night—”
“I didn’t kill him.”
I paused, but I refused to get sucked into his world again. “That’s new. Did you finally go to that therapist I told you about?”
He ignored my comment. “I was going to kill him. But someone got there first.”
I rubbed my temples, wondering how Jack was this alert when the sun hadn’t even graced us with its presence. “So you brought him to my house?”
“You don’t have to be snippy. I also brought breakfast.”
“Right, and my appetite is simply whetted by the corpse upstairs.”
My sarcasm was finally getting to Jack. I watched his face change, the tease in his eyes replaced by a tight clench in his jaw. “You really didn’t see it?”
“See what?” I asked, cracking the oven open to peak at my breakfast.
Jack was at a loss for words, somewhere I’d never seen him. “The body—I thought—you really didn’t see anything?”
“It’s six AM, I wasn’t exactly giving the guy an autopsy.”
He just stared at me as everything slowly clicked into place. All the stories, all the rumors. He hadn’t believed them, apparently. Idiot.
Lost, he glanced around my kitchen, taking in the normalcy of it. No specially carved blades in my knife rack, no protective potions in my spice collection. It was the house of a normal college graduate who couldn’t get a job with her major—though few people had quite as niche of a major as mine.
“You really left,” he says, almost a question.
Anger I hadn’t let myself feel for half a year came back with a vengeance, stronger after the aging process. “I think that’s what I meant six months ago when I said, ‘I’m leaving.’”
Jack’s silence was broken by my timer going off. I slapped it to shut it up and took the baking pan out of the oven.
“Things are getting bad back at home,” Jack said. “That guy upstairs—I just thought, if you saw him, if you knew what got to him, you’d come back.”
“Sorry, Jack,” I said. “He’s just another dead guy to me.”