Friday, June 07, 2019

Writing contest!

Let's have a writing contest this weekend!

Some time back, someone suggested this prompt:

The day started with murder

I think it's a terrific idea!
MOST of the usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story: 

The story must START or END with

The day started with murder

To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must also use:

3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.

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, then post.

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

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

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.

Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens: Saturday, June 8, 3:31am (ok, I'm still up which means I'm hoping NOT to be at 9am!)

Contest closes:  Sunday,  June 9, 9am

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?

Not yet!

Rats! Too late. Contest closed.
Results on Monday? Let's see if Slackerpuss can get it done.


Jennifer Delozier said...

Twenty-four hours of rehearsing for the inevitable knock on the door.

Twelve hours of relief and regret, of exhilarating terror, of wondering if it was too late for my life to become what it was meant to be. Before him.

Ten hours of staging texts and emails between him and the mistress he claimed didn’t exist. Crazy, he said. All in my head.

Three hours of driving to and from the garbage dump at the edge of town.

Two hours of soaking his fancy carving knife in bleach.

One hour of scrubbing the floor.

The day started with murder.

Timothy Lowe said...

The day started with murders of crows falling from the sky. An unkindness of ravens came next, followed by kettles of falcons, felled as if from a witch’s spell.

Then the dogs started dying.

“What is this curse?” Maeve rasped, blood crusting her lips.

“God’s mad,” Emmy said, drawing designs in the dirt.

“May God spread His blessing on you.”

Maeve’s daughter lived a charmed life. Years back, when their litter had been struck by the creeping blight, Emmy’s favorite sow Rosetta was spared.

“He will,” Emmy promised, praying forgiveness for her lie.

God wasn’t the one who was mad.

Pericula Ludus said...

The day started with murder number 8. It made the crisp autumn day both haunting and beautiful. Beth trudged across the muddy field, no joggers around to interrupt her solitude. She could not imagine a better way to spend her Saturdays than out here, just her and a murder. She leant against the drystone wall and took a sip from her thermos, looking out across the magnificent scene.

She checked her notes. Witnessing a funeral for number 8 would be nice. Those were fascinating, the family gathering and all that palaver. It had always been her dream job. Researching crows.

Steve Forti said...

“Theda, y?” started W. “I th-“
M, Ur derisive attitude towards us true starlets has gone on long enough!
Martin turned to studio boss W. Caldwell. “See? This is what I’m talking about. Talking. I can’t have a conversation when all her responses are on title cards.”
“I thought you two worked this out,” W finished.
This vamp will not acquiesce to your silly Talkies!.
Martin sighed, frowning at his broken director’s chair. “Get with the times, Ms. Bara. The silent era is over.” He pointed. “You don’t want to speak, quit the picture. But stop breaking my chairs!”

Writer of Wrongs said...

The afternoon started with romance. A picnic, wine, drowsing on a blanket in the park. It was our fifth anniversary.
The evening started with terror. Voices waking us. Teenage boys? Early twenties? Surrounding us. They taped my mouth, arms, legs. I could hear her screaming. I couldn’t get to her.
The night started with pain. Bruises from their beating, from dragging myself to a rock. Blood from scraping my wrists to freedom. I found the knife in the picnic basket. Broke the wine bottle. Crept through the bushes to their sick party as sunlight dawned.
The day started with murder.

Marie McKay said...

I wish the soil was undisturbed. I wish I could walk up the hill, undrive the van. Be in the kitchen. Undrink the bitter coffee. See the heat spirals unwind back into the shitty brown liquid. See clear water flow back up the pipes. Unhear-"You're useless at everything. You stupid bitch" - for the millionth time. Push down the lava of volcanic rage in my stomach before it erupts.
But you don't ever take back your words, and so the day started with murder.

StackAttack said...

“’The day started with murder. It ended with quiche.’” Dennis glanced at his wife. “No good?”

Irma’s wine-stained lips pursed. “It’s no ‘Call me Ishmael’.”

“But hon, it’s man’s penchant toward violence and gluttony! Juxtaposing death with lightheartedness to create a kind of … black humor.”

Below, a muffled groan. They turned darkly toward the basement door. Irma grabbed the bloody hatchet with a sigh. “Considering how clumsy you are at the former, dear, let’s hope you never attempt quiche.” She marched downstairs to finish the job.

“’… Started with murder … and ended with murder,’” muttered Dennis, scribbling furiously.

Karen Baldwin said...

The day started with murder! Two bodies this time. Was I Shocked? Repulsed? No. I’m a “cleaner.” My job is cleaning up messes like this—wiping up bloody evidence, leaving no trace, visible or otherwise. I am the best there is.
Until today.
A kidney.
Left behind.
Under the pea green armchair.
I had gone back to the scene to check one more time when I spotted the remaining body part.
I no sooner cleaned up this bit when people started arriving to dinner. And I spotted the murderer behind the chair with yet another mouse in his mouth.

Michael Warner said...

The Day started.

With murders of crows, I sit on the telephone wire and study the slow-moving figures at the gas station below. They’re so complacent. But they’ve been here too long, and we want them to leave. Now.

Go back to your cities, back to your boats. We were here long before you arrived. You took our land and our skies. It will be good to glide again over the fields and lakes.

The sign says, Bodega Bay Rest Stop, but today there will be no rest for you.

Aphra Pell said...

The day started with murder. 24 points.
Mike plays croze straight onto a triple letter score. Smug git.

