FREE STORY

Every issue of my free newsletter contains a brand-new flash fiction story. Here’s one of them:

“The Tell Tale Heart II: Aftermath”

Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now –again! –hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! –It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

The three officers all stared at me. “I beg your pardon?” asked the first.

“It is…” I trailed off, realizing I’d made a severe tactical error. “Sorry. It’s been a long day. What were we talking about again?”

“Did you say it’s the beating of his hideous heart?” asked the second officer.

I violently shook my head. “Oh, no, no, no. You can’t hear somebody’s heart when they’re buried under the floorboards. That would be ridiculous. My ears are good, but they’re not that good. Anyway, if he were buried under the floorboards, he’d be dead, and he’s not dead, he’s away in the country, as I said earlier in our conversation.”

“Then what did you say?”

“I said…it’s the…bleating…of his…piteouschart. It’s the bleating of his piteous chart.”

The third officer frowned. “That’s a perplexing thing to say.”

“I know. But please do not think that I am mad.”

“Why did you ask us to tear up the planks?”

“I don’t remember saying that.”

“You said, ‘Villains, dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! –It is the bleating of his piteous chart!'”

“Right, right,” I said. “I admit that I’ve been careless with the maintenance of this home, and the floorboards have warped most badly. I slept fitfully last night, and so I briefly forgot that you were police officers and confused you with home improvement professionals, who would tear up the planks and replace them with straighter ones.”

“Being careless about the upkeep of your home isn’t what I would call a ‘deed,'” said the first officer. “It’s more like an ongoing state.”

“I agree with my associate,” said the second officer. “And why would you call them villains? They’re providing a necessary service. If I was here to replace your floor and you insulted me before I even got started, why, I’d march right back out the door.”

“I’m not going to lie,” said the third officer. “I think you murdered the old man, chopped him up, buried him under the floorboards, and then thought you heard the sound of his beating heart.”

“Ha ha ha,” I chuckled. “How could such a preposterous scenario even enter your mind?”

“Well, you’re clearly a whack-a-doodle. I bet you killed him because he had a weird ear or a weird nose or a weird eyebrow or something.”

“Liar!” I shouted. “I did no such insane psychotic thing! Vacate my home at once!”

“Actually,” said the first officer, “now that you mention it, I did hear the sound of a heart beating before his outburst. I didn’t think much about it at the time.”

“Me too,” said the second officer. “I just figured he had a metronome.”

“I did hear a thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump,” said the third officer. “I assumed it was all in my head.”

Everybody looked at the spot underneath my chair.

“Oh, yeah,” said the first officer. “There’s totally a heartbeat coming from under there.”

“I admit the deed!” I shouted.

“We were totally making that up to see what you’d do,” said the first officer.

“Fudge!” I said.

The officers pried up the floorboards and removed the chunks of the old man. The first officer looked at his severed head and recoiled.

“Look at his eye! It’s a pale blue eye with a film over it—the eye of a vulture! It’s making my blood run cold!”

“That’s the worst eye I’ve ever seen,” said the second officer. “How could you stand to be around him with that thing looking at you all the time?”

The third officer choked back some bile before he spoke. “I would absolutely murder an old man who had an eye like that. That’s just plain wrong. It’s like it’s following me around.” He shuddered.

“I think we’re done here,” said the first officer. “It’s safe enough to say that you won’t claim any other victims, because nobody else’s eye could be that messed up.  Just try to keep the noise level down so we don’t have to come back, okay?”

“Okay,” I said.

The police officers left. That encounter would’ve gone better if I hadn’t confessed to murder, but still, it worked out okay in the end. So, dammit, stop saying that I am mad!

Copyright 2019 by Jeff Strand.

27 Responses to “FREE STORY”

  1. christopher Says:

    Just wanted to drop a quick note and thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed it. Also thanks again for reading my story on writing.com.

    take care.

    By the way I also enjoyed your book ‘pressure’. I see you have another book coming out soon by Leisure as well. I can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. eugene Says:

    thanks! a “real” short story and it made a bemused grin come upon me

    Like

  3. Lisa Avila Says:

    Interesting story – wonder what my thoughts would be

    Like

  4. jeffstrand Says:

    Thanks, Lisa. My thoughts would be “AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!” which would probably make for less interesting literature.

    Like

  5. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the story. Loved Pressure, can not wait to read more from you.

    Like

  6. jeffstrand Says:

    Thanks, Chris! Why, if you loved Pressure and can’t wait to read more, there’s this new book called Dweller…

    Like

  7. Mizzbett Says:

    Nicely done Jeff…I am sure that your original ending is best. I haven’t been to your site in a while.

    Glad to know that Gleefully Macabre Tales is available in paperback now, and Dweller is on my list to buy next.

    You and Des were very entertaining on Dread Media!

    Bette

    Like

  8. Chris Says:

    Dweller will be in my mail box soon. I do the Dochester Horror Book Club, on of the highlights of every month.

    Like

  9. franki Says:

    Just one question.WTF WTF WTF??????!!! U r twisted freak with an even more twisted sense of humor!!!u know that??? Well I must be too cause I was sitting laughing the whole time. can’t wait to read more

    Like

  10. Nikki Says:

    Too funny… I actually met someone who survived a failed parachute when I lived in Hawaii… they weren’t too willing to relive their own thought process though… I guess I can understand why a little better now!

    Like

  11. Carl Says:

    That was great! See, this is exactly why I will never have a mid-life crisis that leads me to skydiving. I’m afraid of heights, so it makes sense to avoid such reckless adventures, though.

    Like

    • jeffstrand Says:

      Thanks, Carl! This story was meant to be a cautionary tale against midlife crises that lead to skydiving, and if it prevents even one person from plummeting to their death, my work has had meaning.

      Like

  12. Deborah Gallatin Says:

    Loved “The Drop”. Ur a bit of a freak u know? But I’m quite sure that’s not the 1st time someone’s tagged u with that label. BTW, I mean it in the most complimentary way 🙂 I also want to let u know how much I absolutely LOVED the story Kutter. I’ve read a lot of your material, but I have to say Kutter is my favorite! U keep writing ’em Jeff, and I’ll keep buying ’em!

    Like

  13. Deborah Gallatin Says:

    As I was sure you would Jeff. As I was quite sure you would:)

    Like

  14. jon cutcliffe Says:

    i love this story even better second time round,just hurry up an give us wolf hunt 2

    Like

  15. Kevin Kennedy Says:

    loved reading some more Andrew Mayhem and always like a good Christmas horror. Is there any more Andrew Mayhem novels expected in the future?

    Like

  16. 📕 Jeff Strand | 4 x Andrew Mayhem – Couchkartoffelchips Says:

    […] P.S.: Auf Jeff Strands trefflich benanntem Blog Gleefully Macabre findet sich eine weihnachtliche Kurzgeschichte mit Andrew Mayhem, in der er es mit gleich drei axtschwingenden Santas zu tun bekommt. Nicht ansatzweise so horribel blutig wie die Romane, aber ein ganz guter Einblick in den verpeilten Alltag des Protagonisten: A Bit of Christmas Mayhem […]

    Like


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