Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Flash Fiction - Black Carnations

I thought I'd share a flash fiction with you in honor of Halloween. Happy Trick or Treat. Be safe out there!



Jolee stormed into the flower shop where she worked and threw her duffle bag behind the counter, grabbing her time card to punch in. She wasn’t quite ready to stuff flower baskets or work on rose displays, but she definitely needed something to get her mind off him.

“Jolee, girlfriend, what’s wrong?” asked Audrey, her boss.

Jolee shoved the time card back into the holder under the counter. “I’m leaving him, Audrey.”

“What now?” Audrey asked. Her soft green eyes were full of concern.

“I caught him in bed with some other girl. We fought,” Jolee answered in a clipped tone. The sweet scents that wafted through the air made her stomach nauseous.

“Did he hit you?” Audrey asked.

Jolee nodded her head and pointed to the duffle bag. “I’m moving out today.”

Audrey nodded her head as if understanding. Even now Jolee was afraid to admit that he’d given her a nice fat welt on her backside from their confrontation this morning.

The bell jingled as the door opened. Jolee felt the warm air plummet to near freezing as a dark haired, olive-skinned man walked in. He was dressed in a very flattering business suit, but wore a wool coat over his clothes. Odd attire for such a warm, sunny day.

“Sweetie, can you take care of him?” Audrey asked. “I’ve got to go out back.”

Jolee nodded her head, rubbed her arms, and approached the unusual looking stranger.

“Can I help you?”

“Do you have black carnations?” he asked. His deep, baritone voice was smooth and soothing as he turned to face her.

In that moment Jolee noticed his eyes – cold, steel blue, the whites almost red, as if he was internally hot – smoldering – underneath.

“Ah, no. That’s just a myth, you know…” she stammered. She was caught off guard by his looks. There was a joke in the flower community having to do with carnations. They came in practically every color except black, and each one had a meaning. Yellow carnations meant friendship. Black carnations meant you wanted someone dead.

“I’ll take a dozen white carnations then,” he replied. “Thank you, Miss.”

Jolee nodded her head and went about preparing him a bouquet. He waited patiently, watching her every move with intense fascination. The transaction complete, he thanked her and walked toward the door, pausing suddenly to face her.

“There will be no regrets from him.”

“Huh? Who are you?” she asked. An uneasy feeling rumbled in her throat.

“Mephistopheles,” and with that cryptic reply, he waltzed out the door.

“Weirdo,” she muttered.


The day went on as usual. Jolee created baskets and filled orders. Just before closing a tall man walked into the shop, wearing a light windbreaker jacket that said, ‘police.’

“Jolee Smith?” he asked.

She nodded her head.

“Jack Drebin was found dead in your apartment today.”

Jolee was stunned. Her boyfriend! “How?”

From behind his back the officer brought out a black carnation. “Perhaps you could tell me?”

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