Monday, February 27, 2012

Interlude Stories - Christine Rains


They called her Lady Blood.

I ran my hands through her red locks and it did not remind me of blood at all. She was the fire that burned me, but if anyone had truly seen death as many times as I had, they would know that the true color of blood was a sickening ruddy brown. There was nothing sexy about it. It was a color to churn even the strongest man's stomach.

I slipped my hand into my jacket pocket in slow motion. She was a predator and she would bite if she felt threatened. I drew out my cigarettes and lit one, sucking back the rich taste into my lungs.

“Light one for me, lover.” The Lady's voice was moonlight over her curves.

I lit up a second cigarette and stretched forward, holding it out to her between my thumb and index finger. I didn't get too close to the gun she pointed at me. The bullet had my name written on it, and I only wanted to enjoy one more puff.

She shifted and took the cigarette butt to return to her lounging position on the hotel bed. The sheets whispered under her nude body as if they could soothe my fears. The Lady inhaled and let the smoke seep out from between her ruby lips. “You should have stopped digging when you were warned. I don't relish having to blast away your pretty face.”

“No one's going to miss my ugly mug.” I knew it as well as she did. “I was helping you.”

“I was helping myself, Detective Ruhl.”

So we were back to being professional. That name wasn't the one she growled such a short time ago. The echo of the sensual rumble still trembled within my ear.

“Your husband is-” I leaned forward, and she made a sharp gesture with the .38, forcing me back in my chair.

“I know very well who my husband is, or, well, was. It's after midnight. The job should be done.” Lady Blood took one more drag on the cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray on the bedside table. It sizzled with unfinished business. “Your gun will be found in a gutter, and witnesses will see a car very much like your beat-up jalopy fleeing the scene. It's a shame you got in too deep, but convenient for me.”

I snorted and shook my head as I forced the smoke out from between my teeth. “Every man's a convenience for you, doll, in one form or another.”

I stared at her, trying to be hard and cold as she made me feel. The problem was that there was still too much heat in my eyes. The dame knew it and gave me a tight smile. Even that stirred up something in me that I'd rather keep buried.

I took another drag and held the cigarette between my lips. I pushed the chair away from the bed to give me enough room to bend over and reach under the edge of it. She was suddenly on her knees with the gun in both hands.

The sheet fell away from her body. A jolt of hot desire went through my traitorous body. Though she was built for temptation, the gun kept me sober. It was too bad that she hadn't flashed the metal earlier in the night before she entranced me with her act. I held up my empty hands. “I'm just getting my shoes. At least allow me the dignity to die fully clothed.”

Lady Blood relaxed back, resting her rear on her heels. “Get on with it then. I have to go play the grieving widow. Tears never came easily for me.”

I slid my feet into my heavy shoes. I tied the laces in double knots and looked up into her dark eyes. “Not for any of us, doll.”

She tossed back her long hair like a magician's crimson cape and leveled the gun at my chest. “You were the best man I ever had.”

Even as I saw her finger twitch, I leaned back in my chair and swung my legs up thrusting my feet towards her. The bullet hit the hard sole, but it didn't stop. It embedded itself in my left foot with a searing pain. My legs kept the momentum as I fell backward, and I kicked at the gun. Her arms weren't locked and her pretty face met with the metal. There was the nauseating crack of snapping bones, and she fell limp onto the bed.

I righted myself on the floor and took another long drag on my cigarette before standing to limp out of the room. If I were truly the best man she had ever had, it was only because I didn't flick my still burning butt onto the bed on my way out.

BIO: Christine Rains is a geek, stay-at-home mom and writer. When she's not playing games with her son, she's playing games with her friends. She has four degrees which do not help at all with motherhood, but all that knowledge makes her a great Jeopardy player. Christine has fourteen short stories published and one forthcoming. She is a member of RWA. Her writing covers all genres of dark fiction, but she loves to lose herself in paranormal romance most of all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Interlude Stories: Rob Kitchin


The three Dublin cops stared up at the red Georgian door, its paint peeling to reveal a drab, grey undercoat, the semi-circular window above covered in grime.

‘Are you sure this is the right address?’ Harry said.

‘That’s what Lil’ said,’ Pete replied. ‘Number 46, Flat B. He’s been missing two days; never returned from the job.’

‘Some job.’

‘Someone’s got to do it.’

‘Male escort! Just a glorified vibrator. Why the hell would a woman pay for it when blokes like us would do it for free?’

