Friday, January 09, 2015

The Bishop's Wife Flash Fiction contest

I read The Bishop's Wife over the break and loved it. I think it's a sterling example of how close observation of a community can be fodder for a tense, well-plotted crime novel. You don't need shadowy billionaires, vast conspiracies, or blonde bombshell nuclear physicists when you've got husbands, wives, community standards and intense feelings.

Of course, this calls for a contest given no one writes scarier short form pieces than the murderous bunch who read this blog (and how I love you for that!)

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. Example:
wife/midwife is ok but not bishop/bible-shopping

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again) It helps to work out your entry first and then post.

5. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

6. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

Prize is a copy of The Bishop's Wife! 

Contest opens: Saturday 1/10/15 at 10am

Contest closes: Sunday 1/11/15 at 10am

All times are Eastern Shark Time.

If you have trouble with time zones here's a link to help you

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?
(comments closed until contest starts)


Rats, too late! Contest closed.


Rashda Khan said...

Bishop Jack Daniels sat in the stark, sterile interrogation room, sweating.

“If you’d just tell me who you were meeting with, I can verify your alibi and move on with the investigation.” Detective Lopez sighed and shook his head. “I’m trying to work with you here.”

The bishop stared in silence at his questioner. Six foot four, built like a warehouse with hammer-like fists. Frustration curled the detective’s lips.

Repentance swept through Daniels on a wave of nausea. His secret alibi just happened to be blonde, curvy and the detective’s wife.

Brent Salish said...

What a week you’ve had.

Wednesday, in the choir loft, pants around your knees. Reading Repenthouse. For the articles, right?

Friday, getting the deacon’s wife hammered on sacramental vodka and then nailing her. Gives a new meaning to the word bishopric.

But I could forgive all that, if you succeeded in your task.

However, your secretary sent a copy of today’s radio sermon. Taking my name in vain. Blaspheming this very program. And that comment about my hair!

You’ve come to the end of your run on Church’s Apprentice. You’re fired!

InkStainedWench said...

The bishop lay flat on the floor, making no effort to resist the vicious blows from the hammer in Daphne Lassiter's fist.

“How dare you sneak up on me like that, you secretive hypocrite! Take that! And that!”

“Daphne,” Horace said sternly as he removed the weapon from his wife's hand. “If you can't play chess nicely, I shall be forced to place you in the Repent at Leisure Rest Home.”

Michael Gordon said...

Camille wrapped herself in their blanket near the creek and waited. Back at camp, his voice carried like a melody. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has. . .”
“Oh Larry.” His name rolled down her spine. “Our ‘kingdom of heaven.’”
Minutes. Hours. Her body melted in secret, but he never came. Neglect proved scorn. She marched back to camp.
“Girl?” said the Camp Director.
Camille choked on emotion. “I n-need the Bishop.”
“I see, this way.”
In the distraction, Camille stashed a hammer under her pillow coat. They knocked on the cabin door. The Bishop’s wife answered, her mistake.

Michael Seese said...

Her words were a hammer to his ego. But Edward's facade refused to be dented.

"I'm leaving you," Madeline repeated.

He laughed.

"Please! This isn't one of your paperback romances, Maddie. You're no queen. And I'm not some fawning servant. I'm the CFO of a Fortune 500 corporation. I scraped you out of the mailroom. And I can toss you back," he said, completely unemotional, completely unrepentant.

Madeline had one move remaining.

"I know your secret. You're sleeping with your CEO. Wouldn't his wife – and the Board – love to hear that? Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think."

Colin Smith said...

The first blow was finding his wife with his best friend. What he hoped was just a malicious rumor turned out to be the worst kept secret in the history of adulterous liaisons.

The second blow was the eviction notice. He hadn’t paid the rent on 25 Bishop’s Lane in six months. He’d served his time, but as soon as he registered he became a pariah, and no-one was hiring pariahs.

Tonight, Adam will deliver the final unrepentant blow. Hammered on whiskey. Loaded with barbiturates.

Dead by morning.

Just Jan said...

I pledged my undying love to her
after she captured my bishop in a brilliant maneuver.

I asked her to be my wife
after she took me speeding down the California coastline in her Maserati.

I repented both actions
after I found the number to the local psychiatric ward written in her secret diary.

I lost all thoughts forever
after she swung the hammer that struck me in the back of my skull.

french sojourn said...

The chess board dripped blood. The bishop stumbled, and collapsed as the enemy Queen withdrew her dagger. Pawns littered the arena.

His Queen smiled at him as she died. Their recent marriage a secret…now a cold memory. The enemy Queen turned to the failing King. Cornered he weakly gripped the ink-stained hammer.

“You thought you could get away with your blasphemous and unrepentant acts?” she laughed.

“Others will avenge this pointless massacre.”

“I warned you, but you didn’t listen, did you?”

“Fuck you!”

“Oh, mommy’s little soldier?”

“Ready to join your newly departed wife…what’s your name?”

“I am Charlie.”

Dena Pawling said...

“Shark's running her first contest of 2015.” Jack pushed a pawn.

“That's no secret.” Larry advanced his bishop. “Check.”

Jack took the bishop with his rook and smirked. “You play like my wife.”

Larry positioned his knight and smiled. “Check again. Your wife this good?”

Jack retreated his king. “Hey, I need a plot point. Should Colonel Mustard kill him in the kitchen with the knife?”

Larry pushed a pawn. “How about Corporal Catsup in the kitchen with a hammer?”

Jack took the pawn. “Should he repent?”

“Naw, that's the sequel.” Larry ran his queen forward. “Checkmate.”

Andrew said...

The priest replied, gravely: “You must learn to forgive.”
“Never. He dug up my roses. Without asking.”
“Then you must learn to repent.”
She left. No more priests. She’d thought a priest would have guessed her secret but he had no potency. Perhaps a bishop could judge her but never a priest.

Returning home, she surveyed his tools and selected an apt one. The yard was high-fenced. No roses. A wooden bowl capsized on the fresh-turned dirt. Beneath it Harold’s head, his body buried to the neck.

“Martha, for Christ’s sake.”
Harold’s wife raised the hammer.
“I repent,” she whispered.

JennyC said...

On Bishop Street in London is a small park with a sandbox. I watched from a shelter of trees while my twin daughters built a sandcastle. Sarah and Sophia. Their blond hair blew in the gentle breeze. When Sarah looked up, her cornflower blue eyes mirrored my own.