Grandma’s in the background. “Your sister always loved Christmas”
Ha! At least 6 ft under, she’s free from Boxing Day games.

Qualms. Double word and 40 points for me.” Vi, all marshmallow smiles and acrid eyes.

Qualms – what I lack.

Jester. That’s how they see me. But it gives me murders as well. Puts me in control.

Mike plays jounce; showing off.

“Tripe word score – exit!” Yes Vi, and soon you’ll meet yours.

Time for my favourite word, tontine.

Lennon Faris said...

The day started with murder. I was used to it, working in a library.

“Excuse me,” she whispered, pushing her glasses up her nose, “sorry. I can’t find this on Google. I need to know how many rolls of masking tape I need to cover a human …body.”

The assistant down the desk turned his head. It was his first week.

“One,” I answered.

“Um, great. How about for, like, a pit of them.”

“Of bodies?”


“Tarp would be easier.”

“…Maybe…” Her eyes lit up. “Wait, I know. Thanks!”

I fanned the assistant on the floor. “Writers,” I muttered.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

The day started with murder.
“River! How can you be so brutal, so macho, so … toxic?”
“We have no choice, Summer. Sometimes we have to kill.”
“But who says our lives are worth more than … hers?”
“How do you even know it’s a girl.”
“By her aura.”
River, usually okay with auras, suppressed an eye roll.
“She is a rat, Summer. She came in off the street. LA rats have bubonic plague now.”
He paused. “It’s us or … her.”
“All right, you do it, but I can’t watch.”
The day ended with a hot bath.

Jenn Griffin said...

A paradise for lovers--turquoise ocean, tropical breeze, private beach. As usual, he thought of everything. The perfect getaway.

He should have heeded the travel warning.

I sipped champs with my peeps--it's midnight here, a thousand miles away--when they and their sunset silently tinged those sparkling white sands a magnificent blood-red.

And so--cheers!--the day started with murder.

julie.weathers said...

"The day started with murder. Today's puzzle." She tapped her pencil against her chin. "Six letter word for gathering of crows. Starts with M."

He poked his head out from under the sink, "Huh?"

She repeated the question.


"Six letters, Belgian detective."

A muffled and irritated, "Poirot" shot back.

"Murder on the something Express. Starts with O."

He clambered out from under the sink pipe wrench in hand, stalked over to Rosie who hunched over the morning crossword, and swung the wrench. "How many times have I told you I despise crosswords and you started my day with murder?"

Dena Pawling said...

An extensive vocabulary is absolutely required. A man can't simply walk down the street. He must walk quickly or carefully or slowly or hesitantly. The street must be wide or narrow or busy or eerie or picturesque.

Adjectives and adverbs are the guaranteed most important. They make tremendously exciting an otherwise dreadfully boring noun or verb.

Today's unfortunate clueless authors don't understand that.

I copiously drooled over my new behemoth doorstopper dictionary and extensive comprehensive thesaurus. I'm serious about my craft. Agents will be desperately fighting over my groundbreaking life-changing manuscript.

I lovingly opened the dictionary.

Today started with murder.

shanepatrickwrites said...

The day started with murder. They all did according to her, ever since she’d been born again vegan. Billy poured a slurry of animal-based protein into Tulip’s bowl while wondering if he could sue

“Pigs are omnivores, they eat meat. Besides, do you think broccoli dreams of landing in your stir-fry? No, it wants to make seeds for little broccoli. All things exist at the expense of something else. Maple syrup is tree blood for chrissakes,” he had yelled.

Tulip licked her bowl clean and he smiled. Maybe he wouldn’t sue after all.

Barbara Lund said...

The day started with murder, and went downhill from there.

Recalcitrant neighbors, uncooperative suspects, media circus.

Ninth murder and likely more to come.

Suspicious partner, side-eye sergeant, disavowing chief.

When they brought me in, accusations flew like crows, but I followed my own advice: deny, deny, deny, and if you can’t do that, shut ya mouth.

Didn’t help. I had no alibi and plenty of motive.

I tell ya, the only thing a cop hates more than going bad is being sent up for the one murder she didn’t do.

theblondepi said...

The day started with murder. One thousand crows decamping from the Eucalyptus trees behind their home. She put a pillow over her head in a nugatory attempt to drown out the cacophony. Her husband could sleep through anything. She excavated herself from the blanket burrito she’d created on the floor and walked to the mirror. Grabbing at the sink to steady herself, she stared. The bruises were purple; still bleeding under the skin. But her eyes looked alive for the first time in fifteen years. She looked towards the bed and breathed deeply. Time to get rid of the carcass.

Casual-T said...

The day started with murder—an impromptu performance.

“I say!” she muttered. “Rather unfortunate affair.”

The blood-spattered shovel scooped up another heap of soil and scattered it onto the leaking body below. Luckily her mother never minded her playing in the backyard before breakfast. The girl hadn’t planned on bloodshed this early in the morning, but sometimes death demands action.

“The day started with murder,” she mused. “Darling book title, that. Perhaps I shall write it someday.” She was the creative type.

“Breakfast, dear!” Mrs. Miller called from the kitchen.

“Right there, mother!” young Agatha replied. “Just washing my hands.”

Rio said...

The day started with murder. It was Jorge’s idea. Last week, he renamed Monday “Murderday” on the office calendar because, you know, Mondays are murder. Maybe he thought no one would notice.

But everyone did.

