This might be my neo-gothic, or probably more like my thriller, genre flash fiction. Like most thrillers, there is no mystery as to who done it. The real question is: will the villain get caught? Not in this sudden fiction…
The polythene toy didn’t last long, which was a drag. They never last long, you barely get them out of the bag before they come apart at the seams or a bit breaks off. The kid gets his hand on them, and they’re done for good, all in pieces within the time it takes to blink.
So, the next time he visits he should probably bring something more substantial for the little brat. Maybe a pair of jackboots so he can look the little tyrant he acts.
“Sorry he broke your present,” she offers, looking nice in a kilt-like skirt. “Alfred can get a bit rambunctious when he’s excited by a new toy.”
“No problem. I should have gotten the sweet boy something more sturdy.”
“No need to bring him anything, you know.” She kisses him on the cheek.
If only it were so, but he knows better. The toll for entry to her house and life was paid directly to the kid.
“You’re so sweet to both of us,” she continues. “Thanks again, for giving up last weekend to fix the stove burner.”
“No problem, just a little electrical wiring, and great company.”
They say good-bye to the babysitter and the boy and head out the door; she takes a last glance in the looking-glass on the entryway wall as they depart.
Walking down her block, they look for any empty taxis, landing one after a few minutes.
“I saw your picture in the newspaper,” she tells him as they settle in the backseat.
“Ah. That reminds me, I should wear better ties on court days.”
“Well, you looked handsome.”
He smiles at her. Handsome is as handsome does. And if she only knew what he did.
“What?” She prods.
“Another day, another lawsuit defended.”
“You seemed to be thinking about something serious, darker.”
He laughs. “Well, I’m really a serial killer of divorcées and their sons. I was just trying to figure out how to catch you unawares.”
She grimaces, then laughs. “You have the darkest sense of humor of anyone I’ve ever met.”
If only she knew. He had never spoken words to her that were closer to the truth. Tonight was the night.
The cab drops them by the river. He had suggested a romantic stroll for the last few blocks to the restaurant where she expected a pre-theater meal.
The papers later describe it as a freak accident, a horrible family tragedy. The divorced mother, on a date with her new fiancé, fell off a pedestrian bridge into the river and drowned. Several witnesses saw her lose her balance, him grab for her but just miss catching her as she tumbled over the railing.
And on the same night, while police and rescue teams pulled her from the river, the house with the boy and babysitter in it burned down, both dead. The electrical fire could have killed them all at home, and some speculated about the nature of fate.
Her grieving fiancé savours the sympathy, wearing his new tie at the double funeral as the cameras flash. Next time, he thinks, will have to be much less public. But what a kick, what a story.