Flash Fiction, June 21

It’s Friday, and that mean it’s time for another Flash Fiction Challenge courtesy of Chuck Wending.  This week’s challenge is Another Roll of the Dice.  We had three columns to find our random topics.  The first was twenty different sub-genres of which we got two.  The other two were Must Have and Must Also Have, we got one of each.  As usual, we got 1000 words to play with.

I found myself with Comedy and Occult Detective.  Must have: An ancient book.  Must also have: Dual personality.  Now this was either a tasty snack or a recipe for disaster.  I’ll let you be the judge of that.  Enjoy and please feel free to comment- good or bad.  I like to hear what doesn’t work as much as I like to hear what works.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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Double Croste

It was a rainy Thursday, not unlike any other rainy day.

Actually it’s only a light drizzle.

Will you stop? It’s my turn for the internal monologue, you had it yesterday. Where was I… It was raining on that Thursday. That was the day She walked in. I could tell the dame was upset, her mascara was running like she’d been crying. Sure, it could be the weather, but I didn’t think so.

“Are you Alan Croste? I was told you might be able to help me,” she said with a flutter of her lashes.

She knew our weak spot, our Achilles’ Heel.

My monologue Arlo, wait your turn. She knew I had a soft spot for dames in distress.

We, Alan. We have the same soft spot…

“Yes,” I said. “I’m Alan Croste.”

I made sure to look in the mirror and give myself that look that said “shut it” before Arlo spoke.

“What can I do for you Miss…” I asked as I offered her a chair.

“Wollberton. Miss Wollberton,” she replied.

“What can we- I, help you with Miss Wollberton?”

“It sounds silly, but I was told that you were the place to go for this sort of thing. It’s my brother you see. He’s gone missing and…” She broke off into a sob.

I handed her a tissue, “Please Miss Wollberton, continue.”

“Well, we live in the old Ashton House. My family just acquired it last summer and things have been strange since. My brother Samuel said there was someone following him around in the house at night. Our parents are in England for the new year so it’s just us.” She was tearing up again, poor girl. “And now my brother is missing and I think it was a ghost that took him!”

I felt sure that it was some form of wraith or poltergeist.

Alan, your monologue is terrible. I’m afraid I’ll have to take over.

“Not now Arlo, I can handle the monologue.”

“Excuse me? I’m Susan, and what monologue are you referring to? I thought we were having a conversation?”

Internal Alan, internal is the key word. You really should let me handle the detective work for just this reason. Ahem. The dame was confused, but I assured her that everything would be fine. As it happens I- we specialize in the occult. Although before going into the Ashton house, we were going to need the book.

I sent Miss Wollberton on her way, asked that she leave me the keys to the home and go stay with a friend for a few hours. That would give us plenty of time to sort this mess out.

The Book came from Russia originally, an ancient pocket sized tome that is believed to be the journal of Rasputin himself. Might be true, might not, either way it knows a lot about the occult and that’s help we were going to need.

As we pulled into the Ashton house we could feel the buzz in the air. There was definitely something here. Alan turned off the car, I always let him drive because I was never much good behind the wheel.

That’s true Arlo, you’ve crashed more of our cars than I can count.

I looked into the mirror, “We don’t have time for this conversation Alan. There’s a man’s life at stake.”

“Possibly. We don’t know what we’re dealing with yet,” Alan said to his reflection- err to me.

“You don’t have to monologue our conversation’s, Arlo.”

For that matter, we don’t have to have them out-loud either Alan.

We climbed out of the car and made our way up the steps and into the large mansion. I took out Rasputin’s journal and asked it what it felt about the home.

The blank pages began to fill with hand-written notes. It read: Whatever is here, Comrade, it doesn’t like any of us. But I can tell you it’s hiding in the attic.

It also read something in Russian, we can’t read Russian so I cracked the books’ spine. The pages cleared and again filled with writing.

It read: Ouch! You’re going to need the Holy Water and a Star of Thrumboe from the trunk. And the Black Candle.