Some thought it was funny. Stupid Jorge and his stupid sense of humor. Others called it “highly unprofessional.” We had to apologize to them because, you know, that’s what we do. We apologize for Stupid Jorge and his stupid sense of humor. One person -- just one -- took it literally. There’s always that one, isn’t there? The one who didn’t get the joke?

Sandra Schmidtke said...

The day started with Murder Most Fowl: two eggs, hash browns piled up like a burial cairn, and my new chicken sausage, made fresh last night.

“Order up!”

Betty collected the plate.

“Sounds busy,” I said.

Her gum-bubble snapped like a bone breaking. “Denise picked a fine day to quit, but the regulars love the new special.”

Denise, bent over the safe, stuffing bills in her purse. The silver arc of the cleaver.

“Guess diner life ain’t for everyone,” said Betty.

“Tell me about it.” I dished up a couple more sausages. “Some folks might even say it’s murder.”

PAH said...

The day started with Murder.

Fat little Professor Scrimshaw looked harmless. But he'd been at it since 12. Went pro at 16. Became a teacher at 47.

He chuckled at my name during roll. Kiepenfocker—sure, it’s a funny surname. My sister has it too. Surprised he didn’t make the connection.

At Blackraven Academy you get used to bad men. But there’s bad. And there’s BAD.

My classmates gawped. Unfazed, I looked at my class schedule. Next up, Advanced Daggers.

“Guess I’ll need this.” I pulled the knife from my professor’s neck and cleaned the blade with his piano-key tie.

Just Jan said...

When I saw it at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d been in bed for over a week with double pneumonia--a consequence of a lifetime of blowing down houses--with Jeopardy reruns as my only entertainment. I had it overnighted.

Those three insufferable upstarts made me out to be the bad guy! The curly-tails were squealing all the way to the bank while I was stuck with a bad reputation and an ulcer.

One day, I’ll publish a memoir. It’ll begin like this: The day started with murder.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

The day started with murder and ended with marriage. Or was it the other way around? It wasn’t a traditional white-dress kind of marriage or realistic bang-you’re-dead murder. He thought I was his dream girl. Believe me I’m no dream girl unless that’s what you pay me to be. I’ll wear what you want me to wear even if it’s nothing. I always ask, are you sure you want to do this? Love hurts. Broken hearts can kill. Fake bride. Fake “I do.” Real gun. Real bullets. Real did it. Groom gone. That’s why I demand they pay upfront.

Katelyn Y. said...

The day started with murders.

The first victim was expecting me and died easily. Typical mob boss. Too calm when facing Death.

The second was frantic. Most people are, particularly the guilty ones. “Please. My family... I need more time –”

I ushered him into eternity anyway. Justice is elusive, but occasionally mine.

A stray bullet sent the third. Young, stubborn. A born negotiator. “Surely there’s someone worse you’d rather meet,” she said. “Give me the name and I’ll arrange the meeting.”

A word for the dying: they say you can’t cheat Death, but I assure you I take bribes.

Miles O'Neal said...

The day started with murder, just like every other day, part of being in homicide. He'd come to hate the job but thirty years with the force meant he could retire soon.

Pat glared at Friday's victim report, willing the first name to change. Hard black pixels on a soft white background stared imperturbably back.

"Anyone we know, babe?"

Pat jumped at Jessica's voice. His eyes watered but he kept his voice calm. "I'm afraid so, honey." He walked wearily to the bathroom and drew his revolver. Homicide was hell, but he'd sworn an oath. The day started with murder.

Colin Smith said...

Nick surveyed the room from his dark corner. An alien observer of human society at its most obsequious. His cynicism honed to a fine point. His bitterness fermented to lethal potency.

He saw rivalries of twenty-five years forgotten for the evening. Jocks and jerks rubbing shoulders with geeks and nerds. Straight-As and remedials, Harvard grads and cab drivers. All of them downing punch to numb the pain of the past.

Nick refused the punch. He preferred to watch the effects.

The night ended with refills.

The day started with murder.

french sojourn said...

“The day started with murder…even.”

“Exit stage left, next!”

“Hi I’m Joseph.”

“Whatever…stand on the x, and start.”

(singing) “The day started with murder, and ended in love.”

“Sammy, are we starting today with the top of the list, or the bottom?…Next !”

“Dah, hello, I’m Petrov.”

“Go ahead.”

“Dis day it was started vit murder.”

“Sammy, you’re killing me…I’m looking for George Clooney and you’re giving me Yakov Smirnoff. Next!”

"Bonjour, je m'appelle Cedrick."

‘Oh for heaven’s sake Sammy, really…at this rate the day is going to end with murder…Next!”

Beth Carpenter said...

The day started with murder and ended with cosmetology.

I’d underestimated Pudge’s yearn for freedom as well as Snowball’s homicidal tendencies. My bad.

The third pet shop carried Phodopus sungorus. I needed Phodopus cambelli. But next door was a beauty supply. Chestnut or Toffee? I compared the corpse to the color chart. Before the school bus returned, a shiny-coated replica of Pudge huddled beneath his hamster wheel.

Six months later:

“Daddy, why is Pudge turning white?”

“Stress, most likely.” I touched of the silver threads in my own hair. Maybe I should put that leftover chestnut dye to good use.

Michael Seese said...

The day started with a murder.

Then another.

And another.

And finally, one for good luck.