‘Because they don’t want to sleep with fat fucks like you,’ Chloe Gaines bristled. A bright young guard on the up, she’d yet again been saddled with an afternoon of Harry and Pete, a pair of middle-aged, hapless, lazy, misogynist cops wobbling along the slow road to retirement.

‘No need to get your knickers in a twist. It’s a valid question. What’s your problem anyway, Gaines, you not getting any? You need a glorified vibrator?’

‘My knickers aren’t in a twist! And I’ll never need to resort to an escort agency unlike you pair of losers.’

‘They’re after some Chippendale wannabe who’s hung like a table leg,’ Pete interjected, hoping to calm things, ‘and have no complications in the morning.’

‘I’m not putting up with this!’ Chloe snapped. ‘I’m reporting you both for sexist comments.’

‘I’m built like a tripod,’ Harry boasted, ignoring his colleague. She was forever threatening to report him, occasionally making good her promise. His career progression long dead, another reprimand was simply one more on his tally.

‘Only if you’re lying on the floor,’ Pete said. ‘Even then the shorter leg is a bit iffy.’

‘Fuck you. Come-on, let’s check it out.’ Harry set off up the short flight of stairs. ‘Probably just fecked off for a saucy weekend away.’

He pressed the bank of buzzers in order until someone answered and let them in. The wide hallway and staircase was shabby, barely hinting of its former glory as a fashionable townhouse. Flat B was on the right hand side.

Harry hammered on the door, waited a few moments, then thumped it again. ‘Nobody’s home,’ he muttered.

‘Or they can’t answer the door,’ Pete said. ‘Lil’ said the name on the credit card is Clementina Hines. Repeat customer. No bother previously, but isn’t answering her phone.’

‘Great. Well, I guess we better let ourselves in; have a scout around.’ Harry pulled a large bunch of keys from his pocket. ‘One of these should do the job.’

‘For god’s sake, Harry,’ Chloe said, ‘you can’t just break in! We need to check with the neighbours; find out if she had a landlord.’

‘Feck that,’ Harry said, selecting a key and slotting into place. ‘It’s an emergency, isn’t it? Missing glorified vibrator. We’ll have a quick shufti, then head on.’ He tried another key.

At the fifth attempt the door swung silently inwards. The three guards stepped across the threshold into a largish reception room with a high ceiling which was tastefully decorated and furnished with plush, sash curtains, a set of Pre-Raphaelite prints hanging on the deep red walls. An open bottle and two wine glasses rested on silver coasters on a glass-topped coffee-table. The room smelt of stale potpourri, wine and cigarettes with a lingering hint of something more repugnant.

‘I’ll take through there,’ Harry said pointing to a half-closed door. ‘You have a look that way,’ he said to Pete.

‘What about me?’ Chloe asked.

‘Sit and take notes,’ Harry said dismissively, moving to the half-closed door. ‘There’s only two doors, Gaines; you decide which one you want to look behind.’

Pete rounded the table, followed by a peeved Chloe, and opened a closed door.

The smell of shit rolled over them like a silent fart.

‘Jesus!’ Pete fanned at his nose and entered a bedroom. ‘Jesus, Joseph and Mary!’ He reeled back, bouncing into Chloe and the two of them fell into the reception room.

‘Do you want me to leave so you two can have a bit of privacy?’

‘Fuck off, Harry,’ Pete replied. ‘She’s in there ... she’s ... she’s ...’

Harry stepped past his two colleagues and entered the bedroom. ‘Fuckin’ massive! My god, she must need a crane to get up in the morning! The Michelin Man has less fuckin’ tyres on him.’



‘What if she’s alive?’ Pete said, staggering in behind him.

‘What’s she going to do? It’s not like she’s going to be able to chase me, is it? In any case, she’s as dead as a beached whale.’

‘How do you know that?’ Pete asked, staring hesitantly over at the enormous, glutinous body laying prone on a king-sized bed, greasy brown hair extending down her back.

‘Oh my god,’ Chloe hissed, the colour draining from her face.

‘Because she’s cold, she’s not moving, and she’s shit herself,’ Harry said, moving to the far side of the bed.

‘Jesus,’ Pete repeated.

‘And so is Casanova.’


‘There’s a hand here. Our missing glorified vibrator is under her!’

‘Under her?’ Chloe muttered.

‘I reckon the excitement was too much for her, she keeled over and suffocated the poor bastard.’ He leaned down and picked up something from the floor. ‘Jesus, look at this.’ He held up two large circles of thread.