Until two weeks ago, my former wife had kept their existence a secret. Her voice slurred, she’d left me a message, repenting.

Sarah laughed. My heart hammered against my ribs. Her new parents were both doctors with busy lives. One child would be enough.

I stepped out of the trees.

Susan Bonifant said...

"The hammer was where he'd left it, on the table, watching in silence like a secret ally. 'Don't repent,' it said, wisely.

"I was his real wife, he'd said. I would be his real child's mother. And, so I was nice about the rest, '...when I'm free.' But then, 'when' became 'won't,' and he had held the hammer. I had served this God with a bishop's loyalty. He had robbed me of conscience. And so, I waited until I wouldn't miss him. And now we're both free. Thank you, officer, for the coffee."

S.D.King said...

Bishop Henry knew when non-Catholics entered confession - it was always awkward. Sliding the door he heard sobbing.
“Forgive me. . .she shoulda been my wife. . .you keep secrets, right?”
Ah, another adulterer.
“Do you heartily repent?”
“I never touched her – ‘till now.”
“Are you married?”
The Bishop flinched as the man jammed a paper slip through the screen and ran shouting, “Are you listening? She shoulda been my wife!”
Bishop Henry looked at the paper receipt– $12.99 from Lowes. Hearing a shriek, he ran through the convent door where a hammer lay next to Sister Clare’s blood-soaked veil.

Anonymous said...

I swung a hammer for a living. Probably drank too much Pabst. Oh, and played chess. That’s how I got the nickname. Bishop. You’re surprised? Hell, even the wife was impressed, at first.

Later, all I got was, “Loser this, loser that.”

I mean, it won’t like I married her for intellectual stimulation. As they say. Years of her bitching and come to find out? She’s got a secret bank account. Now, that shook me up. That, and the recording.

Repent? Shit. No offense, but I ain’t a believer.

So. This here drip starts, and I’ll just go to sleep?

Amy Schaefer said...

“Put the hammer down.” I kept my voice neutral - lesson one in this line of work. Fishwife tones only escalate the situation.

He hunched over the hostages, blocking my view. His plan was no secret.

Back-up wouldn’t come. Time to act, or the mess would be extraordinary.

I leapt. I snatched the hammer and slid it away as we rolled. He landed on my chest, our eyes inches apart.

“Christopher Michael Bishop,” I said, “hammers are for nails, not cupcakes.”
The unrepentant two-year-old laughed and toddled away. I whisked the cupcakes to safety.

Just another day on the job.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Maybe I should vacuum. Doesn’t look dirty. I could, not vacuum. The wife won’t notice, and he’s no bishop, unless they take their shoes off. No repentance for filthy socks. Hell, it’s probably since August I didn’t mop the floor. That’s my secret. Should scrub it. Na, I’ll just vacuum.

I hum the vacuum’s strung out Mi flat, hammering like a giant carillon, “Paaaa-pooom peemmm-pooomm padapada-pooom. Peem-poom peem-poom paaaaaaa-poooooom paaaa-pooom.”

Wish it was louder. Should invent a vacuum with a head set.


Should put on Baby Lily, crank it up.

“Même pas peur, lalalalalala. Paaaa-poooom. Paaaa-pooom.”

Saranyan Vigraham said...

“A8 to E4,” the king commanded.

“E4?” the bishop’s heart skipped a beat. He looked amidst the rubbles of slain soldiers in the black and white squares. She was there. At D4. The king’s wife.

He moved diagonally, taking care not to tread the black squares.
There she was, right next to him. How he wished he could touch her! The stink of war could not mask her smell. Was it lilacs? He closed his eyes taking it in. A sharp pain. The F3 pawn’s clawhammer pierced his heart.

“I know your dirty secret,” the king spat. “Now, repent!”

Ashes said...

He lived downstairs, she lived up. There were dings in her walls, and sometimes dents on her face. On the bus stop he’d smile, but she knew he’d heard.

She couldn’t hear his secrets. Couldn’t hear stained carpet and a wife passed out drunk.

One terrifying night she hammered on his door and he took her to a hotel across the street. A shared repentance between thin sheets.

She didn’t call again. In fact, they never really talked. After that she mistook his sympathy for pity.

Like bishops on squares of different colors; their paths destined to cross, never meet.

Sasha A. Palmer said...

The waiting room is full. Each of us holding a sick little secret wrapped in soiled layers of old lies.

One man keeps trying to cut in line. Talks about betraying his ex-wife, their life going under the hammer, all for sale.

Those who got here first, push him back, “Wait your turn to repent.”

“Bishop, Bishop,” the man chants, then with a tribal cry tosses his burden up in the air. Lies unravel exposing the horrifying glory of truth.

In the dead silence that falls, the man laughs.

His ex-wife approaches, breasts naked, and kisses him on the mouth.

Tom Segerson said...

His wife went shopping while we remodeled the house.
In secret, we stopped working, got out the game board, and laughed over it until I made a stupid play. My brother chortled, moved the bishop and won the game.
The hammer was at hand, a quick slash, dull thump and everything dissolved in the spurting blood of a shattered skull.
Life, love, and family crushed in the flash of hate. Too late to repent, his stilled eyes stared at the ceiling.
I dropped the weapon off the bridge in the evil hours after midnight then escaped down the misted road.

Anonymous said...

Martha and Tilley sat in the church bingo hall perusing the latest issue of Duds for Studs.

Tilley stabbed a wrinkled finger at a model's jean-looking thong and tool belt. "Oh, yes. It's hammer time. I'm ordering this for Henry."

Martha instantly regretted imagining Henry in the thong. "I like the cowboy better."

The bishop's painting glowered, as if he could force them to repent from enjoying their lingerie catalog. Maryjane stuck her dried-apple face between them. "What kind of wife reads those, especially in a church?"

"The kind who isn't secretly fooling around with the mailman?" Tilley answered sweetly.

Samantha Sweede said...

A restrained woman knelt beside a fiery barrel as hot ash spat into the crowd at Hammerhead Square.

“His holiness has sentenced the wicked,” a young man announced. He faced his bound mother.

Wind flung smoke toward the audience, a cloud of it collecting around a man's feet.

“Bishop Adams,” someone gasped.

“Has she repented?” He asked.

“Afraid not. Her secrets will die with her.”

The bishop watched the hooded men cast the witch into the fire.

As his wife burned, he patted her medallion in the folds of his choir dress.

Leila said...

