Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #17.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 2) by Harmony Kent.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the image prompt.
The Devil’s in the Detail
His life oozed out of the bottle, along with the liquor.
He never should have read that message. …
  
As he did every year, John took a stroll along the beach in memory of his dear departed wife. The big C had taken her three years ago. John missed her every single day. They would come here as many weekends as they could manage to escape the noise and fug of the city. A stroll along the beach, hand in hand, always put their minds and hearts at ease.
On one of those special days, a message in a bottle had washed up at their feet. Ever curious, his wife had retrieved the bottle from the surf, wrestled out the cork, and held the note by the string, cautious lest she damage the parchment. With utmost care, Emily unwrapped the twine and unfurled the delicate paper.
Amazingly, it had come all the way from Australia—if the missive could be believed. A child had cast it into the ocean some three years ago, and now here it lay, all the way on the English east coast.
Shortly after that magical day, the diagnosis had come. And then the long, hard months of decline. At the funeral, John had gripped the bottle—with its bound note safe inside and corked once more—and contemplated burying the artefact with Emily. He’d gotten as far as drawing back his arm and then had second thoughts. A small voice urged him to keep hold of the memento.
For months, it had sat in pride of place on his mantle piece while John’s life unravelled around him. It had started with a fray here, a bit of thread there, and then he’d come apart at the seams.
The message in the bottle had given him the initial idea.
The doctors told John that the city’s pollution had caused the horrific and aggressive cancer.
His first victim had been the mayor. And then each official responsible for city planning and health. Repulsion and glee mingled and mixed within.
Glee won out. And soon, John gained a taste for it. He would watch each sensationalised news report avidly. And then he found his victims closer to home. Five years on and no one suspected the meek widower.
A gift of wine with a fake name on the card, all delivered by some anonymous and unremarkable courier on a bike. John took care to always wear a cap pulled low and keep his face angled away from cameras.
A neat trick: serial killer in a bottle.
  
The old message from Emily distracted John. As fate would have it, she’d also sent a bottle out to sea before she died … either that, or this was a message from the dead. And in a quirk of fate, the bottle had washed up at his feet during his annual pilgrimage along the shoreline.
Filled with grief and remorse, John didn’t read the label properly. One sip was all it took. His life oozed out of the bottle, along with the liquor. And while he might have sent his message of revenge in each and every bottle, the devil—he discovered to his detriment—is found in the detail.
Copyright ©Harmony Kent 2020
CONTACT HARMONY HERE …
Harmony’s Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks
Goodreads: Author Page
I can be reached here …
Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as they are received.