With each, wave upon wave of the darkness roiled over me, delightfully drowning me in shadow. The voices, thousands of them, roosted in my head, screeching and beseeching. Willing them silent, I steadied my hands, allowing the camera to clearly capture my exploits. Though I do derive pure joy from my "craft," 'twould give my life meaning were future generations to know my name, and appreciate what I am.

A dedicated artist, whose work graced the pages of National Geographic or The Ornithologist's Digest.

Michael Seese said...

QUICK ASIDE, since we're all friends here: The previous was written in Ireland, and posted from Reykjavik.

Craig F said...

The day started with murder. So much for all of that research and bought intelligence.

I stared at the shooter, trying to figure her game. This was supposed to be a major art theft, with the victim on vacation. It looked like a direct lie from her. Her shot had come too quickly for a surprise. She had planned it.

“I guess you have questions?”

“Yes.” I said

“I am recruiting you. You will begin recovering Nazi plunder with us.”

“If I don’t?”

“You will join him in this staged scene. Think quickly or the day will end with murder.”

Serena said...

“Fill out this form please” the blond hotel clerk asked, sliding paper towards me. My fingers shook, my writing, jumpy. I pressed harder. The pen slipped. “Sorry, I’ve been traveling,” I muttered. I still hadn’t eaten, no sleep and my mouth was dry.

The sterile room had no sun and the bed creaked. I needed sleep. I would see him and his “family” tomorrow. He shouldn’t have lied. He knew there would be consequences.

Early next morning, I rang the bell at his doorstep. He opened. I cocked the gun and aimed between his eyes. The day started with murder.

Nate Wilson said...

The day started with the discovery of Penelope Rae Dupree's body by her three sons.

Aidan, the oldest, blamed Caleb for not building the new railing strong enough to support her weight. Caleb lambasted William--her "favorite"--for keeping his first-floor room following her surgery. William pointed out it was the volume of Aidan's movie the previous night which had prevented them from hearing her call out.

Then Delilah arrived with the spread for their Mother's Day brunch. As she wept beside the body, she noticed peculiar white lines on her mother's fingernails.

So, yes. The day started with murder.

Blue Sage said...

The day started with murder most fowl. Chad brought a live chicken to his dorm at four in the morning two hours after a drunken fight with Abby about the difference between vegans and douchbags. Chad said there wasn’t one. Abby disagreed.

Chad clutched the bird’s neck while the poor thing flapped and kicked its hideous yellow legs. He whacked it’s head off while Abby charged him screaming like a maniac, wearing only a sheet which fell off when she tackled him.

The day almost ended in a human-type murder, but the crowd intervened with their phones ensuring YouTube infamy.

Megan V said...

The day started with murder wrapped in a bow. Well, wrapped in a manila folder. Even as coffee bubbled in a battered percolator, Dee thumbed through reports, photographs, and ruined lives.

All around her, the room hummed. The walls breathed. Whispers echoed. Footsteps clicked, clacked, and faded down the hall.

Had she missed something? Forgotten to write something—something important—down?

Not that she could see. It was all pretty straightforward, from the witness statements to the shitty surveillance. And yet, she stared at the eleven raised hands in disbelief.

“Well?” Someone said.

Dee swallowed. Then raised her own.

Laura Stegman said...

The day started with murder. Mine. Well, not really. But the knife sticking from my chest seemed real. CP's feedback on my latest novel-in-progress's pages just about did me in. Someday my work will be-published. Won't it? Doubt, like a terminal cancer, spread through my bones. Quick, substitute a more productive question. Will these edits never end? Maybe not. Still, I made them, killing the offending adverbs, "that"'s, run on sentences, redundant words, and everything else I should have spotted. Have I learned nothing from my favorite blogger's writing admonishments? Not enough, apparently. Wait. Apparently. Yet another adverb. I'm dead.

Keith Evers said...

The day started with Murder She Wrote and then re-runs of Family Fued, and then I must have fallen asleep. When I woke, I was in an interrogation room beside a vaguely British detective who slipped his arm around my shoulder and shouted, “Things left at a crime scene!”

“Um, my driver’s license?” I said.

He turned to a distinguished older woman. “He says driver’s license!”

She produced a sealed plastic bag. “The victim was strangled with VHS tape pulled from a copy of Jerry Maguire. We know it was you.”

Not my license. My Blockbuster card. It was over.

Steph Ellis said...

The day started with murder.

“Again?” Deb was annoyed. The law was there for a reason. “Any leads?”

“Got him already,” said the sergeant. “He confessed to the constable doing door-to-door. Seems he was confused. Couldn’t understand our problem until we told him the date. Turns out he just got back from holiday, different time zone. Thought it was Monday so he was ok.”

“Mitigating circumstances,” said Deb, relieved at the explanation and wanting to avoid the paperwork. “Let him go. But remind him to check his calendar in future before he kills anyone. Monday is murder. Tuesday is robbery.”

Angela Lebovic said...

“The day started with murder,” I reminded, tapping the rune.

“So?” The demon’s gnarled hand passed through the body, hovering around the human’s quivering heart.

Keeping this one on task was going to be tough. “You haven’t completed madness or maiming. You’re way behind on malnutrition.”

“He’s asking for it,” it growled, gesturing to the human’s fat, lungs, heart.

I pointed to the glyph. “Sub bylaw 18b states—”

It snarled.

How to get this beast to follow regulations? “You’re known as a ‘maverick.’” I made air quotes.

It snorted.

“Think of your reputation.”