Sister Mary Louise slid behind the door of her room clutching the bloody hammer to her chest. She tore off her street clothes and pulled on her habit. The thudding of her heart beat out her secret. Drunkard Charles O'Malley wouldn't be putting his hands on her or any other woman ever again. She hurried in the oratory and glided into the pew. She whispered a prayer for O'Malley's wife and children. Maybe one day she would confess to the bishop. But not this day. She wasn't ready to repent.

Shaunna said...

Deacon Ellis was first to leave, though it was his wife in the coffin. As the other mourners followed, the caretaker fussed about the gravesite, adjusting the straps and lid latch, singing colorlessly, "If I had a hammer..."
The bishop, standing near, fingered the letter in his pocket. 'The TTX will make me look dead. I'll gladly live in secret if we are together.' One moment of weakness he would repent forever.
"Did you hear something?" the caretaker asked.
He shook his head, grabbed a fistful of dirt, and sprinkled it on the coffin.
"Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem."

Allie said...

“Repentance” was the word his wife used when she meant penance.

She'd use it when she got on her treadmill—a bleach-blonde Cali girl, once a Catholic, she said, though she thought a bishop was the Pope once, and she pronounced monsignor wrong.

“I had a doughnut. Got to do my repentance,” she'd shout over the hammering bass of her work-out music. He always supposed she was desperate to stay trim for a wealthy husband with a reputation.

He knew his secrets, not hers. She didn't know what repentance meant; she never said anything about the pool boys.

S.P. Bowers said...

“Aww, look how cute it is. Here’s the king, and the queen. Hey, the bishop can marry them. Do you take this plastic figure to be your wife…. There’s a whole story here.”
“It’s not a story, it’s an intellectual game of strategy.”


“Fine, it’s a story of dominance, intrigue, and wining. “

“This is a twisted game.”

“It’s a secret template for life. The queen may have the power but the king will sacrifice her if he needs.” He reached behind his chair and pulled up a hammer. “Time to repent, my queen.”

Christine Sarmel said...

The bloody, twisted metal wasn’t what got me. It was the teddy bears. One for each kid headed home from the party.

Charlie gave me the stats: six dead, three in surgery.

The other driver sat in the back of squad car, head bowed. I looked twice.

“Is that…?”

“Yup. The bishop’s wife.”

I remembered her from high school, organizing clothing drives and Secret Santa gift exchange. Her smile was cheerful whether the topic was eternal joy, repentance or wives submitting to their husbands.

“I should talk to her.”

Charlie hawked into a handkerchief. “She’s hammered. Blew .22”

David said...

Jonathan Bishop brought along a six-pack and a hammer to the end of the world. Two days until an asteroid flashing through space kissed the earth with a bang. Most everyone assembled repentances; he built a raft. Six feet long by three feet wide, the size of the average coffin, he sprayed it black. And why not?

No secret the asteroid would boil the seas within hours of landing, but hey. At least he met his new wife and rescued a stray on the drive down to the lake. A little loving, fishing, some brews, all while the sky melted.

Sam Bohrman said...

Martin’s Last Thoughts Before Watching Property Brothers (followed by Game of Thrones) Last Tuesday:

His wife was right. He should have spent the money on tires. The icy roads and pelting snow seemed to say, “Repent ye sinner, ye electronics whore!”

A chunk of blackened snow the size and shape of a bishop’s hat dislodged from a car in front of him. He hit it dead on. If he made it home, he would return the speakers. He would hammer away the secret veneer of black ice that derailed his good intentions. Tonight, he would let Louise pick the show.

Ruthy said...

"The secret will haunt you forever."
"And you."
"Think the Bishop knows?"
"Well, she is his wife."
"He has to forgive us. It's in the Bible. He can't go against the Bible. He gave that speech, 'God's word is a hammer that breaks rocks to pieces.' He'd never mess with God's word."
"Saying sorry and babbling about sermons won't make your ass hurt any less when the strap hits it."
"Maybe he won't whip us this time."
"Yeah. And maybe the next chocolate cake we steal will come with free milk."

Laura Moe said...

“Want to know a secret?” the bishop’s wife said to me. We were sitting in a cafe across from St. Paul’s Lutheran where her husband stood chatting with the new priest. “I’d like to take a hammer to that place, knock it down, brick by brick, window by window.”
“Why?” I asked.
She locked eyes with mine, hers an icy blue. “I repent the day I married him.” She glanced at the bishop. “I’m just a decoy. The church is his mistress.”

Chantal Nair said...

“Anything?” A tiny girl in the first pew leaned forward, eager for his answer. The bishop sighed. It was supposed to be a sermon, not a conversation.

“Did you say ‘a child can be anything’?”

If interrupting was a sin, she didn’t seem inclined to repent. He imagined this becoming a terrible new trend: children hammering him with strange questions during his sermons.

“If it’s the Lord’s will, you can be anything you want when you grow up: wife, nun, scientist. ANYTHING.”

The girl leaned further forward, as if to share a secret. “I am going to be a fish!”

William Coleman said...

“The secret to marriage,” I say, “is forgiveness.”

I look into my wife’s cold, blank eyes and know she won’t respond. Typical.

“But it is hollow if one does not repent indiscretions,” I say. In the restroom I adjust the steam to a warm flow, holding my hands there to sooth me. Unsuccessful, the anger rushes in.

“Seriously,” I scream, stepping back into the bedroom, “Eddie Bishop?”

I look at my childhood friend lying beside her. Comparing him to me, I don’t understand. Shaking my head in disgust, I return to the sink and begin washing blood from the hammer.

Kitty said...

I'd stopped at Rusty's Bar in Bishop, CA. Minutes later the sheriff sat down next to me and spotted my wedding ring.
"Are ya someone else's wife now?"
"Eleven years a widow, Sheriff. You know that."
"Just passin' through?"
"Like I do every year."
"Tell me again what happened."
"We stopped here at Rusty's, got hammered and spent the night. When I awoke, he was dead. Doc said he'd just stopped breathing. Cause unknown."

The sheriff waited back at his car while I knelt at the grave.
"Until I repent, the secret's safe with you. Burn in hell, you bastard."


Leone said...

My wife has a bump other nose that twitches when she's thinking hard. Across the checkered table, that bump was doing the tango.

"Care to share your secret?" I leaned back in my chair as if I had no worries.

She smiled and the bump shifted to a slow dance. "I'm about to bring down the hammer on you. You're going to regret challenging me." Her hand hovered over the table. "Repent now and you may be forgiven."

