Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 12: The Omen

The challenge this week was to write a story involving superstition. Sometimes, you just can’t be too careful.

“Thank you for being so understanding, Charles. I know this may all seem like silly superstition to you, but it’s just that following Madam Zena’s advice has helped me through the toughest times in my life.”

“It’s fine, my dear Vanessa. We’ll arrange to have our wedding in whatever way will please you.”

“Wonderful, darling. She said the ceremony must begin when both hands on the clock are pointing upward, so we can get married at either noon or midnight. That’s the only way we can guarantee that we will be happy. One thing though. Please don’t mention this to any of your friends or employees. People will make fun of me and I couldn’t stand that.”

“No, my pet. I won’t tell anyone. What’s important to you is important to me and I would never do anything to make you feel uncomfortable. No one will ever know about your personal beliefs.”

“Thank you, love, but one last thing. Please remember that no one can come to our wedding if they have dark hair, a dark beard and mustache. Madam Zena warned me a man like that would do me great harm.”

“I don’t even know anyone like that, dear heart. I’ll make sure to honor that request. I would never do anything to frighten you. Shall we work out the details for our wedding now?”

* * * * *

“Charles, you are the best husband in the world. I’m so excited about going on a world cruise, but Madam Zena said we have to make sure of one very important detail.”

“What is that, my sweet?”

“She said for our trip to go smoothly and for us to be totally safe, our ship’s name must not end with the letter ‘A’. If it does, then bad luck will follow us for the rest of our lives.”

“But, Vanessa, our trip is already arranged. We are scheduled to sail on the Aurora and you will love it. Anything you can imagine is available on the ship and we will be very comfortable.”

“Charles, I cannot set foot on that ship. You know how much I trust Madam Zena. She’s been my spiritual advisor for years and I’m not going to start doubting her now.”

“All right, sweetheart. I’ll have my secretary rebook us on another cruise line and make sure the ship’s name doesn’t end with ‘A’. I want you to be comfortable and happy.”

“Thank you, dear. Also, please make sure you don’t mention any of this to your friends and colleagues. I wouldn’t want them to make fun of me. Make sure that no man with dark hair, a dark beard and mustache comes near me on our cruise since great harm would be done to me.”

“No harm will ever come to you, my love. I will always keep you safe.”

* * * * *

“Charles, I’m glad you’re home early. Apparently, it didn’t take as long at the bank as you had thought it would.”

“No, Vanessa. It took no time at all to add your name to all my accounts, including the ones I have in the Islands. I also added your name to the house and my attorney updated my will. It took some time to get all the paperwork done because of my interest in my corporation, but it’s all been taken care of. I want to make sure that if anything ever happens to me, you would want for nothing.”

“You’re so good to me, Charles. Whatever I did to deserve you, I would do it again a hundred times. By the way, everything is set for our dinner party this evening, but I need to mention one thing. I checked with Madam Zena about our having people over and she said bells need to be hung inside all our doors. That needs to be done so no evil spirits enter along with our guests. It is a necessary precaution to protect us both. Please don’t tell any of your friends or colleagues about it since they would laugh at me. Thank you for making sure you didn’t invite anyone with dark hair, a dark beard and mustache so no harm would come to me.”

“Of course, honey. We’ll just tell them we love the sound of bells. The real reason for the bells will be our little secret. You must never worry, my Vanessa. I will always respect any of your wishes, and I don’t consider them silly at all.”

* * * * *

“Isn’t this a beautiful suite? Nothing like the Penthouse of a five-star hotel to help ease the pain. The Chief of Police arranged for me to stay here for a week while they finish collecting their evidence. They are also going to have people come in and clean up my house. I never knew there were companies that specialized in cleaning up after murders. Oh wait. This wasn’t exactly a murder, now, was it? This was a tragic accident. Right, Madam Zena?”

“Don’t call me that anymore, Van. It’s spooky. Are you sure the police are going to write this up as an accident?”

“I’m positive, Rochelle. Detective Schooner told me he was going to report it that way. I simply explained the situation to him. I told him Charles thought my beliefs were silly and was always trying to cure me of my superstitions, but this time, it all went horribly wrong. Charles knew I was terrified of a man with dark hair, dark beard and mustache because my advisor warned me a man like that would bring great harm to me. I said Charles should never have put on that disguise and snuck into the house. I told the Detective I guessed it was to try to show me that warning was nonsense. When I heard a noise and woke up to see the person I was warned about coming toward me, what could I do but try to defend myself. The police have to take my word for everything; after all, my side is the only one they’re going to get. Charles never mentioned you, or any of my beliefs, to his friends or anyone at his company as I requested.”

“Van, that man with the dark hair and beard story was brilliant. Was it hard to put the hairpieces on after you shot him?”

“Not at all. He fell on his back, so it was no problem. I turned out all the lights and sat on our bed holding the gun. It was so easy to convince Charles I’d seen someone hanging around the house on a couple of nights, so he gave me the gun. As soon as he stepped into the bedroom doorway and called my name, I shot him, put the wig, beard and mustache on him, and then I called the police. You should have seen me. I was inconsolable.

“Should we order room service? It’s on the city, after all. Charles did have a lot of friends in very high places. I didn’t eat any dinner because I wanted to make sure I would be ready whenever he came home. We should order some champagne to go with our meal so we can celebrate. He put my name on all his accounts and the house, so once all the blood has been mopped up, you can move in. I love you so much, Rochelle. Now we can be together every day. Too bad about Charles though. He was an okay guy, I guess, even though he was a Class A sucker.”

“I love you too, Van. Look, don’t start feeling sorry for the marks. It’ll mess you up for the next time. For now, let’s get rid of all this Madam Zena crap. These tarot cards and crystal balls give me the creeps. I feel like a nice thick steak. How about you?”

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