Flash Fiction Accounting for Revenge

flash fiction accounting adding machine calculatorAlready falling behind on my personal flash fiction writing objective, the Terribleminds flash fiction challenge is just what I need to get back on track. As a small diversion to the usual drill, this week’s challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction that can be up to 2000 words in length. Yes, you read that right a whole 2000 words. This means that I can go into more detail, and hopefully end up with something a little more special. Although I’m away from home this week, so it may be difficult for me to find the time to write this double-length fiction.

The gist of what my flash fiction is split into three sections, ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘uh-oh!’ Using a random number generator gave me these details.

I rolled and I got these…

  • Who – An accountant
  • Where – a trailer park
  • Uh-oh! – Left for Dead / Out for Revenge

Now the easy part, forming those three points into a well thought-out and perfectly written piece of flash fiction of 2000 words. Ah…

Peter Sticough pulled up to the trailer, and turned off the engine of his red Nissan Micra. The trailer lights were off. He looked at his watch. 22:47, was he in there? Was he asleep? Was he expecting him? Had he gone on holiday? He put one hand up to cradle his forehead hoping that holding his head would make the pain go away. ‘Damn these headaches’ he thought.

There are certain downsides to working in the Accountancy department for a large corporation that Peter was familiar with. He was often asked to work weekends, he suffered from eye strain and migraines from the artificially bright monitors, his wife, Carol was often pissed off with him for working all hours. Peter was used to all these things and in many ways he hardly even registered that they were a problem anymore. Someone firing a gun at you however is not something he had expected to ever come across at work.

He had settled himself in at work. He had got used to the way that Korvus and Plethorpes did things, he’d figured out all the systems he was supposed to use, and maybe, just maybe would manage to get a piece of that ‘excellent bonus’ opportunity that everyone seemed to be head over heels for.  He’d only been working for them for six months but already most of his time had become a sort of mashed up mess. There were lots of things he couldn’t remember about his job. He just figured that getting shot was responsible for that, as well as the migraines and headaches he had to endure now as well.

Yet within those blurry six months he had made an enemy. He wasn’t sure how or why someone had taken such a murderous dislike to him. He hadn’t uncovered any major fraud at work; he hadn’t blackmailed anyone; he hadn’t even used anyone else’s milk from the work fridge that he could remember. Did they even have a fridge?

One night after an impromptu and rather unreasonable request from his manager he had to work late. It was gone ten and the admin staff had all gone home. Apart from Peter, only Mike, the large and overly chirpy security guard at the front desk was working. The building was completely quiet except for the odd humming and pinging noise of the overhead lights, and the laser-printer that kept whirring into action as if trying to exert its authority over the silence.

Peter could remember working late; he could remember hearing a floorboard squeak from across the office and he could remember seeing the photo of his wife, Carol on his desk. It wasn’t a good shot but it was a natural one, showing her slightly surprised. Peter had stood up, as he heard the two shots. Each shot was a bang that despite being  supernaturally loud and giving him quite the jolt had not left him with any lasting memory of physical pain. This was one lapse of memory that he was quite glad he did have.

Peter leaned on the bonnet of his car. As soon as Inspector McGray had told him who had made an attempt on his life, he had jumped into his car and driven though he had no idea for how long. It felt as if he had crossed a number of state lines, so must have been a while. He hadn’t even told his wife where he was going. He had no clue what he was going to do when he got here so the fewer people involved the better.

Now he was here, and there was something about the situation that felt strange yet comforting. Why had the police given him this address? Were they following him? Testing him? Seeing what he’d do? Had he got the wrong place? What if the man was innocent? Could he do to his attacker what his attacker had tried to do to him?

Peter unconsciously reached down and touched the bullet scar on his abdomen. Apparently he had been hours in surgery, as they tried to remove the bullet. At one point his heart had stopped, but he had got lucky, he was still here and Peter had put that down to someone ‘up there’ thinking he still had a job to do. Though as he leaned on the car bonnet watching the darkened trailer he couldn’t decide what this job was.

The trailer light went on. So, he was home. This was his chance; Peter pushed himself off from the bonnet of his car and rushed towards the trailer. He yanked open the trailer door with one hand and went inside.

‘Hello?’ he found himself saying instinctively, and instantly realising that any chance of surprise he may have had was well and truly lost.

Music was playing in the trailer bedroom, if you can call it that. He knew that song, though he hadn’t heard it in such a long time. Who was it? Blur? Yes, It was Blur. A British band he’d heard for the first time when he’d been to England. He’d gone there with Carol for their honeymoon. The song was called London Loves, which despite its title was not the most romantic song ever written, but when he heard it he couldn’t help thinking of that fortnight, and Carol. Carol? She’d be worried sick about him. She didn’t even like him working late, what would she think now? Maybe that’s why he didn’t tell her what he was doing.