I grinned. "Not a chance, sweetheart."

She moved her bishop. "Checkmate, you stinker."

Eldo St. David said...

“Don’t,” they said, when I accepted the challenge.

Dying to know why the exceptionally pious, chess-playing cousin of the parson’s wife was called “The Hammer,” I picked up the gauntlet.

Few ever suffered him more than once,his lack of skill being no secret.
Soon, he carelessly left a “bad bishop,” as they say, surrounded by friendly pawns. KB1 took the man’s cleric in a blink. “Check.”

As if his fallibility could possibly be laid to me, the wife’s relation angrily shouted, “The Devil you say!” before drawing his namesake tool and slamming it down on my responsible hand. “Repent!”

Terri Lynn Coop said...

It happens every winter.

“Then I dropped the Hammer Gambit. Bitch screamed like a little girl.”

“I shanked my Bishop to Queen’s 2 and mated that mofo.”

“You’ll repent that trash talk. Tomorrow, you pawns will learn the secret of running with the big dogs.”

“Big promises. You planning to walk that talk or did your mouth just write a check your rook’s got to cash?”

“Ask your wife about my knight moves. One over and two down, baby.”

Another Masters Tournament, and another flailing nerd-brawl in the hotel lobby.

Another batch of chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.

El El Piper said...

Her heartbeat is a jackhammer into her soul.
She has a secret exposed.
She is afraid.
Of this cowardice, she must repent.
She confesses.
“I have been a Bishop’s Wife.”
Her fear is that you will presume to know all about her, and the Mormon community that is dear to her, after reading a work of fiction.
Yet you know her only as another aspiring author.
Beware, friends. If she finds out where you live, you are in danger of her sending you oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
She is setting her oven to 350.

djk said...

He glanced at his wife, quietly chuckling to himself. She was a keeper! Perched on the steep roof she was singing along with her iPod as she worked, wearing that ridiculous Bishop's hat she found at the dump yesterday. It was no secret to anyone who'd ever heard her sing, himself included, that she would never win American Idol. That didn't matter to her.

Hammer poised, about to drive nail thru shingle, he winced as she tried, and failed, to hit a high note. Leering, he imagined ways of making her repent once he got her home and into bed.

Tim Casey said...

“Repent” the putrid word oozed from her brittle chapped lips like extra grease from a double cheeseburger and the impact of the hammer splattered that hot grease.

“Repent” again, and again, and again.

Each time a punctilious blow of the hammer followed.

“I’m sorry” the words sputtered blood on to his vestments.


“Repent, for your secret.” His wife curdled, as the hammer struck with a steely thud.

“I am sorry Sister Agnes.” More blood splattered.

“Not to me! To God.” More thunder from that hammer.

“God I am so sorry.”

“So am I my dear Bishop. So am I.”

Unknown said...

He holds a tiny hammer above the serpent’s open mouth. “Do you know why we handle snakes in this church?”

I nod. “Mark 16: 17-18, S-sir. Our dominion over evil.”

The bishop smiles.

“People see the power of God, and repent.” He brings the hammer down with a surgeon’s precision, knocking out a fang. “Of course, this bit of ‘dominion’ is our little secret.”

He holds up the fang, a glint of venom slick on the tip. “But you know all about secrets. As does, apparently, my wife…”

I lunge for the door, but the venom has me in seconds.

Whitney Bailey said...

“How ‘bout Bishop for a boy?” His wife asked.

“That’s not a real name.”

“Yeah-huh. One-hundred-fifty-eight boys named Bishop last year.”

“One-hundred-fifty-eight idiots,” he muttered. Whack! The hammer swung into the crib frame.

Her gold lacquered nails moved to the swell of her belly. “One more month!”

Not a month. A life sentence. A plane ride of repentance and it could have been behind him. The tryst with the showgirl could have been his little secret.

The hammer was heavy. Her dark roots crowned her skull with a bulls-eye.


“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, my ass.”

Annaka said...

I finished filling the hole by the big oak as dawn broke. A fresh layer of compost hid the scar in the earth. My secret.

Mr. Hammerstein clomped into view, regular as clockwork.

“Getting an early start?”

“Lots to do,” I said. “Besides, gardening’s comforting.”

“Real shame about George running off. Good riddance, I say.”


“Your garden is looking mighty fine. My wife said so just yesterday.”

“Tell Margie thanks.”

He waved and walked on, leaving me to plant bishop’s weed under the oak.

I might repent planting it – it was downright invasive – but the rest?


Matthew Wuertz said...

Alan toyed with the gun’s hammer, sliding his finger over it.

Then the passenger door opened, and a bulky man sat down while the car groaned underneath. “Don’t,” the man said.

Alan looked around the empty parking garage. “Look, pal, you better get out.”

“Your life is too valuable.”

“You’ve got no idea what I’ve been through.”

“Actually, I do. It’s no secret – not to someone like me.”

“What are you, like a bishop or something, coming to preach repentance?”

The man smiled. “I’m just a servant.”

“What brought you here?”

“Your wife’s prayers, Alan.”

Alan set down the gun.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

It was windy. He floated through the east corridor--ephemeral, evanescent--down the night stairs, into the Abbey church, past his Bishop’s chair. He found her, prepping, in the dank sacristy.

Unrepentant fishwife. Too much power undid the most devout. He ought to know.

As secretary she booked guests and programme leaders; as sacristan she invited volunteers to light candles. Well, no more. Not after she’d hammerlocked and humiliated him with her rough and ready ways.

Still scrawny but no longer ruled by her carnal world, he smiled and called upon the wind.

Time for her baptism into terror.

stacy said...

“You gonna move or are we just gonna sit here until you realize you’re gonna lose?”

I toy with moving the knight, or the pawn. Perhaps the queen, my not-so-secret weapon.

But I look into my opponent’s eyes and know I’m not a risk-taker anymore. I’d had a brief moment of hubris, but now I repent. I move the pawn.

“Yeah, check mate, jerkface,” he says as he hammers home his bishop, not for the first time. “Time to go home to the wifey.”

Trash-talking chess players are the worst—especially when they’re nine.

CJKeats said...

"Repentance comes with a price"
My hand stopped in midair reaching for the bishop.
"What price will you pay, do you think?" She sipped her tea as I slid the chess piece down the board, threatening her king.
"Check" I said.
"Cash, I think," she murmered. Her eyes glittered. "She'll never marry a poor man, that bitch of yours."
My wife chose this second to reveal that she knew my secret? Elegant timing.
I admit, I had even considered a hammer, fortunately I settled on ricin.
Her teacup scattered chessmen as it shattered.
“Checkmate, my love,” I said.