“I am.”

It squeezed.

K.DeFlane said...

The day started with "Murder She Wrote" on cable, as did every day for Eleanor since she no longer had a job. It was an episode with Jessica Fletcher visiting Ireland; it didn’t matter which one, because Eleanor was always distracted from the plot by the beauty of the country. It didn’t matter what the dialog was revealing about the killer, because the lilt of the language transported her. For that one hour, she could experience the place the way she wanted to remember it, perfectly, instead of that week of disappointment which led her here, home from her honeymoon.

B. W. Schulz said...

Age issues and a bad attitude usually keep me up until 2 am, and so it was last night. I’d finally fallen into sleep but woke to drunk neighbors, a yowling cat and six police cars.

My grandmother would have said, “No rest for the weary or the wicked.” I’m not especially wicked. My wickedness is ordinary. But I am weary.

I opened a cheap beer and watched the police haul off my neighbors. The cat swished its tail and went silent. I slept in my chair, beer in hand, waking to sunlight. I retrieved the paper. I’m seldom surprised anymore, but the day started with murder.

Tammy said...

The day started with murder. A dozen murders, in fact. They thought the coop was secure. They hadn’t planned on Annie.
The Golden Doodle loved everyone she met, and greeted each new friend with exuberance, and not a little slobber. They looked more fun than her knotted rope, so she broke in. Chase was her favorite game.
She barked, they clucked, until she caught one around its long neck. Tail wagging, she shook her head in victory, then tossed her new friend for the next round. But the friend didn’t play chase anymore, so she chose a new friend.

Christine said...

The day started with murders of crows following Emma on her usual Monday run. She didn’t think anything of their cawing until a flock of geese joined in. On the next lap, sparrows twittered around her head. Then a mama raccoon and three babies tailed her. Even the neighborhood coyote joined the bizarre animal parade. As she got back to her house, the mail carrier pulled over his van and yelled:

“Ma’am, there’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich stuck to your head.”

Emma vowed that would be the last time she fell asleep making her kids’ pack lunches.

Uncompliant said...

The first sound was a loud CRACK, the sound of something breaking.

That was followed instantly by the sounds of thrashing and pain but muffled -- like a meaty hand was pressed down hard. Then came a clear SNAP along with a resounding SLAP. More strangled screams were drowned by a staccato WACK, THWACK, THUNK. Then came small begging WHIMPERING and then a rapid WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP, THUNK! There was a GURGLE and a HISSING loss of air. The final sound was loud WHEEZING, the sound of over-exertion.

The morning sun sliced into the room, bright and cheery. The day started with murder.

Where There's A Quill said...

The day started with murder. 6:22am. Victim: alarm clock. Blunt force trauma. I step over its warbling carcass to my hotel bathroom.

7:16am. Breakfast: Redhead drops fork. Geezer hits on waitress. Smash goes the coffee cup.

3:09pm. Parade: I lie down in its path today, because why not? The marching band honks and dominos to a halt, crowd erupts, deputy comes running. Fuck em, I just want one afternoon without trombones.

11:58pm. Sheriff station: 2 more minutes. I lean against the cell bars, waiting for tomorrow, dreaming of escape. Ha. “Tomorrow”.

11:59pm... I blink.

6:22am. The day started with murder.

Liz said...

The evening started with a smile.
The conversation started with hello.
The danger started with a dance.
The problem started when he saw them.
The conflict started with his hand around her arm.
The bruises started when she tried to pull away.

She thought she'd end it with goodbye.
He thought he'd end it on his terms.

The day started with murder.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The day started with murder.

As long as juries make mistakes, I'll correct them.

Technicality, my ass.

Taking the ferry home, I reclaimed myself. The gloves and mask went in the trash. A tug of my cuff and the knock-off Schrade knife disappeared into the murky water. It's time to change my MO. Cops have a nose for patterns.

On Monday morning I let my clerk straighten my tie before opening the door to a familiar refrain.

"All rise. Court is now in session."

I took the bench and opened the first file.

The day started with murder.

Luralee said...

The day started with murder.

Pages and pages of important backstory
-unnecessary to plot

Poetic turns of phrase
-interfering with pacing

-too wordy


-too many inconsistencies


Romantic scenes

-going nowhere

-nobody liked but me

-unsuited to genre

“Deleted my story today.”

“Always said you were wasting your time.”

“And you were right, darling.”

John Davis Frain said...

The night ends in arson.

Ashes keep secrets better than I ever could. They camouflage his bunched-up lies and hush the come-befores, the slap that became a shove that became a tumble on the stairs. Even as the twisting tendrils of smoke reach out to identify me, the ashes cover my tracks.

Fire spreads furious like a cold wind rippling across unprotected plains, sweeping through my journals, deleting my desires for revenge. I pray I can keep my secret the way the ashes will.

But none of it lessens the pain in my heart.

Because the day started with murder.

Zombiedragongirl said...

The day started with murder.

I paused where carpet met scuffed linoleum. Barefooted and house-coat wrapped, my head filled with early morning cob-webs, I stared into the kitchen. My stomach clenched. It was a fur and feather-strewn kaleidoscope of sun and carnage; a study in red, orange, and robin’s-egg blue.

“Cat’s locked up?” Every night my wife asked the same question. Every damn night.

Last night I’d said yes by rote, but now…proof of my negligence lay in a bloody heap beneath the cage. Death had come slinking on delicate, tiger-striped paws and met Polly.

