A Story by J.L Hunter

She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door.


          She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door.

          Every once in a while, between passages, Heather would look up from the page, to the gun sitting on the table, gleaming in the artificial light of the room. The man, sitting in a chair across the small claustrophobic space watched as she read, his eyes, unblinking, never strayed away from her direction. He watched as her confusion began to grow into fear, the small lines on the side of her mouth straightening out, her lips puckering together and her face turning pale and ashen with every word. Then the fear had turned into anger. He could see it in the subtle movements of her hand, twitching as she turned the next page.

           Now the question the man in the suit had asked her, shortly after bringing her into the room became clearer.

           “Shall we open door number one, darling?” He asked.

           “Who are you?” Heather's voice was a trembling whisper.

           The man smiled. His red lips parted slightly so that the jagged edges of his white teeth were visible. It looked more like a grimace than a smile to Heather, and an icy chill ran along the back of her neck.

           “Let's just say I'm the man who will offer you redemption.”

“Did you kill my sister?” Heather hissed.

           He waited a moment, letting the silence fill the the room like air inside a balloon, then, “No, not quite. You need to realize that I am here to help you,” He offered another grotesque smile, “then we can come to an agreement.”

           “What do you want?”

           The man in the suit shrugged, “I just told you. I want to offer redemption. What if I were to tell you that the man who killed your sister is behind that door?” Without removing his gaze from Heather he shot a thumb over his left shoulder to the door behind him.

           She looked down at the book she had just finished reading. It consisted of several journal entries, starting about a month ago and then ending on a Saturday, two days ago. It documented in detail about a man who tracked and stalked a woman and eventually kidnapping her and strangling her to death behind a dumpster in an alleyway. That woman was her little sister, Elaine.

           Heather wondered if all of this was real, or if it was a dream, that she would wake and when she did she would call her sister to make sure it was in fact a figment of her imagination. She lifted a numb arm and with her forefinger traced the leather binding. It was warm to the touch.

           She got up, staggering to her feet and reached for the gun. Wrapping her fingers around the cold polished metal was oddly soothing. The weight of it in her hands made it feel powerful.

           She walked across the room, holding the weapon out in front of her, and turned the knob. When the door opened, a rush of warm, dank air wafted out. She stepped inside, beyond the threshold of darkness and as her eyes adjusted to the absence of light and what little filtered in from the doorway she saw the shape of a man.

          After a moment she could see that the silhouette was sitting in a chair with his arms displayed, palm up, on his thighs. For a moment (the insanity of her blind anger she was sure) Heather could see her sisters' face in her mind, her face twisted in agony as a set of thick, calloused hands wrapped around her throat.

         Heather lifted the gun, which was as heavy as a cinder-block in her grip, and with her index finger, squeezed. Just before the loud roar of the pistol cracked through the two rooms she could hear muffled screams as well as laughter.

         As the noise abated, after what seemed to be forever as the sound echoed against the walls, there was one sound left. The man in the black suit stood in the doorway between the two rooms, laughing. And then, a light switch flicked on and blinding yellow luminescence filled the air.

         When Heather's vision adjusted, what she saw made her entire body numb with horror at what she had just done.

         Her sister lay on her back, strapped in the chair, in a growing puddle of blood.

         Heather stepped back and let the gun fall to the ground.

         All she could hear in the room was the man's raucous laughter behind her, and all she could see was the image of her sister in her head, swimming in the blackness.

© 2012 J.L Hunter

Author's Note

J.L Hunter
Originally intended for national public radio's three minute fiction contest. The rules were that it had to have the first sentence, already chosen, and the story had to revolve around that opening line. Also it had to be under 600 words, which is why I never turned it in, because however hard I tried there was no way I could have condensed it down any more than it already was. There are some good lines that I really enjoy here and had fun writing it. Gave me a laugh anyways.

My Review

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Reviews first, to be completely honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it. There are a lot of grammar issues; that's my pet peeve. Every time there was a misplaced comma or a fragment, I cringed a little more :) Let's start with the positives. Nice job developing your characters. Despite the fact that you barely described either of them, I truly sympathize the protagonist and hope from the start that she kills that son of a b***h. I love the twist at the end, very uncalled for. However, I'm going to point out two of the most annoying grammar issues. Example Number One:
"The man, sitting in a chair across the small claustrophobic space watched as she read, his eyes, unblinking, never strayed away from her direction."
This is a run on sentence that drove me crazy :) You can either place a conjunction before the word 'his' or break this up into two sentences. I noticed that you repeated this mistake a few times.
Example Number Two:
“'No, not quite. You need to realize that I am here to help you,'” He offered another grotesque smile, “'then we can come to an agreement.'”
This confuses my brain a lot. Instead, place a period after the word 'you' and capitalize 'then'. It makes your writing a lot cleaner and easier to read. Anyways, I think you did a nice job and can easily revise.

Posted 6 Years Ago

J.L Hunter

6 Years Ago

Amazing review by the way. The things you've pointed out were all true and I plan on doing a revisio.. read more

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1 Review
Added on March 20, 2012
Last Updated on March 20, 2012
Tags: flash fiction, twist ending, suspense


J.L Hunter
J.L Hunter

Pensacola, FL

Writer. Father. Lover of cheese. Umbrella salesman. Badger enthusiast. Doorknob. Cup. Also, cigarettes. Lots and lots of cigarettes. And beer. Smoke. Sizzurp drinker. Lemon flavor, never grape. more..

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