Alec Breton said...

A smug bishop denies his wife is much more clever.
Yet, she solves the riddle of the monastery treasure.
She hammers upon a false tomb, to her immense pleasure.
She demands he repent of his dalliance with the baker's sister.
He declines and returns to his leisure.
This night, he finds a skeleton in bed beside him. He pays it little measure.
He never awakens, for his body decays into fine powder.
The baker's sister seemingly fled for better pasture.
The bishop's wife soon partners up with the baker.
The baker never questions the secret source of the extra flour.

Roselle said...

“Repent, wife." He moved his bishop on the chess board.

She responded with an impermeable silence; one cultivated from years of marriage, so honed in its practice that even a sledgehammer couldn't smash through.

He swirled the Macallan 25 in his whisky tumbler while she contemplated her next move. The amber liquid burned down his throat before ebbing into a smooth, complex finish. It warmed his blood more than the roaring fire in the hearth. Too bad she turned the drink down. Scotch lubricated the tongue, allowing secrets to escape.

She maneuvered her queen to seize his king. “Checkmate.”

Michelle Merrill said...

Joe crouched behind the clunker. “Listen, Mac, here’s the skinny on the joint,” he told his ol’ miser of an uncle. “Man inside says anyone’s invited.”

Uncle Mac puffed his ciggy. “So it’s not a secret society.”

“The man’s door read: Bishop. Must be the hot hammer runnin’ the place.”

“And his wife?” Mac asked.

Joe shrugged. “Too many ladies. Maybe he’s got more than one.”

Mac stood. “Sounds like my kind of church.” He straightened his jacket and limped forward.

Joe stopped him. “Better drop your smokes or they’ll be callin’ you to repent before you set foot inside.”

Andrew Wells Douglass said...

Macbeth’s Lament

Is this the bishop's wife I see before me,
Her tresses towards my hand?
Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, secret vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A figment of the mind, a false creation,
Thus hammered from the repentant brain?
I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
Hear it not, Bishop, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...


Silent as a secret, Tony steals a dollar from a sleeping homeless woman, the word REPENT scrawled across her forehead in marker. He buys a boxed chess set – warped board, cracked plastic pieces - at the church’s thrift store. He and God are square.

Tony moves his lips as he reads the crumpled instructions. A hammered, wife beating, kid hitter doesn’t play chess. Good men play chess. Rich men. Successful men. Tony will make damn sure his little brother is one of them.

Tyler gnaws on a bishop with his tiny teeth and watches Tony try to save him.

Nikola Vukoja said...

The hammer suddenly felt heavy.
I sat it on the table, beside the bishop chess piece. How strange that after the yelling, the screaming, and the knuckles tattooed so frequently on tender skin, it should be a chess game that broke my psychological back.
I felt the sting of years of secrets. He called me weak. He called me a bad wife and an even worse human. He called wicked. His cracked head and the clotting blood on the cream sofa cushions confirmed this, but I felt no guilt. God, if you’re listening, I have nothing to repent.

Anonymous said...

Standing hunched by the frosted window, the bishop wasn’t aware of her presence until she leaned forward and blew onto the glass. Smiling, she drew a jagged heart onto the temporary canvas.
“Are you coming?”
He looked at her, heart hammering loud enough that they both heard it. She pretended not to.
“The Church is my wife,” he whispered, a futile protest.
“Shh. We can repent after.”
She pulled him closer. But not before turning to the window. She pressed her mouth to the cold glass. When her icy kiss finished, the heart had drowned, and their secret was safe.

Brig said...

The bishop was in hot water.
Then it was tepid. He rose from the claw foot bath, his wife on hand with a towel and a smile.

Outside Danny rested his head against the cool brick, trying to quiet his hammering heart- or what remained of it,
after being eaten away by the secret. The bishop was a good man, but when your family’s threatened,
the world divides into us or them.
The bishop was now a them.

Danny loaded the gun and pushed open the door, wondering if sins could be repented in advance.

Scott G said...

Someone help me. Please.

I have a dirty, little secret. It wells up inside, I’m ready to burst. I must tell someone else before I explode.

The bishop told me to repent.

“Who gives a rat’s ass,” said my wife.

So I took a fucking hammer and pounded the bishop to a pulp in his own belfry, and cracked my wife’s elbows, fingers, knees and toes until her hoarse screams sounded like sandpaper scraping across the hood of the new Lexus I bought her for Christmas.

I washed off the blood.

Help me. Please.

Let me tell you my secret.

tlo said...

Tomas stared at the tools: a hack saw, a crowbar, a claw-toothed hammer.

They had built things once. Now that was all done. Yesterday his wife had spilled her secret, a sordid little confession about what had happened in the confessional.

With hands that shook ever so slightly, Tomas selected the hammer. Its chipped claw-tooth would serve. He had taken care of his wife last night. Now it was time for the bishop.

Clutching the rubber grip, he stalked grimly from the room. He had sins of his own to count.

And now it was time to repent them.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

“Grandma, any regrets?”
“Only one to repent for.”
We stood before the small headstone of Baby Bishop, her first child, born and died same day.
She handed me a new hammer.
“Use the claw end to dig away the dirt at the back of the stone.”
Carved in the granite under the dirt line, “Mercy Killing”.
“She wasn’t right, she was suffering. Now it’s our secret.”
How could such a good wife and mother kill her baby?

At Grandma’s grave, after everyone left, I buried the bloody hammer behind her headstone.
I had carved “Mercy killing”, in the handle.

Bill Scott said...

My affair with the deacon's wife and subsequent excommunication was church-lady gossip. Bishop said he couldn't imagine a bigger embarrassment for our parish. So, wearing the pink hammer-time pants and lacy bra I stole from his rectory hiding place, I busted into mass.

"I've given in to sins of the flesh," I shouted. "Repeatedly … and often … with your wives … and a husband or two. But I didn't come to repent, bitches."

I rushed the pulpit.

"Bishop's got secrets, too." I lifted his robe. Pale skin glowed beneath red fishnet hose.

Perhaps now, he can imagine a bigger embarrassment.

pseudonymn2 said...