Poor, poor kitty.

Jeff said...

The day started with murder, Rufus chuckled as he looked down at the yellow goldfish gasping on the floor amongst the shards of glass. He watched its gills heave back and forth desperate for oxygen. It was his first time inside Mary Conroy’s house and he hadn’t seen the bookcase with the small globe of water perched on top in the dim light. All those months of watching her, studying her, and yet he never knew she had a pet. There was always so much more to learn, and he was finally here. Rufus sat on the couch, and waited.

Whitney G. said...

The day started with murder, the Honorable Thomas M. Barton presiding. The jury filed in looking annoyed, or excited, depending on the plans cancelled to fulfill their civic duty. Stenograph keys clicked, echoing lawyers who opened, and objected, crossed, and corrected, argued and deflected. Exhibits were moved in, and witnesses asked to move on. Each solemnly swore. And a few jurors swore too, as hands of the courtroom clock wore round and round. As rays from the late afternoon sun seeped across the beige, olefin carpet, the jury filed back out. And stayed out. On and on for hours.

CTaft said...

Angie’s raptor gaze swept from the still-warm mess to me, with the usual result.

“You find this funny?”

I shook my head, my bare toes, slick-sticky. Tapping.

Now she stared at my center. “No way you’re touching me, not after what you did.”

“Better than being on my phone.”

You can only look at a screen for so long; you’d think everybody would know that. Damn phones pretend they’re entertaining us, but they’re really stealing our souls. Or whatever makes us human, a microsecond of attention span at a time. I can’t abide that, so the day started with murder.

Scott Sloan said...

The day started with murder…
Specifically, my murder…
It went downhill from there…
Like a watermelon precariously perched on Pikes Peak…
If you’re looking to get off-ed in Colorado…
I’m thinking getting plunked on the melon with a melon ain’t the way I’d want to go…
Looks like I’m gonna be way out in front at any seed-spitting contest…
My girlfriend wanted to get married, but I cantaloupe…
Honeydew quickly became honey don’t…
Murder is usually involved when things get puny around here…
Looks like the time’s ripe for forensics…
Speaking of Fiber…I got Fiber coming out my ears… literally…

T.C. Galvin said...

The day started with murder.

Or rather, a murder. The crows appeared at dawn, in silent ones and twos, settling in trees, on the clothesline, in the gutters.

By nine the house was surrounded.

On the porch, a crumpled wrapper, discarded by the river the day before. A petty crime, executed carelessly. No witness in sight. Bill hadn’t thought to check the skies.

Who deputised the damn crows, anyway?

A sentencing. Fifty hours community service. Bill left the courthouse, paroled by a crow. The same bastard who dobbed him in.

The day ended with murder.

Or rather, a murder.

Cristina said...

Adrian wasn’t supposed to be there. This was a last minute job, the client anonymous, better that way. He’d rather be visiting his father at the retirement home, but he needed the money For his father’s care. Hehad received specific instructions of where to do it and how to recognize the target. Making himself comfortable on the roof across the street from the bar, he waited. At 2 am the target walked out of the bar into a bullet. Adrian froze, having recognized the dead man as his father. A tear slid down his cheek as he thought of the many times he had told his father that the day had started with murder.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Tomorrow promised end to opposition. No one would suspect her, Prime Minister of the people. She made tough decisions to silence those blocking her vision of a united nation.

The body guards, always there, entered the luxury suite.

“Get on with it,” she said. Impatient for a new day.

The big crooked-nosed man nodded. The room was secure.

A text confirmed her detractors gathered in one place. Wake up. Enter code. Boom. Her enemies gone. The press would praise her.

Dawn came with a glimpse of a broken-nosed face and a pillow. All clear. The day started with murder

JEC said...

"The day started with murder. It can only get better from here," Josie grumbled.

My baby sister's hyperbolic whining earned her one of my signature eye rolls.

"We went fishing, Jo. Fishing. We didn't take out Mr. Mulligan with Daddy's shotgun."

I glanced back to where she trudged behind me just in time to see her one-fingered wave. Jo had always been the more sensitive of the two of us, and the more dramatic. I normally didn't bring her along on my trips to the lake. I'd made an exception today, a mistake I wouldn't be making again anytime soon.

Mallory Love said...

The day started with murderous tweets and tequila. A bad combination I soon discovered when I woke up, face stuck to the keyboard and police pounding on the door.
One of the people I’d tweeted had been found dead, and my only alibi was the drool covering keys A through F.
I was cuffed, processed, and determined suspicious enough for a trial.
The press crucified me. My online followers left me. The jury sentenced me to life.
My mother told me social media would be my demise.
I never should have sent her that tweet.

Mike Hays said...

“The day started with murder.”
“Shut up, Willis. Get on the bus.”
Willis followed his twin brother’s suggestion, entered Bus 27, and dropped into the seat behind him. “You are not the boss of me, Victor.”
“It’s just a stupid test.”
He checked the driver and fake-slapped Victor’s head. “Stupid test?”
“That’s what I said.”
“If I fail this ‘stupid’ test, you know what happens, right?”
Victor rolled his eyes though he knew Willis couldn’t see. “Mom said no tournament.”
Willis sighed, “Yep.”
“Then you should have studied.”
The slap caught Victor’s neck.
The day started with murder, thought Victor.

Kregger said...

Only man kills for pleasure.

And yet, when the creature turned its reddened eyes on the crowd, it was all we could do not to wet our pants.

