As today is National Flash Fiction day I thought I would publish something on my blog.
This was a story I had rolling around in my head for a while and I wrote it especially for our e-book. (Link to download the FREE book)
Disclaimer – Any story that I put up on this site might have words or subject matter that some readers may find offensive. Other people might read on because of a warning.
BIRTHDAY SURPRISE by Pete Denton
It was a noise that stirred Jane from her night’s sleep, but what kept her awake was the aroma of freshly ground coffee drifting into the room. She loved that first cup of the day. It was her husband’s job to stick the coffee machine on, especially as it was her birthday and the surprise needed to be organised. The banners and balloons would announce her age to the world: the big five-O.
She stretched her arms above her head and then propped herself up. She ruffled her long dark hair away from her face and took a deep breath. She heard another noise that made her look towards the door. It sounded like he was moving furniture around. Jane gave an excited giggle as she climbed out of bed and slipped on a long white-satin robe.
‘I don’t know what you’re doing down there, Ben,’ she said. ‘But it sounds exciting.’
They did everything together, Jane and Ben. They’d never spent a night apart in nearly thirty years of marriage. They seemed to be in each other’s pockets from morning to night; except for the morning of the birthday surprise. It had become a ritual. Their ritual and one she cherished. She would get some coffee and burst into the living room to celebrations and presents.
Jane stepped out onto the landing and listened as she moved down the stairs. She stopped at the bottom step as the board creaked. She could hear some muffled sounds coming from the front room. Then she heard another voice. It was definitely male and younger, though she couldn’t hear what was being said. Maybe Daniel had arrived to help with the decorations. She hadn’t seen her son for months as he travelled around Asia. He must have returned for her. She wanted to rush into the room there and then, but traditions must be followed. She needed to get her drink and allow them time to finish. If they didn’t appear she’d burst in for her surprise.
After a few minutes, she’d poured her coffee and stood in the hallway, smiling. Jane wondered whether Ben had outdone last year’s Prom tickets as she pushed open the door. The curtains were drawn and the lamp in the far corner switched on, she could see some paint on the walls; red or brown.
She heard the footsteps behind her.
She felt the pain across the back of her head and saw her blood spray across the birthday banners and balloons. As she fell to the floor Jane saw her husband sat in the chair across the room. His grey hair matted with his blood, eyes wide open, unblinking. She felt the point of a blade pressing against her skin. His breath was warm across her neck as the knife ripped into her back. She felt it the first two times as the life pooled out of her onto the carpet. Ben was already dead and she was about to follow. They did everything together.