ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Friday, 22 March 2013

March Murder Madness with a touch of Macbeth - Driven to Murder - RFW flash fiction

Hello there!  It's great to try our hands at a different genre. Welcome to my first attempt at a murder story for the RFW March murder challenge. My story has two 'inspirations' -- reading the real-life accounts of rogue ex-soldiers who are so damaged after their tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, they lash out and kill. I'm currently teaching Macbeth to my Year 12 students -- so I couldn't pass up a few well-placed (I hope) references. 


MURDER MOST FOUL

I wasn’t at home when my wife was murdered—but Detective Macduff doesn’t believe me. It’s always the husbands, isn’t it?
“Where were you tonight?” His icy blue gaze unnerves me...just a little...but who does he think he is? I'm Lieutenant General Duncan, (retired), four year tour Afghanistan. I'm not taking any of his shit.
“Where I always am on Friday night—at the Scots Men’s Club.”
“Can anyone vouch for that?”
“Only the 50 or so gentlemen in clan tartans enjoying their Friday night haggis and whisky.”
“Why should they remember you?”
“I rather stand out in the crowd, don’t I?”
Detective Macduff shifts in his seat--my black leather recliner. He averts his charcoal eyes, which is just how I like it. Eyes haunt me these days--Afghani civilian terrified eyes--Billy’s 'innocent' blues--Delilah’s big-green-surprised-panicked-oh-so-guilty eyes.
My eyes keep going back to the bloodstains on the floor which have seeped through the flotaki rug and the white chalk outline. Who would have thought Delilah had so much blood in her? Bizarre. Ghoulish. Macabre.
I crane my neck to see past the detective and am amused when he draws back, shakes his untidy locks. Does he think he's next on my murderous rampage?
I settle back in my seat—the silly frilly little orange English genoa lounge chair my wife always sat in to watch the crime shows every Friday night when I'm out at the club. She was addicted. Even had me watching Polanski’s Macbeth earlier this week. Plenty of blood in that one!
Delilah was good at solving the things—it’s all in the motive, she’d gurgle. Motive, I’d ask? Yes…motive. Passion! Ambition! Greed! Envy! Revenge! Don’t you get it, Lucifer dear? 
Add boredom to the list. I’d yawn and go to bed.
Clever Macduff says that Delilah was sitting in a chair near the door when she was murdered.  He said she was probably napping when the deed was done. Beckett’s Dry Cleaners will never be able to remove that blood, oh no. The detectives have the chair and the hairy rug bundled up in evidence bags along with a pile of other shit like wine glasses and the knife they’d pulled from her chest.
“Where have you taken my wife?”
Charcoal eyes try to stare me down.  “Her body’s been taken to the morgue.”
Why did he insist on staring at me? He wants to see my reaction. Wants to confuse me. Wants to eyeball me into confessing. Suspicion rages through this righteous man, but he doesn’t arrest me. He’s searching for a motive, otherwise he's  got nothing, nada...
“There’ll be an autopsy.” He looks at me keenly. I try to feign disinterest. “We’ll have to cut her up. Always do when there’s a suspicious death.” Thinks I’ll get queasy with his language use. Queasy nothing. Try a tour of Afghanistan, loser.
“It’s not a suspicious death,” I say. “She was murdered.”
“How do you know? She might have stabbed herself. Might have been depressed with...the...er...way things turned out...”
 “You’re a bleeding idiot. Don't sit here and play games! My wife has been murdered.”
“Allegedly.”
Macduff jumps a little when a loud knock, knock, knock sounds at the door. A pretty blond ladylike creature in a fetching uniform walks over and touches his shoulder. Ah. So that’s how it is. She leans down and whispers in his ear.
They turn to me, eyes alight with renewed hope. Detective Macduff snaps his notebook shut and slips it into his suit pocket. “Lieutenant General Lucifer Duncan. We’re asking you to accompany us to the station...to answer a few questions.”
“I’m a person of interest then.”
“That you are, General Duncan Sir. That you are.”

***

The interrogation went on into the night. I invented interrogation…I knew all the tactics. How hard they tried to break me. Everything but the water board, hahahahahah.
Where was my motive? I loved my wife, allegedly. I was rich, that's for sure. I had no need of fulsome insurance policies to ease my remaining days. I had no mistress demanding I divorce Delilah, more’s the pity. What use had I for a mistress? 


***

Three in the morning. I roll into an hotel--my home was taped up--a murder scene under investigation.
I can’t sleep...I'm exhilarated.
I'm going to get away with it. I try to clap my hands and nearly fall off the bed. 
I run through the steps in my head again—it is a dagger I see before me, but its handle doesn’t point to me…
Once the detectives do their tests I know exactly what they’ll find.

