Back in September, my work showed up in a local indie zine called GULP!. They specialise in genre fiction and for issue three, the focus was on crime.
I’m pretty gutted to have missed the deadline for their horror issue (despite packing my laptop and a whole bunch of notebooks, I really didn’t get much writing done on my holiday!) but I’m so excited to share these few hundred words with you all now!
She tugged the handkerchief from the breast pocket of his tweed jacket and wiped the blood off the blade. His initials were embroidered on a corner of the starched white fabric, and she made sure they showed when she tucked the bloodied square back in.
She glanced at the body, at the blood stain that had spread across his lower belly, seeping through the eggshell shirt and marking the edge of the vest. She could have stabbed him a little higher, maybe have gone straight for the heart, maybe waited for the vest to come off. It would have all come off eventually, and it seemed a shame to ruin such a lovely ensemble. But the stomach was the easiest target, exposed as he raised his arms to protect his beautiful fact, only a thin piece of cotton covering the flesh underneath. And it was painful. That, she had been told, was rather the point.
She stepped over the body, careful to avoid any blood. Her Perugias were new, after all. She picked up the phone from the bedside table, tossing the knife onto the bed.
“Hello? Avebury 3219, please. Yes, I’ll hold,”
She caught her reflection in the mirror. A cursory glance assured her that her makeup remained in place and, mercifully, that the struggle hadn’t been to hard on her perfect finger-waves. Even her dress – green silk, bias cut – remained crease free. She raised her eyebrow and smiled.
“Hello? Yes, get me Branson,” She rolled her eyes. “Then take a message. Tell him it’s done,”
The corpse’s face stared up at her from the mirror, but her eyes remained fixed on her own.
“Yes, he suffered,” She rolled her eyes again. “If you think for one moment, I’m doing all that in this dress…”
She gripped the phone a little tighter, tearing her gaze away from her reflection.
“Just have someone come pick me up, would you?”
She hung up and looked around the hotel room. She pouted. This was where he’d brought her? He’d deserved all he’d got.
She knelt beside the body and straightened the tie around his neck. She considered sitting him up and leaning him against the bed, to see if the vest might cover the bloodstain, but she quickly ruled it out. Not only was he bigger than her, but the danger of staining her own elegant ensemble in the process was impossible to ignore.
She stood, smoothed out her dress, and picked up her fur from the coat stand. She slung it around her shoulders, then stretched her long hands out and examined her manicured nails for any sign of blood. Not a thing.
Her gloves lay on the desk beside the door, her hat and bag alongside them. She slipped the soft gloves on first, admiring the double stitch work and the way the chocolate colour looked against the lighter brown of the mink she’d bought herself after the last job. She placed her pillbox hat at a jaunty angle, pinning it in place before pulling the delicate veil down until it almost touched the tip of her nose.
She tilted her head from side to side, examining the final product. Satisfied, she turned to go, then, remembering the knife, snatched it up from the bed. Bending to finger the lapels of his suit one last time, she patted the corpse on the chest. It truly had been a beautiful suit.
She slipped the knife into her bag, opened the door, and was gone.