His wife stared at the board with those empty eyes. He already knew she'd take his bait pawn, but she'd repent when he took her bishop.
Check mate.
Same as always.
She wasn't smart, but she did make an effort.
They both had to make an effort. Playing chess. Noticing her hair. Not hammering each other about every mistake. Their marriage was getting stronger. Better. Not like before.
And she would keep their secret.
That was why they could be together after what he'd done.
He leaned forward and spritzed her ever tightening face.

Unknown said...

My wife sat in shock as I explained the secrets of this game again, hammering out each embarrassing detail. She twisted her wedding ring and glanced furtively at the mantle. Grandpa Bishop’s photo frowned down; his stern gaze demanding repentance.

'Stodgy, old man never did believe in fun.' I couldn’t blame Susie for being nervous.

“Oh, Jack, why do they call it that? No one's sick, especially the doctor.”

I sighed, wondering how to tell this sheltered preacher's daughter a game of 'Doctor' was adult fun. Of course, it could be worse.

‘What if I’d dared her to play train?'

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Mrs. Bishop had a secret, one harbored since childhood. But now, the hammer would come down and smash it to bits. Confiding her heavy sin, her world as she knew it would end. “To err is human, to repent divine,” so the saying goes. Yet she felt not an ounce of divinity, she was consumed with dread. A wife, a mother, a daughter and . . . a lover, her roles would be scathed. Would any survive? Most of all, she cherished being a mother. Could her sweet Eve forgive the double strangulation murder she’d committed those many moons ago?

Karen McCoy said...

Going on Kelly Bishop’s talk show was a good way to repent for my actions. But what I saw backstage would require a full baptism.

Kelly patted her coiffed hair, ready to hammer out questions, nit-pick my secrets. “Tell the audience, Ted. Did you cheat on your wife?”

“Depends,” I answered. “You gonna admit what you did to that priest? Maybe repent?”

“I have no idea what you’re--”

The priest burst through the curtains, drunk, half-dressed, and covered in lipstick.

Kelly’s stiff smile did little to conceal her worry. “We’ll be right back after these messages.”

Kristine Poptanich said...

"I don't get it," said Bishop. "Cats have nine lives, but politicians just one, measured in terms, not years. So why is it so easy to get their pants around their ankles, where no amount of repentance can save them?"

She snapped a shot.

He nodded. "The wife knows. Worst kept secret in Washington."

Bishop didn't revel in the blood sport of modern politics, but it paid the rent and, she figured, doubled as service to her country.

"Speaking of . . . look who's here to drop the hammer."

"Just another one term wonder," sighed Bishop, and she snapped the money shot.

Steve Wilkins said...

The man known as Bishop cocks the hammer of his sniper rifle. Once a married man, he's been torn apart by the torrid love affair that his wife has committed.
"I shall not repent for this Lord," he remarks lining up his shot. Through the scope he sees his wife, her lover, and his daughter. He wipes his brow and sees a murder of bats hanging on the rim of the bell tower. One in particular watches him with keen interest.
"A bat with insomnia. Who knew? Our little secret then?" His finger pulls the trigger.

Jay Stewart said...

“Christ Bishop... Just what in the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Drivin’ Dude… drivin’.”

“Well, you better get a grip. And get outta the fricken hammer lane before we reach Repentigny.”

“On it Dude.”

“On it. On it! Repentigny is the biggest speed trap this side of Montreal, and I’m not looking to spend 25 years in the can because you have to lead the pack like you’re Secretariat or something.”

“Chill out Dude.”

“Chill out. I will not chill out. So long as wifey’s in the trunk and not in the ground, there’ll be no chilling,”

eparentcoach said...

The fundraiser at the parsonage required black tie and deep pockets.

“Did you hear?" asked Victoria.

"About...," said Penelope, who was interrupted by Cynthia's arrival.

"Hear what? About whom? What'd I miss?" Cynthia's slurred speech betrayed her secret. Her “water” sloshed over the sides of her glass onto Penelope’s black silk dress.

"We were a little worried about you Cynthia, to be honest. You must repent of your indulgences," said Victoria.

"Everyone can tell you're hammered," said Penelope.

The Bishop arrived in time to grab his wife's arm as her fist approached Penelope's patrician nose. But he didn't.

Jennifer Martin said...

Jack was coughing vigorously.

"Quit it, mate!" exclaimed David.

"This damn cough. My wife told me to see a doctor," Jack replied.

"Ought to see the bishop and repent! That's the devil comin' outta you!" growled David.

Suddenly Jack was overcome by a fit of severe coughing. His face turned red as he spit sputum onto the road.

"Stop it!" screamed David. But Jack kept coughing violently. David took a rock and began beating Jack's head like a nail with a hammer. Silence. David ran down the road, his secret lying on the errant rock by Jack's bloody body.

jack welling said...

Bishop Deckert gestured to the cracked plaster walls and rough floors.

“This was the office storeroom. I’ll use it as my inner sanctum when you’re done.”

“And,” Martin said as he closed the door. “Paneling on all four walls?”

“Yes. A library look. I’ll hear confession from my priests here. What wood do you think goes best with repentance?” The Bishop laughed.

“Oak,” Martin said reaching for a tool. “Like All Saints’ doors in Wittenberg.”

“So.” Deckert turned. “You have grievances.”

He smiled at Martin’s grip on the framing hammer.

“Secrets. My wife. You.”

Deckert knelt and tried to pray.

Anonymous said...

Father created a world of black and white for himself, flawless like a chess board. A perfect little illusion he himself was bound to shatter.

He, with all his good intentions, would be the one to swing the hammer.

One wicked lie from an unfaithful wife, one misstep of a good man into unrepentant evil…

And so the white bishop forever silenced the black queen.

Lines broke, colors blended and here I stand staring at a world of greys through red-tinted glasses

The secretive smile of a king playing on my lips and a bloodstained hammer hiding underneath my jacket.

Steve Forti said...

“Ugh! Bishopric, diocese – same thing. Why must you always correct me? It’s literally driving me crazy!”

“You mean fig---“

“Seriously? You’re such a grammar nazi.”

“Unrepentant. It’s not my mouth secreting fallacies.”

She glared. All the fish in the sea, and had to partner with this flippin’ alewife. “I hope you get eaten by a shark. One of those ugly malletheads.”

“You mean---“

A shadow cawed, and a beak snatched Harry from the water. She chuckled.

“Well that took a tern for the better.”

And fading into the distance, she could just make out, “You mean a hammerbok…”

Martin Lee said...

The bishop opened the Bible and turned the pages to find his bookmark.