An involuntary shudder ran through Pete as he realised it was a gigantic g-string.

‘Now there’s a fantasy to keep you warm at night,’ Harry joked. ‘You could use these as a skipping rope.’

‘Whatever extends your tripod, Harry,’ Pete said, feeling queasy.

‘Even fully extended it wouldn’t be long enough to make a skipping rope for ants,’ Chloe said. ‘Put it down, you sick bastard. Try and show some respect.’

Harry ignored her and moved to the other side of the bed, standing on a sheet that had slipped to the floor, and lifted up the dead woman’s lank hair. ‘Holy moly! It’s Two-Ton Tina, queen of the flannel pant suit! My god, imagine riding Two-Ton Tina!’

‘Try looking in the mirror, Harry,’ Chloe protested. ‘You’re no picture book.’

‘I’d sooner not,’ Pete replied to Harry’s suggestion, blanching. Two-Tina might have had a nice flat, but she’d been a cranky, sarcastic balloon of a woman who’d waddled, wheezing, from pub to chipper and back again, constantly moaning about something or another. ‘Come-on, we better ring it in,’ he said, turning away.

‘Lil’ is going to have a fit,’ Harry said. ‘Losing one of her star performers.’

‘We should get him out from under her,’ Chloe said. ‘He might be still alive.’

‘You’re joking me, right?’ Harry said. ‘The only thing he’s breathing is flabby breasts.’

‘Well, you’d know all about those. Come-on, we need to roll her off,’ Chloe said, moving to the naked woman’s side. ‘We’ll tip her over that way. I’ll do the feet and legs, Harry the torso, Pete the head and shoulders.’

‘You want me to hold her head and shoulders?’

‘Stop being such a cry-baby. She’s dead, not toxic. Come-on.’

Pete shuffled past Chloe and Harry.

‘Okay, on the count of three,’ Chloe said. ‘One, two, three!’

The three guards lifted and pushed at the cold, clammy skin and fat.

‘Jesus Christ,’ Harry said, struggling to lift and roll her hip. ‘She weighs a ton!’

Eventually she reached a tipping point, resting on her side to reveal a thin, tanned man in his late twenties.

The three of them leaning over, holding Tina in place, stared down, mesmerized by his manhood. Still sheathed in a condom, his flaccid cock was thick and long.

‘Holy moly,’ Harry muttered. ‘Now, that, you could use as a skipping rope.’

‘I guess that’s why women paid to sleep with him,’ Pete replied. ‘But they won’t be any longer; he’s definitely dead.’

‘Harry, get round there and help ease her down,’ Chloe ordered, snapping out of the trance.

‘Just let her roll.’


‘Okay, okay, keep your knickers on. Damp or not.’

Harry let go of Tina’s hip and circled the bed.

‘Okay then?’ Chloe asked. She and Pete let go of the body, pulling back from leaning over the prostrate body of Casanova.

Tina teetered for a second and then rolled over onto her back, her flab swaying like a shaken jelly. One of her legs dropped down to the floor next to Harry, the rest of her starting to roll after it.

Harry scrabbled to keep her body on the bed, dropping to his knees to try and get sufficient purchase to lift and push, but he was too late. He slipped to the floor, Two-Ton Tina landing face down on top of him, perfectly wedged between the bed and wardrobe.

‘Jesus,’ Pete said. ‘Two Casanovas succumb to Two-Ton Tina.’

‘Fuck,’ Harry wheezed. ‘Get her off.’

Chloe pushed Pete to one side and draped the sheet she’d picked up off the floor over Tina’s body. ‘Let’s try and give her some dignity. Find something for Mr Tripod,’ she directed Pete, pointing at the male escort.

‘What about me?’ Harry said. ‘I’m not dead yet.’

‘We’ll have to call for back-up,’ Pete said, still transfixed at lumped mass at the side of the bed. ‘There’s no way we’ll be able to get her up on our own.’

‘You’re joking me, right? I’ll never live this down. I can barely breath. You have to get me out from under her.’

‘There’s a lesson for you here, Harry,’ Chloe said, pulling her radio mic towards her mouth. ‘A good woman always ends up on top. Especially with a loser like you.’

BIO: Hiding out in Ireland, Rob Kitchin spends his spare time reading or writing crime fiction. He blogs at where he publishes reviews and a weekly drabble (a story of exactly 100 words).