There was another stabbing pain in his head, strong enough to knock the thoughts of Carol from his mind. Well he was here now, and one way or another, this was going to end? What did he even mean by that? His mind was filling with odd, disjointed thoughts. He loved his wife, why was he doing his best not to speak to her? Because she would try to stop him? Undoubtedly. But stop him from what? What was he doing here?

He continued to pick his way through the narrow corridor of the trailer, making his way to where the music was coming from. The beige papered walls were crudely furnished with old prints and paintings bought from a thrift store, and the carpet was stained and burnt from cigarettes.

Peter walked cautiously into the bedroom, the song had finished but within seconds it had started again. A man was lying on the bed on his side facing away from him.

‘Hello?’ even if Peter had ever known what he was going to do, he certainly had no idea now. All his anger, hate and animosity had deserted him. Is this the man who had tried to kill him?

Peter placed a hand on the man’s shoulder.  The man stayed completely still facing the wall. Was the man dead already? Had someone beaten him to killing him, though he wasn’t sure if that was even what he had planned to do. Peter felt very cold. The man had to be dead, part of him wanted to walk away now. Part of him wanted to be satisfied that revenge had been done, and his conscience was clean. Unfortunately, the parts of him that wanted to do those things weren’t the part of him that controlled his hand.

With one firm movement he turned the body over on his back. The face staring back at him turned his spine to ice. The man in the trailer, the man on the bed, the man who had tried to kill him looked exactly like him. Did he have a brother? A twin? A doppelganger? Could it have been plastic surgery? His mind raced but he knew the answer to all his pointless questions, the man on the bed was him. Somehow he was staring at his own dead body. The only difference between him and the man on the bed was that the man on the bed had a ruby-red spot about a centimetre in diameter in the centre of his forehead. The white pillow behind his corpse head became redder, as if the blood had only just began to flow.

Another headache racked Peter’s mind. The pain was so intense that it felt as if someone was carving slices off his brain with a blunt bread knife. With each stab of pain Peter remembered things; he saw images, heard sounds and felt sensations. He remembered why he was at the office, he remembered the image of his wife and he knew why she was surprised. Suddenly he had remembered everything. Suddenly he knew why there was a gun in his hand.

Outside the abandoned and green algae-stained trailer, the rusted, burnt-out hulk of a Nissan Micra had lost the war with nature. Weeds had grown around its twisted frame, and ivy now covered most of the broken windscreen. The only patch of white showing was the front page of an old newspaper that had been caught on a shard of broken glass from the side window. The newspaper was parched and torn but the article could be read by anyone who wished to.

CAROL STICOUGH’S KILLER FOUND DEAD

THE HUNT FOR PETER STICOUGH, THE EX-HUSBAND OF A LEADING ACCOUNTANT FOR KORVUS AND PLETHORPES FOUND SHOT IN HER OFFICE, HAS BEEN FOUND DEAD IN HIS TRAILER.

CAROL STICOUGH WAS ESTRANGED FROM HER HUSBAND FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. WE CAN CONFIRM THAT PETER HAD BECOME INCREASINGLY UNSTABLE AND VIOLENT TOWARDS CAROL DURING THE PRECEEDING MONTHS OF THE DIVORCE.

AT APPROXIMATELY 22:05 ON THE NIGHT OF THE 6TH MARCH 2004, PETER VISITED THE BUILDING WHERE HIS EX-WIFE WAS WORKING. HE ENTERED THE BUILDING, SHOOTING THE SECURITY GUARD, MIKE MCGORSKI ONCE IN THE CHEST, BEFORE VISITING HIS EX-WIFES OFFICE AND SHOOTING HER IN THE ABDOMEN. CAROL UNDERWENT SEVERAL HOURS OF SURGERY, BEFORE SHE SUCCUMBED TO HER INJURIES AND PASSED AWAY.

AT APPROXIMATELY 22:50 LAST NIGHT, A CALL WAS MADE TO THE POLICE ALERTING THEM TO THE SOUND OF A GUN BEING FIRED AT A NEARBY TRAILER PARK. WHEN OFFICER MCGRAY OF NYPD INVESTIGATED THE SOURCE OF THE SHOT, HE FOUND THE BODY OF PETER STICOUGH WHO HAD DIED FROM A SELF-INFLICTED GUN-SHOT WOUND TO THE HEAD.

MORE ON PAGE 5”

**********

Peter Sticough pulled up to the trailer, and turned off the engine of his red Nissan Micra. The trailer lights were off. He looked at his watch. 22:47, was he in there? Was he asleep? Was he expecting him? Had he gone on holiday? He put one hand up to cradle his forehead hoping that holding his head would make the pain go away. ‘Damn these headaches’ he thought.

 

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