His wife waited for him to switch on the microphone secreted beneath the lectern. The rest of the congregation shuffled in their seats or coughed discreetly.

“Please do it now, don’t forget,” she whispered.

As if hearing her, he pressed the switch. 2000 volts of electricity surged through his body. He jerked backwards, his head striking the ebony pulpit like a hammer hitting a sock full of custard.

She would have to repent later but, for now, she was just going to enjoy the moment.

Julie Dawn said...

"Jimmy! The cage is empty."
The trustee light turned red. Shit. Five hundred miles from earth. It was always the last five hundred that shipment went wrong. "She's just a secretary for christs sake Bishop."
"She's Hammerhead's wife."
The ship stopped. Space wasn't just cold, it was as dark as one could go. One crack to the window, one hatch opened and life would be sucked out into that darkness.
"You take the left corridor, we'll meet in the loading dock."
The stale air grew thick as I walked further. No noise, no breathing. In one more exhale I would be at the dock. I stepped in and side the window on my left, was Bishop. His skin was stiff, frozen. His eyes were missing.
A metal screwdriver rolled clanking down the hall. Repentance wouldn't save me now.

Head of the Class said...

“Dinner’s overdone.” Anne pouted. “It’s unlike Vicar John to be so late without calling.”

John had called, all right, while she was out shopping. He held the nails when I worked on the back gate, as I had promised Anne.

He said we had to stop, he and I. He felt compelled to repent and confess our secret. To my wife and his Bishop.

“Vicar John’s probably deep into a sermon.” I took my plate from her. “Lost track of time.”

Oh, John’s deep. Six feet deep, and preaching to worms under the shed.

Damned waste of a good hammer.

Anonymous said...

“Repent for your sins!” the charismatic demon incarnate, Bishop Jones, bellows to his unsuspecting flock.

Heaven sent demon hunter, Angel, locks eyes with those of her prey, Bishop Jones. She raises her hand in the guise of stifling a yawn and displays the bait, her wedding band. Her insightful eyes close as she reaches into her purse to calm a pulsating, demon killing star. “Jones thinks I’m someone’s wife and strokes the handle of the bloody hammer that’s hidden on the pulpit’s secret shelf. He will come for me.” Angel pats the star. “This will be your night to shine.”

Calorie Bombshell said...

The sign read “Repent or Perish.” Not the greeting I expected in a town called Limerick, but Shannon insisted the pub was Ireland’s best kept secret and I needed to get hammered.

The trip, a peace offering. No more dalliances. This time I meant it.

I ordered a Smoking Bishop as Shannon went to the loo.

She returned wearing a t-shirt with the word “WIFE” written across the front.

“Women into firearms and explosives.” She answered before I could ask.

Then I saw the revolver pointed straight at me.

It turns out Limerick had a sense of humor after all.

Meredith Hodges-Boos said...

Fifty Moves of Grey

“Come at me, pale wench!” Dark Bishop howled across the littered battlefield.

The Queen sneered, “Repent or I’ll send you to god post haste.”

“Ha! You struck the first move, now I claim the last!”

The weary soldiers sighed, “How much longer?”

“You kidding?” The other side grumbled, “No secret those two are in perpetual check…”

The Queen’s face flushed, “S-stay behind me, my King! We shall hammer this Sicilian defense!”

“Wife,” the King simpered, “P-perhaps—”

“Silence!” the Queen shouted.


“Ugh, you weakling!” She moved aside, “You know what, Bishop? Capture me instead.”

Pharosian said...

"Do you wish to repent?" His voice was smooth, sonorous. What she called his "Bishop voice." She hated it when he used it on her.

She strained against the ropes binding her wrists to each armrest, but even after four hours there was little give.

"I did nothing wrong."

"Oh, Clair." He picked up his hammer.

She closed her eyes. If she made it out of this room alive, she'd leave and never return. And if she didn't... videos she'd secretly recorded would be sent to major news outlets. His career would be as dead as she was.

Deborah Herd said...

The man took his third wife on his 80th birthday and it was she who shared his home in Bishopscourt. Even at 80, he worked full days, but most evenings they would sit in the shade of a pergola, watching yellowhammers dance on a fragrant jacaranda.
Their now was tender, private, celebrated; their pasts brutal, public, condemned. Neither repented. But in the garden, alone, they soothed pains, unburdened sorrows, whispered secrets. Mostly, they dreamed of a nation’s future.
‘Mr President, a drink?’ asked the butler.
‘A glass of my usual, please,’ the president replied. ‘Will you join me, Graca?’

Anonymous said...

As the coffin with the mangled body of her father is lowered next to his wife’s, Stella lures at the repent smeared faces around her and thinks: ‘At least everybody got to see my new coat.’
At the head of the grave, some podge in a an oversized chasuble is saying something obviously important, as his voice is hammering ever louder. This podge is no pastor, of course. No, it had to be a bishop. Her father’s opinions about modesty had been no big secret. He would have been disappointed the cardinal himself did not take the job, Stella thinks.

TheseLinesofBeauty said...

Her husband smacked his lips. ‘Delicious cheese pie,’ he said.

‘It’s the Stinking Bishop. I know it’s your favourite,’ she said.

‘You are the perfect wife.’ He shrugged on his jacket. ‘Big day at the Zoo today. Training the new Hammerhead shark.’

He bent to kiss her, his breath reeking (oral hygiene was not big on his agenda).

She managed not to vomit and smiled unrepentantly as she watched him leave.

At last.

She’d waited years to deploy her secret weapon.

A little known fact.

The scent of Stinking Bishop cheese sends Hammerhead sharks into a homicidal frenzy.

SiSi said...

The photos on the nightstand told his story.

A young man graduating from law school, his bewildered parents behind him.

A new partner, his name shiny and clean on the wall.

With mobster Luciano Maraldo, a hammerhead shark hanging between them.

Wiping cake off his wife’s face at their wedding, his repentance as phony as her smile.

At dinner with Bishop Valenti and the mayor, thin and gray after his first stroke.

None of my mother. None of me. We were his dirty secret.

I lowered the pillow. The monitor flatlined. The alarm blared.

I waited to tell my story.

MB Owen said...

She is a crafty one, that Bishop's wife, with her hammer dripping blood and the secret of unrequited love living inside her.

She is an unrepentant one, that Bishop’s wife, as defiant as the man lying dead beside her, never to kneel again.

TheOneWriting said...

She was surprised and glad to realize that she didn't feel bad as her husband continued to hammer on the door.

