Immoral Immortal: Flash Fiction (Part 2)

Part One Summary: Ric sees a woman on the shuttle who looks just like the infamous serial killer, Ruby Bennett, whose look was modelled on the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit. Ric is left wondering whether the woman he saw was the real serial killer, still alive over 300 years later, or an imposter – both options are highly unlikely but possible.

Part Two: 

In the days that followed, Ric spent every spare moment researching Ruby Bennett, which was hard as he didn’t have Additional Education Clearance. He was a semi-skilled worker with Basic Education Level 4, with some Leisure Privileges – meaning most info stamps were out of his grasp. Ric had reached out to an old professor of his, Prof. Irving Stiles, implying it was research for a friend and was awaiting a response but didn’t hold out much hope.

In the meantime, he sought out as much as he could about Wards. He had seen them in the shuttles or on the streets, and the occasional one in a bar – but they wore a brighter red and never clothes so revealing. It was all part of the chase, the modesty, the allure of the hidden beauty under all the layers of scarves and linen robes. Men would pay a fortune just to see them naked – not even to touch them. Only the wealthiest men could afford such pleasures. Some of them even had Personal Wards – loyal only to them – but they were rare as many Wards lived in huge mansions in groups for their safety.

Ric had never considered paying for a Ward. He had encountered free-women in his youth and had even once had a wife for a brief but happy four years, but then she caught the Fire Fever during an outbreak and died. They had no children so Ric was left a widower and was free to marry again. But he never met another woman that held a candle to his departed wife, so he remained alone.

Ric kept looking for the woman on the shuttle, but after nine days of no sight of her, he began to wonder if he had made the whole thing up. Had he been dreaming; tired from a laborious day in the forest? Or had he truly seen a woman dressed as Ruby Bennett, and if so – why on earth would a woman dress as a 300-year-old serial killer from the 21st century?

Just as Ric had begun to give up, he received a comm from Irving with a vague message and an address. ‘Meet me to talk about your project. 122 34. JR D245’.

After his shift, Ric jumped on the shuttle heading North instead of South, and got off in the JR subsection. The country was divided into divisions, and then each division was split into subsections. Within each subsection were numbered blocks with individual living units. Ric headed through the streets to find Block 34. It was a much grander block than the one he lived in. it had plants out the front, and six steps leading up to huge wooden doors. It was unusual to see wood used in an almost decorative function after deforestation led to near-extinction of many species of trees. It had taken nearly two hundred years to genetically modify the spores to grow trees again, making them rare and very expensive.

Ric climbed the steps and put his thumb on the touch pad to the left of the door. The screen lit up with a keypad, and he typed in 122 for the unit number. The AI selected ‘122’ on the screen, and started to flash yellow. After a few seconds, the number turned green and Ric heard the door click open. He entered the lift and it zoomed up for a moment, and then to the left for several seconds, before stopping at 122. The lift doors opened into the unit, and Ric saw Irving sat on his sofa, surrounded by piles of faded papers and comm-screens.

‘Get in here.’ Irving said, a concerned look on his face. ‘Tell me everything you know, Ric – and don’t spare a single detail.’

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Immoral Immortal: A Fantasy Crime Flash Fiction (Part One)

What would you do if you met a serial killer from the past that looked just like Jessica Rabbit?

Here is Part One of my new Flash Fiction – let me know what you think in the comments, and if you would like a Part Two. 


Immoral Immortal – Part One

As Ric looked up from the floor, a flash of deep crimson caught his gaze. He no longer found his shoes satisfying enough to ponder, and instead set to task trying to work out what he had glimpsed. A longer look intrigued him even more. He had seen pictures in the info stamps of old of the image before him. A woman in a svelte red crushed velvet dress, long auburn waves tumbling over her shoulders and black heels that would pierce even a giant’s skin. Ric often thought the shuttles in his hive were some of the cleanest, but she was out of place, making it seem dingy and dark compared to her.

Ric tried not to gawk as he attempted to remember the tale. Back in the 20th century, there was a film with a cartoon woman called Jessica Rabbit – who was apparently rather pretty and illustrious – and decades later a serial killer emerged, dazzling her victims dressed as this character. She was never caught in the twenty-five years she was active – she just disappeared one day and was never heard from again. Ric knew it couldn’t be the same woman, nearly 300 years later, but it made him wonder what would compel a woman to dress like that these days. It was hardly inconspicuous – only Wards wore red in public, and they were never left unaccompanied.

