Lucky Lisa

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“Careful, sweetheart,” said Niles, helping her from the car. “Dr. Mendez said you should take things slow.”

Clinging to her husband’s arm, Lisa forced a smile.

After twelve months, the doctors had pronounced her cured and released her from the Schuyler Falls Rest Home.

A stranger now in a strange land.

Her long convalescence had been a dark, hopeless time. Only Nile’s visits had kept her sane. His tenderness had slowly coaxed her back from the pit. Even in the grip of paranoia, she’d understood how lucky it was that she’d married a man like Niles.

There were only two bright spots in Lisa’s life: her husband and her brother, Lionel.

Lionel had never displayed any bitterness toward Lisa, despite their father’s leaving his entire fortune to her. The two remained close, and Lionel continued to live in the big house on the hill along with his sister and brother-in-law.

“Sweetheart, let’s get you inside the house. There’s someone anxious to see you.”

***

“Welcome home, little sister!” said Lionel, hurrying over, kissing her cheek.

Niles, spying fruit, cheese and champagne sitting on a side table, laughed. “Champagne, too? What a grand idea!” he said, paring an apple.

“Lisa’s homecoming is a celebration.” Lionel gently caressed his sister’s cheek.

Lisa smiled at the tender gesture, her eyes filming over. She was so lucky!

“Look, honey,” said Lionel, pointing to a print hanging on the wall. “Not the original, but unless I rob a museum, this is the best I can do. You’ve always loved the painting – it’s a ‘welcome home’ gift. I hope you like it.”

The Mona Lisa smiled benignly from the wall. Lisa tried to decipher the meaning behind the enigmatic beauty’s expression.

What do you know, Mona Lisa?

“Thank you,” she said reverently, studying the print. “She’s beautiful!”

Niles grinned. “And now, champagne!”

Lisa accepted a glass, gazing contentedly at her gift.

Several moments later, frowning, she set the glass aside.

Something wasn’t right.

Mona Lisa’s face had altered. The smile, once benign, was now ghastly. The dark eyes soulless…

Lisa turned away, rubbed her eyes, then hazarded another look.

The print kept changing, quickly morphing into something hellish.

“Do you see that?” she asked Niles, pulling on his arm. “Look at the print!”

Niles looked. “What about it?”

“She’s changing!  She’s… oh God! She’s a monster!”

Niles sat up, alarmed. “Lisa, there’s nothing wrong with the print.” He looked helplessly at Lionel who was staring at his sister.

“Lisa! Stop!”

Lisa, grabbing the paring knife, ran quickly toward the print. “Must destroy it… must!”

Niles grabbed her arm, wresting the knife from her. “Lionel, call the ambulance.”

***

Hours later, Niles returned home. He entered Lionel’s room and saw him lounging on a sofa. In silent greeting, Lionel lifted his champagne glass.

“How’d you do it?” asked Niles.

Lionel smiled. “Smoke, mirrors, a little thing called projection. It wasn’t hard. How’s ‘Lucky Lisa?'”

Niles poured himself a glass of champagne. “She’ll be lucky to get out of the rest home before age ninety.”

“Come here, lover.” Lionel held out his arms and Niles slipped into them.

“Now let’s really celebrate.”

__________________
Word count: 523
Author’s Note: This story is written in response to ThainInVain’s weekly flash fiction challenge. For this week, she encouraged us to write a story based on the photo above. ThainInVain’s challenge can be found here.

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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48 Responses to Lucky Lisa

  1. Oh wow, I did not see that ending coming!

    Niles and Lionel as treacherous lovers, what a great twist! I completely agree with all of the comments made on your wonderful story. Evil, creepy and a wonderful twist at the end. Plus, you brought back Schuyler Falls! ❤ ❤

  2. Oh my, Kate. Not only did you slam dunk the ending, but phrased it all well throughout. I’ve been especially pleased with the last several posts.

    Love,
    Diana

  3. willow1945 says:

    Yikes! You really have a gift for telling a gripping story in a short space–one of your best!

  4. joshuawolfe says:

    It kept me entralled and it had a great plot twist. Nice job!

  5. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 43 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  6. Adan Ramie says:

    I love it. What a horrific, amazing tale. I had a creeping feeling that something wasn’t right, but I definitely didn’t expect that. Well done, Kate!

  7. Whoa, totally didn’t see that coming! Love that Nils and Lionel were lovers and conspired to re-commit sad, little Lisa, so they could be together! Awesome take on the prompt, Kate! TiV

  8. W. K. Tucker says:

    My, my, what a lovely/awful story, Kate. I had this gut feeling things were not as they appeared, and you proved me right.
    And I adored the the picture. Creepy me would like a copy to hang on my wall.😏

  9. M. C. Dulac says:

    Like Lisa, I did not see that coming!

  10. *hiding under the blankets* See you November 1st. 😉

  11. Love the t.w.i.s.t. Felt something must be coming but what? Outstanding story and perfect for the season. ⭐ ⭐

  12. Woo, woo, a great twisted tale. Clever Kate! I do look forward to reading your stories, a real treat any day of the week.

  13. So clever, you’re so good at leading one way and twisting another in your writing!

  14. Perfect for the season that’s in it, Kate, devilishly clever and with a touch of the macabre (and echoes of Dorian Gray)..and that Hitchcockian twist – love it!
    As ever, strong writing and thoroughly rewarding for this reader.
    Bless you!

  15. That sent me running to my thesaurus for another superlative, Kate. What a twist! I loved it.

  16. Kaleiyah-P says:

    Wooow. Did not see that coming, but… Man, that was good 😀 ! But so gut-wrenching at the same time. That’s true horror for you. Great stuff!

  17. wildbilbo says:

    Great story & fantastic twist. Nicely done!

  18. Yuck! What a great plot twist and surprise ending. Outstanding.

  19. Bruce Goodman says:

    That caught me out, utterly. And to think that Niles all the time had been a lesbian masquerading as a man! (Just kidding) I though it was fantastic!

  20. markbialczak says:

    Oh, Kate, great Halloween week story here. Creepy men! Well constructed to the very end.

  21. Helen Espinosa says:

    I love it when I don’t see it coming! Nice!

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