We closed the book and went back to the car. I had to retrieve the items myself, Alan never liked touching the Black Candle. It made him squeamish. I was relieved that he grabbed the revolver though, I would have forgotten it as I am a terrible shot.

Well Arlo, one of us needed to remember that the Black Candle would cause the Specter to materialize to point where we can kill it. At least where I can kill it, and please don’t pass out on me again. It’s not easy carrying your dead weight around.

We made our way into the mansion again and up the three floors, pausing before the attic door. I double checked that the Star of Thrumboe was visible hanging around our neck before I lit the Black Candle. I splashed the Holy Water on the .38 and took a hefty swig, we needed to be pure and blessed.

We’re half-way there at any rate Arlo, but I’ll take blessed all the same.

With the Black Candle the thing was visible at the top of the stairs so Alan fired and it burst into a puff of glitter. I always wished they would make it harder on us. Just like clockwork the brother, Samuel fell out of whatever hell the thing had held him in. He was soaked in the ectoplasmic juices of the afterlife. I guess you could say it’s like being born again…

We told him to shower and called his sister from the rotary phone in the car. Job’s done, we told her. She replied, the checks in the mail…



12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction, June 21

  1. This sounds very creative, I like how you handled the dual personality. I like the pacing aswell, the dialogues. Not to be nitpicking, but I noticed a typo in your text in this sentence :”We made our was into the mansion” – I think “was” is supposed to be “way”? Just wanted to point it out ’cause I know after proof-reading something a bunch of times these tend to slip one’s overworking mind. If I am msitaken and it is not a typo,then I beg your pardon 🙂
    Overall, I think the story was very nice, the only remakr that I can have is that it was good, but very short for my taste, I simply desire to read a lot more of it 🙂

    • Thank you much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for spotting the typo, I shall go back and correct that little bit. 🙂 I’m glad the dual personality came out well, I was a bit worried it might have been too forced.
      As for longer, I may have to go back and write a longer version of the story. Sadly, the challenge asks that it stay around 1000 words. 😦 It’s definitely a challenge to use so few words.

    • Thanks much! I always look forward to Fridays for the flash fiction challenges. I’m curious to see what we get next week too. Glad you enjoyed this one, thanks again. 🙂

  2. You really had fun with the dual personality inner dialogue, didn’t you. I know I had fun reading it. Good blending of the four requirements, and just an entertaining read. This is another one that could definitely be expanded upon!

  3. The multiple personalities fighting over the noir-style monologue is very clever indeed. Kind of turns a trope of the genre on its ear.

  4. Great story. I think this is a great character. Dual personality detective with dueling inner monologues. Fantastic.

    • Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed the flash fiction piece. I totally enjoy writing this character. Thanks for taking the time to read. 🙂

      I liked the character so much it has become a full-length short story of the same name. I just posted the first half, in somewhat of a serial fashion and the second part goes up Thursday. There’s also a sequel in the works.

  5. Wow, I thought this worked really well. Very Agent X vs. Deadpool. You did a really good job on this challenge, and it was so much fun to read the dual personalities. Might I make a tiny recommendation? If you do something like this in future, maybe pick two personalities which are very different (I see great potential in ‘Overly emotional drag queen’ and ‘Grizzled army veteran’) and play on those differences a little. Also, having less similar names would make it easier for the audience to keep track. Arlo and Alan are quite similar and led to a bit of confusion for me. Then again, I do have a stupidly short attention span 😉 Great work!

    • Thanks Spaceman! I had a ton of fun writing this one. So much that I re-imagined it a wrote a full-length short story by the same name. I think it still needs a bit of work defining the two personalities, but they are certainly becoming individuals as it progresses. I haven’t posted it yet, but I wrote another murder mystery with A. Croste- “Croste Your Heart.” I’ll toss that up soon, still editing and making sure the clues are in their proper places.
      Thanks for the comment and advice Spaceman! 🙂

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