Flash Fiction: Tea with Dr Chaos

More flash fiction goodness, and this week it is all about motifs. Terribleminds.com gave us a list of motifs, settings and sub-genres to randomly choose from. Whatever we chose or generated randomly should be used as part of this weeks flash fiction challenge entry. I rolled my metaphoric dice and I got…

  • Motif – skulls
  • Subgenre – Cozy Mystery
  • Setting – A villain volcano lair

Now, I know the dictionary definition of a motif…

“A recurrent thematic element in an artistic or literary work.”

… but I have never every thought about using one in fiction so forgive me if my usage is a little clumsy. I would love to know about any advice you may have for using motifs. Is it really as simple as just mentioning the motif a few times? I’m guessing not

Here is…

Flash Fiction: Tea with Dr Chaos

Agnes Chapel clutched the handles of her large brown leather bag, as she wandered through the polished stone halls of Dr Chaos’ volcano lair. She couldn’t help noticing just how clean everything was, certainly she was here for a very important reason but that didn’t mean she didn’t have time to appreciate good cleaning, and everything from the floors to the carved metal skulls in the door columns were positively sparkling.

“Ah Ms Chapel, thank you for joining us” bellowed a voice from the hall mounted speakers.

It was a voice that Agnes was exceptionally familiar with, Dr Chaos. “Please take the final doorway to your left.”

Agnes rolled her eyes, before nodding and shuffling off towards the final door.

“Doctor Chaos?” Agnes poked her head around the doorway and instantly saw him. He was dressed in his impressively evil Dr Chaos costume, with the tall black collar, and long black cape fastened to his neck with a silver skull clasp. Dr Chaos’ was squashed behind a delicately small round table with a crocheted tablecloth. The table had been laid with the finest bone china, silverware and a small plate of tiny triangle sandwiches.

“Please join me, my dear woman.” Dr Chaos’ voice was deep and threatening but not insincere. “Earl Grey?”

“Thank you, my dear” Agnes sat down at the table, keeping her large bag on her lap and her hands gently folded on the top. “There is always time for tea, though I hope you are not going to put the milk in first.”

Dr Chaos sheepishly put down the milk jug and picked up the teapot, pouring the hot brown liquid in to one of the bone china teacups followed by a splash of milk. Agnes lifted to the cup up to her lips taking note of the hand-painted skulls and sipped. She sighed as she lowered the cup. “That is a very nice cup of tea.”

“Why you are here? Cucumber sandwich?” Dr Chaos passed Agnes the plate of tiny sandwiches.

“Oh no, dear. They disagree with me, but you help yourself. I think you need a little meat on you. You’re all flesh and bones. Dr Chaos, would you mind if I asked you a few questions about the giant mutated animals terrorising Richton-on-the-Mead?”

“Giant mutated animals? I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean.”

Agnes took another sip of her Earl Grey tea. “I see dear, so you know nothing of the sixty foot reptiles rampaging through my village of Richton-on-the-Mead?”

“No I’m sorry Ms Chapel, it does sound truly dreadful though” Dr Chaos tried to hide his smile by taking a bite of his sandwich.

“I’m afraid I don’t believe you. I have proof that not only are you aware of what is going on, but that you were responsible for the whole thing.”

“I see. What would that proof be exactly?”

Agnes placed her teacup with the hand-painted skulls back on the saucer and took a lilac handkerchief out of her bag to wipe the corners of her mouth.

“Well there are a few things, my dear. I spoke to Mr Johnson. You know Mr Johnson, the wonderful young man who works at the big factory at the edge of town. Well, his wife’s due another baby, which if you ask me is a little funny since he’s had the err,.. the operation eighteen months ago. Anyway, he tells me that he saw you break in to the factory and steal sixteen barrels of toxic waste.”

“Did I?” Dr Chaos said not even bothering to hide his smile this time “so why didn’t he report me to the police?”

“It really is awfully expensive to dispose of toxic waste so I think he was counting his blessings.”

“I was disposing of it for him. I really do love this planet we’re on, so kindly disposed of all that nasty toxic waste for him.”

“I see dear. Well do you know what happened to Miss Beringer, you know the young woman who owns the pet shop?”

Dr Chaos raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Not at all Ms Chapel, what did happen?”

“Well someone bought her shop from her, everything, lock stock and barrel. Then they closed it down. They took all the animals and ran. Do you know who this person was Mr Chaos?”

“Not at all Ms Chapel, who was it?”

Agnes took another sip of her tea “It was someone called Dr Chosa. Which is not a very good attempt at subterfuge is it my dear. Dr Chosa being a very obvious anagram of Dr Chaos.”

“Pure coincidence. I’m sure there are many people out there with names similar to mine.” Dr Chaos straightened his skull cape clasp, and popped the last bit of sandwich into his mouth.

“It could just be a coincidence, but there is one more piece of proof that clearly shows you were involved.”


“I saw giant mutated animals in large pens within this very lair, mutated animals next to empty drums of toxic waste from Mr Johnson. I also spoke to a few of your henchmen who told me you were involved.”

“Yes, I am involved. I did it!” Dr Chaos stood up from the table raising his hands in triumph. “I am an evil genius, and soon the world will bow down to me or face its doom. So what are you going to do about it, now that you have discovered my evil plan?”

“You will stop all this and apologise. Do you know how much trouble you’re in?”

“I will not stop it. I am Dr Chaos. The world will tremble, skulls will cover this land.”

“Melvin!” Agnes clattered her teacup back on to the saucer and fixed him with a hard glare.

Dr Chaos tried to match her gaze but his will was too weak. He sat back down and stared down at the table, too afraid to look up.

“Sorry Mother.”


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