Some Manner of Shocking Twist

Flash Fiction Month 2014, Day 29

Challenge #13: Write an epistolary story in response to a piece of flash fiction written by another author this month. The story must include at least one dead character, at least one nameless character, and at least one cat. This story is a response to Joe Wright’s piece, Toil and Trouble.

Dear Miss MacAbre,

 

I have a somewhat embarrassing problem. As a recently deceased usurper of the throne, I’m having some difficulty adjusting to the afterlife. I understand that’s totally normal, and I’ve been very impressed by the advice on offer. The leaflet I was given upon arrival—So You’ve Been Besieged by an Army of Guys Dressed Like Trees and Your C-section Rival Lopped Your Head Off—was both helpful and unnervingly specific. I’ve taken everything it says on board and, though it’s hardly smooth sailing, I feel that I’m making good progress. My wife, who died shortly before me, seems to have acclimatised much more quickly and has already succeeded in gaining employment with a local magazine.

 

My real problem is that while I am content to slowly adjust to life after death, my wife is pressuring me to commit regicide once again. This causes no end of worry, as not only did it not work out so well for me last time, it is actually the same king. I fear that murdering him a second time would threaten to end our already strained friendship.

 

I love my wife dearly, and have tried to divert her attention from what I believe to be a doomed enterprise by adopting an adorable kitten named Spot. Sadly, my wife does not share my affection for him and upon seeing him will invariably attempt to shoo him outside. Also, I fear that distracting her with a pet or hobby would not address the underlying problem in our relationship.

 

I eagerly await your advice. Also, if there’s any chance anyone at your publication would be able to look after a small but very energetic kitten, I would be much obliged.

 

Yours sincerely,

Anonymous

 

***

 

Dear Anonymous,

 

Boo hoo hoo! You sound like such a whiny little girl. If I were a man, instead of a lady, I would totally murder that king so hard! In fact, I wish I wasn’t a lady so that I could actually murder him. I would be, like, soooo full of cruelty and thick blood and junk. And manly. Really manly. Just like you should be, except you’re not, because you suck. You big wuss.

 

Go kill Duncan again, and do it right this time.

 

Yours sincerely,

Lady MacAbre

 

***

 

Dear Miss MacAbre,

 

I’ve taken your advice, but I can’t help but feel that I’m just going round in circles. Everything is happening the same as before, only this time people seem to be much, much, much more suspicious of me. I didn’t like to mention this initially, but a lot of people who were around for my first stint on the throne are also dead now, and it’s hard to persuade them that I didn’t kill the king’s ghost. Frankly I feel kind of guilty that they’re even giving me the benefit of the doubt.

 

Anonymous

 

***

 

Anonymous,

 

It’s fine. Just throw a big banquet. Get ‘em so drunk they don’t know what’s what! Also, if any of these people gave you trouble last time around, this would totes be the time to bump them off. Live and learn, right? Well, learn anyway.

 

MacAbre

 

***

 

Dear “Miss MacAbre,”

 

I didn’t exactly study at Wittenberg, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea to plan multiple murders in the “Help and Healing” section of a widely-read magazine. While I’d like nothing more than to see both of you get your comeuppance, I personally would prefer it if you didn’t arrive in the after-afterlife quite so soon.

 

Regards,

Banquo’s Ghost’s Ghost

 

***

 

Too late. He’s your problem now.

 

MacAbre

 

***

 

Not anymore.

 

Banquo’s Ghost’s Ghost

 

***

 

I think we should see other people. “Till death do us part” and all that. You can keep the cat.

 

Macbeth’s Ghost’s Ghost’s Ghost


If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from Flash Fiction Month 2012 and 2013 collected in OCR is Not the Only Font and Red Herring respectively.

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2 comments

    • Damon Wakes

      I like to think that Lady Macbeth will eventually hook up with Claudius (assuming he didn’t skip straight to the after-afterlife due to being poisoned and stabbed) and that he’ll look after Spot. It’d work out great for all three of them (though probably not for anyone else–I imagine it would involve a lot of ear poisoning).

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