When a frontal attack failed, horsemen struck with knives and sharpened hooves. The beast never relented.

A solitary soldier took the field. Without armor he strode to engage with slender steel between him and his foe.

Parry, dodge, riposte, and bloody wounds. All to the roar of the crowd.

There may have been death in the afternoon, but the day started with murder.

Steve Cassidy said...

The day started with murder, just one. It shoulda stayed that way.

“Alright boys, run it for me.”

“The vic looked through the peephole and caught one in the eye.”


“Asshole across the hall named O'leary claimed he heard the shot.”

“What’s with the purse?”

“O'leary's wifes. Had her driver's license in it.”

“Where's she?”

“She’s in their apartment.”

“Let's talk to her.”

“Can’t boss, she caught one too.”

“And O'leary?”

“We got him cuffed”

“Say anything?”

“Yeah, says he’s sorry he stopped at two.”

“How so?”

“He’s got more neighbors he don’t like.”

‘Don't we all,’ I thought.

Tamara Marnell said...

The day started with murder.

Not murder, Johnny said. It was an accident. The whore wouldn’t stop screaming. Ray woulda killed him. It was an accident.

We hid her in the basement. After midnight we drove out to the pier. Johnny pushed the body into the dark water. “You won’t tell Ray, right?”

I watched her sink. She was gonna pay Ray back, she’d said. Then we’ll go out West and get a little house on the prairie, like in them books. Just you an’ me.

“Nah.” I raised my gun. “Ray will never know.”

The day started with murder.

Jeannette said...

The day started with murder. Tuesdays often did. Wednesdays were robbery; Thursdays, assault. Home, late, laden with uncertainty, he’d wonder how he got into this stinking business.

“You went to school for it,” Mindy’d say, dropping a plate of meatloaf on the table and pouring herself a beer. Then they’d sit in silence. Mindy knew better than to ask him about work.

It had seemed like a good idea when he was young. The money was good, and talk about respect.

His younger self didn’t know him at all.

He straightened his robe. Knocked on the courtroom door.

“All rise.”

Selerial said...

The day started with murder. I didn’t expect it to end that way, too. The assassin gets assassinated? How ironic.

“Expect the unexpected,” they say. Is this what they had in mind? Phrases like that tend to come with some kind of motivational poster. “Live your best life!” Or “Shoot for the stars!”

Not “rise up from your dead body as a shade and hang out with your victims. Enjoy!” I guess that wouldn’t go with the pictures of cuddly kittens.

What am I supposed to do now? Life was supposed to be an adventure.
Apparently, death will be too.

Dwane G said...

As Tom’s throbbing brain struggled with the effects of too much alcohol and too little sleep, coherent rational thought was evasive. Were the images swimming in the river of blood and Scotch that raced through his veins dreams or memories? He had wanting to kill her. God knows he had motive. They spent the evening alone, thus the opportunity. The scratches on his hands and wrists exhibited the means. A lifeless body on the kitchen floor confirmed his suspicions. For Homicide Detective Tom Garcetta, it was not the first time the day started with murder.

Kae Ridwyn said...

The day started with murder. His iPhoneX, retrieved by nurse Katie, destroyed Anthony’s computer in a blaze of sparks. Anthony, wheelchair bound, house bound, made life hell for everyone.
Katie’s shift finished. Her cell buzzed. As of tomorrow, she was on ‘Josephine’ duty. Preoccupied, she locked Anthony’s door and left the key in the mailbox for tomorrow’s nurse to use.
Except tomorrow’s nurse had just started maternity leave.
Anthony railed and cursed on Day 2; by Day 4 he regretted killing his phone. And yelling never worked. He was trapped; no-one coming to help.
The week ended with suicide.

C. Dan Castro said...

The day started with murder. The Guerreros.

Patrolman Brogyn slumped on their stone steps. Sobbing. His less seasoned partner stumbled out, face so pale, fainting seemed certain.

A telltale coppery reek singed my nostrils.

The living room: an abbatoir for the Guerreros. Carlita lay in the carnage, her pink dress the only item not spattered.

The dining room: Carlita’s father. Self-inflicted gunshot. Bastard wouldn’t pay support. Never spent time with his girl. But found the money and time to buy an arsenal.

The kitchen: Carlita’s cake. Two candles unlit and never to be lit.

The day ended with retirement. Mine.

flashfriday said...

The day started with murder—
--i object; murder insinuates intent
fine, the day started with DEATH, will you concede to death??
i categorically do not concede to death
i meant do you concede to the word death
i deny death in all its grammatical forms
then tell me how the day started, since you’re so smart
how should I know? i’m immortal, not omniscient
but you’re sitting on a dead body
your face is a dead body
that doesn’t even make sense
your face doesn’t make sense
eventually you’re going to run out of mortals Hera

RosannaM said...

The day started with murder. It played around in my head like a record caught in a deep scratch.

Launch. Land. Surge.

We plunged, underwater, scrabbling for purchase. We lunged forward, beachward. Tim went under. Stayed under. I yanked his shirt and hauled, last year’s football muscles straining. He spluttered, gathered his feet and shook free of my hand. That was Tim. Fierce and unable to accept help.

Side by side, we gained ground, as others didn’t. The water swirling around us red as broken popsicles on an August sidewalk.

The day started with murder.

Except they called it war.

Ellen said...

The day started with murder, but at least I found a good parking spot.

My lucky day!

