As my confidence as a writer grew, I decided to tackle a fellow bloggers challenge which was to create a short story from a single word prompt. Below are two of my favourites but, if you’d like to read more you can find them here:
Mark could feel the touch of leaves against his cheek as a slight breeze moved the frail branches of the bush that shielded him from view. His legs were beginning to cramp as there was a chill in the air and he’d been in the same position for quite some time but he daren’t move; she would be home soon. He’d been watching Sarah Adley for weeks, delighting in her animated face and her sensual body; he’d always known she was the one.
His patience was rewarded a few minutes later as he heard a car door opening and Sarah’s laughter as she said something to the driver. A male voice replied and Mark couldn’t make out what was said but he could feel jealousy rising in his gut; Sarah was his and his alone. He changed his position very slightly, careful not to make a sound, so that he could watch her cross the road and skip along the path towards her front door. He could hear her high heels clicking and see the movement of her long skirt as it caressed her delectable thighs; Mark touched himself and felt the swell beneath his hand as he contemplated what was to come.
Sarah had paused with her hand on the control panel for the large gates that marked the entrance to the property. She turned her head, staring into the darkness, a frown on her beautiful face and Mark caught a glimpse of her long neck and the large, single diamond that nestled in the small dip just between her collar bones. How he longed to feel his hands there, to push his thumbs into that indentation and watch the life fade from her terrified eyes. His breathing quickened. There was fear on Sarah’s face now but she hadn’t moved other than to reach into her Hermes clutch bag; her hands were slim and her fingers long and Mark imagined them on his body, touching, clawing.
Mark could feel that he was losing control of his body as his erotic fantasy consumed him. He didn’t want it to be like this but to be so close to her and knowing what was going to happen was too much to bear. Another slight breeze brought her faint perfume to his nostrils and he felt the pure pleasure of sweet release, followed by a heat that ripped into his chest. He fell back onto the grass, lungs heaving and sweat pouring. The last thing he saw before oblivion took him was Sarah’s inviting smile.
“Mrs Adley, I can completely understand your actions, under the circumstances, but you must also appreciate our position” Detective Inspector Slater’s voice was stern “You do not have a carry permit for that gun”
“You’re right Inspector, I don’t” Sarah’s voice was soft and weary “But what was I supposed to do? He’d been stalking me for weeks, sending messages telling me how he was going to rape and strangle me. I’ve shown you the evidence, tell me, what else was I supposed to do?”
“Leave it to us!” Slater was losing patience, he hated it when members of the public took matters into their own hands.
“Leave it to you? Like last time you mean? I told you people that Mark raped me and what did you do? Nothing!” Unshed tears tightened Sarah’s throat and her voice became hoarse “Just because of his fame, his wealth and his insufferable bloody arrogance, I was attacked, hurt and humiliated and you people did nothing!”
Inspector Slater felt sorry for the woman as she put her head in her hands and gave way to quiet weeping but he had no choice; the law was the law and they couldn’t tolerate vigilantism.
“Mrs Adley, Mark is dead. You shot and killed an unarmed man.” Slater took a deep breath “Sarah Adley, you are under arrest for the murder of your ex-husband Mark Adley, you have the right to remain silent but, anything you do say, can and will be used in evidence against you. Do you understand?”
“No, I don’t understand Detective Inspector Slater, I really don’t understand”
“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”
Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson. That man was like a Doberman, handsome, sleek and alert and Reid had always felt like a terrier next to him; excitable, snappy but canny in his own way. He would never have Jackson’s style and presence but he could fight with the best of them; he got to his feet.
“I am, thank you your honour. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the details of this case are complex in the extreme but at it’s root we have murder, plain and simple and it’s your job to determine whether the man before you in the dock is guilty. The prosecution will argue that John Durham is personally responsible for the deaths of over 200 men and women”
Reid paused for a moment, his lively blue eyes scanning the faces of the jury. As he had hoped, their look was one of universal shock. All details of this case had been kept away from the press until today and it played to his advantage; they were staring at the man in the dock in disbelief. John Durham was well known to them, with his chiseled good looks and startling green eyes he was the media’s darling and his mellifluous voice could charm even the most hardened journalists.
“Each of these deaths was pre-meditated, which is why this is a charge of murder and not manslaughter, and each and every one has left a grieving family who cannot understand why this man in the dock before you took the actions that he did. These families want justice and it is up to you, ladies and gentlemen, to give it to them. During this trial, you will be shown photos that you will no doubt find highly distressing, broken and ravaged bodies, burned beyond recognition; these are John Durham’s victims”
There was a sharp intake of breath from many in the courtroom that seemed to blow around it like an autumn wind; no-one spoke as the Judge had warned before the trial began that anyone creating a disturbance would be ejected. Reid paused in his rhetoric once again to let his words sink in and looked over at his opponent, Jackson, but he was giving nothing away, his expression unreadable, eyes facing front.
“The defense will try to convince you that one man could not be responsible for all these murders and that his accomplices should be tried along with him but we will prove that the blood of these men and women has stained this man’s hands alone. It is John Durham who must suffer the consequences of his actions for it was he, and no other, who set this play in motion and he who must answer to the families of his victims”
Durham looked stunned as he listen to these words. He had been under public scrutiny for long enough that he could keep his head high but the tension was showing in the muscles of his jaw and his famous green eyes were dark and strained. His hand picked at a stray thread on his shirt, plucking at it over and over; even this small sign of stress was picked up by the hawk like cameramen who lined the back walls of the courtroom.
Reid gathered his robes beneath him and retook his seat, confident that his opening remarks had had the desired effect; everyone in the room, aside from the Judge and the other lawyers, was in a state of shock, unable to take in the enormity of what had been said.
“Mr Jackson, would you care to address the jury?” The Judge looked to the defense barrister to make his own opening statement.
Marty Jackson was a skilled orator and was known, to his peers, as a dangerous opponent. He never raised his voice and was never seen with a hair out of place but he could tear a witness to shreds in minutes so that they were tripping over their own words and doubting their recollections. However, this was different. This was not a man accused of murder, this was a celebrity accused of multiple murders and there was only one way he could begin if he were going to undo the damage caused by Reid’s opening remarks. He rose and turned to face the jury.
“John Durham is the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he is the man that the over-whelming majority of you voted for” Jackson watched as they shuffled in their seats like children caught in the act of doing something naughty, feeling the seed of guilt by association that he’d strategically planted.
“We are a country at war” he continued “and John Durham….”
“No, Mr Jackson, I’m going to stop you right there” The Judge’s voice rang out clearly across the courtroom
“Your honour, with respect, this is most improper” Jackson was shocked and glanced across at Reid who also had a look of disbelief on his face; a Judge interrupting opening statements was unheard of.
“I realise that Mr Jackson but this country has been in a state of war for almost 50 years now because, historically, a collective, a Government, cannot be held responsible for the death of its soldiers when in combat. However, there is always only one deciding mind, one man or woman who will give the order to fight and, in this case it was John Durham. I’m sorry Mr Jackson but, in this case, there will be no mitigation, your client is to be tried for murder……”