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A slightly tardy 500 Club Entry. Of course, while it’s true the prompts do go up on Thursdays, it’s never too late to play.

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Jenny never liked the color red. Red smelled like squashed tomatoes, like the breakfasts the College of London cafeteria served. Poached eggs in slimy clear-white umbilical blobs, cold toast, red red stewed tomatoes. Blood sausage. The sort of food that chased you down corridors in your dreams.

It made her think of Quaztl. Quaztl was one of those people she used to give a free pass, on account of his being very good looking and also his not giving a fuck, not that he would ever say that. Quatzl didn’t make those sort of announcements.

Jenny sat alone in the cafeteria,  notebook at hand, and Quaztl would sit across from her. He’d slice the blood sausages down their center and splay them, revealing their red-purple jelly hearts, before winking and licking the grease from his fingers.

“Stop being creepy, Quaz.”

“I am not the one who calls this breakfast. Look around you.” his voice dropped to a whisper. “We’re surrounded by perverts.”

“You’re being a prat.”

“Prat. Nob. Bunghole.” He waved his fork. “The British are a creepy people. Pale skin. Lorries and crisps. Worms for breakfast.” One of his knees thumped the table. Quatzl was a constant leg-wiggler, a perpetual motion machine.

Jenny gave him a Stern Librarian look. “What do you want?”

“Let’s go.”

“Go where?”

“I’m hungry. For some real meat.”

“Mmmm.” Jenny clicked the cap of her pen. The feel of the pen’s button catching soothed her. “I hear they’re serving spaghetti tonight. That always comes with meat.” The uni’s version of sauce was ground mutton gravy.

“Are you trying to hurt my feelings?”

“Can’t hurt what you don’t have.”

“Come on, Jen-NY. Let’s go to Hampstead Heath. It’s not raining.”

“All the way out there? That’s like two line transfers.”

“Just one.  Come on, there’s only a week left before term’s over. You want to spend your entire trip inside?”

“I thought you wanted to eat?”

“Over it.” He bounced. “Maybe some Mr. Whippy.”

Tottenham Court. The area outside perennially under construction. Northern Line to Orange. Jenny watched the city flashing by, swaying. Quatzl draped an arm around her and read a battered paperback. She could hear his stomach growl.

I wish I knew who took this amazing photo so I could accredit it.Once at Hampstead, Quatzl bounded along, enthusing over every bush and tree. There was a particular woods he wanted to show her.

“Trees are massive. Ancient. It’s amazing.”

“Glad I brought my notebook.” She pulled the pen out of the spiral binding and clicked it.

The wood was dense, quiet. The sunlight filtered through the tree canopy, speckled rays of light into shadowed ground. Roots rose from the ground, tangling in knots that rose higher than Jenny’s head.

“It’s like a cathedral.”

“I’m so glad you came,” he said.

He turned to her and she thought he was going to kiss her …lips? Cheek? Throat. She screamed as his teeth tore through her skin, dropped her notebook. Blood ran down the front of her shirt.

Jenny’s thumb jammed the top of her pen. Click click. She swung her hand and stabbed him in the eye. He  shrieked, staggered away from her. She ran. Out of the woods. Out of the dark. Meadows. Paths. Joggers, who stumbled when they saw her. Dog walkers who screamed- how she was bleeding, and running, and running, with nothing behind her.

Jenny never liked the color red.

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8 Comments

  1. S. C. Green wrote:

    What a creepy ending. I have to use click pens at work. Now while I’m trying to do my job, I’m going to be thinking of this story.
    Thanks.

    Friday, September 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  2. Merc Xue wrote:

    Loved the twisted ending. Keep writing.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  3. Amy wrote:

    Wow. Well, that’s not at all where I thought that story would end up! I’m applauding through my horror, Ms. McLane.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  4. dex wrote:

    I absolutely loved this. Your dialogue is wonderfully written, and the ending was extremely gratifying.

    Monday, September 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  5. Amy McLane wrote:

    Thanks Dex! You know, I’ve really been enjoying your assassin installments. I hope you continue them.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  6. Amy McLane wrote:

    Just try not to stab anyone in the neck.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  7. Amy McLane wrote:

    *bows* Thanks for the awesome prompts, Ms. Nichols.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  8. Amy McLane wrote:

    Thanks Merc!

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

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