A Ward or Wardling was a member of an elite group of women, said to be the most beautiful and alluring women from all over the world. They would be chosen from their hometown as a young girl and trained and transformed into Wards. Men would pay a whole year’s wages just for an hour with a Ward. They were said to be multi-lingual, excellent dancers and able to charm men into abandoning their wives and children with just a whispered sentence in the ear of a willing man. But even Wards didn’t wear dresses like that.

Ric’s brain noticed before the rest of him had time to catch up, but the woman was slowly slinking towards him, and before he could close his mouth, she was sat on the seat next to him, her legs daintily crossed over one another. He attempted a casual nod but felt he probably looked like a seal pup begging for fish. Ric looked at his shoes again.

They were standard issue black shoes, leading to the plain black trousers and a black polo shirt. Some people chose to buy clothes themselves, but Ric had never much minded the government-issued wardrobe. He had seven of each item of clothing – in case they needed to be washed or mended. And every year he received a new pack in that year’s chosen colour. This year was black in tribute to the cenotaph of the Fallen Founders – the legendary warriors that had overthrown the monarchy and tragically lost their lives in the battles that followed.

Most people on the shuttle were wearing the same thing or had the additional black jacket for warmth. Ric was glad he hadn’t grabbed his before work that morning, as he could feel the heat swelling through his body as the woman glanced sidewards at him with a slight smile on her red lips. Several minutes passed before the shuttle began to slow and the conductor announced the next stop. Ric snuck glimpses to his left every now and then, pondering her clothes. She truly looked the part of the Jessica Rabbit killer, although he couldn’t remember the real woman’s name.

She stood up as the shuttle came to a stop and the doors slid open. Just as she reached the doors, the woman turned to face him, smiled and said, ‘Her name was Ruby Bennett’, and stepped off onto the platform.

To Finish or Not To Finish: a Novel in Limbo

I spend a lot of my time sat in the dark as I feed my baby, staring at a picture of a girl in a yellow dress. And now one thing for sure: her story isn’t over yet.

When I started my Master’s a year ago, I did it with the intention of using the time to work on the sequel to Searching For Katherine (r.2014), which has sat unfinished in my proverbial desk draw for the past three years.

However, three months into my course – I found out I was pregnant. Overwhelmed by work, university and now pregnancy – the novel remained unfinished.

Well now I am on maternity leave, my degree has come to an end, and I have a month-old baby boy – my time is both free and less so at the same time.

Hanging on my living room wall is the original sketch – done by an old friend of mine – of the cover for Searching For Katherine.

It is of Katherine in a torn yellow dress, walking through the forest. I always loved the drawing because it was of a pivotal moment in Katherine’s story; of limbo. She finds herself leaving one hell, with no promise of salvation or safety once she gets wherever she’s going – but she still takes the journey. And thus, I too am in limbo when it comes to this book.

But now it’s time to come out of the forest and choose a path. Do I scrap the book altogether, and take time as a sign that some books just shouldn’t be finished? Do I pick up where I left off? Or do I start the manuscript again; and embellish it with the things I have learned in life since last writing it?

I always felt a duty to Katherine to finish her story, I still intend on doing so, but perhaps not in the way I originally planned.

I think I’ll dust off the old hard drive tomorrow and see where we left off, and if there is a story yet to be salvaged.

We Are Flowers | Stream of Consciousness

A field, full of armoured tanks and soldiers and guns – covered in beautiful, cut and wild flowers.

We march past, and people stop to take photos – turning war into Instagram.

We are flowers – once growing and beautiful but cut for the purpose of display and beauty, so we die. We add chemicals or dyes, we flatten and press them to try and preserve the life we have already taken. But we are flowers – once cut from our stem, we perish.

And as is the way of things. A beauty designed not to last. We are ruined by the spoils of greed and war – wanting more world than our home grown field. But one flower only needs one home to nurture it.

We long for youth and beauty and longevity- but they cannot co-exist. Time will make graves from us all.

Sleep | poetry

You fall asleep,

My hand to your cheek

At first it seems sweet

Then I think of blander motives

Am I interrupting your rest?

Is this just a unwillingness to move?

Then you pull my hand to your chest

Bringing it to rest, part of me on you

Where I should always have been,

And I remember what love feels like again.

Blurring | Poetry

When the days blurrrrrrr

into one.

And everything fades

to obscurity,

the world makes the

most sense

in the dark.

 

@melissaholden94 

 

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