He watched her stroll toward the entrance of the apartment building.

Cloaked in the blackness of night, he felt invincible.

He got out of his car, slamming its door shut. That sound, jarring in the quiet darkness, surprised the young woman. Frightened, she glanced his way and then started walking faster.

It was no good – he caught her easily. Cruelly, he plunged the steel blade into her back. Again! Again!

“My God, my God!” she screamed repeatedly. “He’s stabbing me!”

Windows that had been left open were quickly closed, curtains pulled tight, lights turned off.

No one wanted to get involved.

Word Count: 100
This story is written in response to VelvetVerbosity’s challenge to write a story based on the word ‘cloak.’ The tale is based on the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. After getting off work in the early hours of the morning, Kitty was murdered in front of her apartment building. Later, police investigations revealed that individuals nearby heard the attack or observed portions of it, but did not intervene.

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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32 Responses to Kitty

  1. markbialczak says:

    The closing of the windows is a powerful clincher, Kate.

  2. M. C. Dulac says:

    Ooh, I didn’t know it was based on a true story. How sad – very powerfully written!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Yes, a true and terrible story. Worse, her killer has never experienced any remorse and is still in prison for the deed, occasionally coming before the Parole Board for hearings. Kitty’s family was quite devastated by all of this.

      Thanks for the kind words regarding the writing!

  3. stacilys says:

    Oh my goodness. This is very strong. You did a wonderful job, really packing a punch in a 100 word prompt. How very sad that it was based on a true story though.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Staci, for reading and commenting. I tried hard to make it stark and strong, trying to put some of the horror and brutality and coldness into it that the story of Kitty’s death always brings to mind when I think of it. A horrifying tale.

  4. Excellent stuff, Kate! ❤

    And all the more chilling to know that it's based on a true story. How sad to think that Kitty's neighbours left her to her grisly fate and did nothing to intervene.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Heather, it has always been a chilling story. It was especially chilling in the 1960s; people seem more remote today and willing to look the other way. I’m glad you liked what I put together. ❤

  5. Kate Loveton says:

    It’s a great challenge, Velvet. I think it teaches us to get to the crux of a story, to understand the key elements that will get a story across. I very much like the 100 word challenges.

    Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  6. I’ve always found this behavior in humans quite chilling, but really, modern life has us living in ways not natural to our wiring. We live next to people but don’t always know their names. People will come to the rescue if they know who it is, but not for a stranger. It’s too risky. Still, it is terrifying to contemplate.

    I notice a lot of comments about it being difficult to tell a whole story in 100 words, and that’s the point. 😉 When you have to strip it down, you learn to bring brevity to a small amount of text, and you’ve done well with that here.

  7. Kate….. *shielding her eyes* I won’t sleep now, you know! 😉 xx

  8. willow1945 says:

    I remember when that happened–horrifying and sad. You did a great job with it; “Windows that had been left open were quickly closed, curtains pulled tight, lights turned off.” Chilling…

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Willow, I had such a lot of trouble coming up with that line! I had to get across the point that people purposely chose to ignore what was happening – but had used up most of my word count! 😀 I had to edit that line quite a bit to make it work with my word count. Thanks for reading!

  9. I knew the minute I saw the picture she was Kitty Genovese. Powerful stuff, Kate, about a shameful episode of human indifference. Great job.

  10. Wow. Very hard to write anything coherent let alone a story in 100 words. Poor Kitty. Nice!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Cindy! When I write these very short pieces, they always exceed the word count… and then I spend quite a lot of time stripping excess words or unnecessary thoughts or phrases from the story to fit the word count. It’s a challenge to so and not to sacrifice the meaning of the story.

      • It’s a great exercise. When I’m writing, I always repeat to myself, where’s the story? Get to the story…’s easy to run away with tangents and extra words. Tight prose is awesome. Hemingway would be proud 😉 You do it well!

  11. naomiharvey says:

    I think the brevity of the piece actually lends a strength to the message. The neighbours turned their attention away from what was happening and it is like the story is forcing the readers to do the same with the deliberate absence of details.

  12. A strong story in so few words, and so sad that it was based on a true event!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Mishka. It was quite an infamous story in the 1960s. The murderer was caught and continues to serve time in jail and, from all accounts, still has no remorse for his deed.

  13. The suddenness of it, the cruelty and violence of it and the cruelty of indifference and not wanting to know…all in 100 words.
    Kate, you are gifted.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I don’t know about gifted, but I certainly appreciate the kind compliment. 🙂 I like the micro fiction challenges. It’s rather fun to attempt to tell a story by stripping it to the bone, and seeing if you can still get enough of it across so that the reader understands what you’re trying to convey.

  14. Lucy says:

    I seem to remember that horrible incident and the public’s reaction to the inaction of her neighbors. Well done, Sister. Lucy

  15. Putting so much into so few words is a real skill, Kate, and one you have certainly mastered.

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