Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 4: Careful What You Wish For

The prompt this week was to write a story containing a taboo, and the genre was open. Please enjoy my tale of love sought the hard way.

Careful What You Wish For

The nurses were keeping the lights in her room dim all the time now. Sally knew it wasn’t done to provide her comfort. No one at the clinic, including the doctors, could bear the sight of her anymore. She was grateful she could no longer raise her head high enough to see her own ravaged and mutilated body. Blessings do reveal themselves in mysterious ways. It was becoming more and more difficult to remember her life before the…the…accident? Was that what it was? An accident? Or was it something much more sinister? She fought through the pain and desperately tried to guide her confused mind back to that day…


Sally hoped that weird chick Clarisse that worked in the mail room knew what she was talking about. The girl had a ring through her nose, for God’s sake, but against her better judgment, Sally had asked for her help. What choice did she have? There was no way Roger’s wife, Jerlene, would give him a divorce, and since she was the one with all the money, Roger wasn’t pushing the issue. Sally adored Roger and knew he felt the same, even though their affair had to be conducted in total secrecy. If that vermin of a wife of his were out of the way though, they could proclaim their love to the world. With a legal split out of the realm of possibilities, their only hope was to remove Jerlene from the picture—permanently.

Since Roger was his wife’s sole beneficiary, if Jerlene should meet with foul play, the police would place Roger at the top of their suspect list. This glitch in their plan was easily remedied however, since Sally was going to recruit a sort of third-party to eliminate their problem. She would arrange a specific time and place for the dirty deed to be done and they would make certain she and Roger both had rock-solid alibis. It was foolproof and 100% guaranteed; that is, if this third-party did his part. Sally felt sure the fella referred to her by the mail room’s resident Goth would come through. After all, she was willing to go as high as $10,000. Folks these days would do anything for $10, much less $10,000.

Sally wound her way through the twists and turns of the dark alleyways, her right hand grasping the pistol in her coat pocket. It never hurts to be prepared, she always felt. The directions Clarisse had given her were clear, but this smelled of a trap. If that little bitch is setting me up to get mugged, or attacked, she will live to regret it, Sally decided. I’d better find that address within the next 60 seconds or I’m going back to my car blasting everything in…

There it was, across a small courtyard, 65B. The house, if one could call it that, was two stories and looked like it would collapse in on itself if the resident sneezed too loudly. There was a light shining through only one of the windows. The rest appeared to be covered with some type of dark material—black curtains probably, for effect. Fine and dandy, Sally thought, I’ll play along. Anything to get this done and get it done right. The front door slowly opened and a deep voice called out for her to enter.

“Is that you, John?" Clarisse was getting more annoyed by the second. "I was supposed to ask for John.”

“Yes, Missus. I am John. Please come in to my home and share with me your request.”

Oh brother. Sally wondered if this was for real or one of those prank television shows.

When Sally walked in, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The room was lit entirely by candles, and oddly enough, they were all white ones. She had expected black candles and inverted crucifixes. Clarisse had told her John was a voodoo priest. What kind of voodoo priest was named John?

“Clarisse told me you needed some assistance, but she did not elaborate on the details. Please sit and let me know how I may help you.” He pointed to a chair across from the one on which he was sitting.

His tone was calm and steady, and his appearance wasn’t frightening at all. Sally had expected long black robes and knives swinging from the ceiling. Other than his dark hair being a bit longer than her company’s dress code would allow, John actually looked like a 30-something corporate exec, sans the suit. He looked comfortable in jeans, sweatshirt and white tennis shoes. Definitely not a Hollywood-type officiator of black magic, but Sally though maybe that’s how it’s done these days.

“I told Clarisse I needed someone to help me with a big problem,” Sally began. “I didn’t tell her why because it’s not her business and I didn’t want to get into it twice. I’ve already wasted enough time this evening trying to find this place, so let’s cut to the chase. I’ll give you $10,000 on completion of a job. I need my lover’s wife killed. There. I said it. If you try to turn me in, I’ll deny it, and I’ll pull it off. I have very powerful friends in this town, so don’t screw with me. I will set the date and time and you will do her in whatever manner you like. But I want it to be messy and grotesque and look like a revenge thing. Have we got a deal?”

“There has been a great misunderstanding.” John took Sally’s hand in his and continued. “I am a Houngan. A priest. I heal and protect. I could not ask the Loa for permission to kill. It is taboo. Unless…”

“Unless crap.” Sally couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Then don’t kill her, Curse her with something. Turn her into something. I know. Turn her into a lizard. They’re slimy and creepy and she’ll just crawl off into a pond somewhere and my man can have her declared dead. Will that work for you?”

“Missus, you don’t understand. I cannot maim or harm unless…”

Sally got up and turned to leave.

“Unless, unless. You’re just a phony, a fraud, a joke. You don’t belong here. You belong in a side show tent in a circus. You won’t get away with this either. Monday morning, I’ll fix that little bitch, Clarisse, but you? I’ll get you for wasting my time.”

“Missus, I caution you to not do anything you will be sorry for.”

“Me? Sorry? I have never been sorry for anything I’ve done and I’m not going to start now.”

Before she left, Sally went over to what appeared to be an altar and knocked over the statues, blew out several candles and spit on it. She pulled the gun out of her pocket and headed for her car. Just let him come after me, she thought. I’ll blow him away before he gets within ten feet of me.


Someone was standing at her bedside. She hoped it wasn’t that aide that sponges her off twice a day. The girl is cruel, and makes jokes about the scales now covering her entire body and the webbing of her feet and hands. The child won’t go near the tail that first appeared a week ago and grows longer each day. The figure was tall and leaned in close to her. Sally knew it wasn’t the mean girl. She knew it wasn’t Roger either. When she began to change, he arranged for her to be admitted to this private clinic. Admitted? Hidden, actually. Hidden from his sight and the prying eyes of the press. He couldn’t afford a scandal. He told her he was planning to work things out with his wife. She had been able to whisper then. She gave him her blessing.

She forced the slits that were now her eyes to open as wide as she was able so she could see her visitor. It was John. She had often wondered if they would cross paths again. He spoke softly.

“You never gave me the opportunity to explain. It is taboo for me to harm unless harm is done to me. You disrespected me, my God and his spirits, and defiled my altar. For your sins, what you wished upon another will be revisited upon you. To disrespect a Houngan, his power, and the spirits, that is taboo.”

As he walked toward the door to leave, Sally wished she hadn’t lost the ability to speak. The narrowing of her neck and elongation of her face and lips made it impossible to produce any sounds other than soft hisses. If only she could have explained why she had been so reckless. If only she could have made him understand her desperation. If only she could have told him she was sorry.


  1. Karma is a real B&tch at times. Great story!

    1. Thanks much, Beach. Karma sure can sneak up on you and let you have it sometimes. In this case, it certainly was the right time.

  2. I like that progression of being trapped in a nightmare - like a Poe story. Her motivation seemed a little complicated, but her actions to resolve it were pretty straight-forward. And reckless.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I wanted the truth of what was happening to her to slowly creep up. I have the feeling however, that her nightmare is just beginning.

  3. Ah, if only she'd listened! Great story.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Rose. Sometimes we think we know what another person is going to say, but apparently, on some occasions, it's a wise idea to simply let them finish their sentence!

  4. Ah, if only she'd listened! Great story.

  5. Nice one! I love horror stories with a sense of poetic justice.

    1. Thanks much, Evan. So do I. What she wished for another came right back on her. In this case, it seemed quite fair.