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M for Meet Me at Midnight in the Garden: #atozchallenge Fiction

Today’s story starter (in the beginning of the story below in bold) came from Arlee Bird, the founder of the A to Z Challenge. I loved the picture he sent me, by  AdaZdanowicz , because there is so much to the woman’s expression, and how that adds to entire atmosphere.
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Meet me at midnight in the garden,” said the man in the mask, only she knew exactly who he was.  She knew that voice, hot and sticky like molasses at supper time, because it had whispered many sweet nothings into her ear over the years, and some things not so sweet. And she had obeyed.
The smoke of his cigarette nauseated her, the fingers trailing on the satin shoulder of her alabaster gown made her want to turn around and do something noisy and abrupt, which would bring this sham of a costume party he had thrown for her birthday to a screeching halt. But she did no such thing. She knew the consequences only too well.

She left the party as the long hand of the clock inched towards twelve and made her way towards the gazebo where she knew he would be, a pair of rings nestling in a heart-shaped cushion on the table before him. The renewal of vows.

She flipped open her phone as it buzzed in her purse, shoulders bunched, then sagged in relief. She strode ahead, her stilettoed legs gleaming in the half-light, as they thrust through the slit in her gown. He would pay for it all tonight—the number of times he’d held their daughter outside the window when she threatened to leave him, for each time he said Sorry I didn’t hear you, say that again, for all the welts on that small defenseless body every time she refused to do his bidding. 

He would pay for them all, and then some. Their daughter was now beyond his reach, and of those who lived to obey him, even if he be no more.

Switchblade at the ready, she stepped before him as he stood unmasked, clouded in his cigarette smell. He kneeled to kiss her hand, following a decade-old ritual, Happy Birthday my darling, will you be mine?

I’m yours, her lips answered before she could stop them. Warm blood spattered her gown, scenting the air as he gurgled and fell, clutching at his throat. No more cigarette smells.

Say what, darling? she bent her head a little and smiled, Sorry I couldn’t hear you.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year

As a co-host, I end with A to Z Challenge  reminders:
1. Turn off your word verification. It helps no one. You may moderate comments for a while if you’re unsure.
2. In your comment id, link only to your AZ blog, NOT your profile which may have five other blogs.

3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
4. Comment when you visit blogs. Start visiting with the blog below you on the linky list.
5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog and follow you on social media.

 

Β 

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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