There had been so many meetings with the bishop, so many long sessions where he’d explained the wife’s role in things, and asked her to repent of her wicked ways. Then, earlier that night, the secret had finally come out.

She was nearly done packing. Her only regret was a blessing now – no children. Maybe if he had been kinder, there’d be some feeling there. Less angry words, more kind moments.

She climbed out the window, into Jessica’s arms.

A Velez said...

The bishop walks the knock-kneed dock to the lighthouse. His red hair a beacon in the unrepentant fog.

Twenty years since he was reassigned from this tiny parish. His indiscretion swept away like the tide.

The sharp voice of a fishwife cuts the mist and he sees her, standing in the narrow doorway. Face as weathered as the old clapboard. Beauty hidden beneath like a secret.

Another voice, “Father?”

He turns to see a young man rise from behind a beached dory, hammer in hand. His head crowned in a halo of bright red curls.

Eileen said...

The bishop was hammered. He slid the small screen open, muttering, “Repent all ye swimmers.”

“Father, are you okay?”

“Listen my son, I will tell you a secret. You must submit properly to Quotku.”


“The Shark,” he hissed. “Submit properly or she’ll stuff your sentient naughty bits into a chum bucket.”

My wife would say he was a few rosary beads short of a Hail Mary. But, I wondered. The bench below me was damp. The confessional reeked of whiskey, and something else.

Salt water.

The tears of sinners?

It must be. What would a Shark have to confess?

ashland said...

Two steps into “The Bi-shop” and I'm past wondering what my wife will think.

Under the dim light a pegboard wall full of dildos stare blankly my way. Blacks, pinks, and reds all looking for adoption—a warm home nestled tightly inside my ass.

At the thought I want to fall to my knees in repentance, but a secret is only safe if kept inside.

Pink, vibrating, six inches round. Like a ten pound jackhammer to my prostate.

“Good evening, Pastor Dave. Date night again?”

I nod.

Twenty dollar tears fall onto the counter as my wallet slowly weeps green.

Rami McShane said...

She shuffled into the psychiatrist’s office. “I’m Leslie, Marley’s sister.”

The receptionist’s eyes widened. “I’m Janice, Dr. Bishop’s new wife. Sorry for your loss.” An autographed picture of glamorous Marley hung on the wall. ”You’re twins?”

“We were,” she murmured, slumping into a chair. “Marley and Richard, err…Dr. Bishop certainly adored one another.” She stared into poor Janice’s big, dumb eyes.

“Let me get him for you,” Janice stammered.

Finally alone, Marley retrieved the hammer she’d used to kill pathetic, sniveling Leslie, and slipped it into the secret drawer where Dr. Dick kept his condoms. Happy wedding, you unrepentant prick.

Rhen Wilson said...

“Look what you've done!” fumed the priest, whose mole-riddled face made most parishioners shudder. His aspirations for bishop were challenged enough without adding Sister Jane's stupidity.

“I had no budget, yet I still finished the Deacon's wife's memorial on time,” the sister huffed, waving her hammer wildly, nearly taking out a chunk of the life-sized crucifix before them, Christ's kneecap narrowly avoided.

The archdiocese flashed before him. “I'll keep your secrets, but promise me—”


“Repent,” he said, and, with a last look at the empty holes in Christ's hands, “And find replacement nails immediately.”

CFBDouglas said...

My best friend’s wife has a poker face. “Bishop to queen four,” she says.

We’re letting a game decide if I have loose lips. Not just any game, an erudite one. Unfortunately for my friend, he married a real chess player.

If she wins, I confess almost everything and repent my part of it--for the rest of my life. But let me win dear god, and no secret gets told today. Either way, I’m getting hammered.

“And mate.”

Beth said...

"There's nothing like a hammerhead shark to make you repent your sins," reflected Maurice.

With each chomp, he remembered another dark secret: his Ponzi scheme with the bishop, the gambling ring he managed with his wife, and even his chicken smuggling operation. He thought of them all, and forgave himself for every indiscretion.

At last, his one remaining regret was swimming so far from shore.

Charley said...

“Knight to king’s rook five. Mate.”
“I’m not your wife anymore. Stop saying that.”
“No, I mean you lose.”
“Ha. I uncovered my bishop last turn.”
“Oh, right.”
“You’re gonna repent that move.”
“Yeah? Show me.”
“Not the game, silly. Leaving me.”
“You hammer that lesson home every time I see you.”
“It’s your own fault. Gotta violate bunches of rules, divorcing to become a priest.”
“No secret there. Special dispensations and such. Mate.”
“I said -— oh. You won anyway.”
“Despite your distractions.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“When you come to play, would you please stop wearing your birthday suit?”

Lilac Shoshani said...

"I will not marry an Earthling," Mahalar said defiantly.

Dressed like an archbishop from Earth, Lahoka touched Mahalar's forehead briefly.

Images of annihilation flooded her mind.

Lahoka's wife walked into his chambers. "Pushing our daughter's wedding again?"

"We swore to always protect Earth after what we did. We must repent. Otherwise, our secret will ruin us all."

"What secret?" Mahalar asked. Her parents became silent.

Mahalar grabbed a golden hammer from her father's bench. It was a transporter.

The only secret-keeper alive was deadly, but he'd know.

"Don't go there," her mother cried out.

But she was too late.

Laurie Lamb said...

“Holy hell, this is delicious.”

“Port and spices. Called the Oxford Bishop.”

“Internet recipe?”

“Yes. The good wife award is mine when Mike tastes this tonight.”

“Ew. Don’t tell me. I already know too many of your secrets. Some I still feel bad about.”

“Never too late to repent. Join me. In another glass.”

“Tastes expensive. Is it from Mike’s reserve?”

“No. Bought it on his phone with his card last week. Saved the recipe to his phone, too.”

“Keeping your shammer skills current?”

“Just like you.”

“I think...,”

“Don’t worry. I blame Mike. Hold my hand and drink up.”

Karen Kaufman said...

“Repent or descend into fiery hell!" The bishop's face turned pink as he shouted to the congregation.

Coral chewed her lip and contemplated the words, as she did anything that sounded suspicious. Her mother fiddled with the trim on the sundress her new husband gifted that morning. Coral stole a glance at him. He nodded emphatically to the words, his head bobbing so severely she half expected it to detach and roll down the aisle.

Church bells hammered out a string of hollow notes.

Coral secretly thought the pearl buttons on that dress made her mother look like a housewife.