The space was in front of where I was heading -- and that never happens, except in the movies. Plus it was large, roomy and easy to pull into. The person before me had also left plenty of time on the meter. Free parking -- it really was my lucky day.

I felt like I should take advantage of this stroke of luck, so I made a quick detour to the convenience store for a lottery ticket.

That’s when my luck ended.

charlogo said...

The day started with murder…
Handwritten font and a photo of freshly packaged 5 lb. premium hens.
“What do you think?” She slid her laptop so I could see the Instagram post.
“I think you’ll get escorted to the parking lot right after they fire you.”
She sighed.
“Why would a vegetarian work at a processing plant?”
“I always ask myself one thing: how bad do I need the insurance?”
“Thanks. Talked me off the ledge again.”
“Maybe a chicken tetrazzini recipe,” I suggested.
I emptied the trash cans and backed my cart out of the Social Media office.

Barbara said...

The day started with murder. Roger Ackroyd's, newly home after a holiday on the Nile, via the Orient Express. They found him at the vicarage, Miss Marple's knitting needles crossboned through his neck. Her boyfriend, an odd Belgian, was found with little gray brain cells spattered in his waxed mustache. Both were found guilty at trial and hung from the gallows until dead.

It was only weeks after that people noticed the middle-aged woman on the corner had disappeared without a trace--the one who spoke incesantly of guns, poisons, and locked rooms.

Christie, she was called. Agatha Christie.

Myra King said...

The Day started with Murder. Then he composed himself. He was 'The Day', just like Trump was 'The Don.' Importantsized himself somehow. Importantsized. He enjoyed bastardizing words, making them work for him. If only in his mind.

The Day. Given name Daygtanyon because his 13 year old birth-mother loved the musketeers, but never learned the spelling. Covering abhorrence of rape baby with hero.

The adoption registry was helpful. Found his mother. She needed to talk.

And now he knew his father in the flesh and blood, spattering the walls like exploding Rorschach inkblots. And finally they all made sense.

Cipher said...

The day started with murder. Not mine of course, though given how my day’s going it would’ve proved—convenient.
“Jessa, for hells sake.”
“Help me pick it up.”
“It’s still moving.”
We stared down at the jittering wings. Fairies.
Slender. Horrible. Murderously glittery.
I nudged the shimmering scaled-body with my heel. Word to the wise. Don’t trust anything that sparkles. And don’t trust books.
Fairy godmothers my ass. Unless you liked getting dusted with flesh-eating green acid, Tinkerbell wasn’t for you. Or apparently, as the fairy dissolved in a plume of rancid smoke, was just riding the Tube in peace.

sophistikitty said...

The day started with murder. Same old, same old. People have no creativity nowadays.

They see ‘act of supreme evil’ and their tiny minds leap to blood and black candles. Who knew Yankee Candle offered ‘Brimstone’ in their range?

I gave the victim an exploratory jab with the points of my tail. They’d got it right, more was the pity. We needed innovation, minds with big ideas, ambition – and we got middle-aged goths wearing prosthetic fangs.

Still, a job’s a job. I pulled the clipboard from my pouch and flicked my bloodied tail in the goth’s direction.

‘Sign here.’

LynnRodz said...

The day started with murder. It happened on the sixth hole. The caddie took out the iron — one shot. The news flashed around the world. The tyrant, the cheater, the liar, the scoundrel was no more. The day ended in celebration.

Brigid said...

"...the daystar, Ted, with —"

"Murder. That would be murder."

"Strong word for putting the boy in charge of his destiny."

"Destiny, Talos?" Theodotus said scornfully.

"Sure looks like destiny from where I'm standing. Things can't go on as they are."

"Minos has become unbearable," Theodotus admitted.

"Why, I bet his father would even make his wings."

"And the daystar takes care of the rest."

Theodotus stood up.

"Where are you going?"

"To talk to Icarus. Time to awaken his longing for the sky."

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RKeelan said...

The day started with murderous intent, streaming sunlight into my room.

It was the anniversary of his birth, the nadir of my liturgical year.

The Great Litany began as I dragged myself out of bed, an endless recitation of faults and failures.

I began thinking about the Escape Hatch as the sun reached its zenith: twelve white pills and a tub full of water.

But I couldn't do it until night. "Not while the sun shone," I promised her.

So I sat and prayed for darkness, tormented by the son and the sun that reminded me of him.

Amy Johnson said...

The day started with murder. Though it was so unlike her.

Amy had spotted her nemesis the evening before, dancing erratically around her treasured kale plants. She knew that to many, kale was the enemy. But they had never tasted her kale. Her children clamored for her kale chips.

All night, Amy had debated the deed. It had to be done. And soon.

“Butterflyschmutterfly,” she mumbled, filling her spray bottle.

Finger on the trigger, she approached the garden. “For the kale! For the children!”

Then it hit her. Once plump leaves now ragged old lace. The day started with murder.

Sian Brighal said...

The day started with murder clinging to cooling bedsheets, drifting along with frying bacon, hanging thick in the air like coffee. Would be nice to think this was a strange day, an off day, but this was how morning stretched. Over breakfast, she thought about hefting the frying pan, fat and all, and crushing skulls like cracking eggs; he sat, sawing off a slice of bread, thinking how nice their necks would feel in his tightening fingers. The kids stabbed their eggs with soldiers, imagining slivers of knives thick with gooey blood. But family was family...and there were so many others outside to enjoy.