Monday, July 9, 2012

Caught in the Act

When I'm stuck on novel projects, or just in between them, I like to dabble in short fiction.  Then, to tighten things up even more, flash fiction which is usually stories under 1000 words.  Sometimes though, to make things really concise, I challenge myself to write stories in 500 words or less.  That makes every word count in a way they don't have to in a longer work.

So here's one of these super short stories.  Enjoy!

By Kate Larkindale

The clouds above the city are blushing.  Streaks of yellow gold pierce them as the sun peeps over the horizon.  I sit by the window in the pre-dawn silence, watching, waiting.

At exactly 6:03am the light flicks on in the apartment across from my own, a single square of brightness in the otherwise dark building.  A figure crosses to the window, yawing as she peers out at the street six floors below.  I hold my breath, wondering as I do each and every morning if she can see me.  Wondering if she knows I’m there.

She pulls her short white nightgown over her head, letting it drift to the floor.   Her body is lean, breasts small but perfect.   A small tattoo – too small for me to see properly – adorns the golden skin above the left one.  Something delicate, I imagine; a bird or butterfly, perhaps.

She turns, running long fingers through her mass of dark curls, lifting the hair from her neck then letting it fall back to cascade over her shoulders once more.   She picks up her brush from the low table and runs it through her hair, slow and gentle to begin with, the strokes growing quicker and more savage as she continues.  I count under my breath, knowing she’ll brush exactly one hundred times.

She sets the brush down and crosses out of sight.  A moment later she is back, sliding into her ugly pink uniform, contorting herself as she jerks the zip on the side to the top.  She smoothes the cheap fabric over her hips, tugging the short skirt down over narrow thighs.

Sitting on the end of the rumpled bed, she pulls on pantyhose, inserting each leg languidly into the rolled-up nylon, taking care that her toe-nails don’t snag.  She leans back, points her toes and inspects each leg for flaws before rising and inserting her feet into the white shoes that await, lined up like soldiers by the bed.

A quick check in the mirror and she’s gone, the light snapping off abruptly, plunging her room into darkness once more.  I think, for a moment, I see her shape in the window, staring back into my own.  I shrink back, momentarily ashamed.  Caught in the act.  Branded a voyeur.

My breath is just returning to normal when I’m startled by an unfamiliar sound: the ringing doorbell.


  1. Great read - definitely well done being conservative with the words but still telling a compelling story ^_^

  2. I didn't see that ending coming. Nice twist. It's a great way to take your mind off everything else but keep your skills honed.

  3. Very nice. I should try my hand and something like this from time to time.