The Visit

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She stared at him, concern wrinkling her brow. “Are they treating you okay? Do you have what you need?”

He nodded, watching her.

“You seem thinner. Are you getting enough to eat? I worry…”

“You needn’t,” he replied. “Things are as well as can be expected.”

Glancing around the sparsely furnished room, her eyes settled on the stern man positioned near the door. He appeared not to be listening, his eyes focused straight ahead. But she knew better.

With Ted in prison, every visit was like this.

She reached across the table to take his hand and the sentry tensed. Touching was against the rules. She withdrew her hand.

“I wish it didn’t have to be this way,” she began.

He leaned forward. “The story – how is it coming?”

She brightened. “Very well! Vanity Fair is interested. They’ll want to send a photographer. You’ll have to open up with them, Ted. It will help your cause.”

“What would you have me say, Shayna?”

“The truth! That they drove you to it! Those terrible women… you’re the victim, Ted. Not them! Once people know the truth, know you the way I do, they’ll see the injustice.”

He said nothing.

“I was thinking…maybe we should get married.”

He raised his brows. “Married? How would that help?”

“Love, don’t you see? It would create sympathy for you. People will question your involvement in the murders. They’ll tell themselves that no woman familiar with the case could have fallen in love with a man capable of such crimes.”

“You have a point,” he said. He picked up the pencil sitting next to the pad on the table, and scribbled something on a page already filled with tiny, cramped writing. “But what about the razor blades?”

She blinked in confusion. “Razor blades?”

He frowned. “Don’t you remember, Shayna?”

She glanced at the man stationed by the door. Something odd about his uniform… he wasn’t wearing one… he had a clipboard in his hands…

“Shayna?”

She looked at Ted. A smile broke the confusion.

“I’ve always wanted a church wedding, but I guess that won’t be possible…”

Ted stood up, the visit over.

“I’ll see you next week, love,” she said.

He never looked back, and the sentry ushered him through the door.

***

Dr. Martin peered at the woman through the one-way mirror in the next room.

“A year now, and she still calls you ‘Ted,’” said the male nurse, making a note on the clipboard.

“There’s been little progress.” Martin shook his head. The case frustrated him.

“You think she really doesn’t remember giving those blades to Ted Girardi?”

“She’s repressed the memory.”

Thinking of the photos he’d seen of the two slain prison guards, throats slit, Martin wished he could forget.

“I don’t get it, doc… a smart reporter at the top of her field and she falls for a murderer…”

Martin didn’t know what to say, and so he said nothing.

Shayna turned toward the mirror and smiled.

__________________
Word Count: 500
Author’s Note: This week’s tale is written in response to a challenge to write a 500-words or less story about a journalist writing a story about living on death row and who falls for one of the inmates she interviewed. You can check out these weekly flash fiction challenges hosted by ThainInVain here
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About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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49 Responses to The Visit

  1. willow1945 says:

    Wow, good one! You really have a strong sense of dramatic structure, making your stories exciting and engaging, with powerful and satisfying endings, and this one is no exception–great twist!

  2. This is excellent! Grizzly but awesome reading.

  3. A grisly proposal with an unexpected twist. Gave me the shivers.

  4. W. K. Tucker says:

    As always, loved your story, Kate. All the twists and turns and WHAM. Didn’t see it coming. 🙂

  5. vinnieh says:

    Excellent work.

  6. markbialczak says:

    You got me again, Kate. Again. Damn. Wonderful.

  7. Bree Salyer says:

    Most people wouldn’t be able to make such a smooth transition with such a restricted word limit. This was absolutely flawless. Loved it!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thank you, Bree, for you kind words! Very much appreciated. I’m a fan of your flash fiction stories, and it is very nice to hear such nice things from someone whose work I enjoy. 🙂

  8. Mark Gardner says:

    Nice! I like turnabout like this. This was the sort of story I was envisioning when I wrote the first chapters of The Afflicted.

  9. Lucy says:

    Wow, sister. It’s a bit macabre. I like it. She’s a real winner. Lucy

  10. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week Twenty-Seven Submissions (27) | Thain in Vain

  11. Didn’t see that coming! Awesome work, Kate! She is now a woman physically and mentally trapped! Great take on the prompt! TiV

  12. mihrank says:

    very well – excellent introduction!!!

  13. Wonderful work as usual, Kate! 🙂

    What a great way to turn the prompt on its head, I love the irony of the fact that Shayna is the prisoner and of her own mind too. Great stuff!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Heather! Shayna had problems – and I think they must have begun long before she fell for Ted Girardi. There’s got to be a problem with someone who discards common sense and falls under the spell of a murderer. I wanted to give the story a creepy ending, and so I had that strange woman smile into the mirror, as if she knew she was being observed. 🙂

  14. That wasn’t what I expected! Nice job.

  15. Like it all. Strong opening and ending, esp.

  16. Sneaky Lady! 🙂 I am always left wondering how you manage to find fresh ways to pull me in. Girl, I’m a hard sell and you sell me every single time!

  17. Loved how you turned this story on its head. No coffee this afternoon, but still a great read.

  18. Helen Espinosa says:

    This is so well written. There are so many things unwritten but implied that made reading between the lines effortless. Well done! 🙂

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Helen! I always hope that readers can read between the lines of my flash fictions; you have to depend on that when you’re working with a limited word count. Glad it worked! 🙂

  19. Julia Lund says:

    I like the unexpected and enjoyed the twist in this little story’s tale!

  20. Juan Zung says:

    Ooo, this is really good.

  21. Mark Baron says:

    Ooooh nice twist! Love it! This prompt, which seemed a bit constrictive at first, is going in so many interesting directions!

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