***

Billy from the Scot’s Club--guilty.
Motive!
They’ll discover his affair with Delilah.
No one knows I know, so that couldn’t be my motive, could it?
The wineglass I’d swopped at the club, then planted on the rug, will have the bastard's DNA all over it.
The serrated knife I’d got him to cut my haggis with will be covered in his fingerprints.
The semen they found in her can’t be mine, can it?
While they’d caroused on the flotaki rug, I'd gone clubbing.
Captain Billy Banquo left shortly before I got home, but he was doomed.
I’d committed murder most foul. 

***

Going to war was a bitch. 
The God of War had been unleased on that unfortunate land for its entire history. I’d seen enough murder and mayhem in Afghanistan to last me a lifetime. The bomb that sent me home was a godsend in the long run.
I saw Delilah and Billy fornicating when I peeped through the window while Private Thane got my bags out of the van.
They weren’t expecting me as I rolled inside in my wheelchair weighed down with gold stars, right sleeve flapping emptily by my side,  medals rattling in the box on my knee like toy soldiers.
They looked so innocent then. So...‘Billy’s just here to set the fire for us.’ Set a fire for you, you lying bitch! At least straighten your skirt!
Sometimes only having one arm is a bonus.
You can get away with murder.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WORD COUNT: 996
FCA

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36 comments:

  1. You write Murder Most Excellently!

    Really well done.

    Funny thing is, I hope he does get away with it! :)

    I do want to participate - and it is a long month?

    Will get to work, now!

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    1. Thanks Yolanda. Always great to get that first positive comment as affirmation that our work has cut it. Thank you. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

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  2. This was fantastic! I love how you made your protagonist bitter and just a touch creepy, but I also felt sorry for him! And the play on names was brilliant. You've definitely got a good crime novel in you.

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    1. Uh oh, I'm beginning to think I made him a bit too sympathetic. I had fun!!

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  3. Riveting - I've studied MacBeth so enjoyed this all the more. There's an Indian version of Macbeth, did you know that? It's called 'Maqbool'..

    Maria RR

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    1. Yes, I've vaguely heard of it. I wonder how different it is. I must find out.

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  4. The tension built up nicely - it wasn't until the last I realised he was wheelchair bound.

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    1. Aha, well that was well hidden then Sally.

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  5. I loved it!!!! Well done your excellency!!! :)

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  6. Very snappy dialogue. I felt like I was getting interrogated. Nice.

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    1. That's good then. Thanks for dropping by.

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  7. Well done. At first while I knew he could be guilty it was like maybe he's not. And yet, there it was. You did a great job with this piece.

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    1. That's exactly what I wanted you to think Dawn. Thanks.

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  8. I had Macbeth at school, so doubly enjoyable, Detective Macduff! :) Liked the haggis and the serrated knife touch, all the small details painted the scene very well. The mc comes across as a bitter and damaged man, but he still got my sympathy, brilliant job keeping his disability under wraps till the last, loved the closure. Very polished. Much enjoyed.

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    1. Thank you Nilanjana. Yes, I think this story is more enjoyable if you know Macbeth (my favourite Shakespearean play). I loved playing with the names and some of the phrases. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  9. Ah, that was awesome! I loved the loving husband scene at the beginning, and then the slow deterioration to the murder plot. I think he'll get away with it! General Lucifer; how awesome.

    .......dhole

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  10. Hi Denise .. I so enjoyed that - clever sod ... will it last - does it deserve a recall to the detective's intray ...

    Great interpretation ... fun - cheers Hilary

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  11. Sunday March 24th, 2013

    Dear Denise,

    Great text! Wonderful mix of the two themes, MacBeth and Afganistan.You have created a protagonist that we both can loathe and pity. Convincing use of the male POV.

    I was working on a story with two themes too. But it got too difficult to fit it into a flash fiction story. So I chose to write a very simple detective story.

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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    1. Thanks Anna. Be over to read yours soon.

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  12. What perfect plan and motive! And loved the male POV, it made me sympathise with him!

    Great work Denise!

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  13. Cool story! Maybe murder is your calling. In stories, that is :)

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  14. Hi, Denise,
    Sorry I missed this one. Been so busy, I haven't had time to write anything.

    I enjoyed that story very much. You gave your MC a name that befits what he's done, but I gotta say I understand his motive. I doubted he'd done it until you started showing his thoughts. Painful situation for him. Well written.

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    1. I am sorry you missed it. Glad you enjoyed mine.

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  15. This is fantastic Denise, I loved his cold and logical way of dissecting his act of murder. Definitely someone who has seen too many lives, good and bad lost.
    I tried hard but couldn't get write anything good enough...glad It didn't as it would have looked like a poor cousin to your story.

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    1. Thanks Rek. I look forward to your writing another time.

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  16. I definitely enjoyed your story. Macbeth is one of my favorite plays and I'm happy to see someone so talented is also teaching it to others.

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    1. It's definately one of my favourites too.

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  17. I admire your plotting skills and your POV, Denise. Your POV is always engaging and clear.

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  18. Oh bravo! I absolutely LOVE this entry, Denise. A winner for sure.

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