The Greatest Crime

Delighting in the beauty surrounding her, she wondered how she and the husband had gotten such a cushy job. The landlord was generous, allowing them full run of the place as long as they took care of it.

It was joyous to live amidst so many beautiful things, to know she could enjoy them all.

All? Surely not all…”

Surprised, she turned swiftly. “Who are you? How did you get in here?”

He grinned. “Landlord sent me. I’m taking inventory.”

She stared at him. His beauty was beguiling.

“You like being tenants here?”

“Who wouldn’t?” she replied. “The landlord didn’t mention you were coming…”

“He’s busy – probably slipped his mind. This is just one of his places. He’s got many.” He looked around. “Sure is nice here. You get to handle this stuff?”

“Oh, yes. We make ourselves at home; we can handle anything as long we take care of it.”

“Even that?” he asked, indicating a shining object.

She hesitated. “Well, no… that’s a prized possession.”

An amused chuckle. “Really?  Doesn’t he trust you?  I thought you were the caretakers…”

“We are!” she said, stung by his words. “It’s just that one object. He says it’s too valuable.”

“So, he doesn’t trust you… He must think you too irresponsible.”

She looked closely at the object. Odd it had never interested her before; it was the loveliest of the landlord’s collection.

“Go ahead, pick it up. The landlord isn’t here. I won’t tell.”

Coming to a decision, she reached for it. Bold visions blossomed in her brain as she caressed its smooth roundness.

When the visions cleared, her world was changed.

“See? You didn’t break it, and no one’s the wiser.” Satisfied, he moved away.

“Wife! What are you doing – you can’t touch that!”

Turning, she faced her husband.

Her new eyes judged him harshly. “Why not? Touch it – it’s nice.”

He paused, remembering the landlord’s instructions.  Still, just a touch… How wrong could that be?

His finger grazed the object’s surface.

Myriads of visions…

Then something new: guilt.

The landlord suddenly appeared. “Is this how you repay trust?”

The woman didn’t flinch. “The one you sent to take inventory – he said it was okay. What’s the big deal?”

Looking around, the landlord spotted the intruder. “You again.” He sounded sad. “I loved you and would’ve welcomed you home countless times.”

The intruder’s head whipped toward the man and woman. “To take second place – to that? I prefer darkness.”

“Which is where your jealousy has sentenced you. You’ve corrupted innocence – the greatest crime ever committed by one creature against another. Leave my presence.”

Unabashed, the intruder glided away.

Looking at the couple, the landlord sighed. “I’m sorry; you’ve chosen your course. You must leave.”

“No! Please! We’re sorry!”

“I believe you. But, understand, every choice is fraught with responsibility. Don’t despair. We’ll see one other again.”

Following Adam from the garden, Eve let the apple drop from her hand.

Word count: 500
Author’s Notes: This story is written in response to ThainInVain’s challenge to write a 500-word or less story about a famous crime. ThainInVain’s weekly flash fiction challenge is 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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33 Responses to The Greatest Crime

  1. Julia Lund says:

    Nice take on an old tale.

  2. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 51 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  3. Wonderful read. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Such a clever tale, Kate! ❤

    Proof, if any more was needed, that you have amazing talent as a writer. Ingenious. I loved it! ❤

  5. Lucy says:

    Excellent, Sister. Well told. By the way. I discovered that there actually were Sisters Grime and they were abducted and killed when teenagers. How ominous is that? Lucy

  6. Megan says:

    Wonderful retelling of on of oldest stories in time. Sometimes it makes the events more real when put in a different setting. Love it!

  7. M. C. Dulac says:

    Wonderful! At first I had the image of a lovely summer house. Then halfway through I knew something unusual was coming! This piece reminded me of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” one of my favourite books, which I haven’t read for ages.

  8. willow1945 says:

    Excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed this!

  9. Glynis Jolly says:

    The telling of this story is wonderful. An excellent job.

  10. I love the punch line. Nice job 🙂

    • Kate Loveton says:

      So glad you enjoyed! Thought of you the other day (since you love old movies). Ever see ‘Conflict’ with Bogart, Alexis Smith and Sydney Greenstreet? For once, Bogie is the heavy, not Greenstreet. A good noir. Happy new year!

  11. Outstanding. Something niggled about half-way when I realized what the story was based on. I LIKE your take on this. Pretty awesome. I love this one!

  12. daleenc says:

    Clever, amazing, wow!! Good job!!

  13. Proof, if ever it were needed, that even the most ancient of stories can be recast and rendered current and relevant. Superb.

  14. Yes, very clever. It took me a minute to figure where this was going. The setting great.

  15. noelleg44 says:

    Clever Kate, to do a take off on the original “crime.” I enjoyed it enormously!

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