Authors Note: Hello everyone! For what you all have been waiting for, the collaboration with Amy A and I. We spent the whole week creating this story for you guys and I'm proud to say it turned out very well! I want to thank her for putting up with my antics when it comes to writing, and to thank her for blessing me with her writing skills! Go and spam her with messages! She will also be posting this story on her account as well so feel free to comment there too! https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/amy-a-39ab0b/ Anywho, get to it, a story awaits!
A quieted house stood idly looming over the rest of the neighborhood. The lively crowd that once inhabited this house came and left, leaving the couple to clean the house by themselves. The front door opened and closed as they entered the house. The sight before them was enough to make them sigh in utter laziness at the thought of cleaning up an entire house after a wild party. But nevertheless, they started with the living room.
As the red solo cup pyramid tumbles from the coffee table, the cups spill over the edges of the table, leaving the carpet in ruins. Charlie gave a light chuckle. Next time we may have to buy more cups or invite fewer friends, he thought. "Hey hon, what was that game we played in college? The one with the ping pong balls?"
"Ping pong?" she says as she throws soggy pizza boxes out the back door aiming in the general direction of the garbage bin. "You know, on a ping pong table, with paddles? And a little net across the middle? You’re showing your age again. Or is it the hangover?”
"I think it was more along the lines of a drinking game...Alice. And you are three months older than I am. As for me, I could go for a cold brew right now!” A cold brew decaf, hold the cream.
"Don't even talk to me about drinking right now, did you see how much Tony drank?" Alice held a deepened grudge on Tony. He often hit on her every opportunity he could score. In fact, he flirted and cheated his way into the hearts of both men and women. Most of Alice’s friends avoided him too. How did he even get invited last night? Next time she needs to make sure to specify that it is a couples-only party.
Upon arriving at the party, Tony was already wasted, he shouted and whistled at almost anyone that walked by. Catcalling was always his thing, he would tell most at the party. Tony tried to land several kisses with the different party-goers, oblivious to the sober realm. They were only able to make him stop when they called him an uber and sent him home to his wife.
The potted plant that was once on the window sill laid on its side on the hardwood floor. Dirt and broken leaves were scattered everywhere. Alice didn’t know if she would be able to sweep enough dirt back up off the floor to repot the plant. The roots looked straggly and naked outside the pot as if embarrassed to be caught unearthed. Alice bent to pick up the pot from the ground, broken shards of porcelain lain splintered on the hardwood. Alice cursed under her breath as she stood back up. Soft material shifted under Alice’s feet as she made her way to the garage to retrieve a new planting pot. Setting it down with a clank, Alice began to gingerly place the unearthed plant back into the pot, making sure to not break any of the roots. Setting the pot back up to its original position, Alice stepped back to admire her handiwork, kicking a small blue ball. The flowers were wilted and the roots popped up periodically in the dirt. So much for a healthy plant. The blue ball with bells on the inside meant for a cat, tinkled in playfulness as it slid under the sofa.
“Have you seen the cat?” asked Alice nonchalantly. He better not be locked in the house somewhere, as Alice thought of the time that Charlie locked Pumpkin in their bedroom.
Charlie is on his hands and knees scrubbing the beer stains from the sofa cushions. He tosses the yellow sponge into the soap bucket beside him and heaves a huge sigh. Randy decided to bring “Totally Hot Tonya” as his plus one. She claims that she is allergic to everything and everyone pertaining to the party but he didn’t have the heart to say no. He just had to meet Randy’s new girlfriend. So he had no choice. He had to lock the cat up in the spare room. But how could he explain this decision to his wife?
“I’m sure Pumpkin is hiding somewhere. You know how he doesn’t like noise and loud music. He’ll show up when he’s hungry,” Charlie said. “Want some coffee? I’m heading to the kitchen.”
Dismiss, distract, defuse are all sure-fire strategies to handle any situation with children, including adults. Good classroom management could be properly applied at home and at school. He just needed to know who he should use them on and if it would be an effective tactic. He was whistling his way through the hall on his way to the kitchen when he heard the shout.
“Why did you lock him in the bedroom again! There’s no litter box. There’s no food. There’s no water. He has been in there all alone for how many hours now. What were you thinking? What was your thought process, Jesus! I know you’ve hated Pumpkin since the day we first brought him home, but come on! I just don’t know how you could do this!” Alice continued in a very high, very unnatural voice without stopping once to take a single breath.
Dismiss, distract, defuse. “I have your coffee ready, hon! Do you want to join me in the kitchen? Maybe take a break for a few minutes? We can take a look at those seed catalogs you’ve been wanting me to look at. Maybe you can help me pick out seeds for the Mother’s Day project at school again this year? The moms went gaga for those little pots you helped me with last year. What did you plant with the kids for me? Berbers? Gerbers? Gerberas? Some sort of daisy, right? You are so fabulous with plants and flowers! You have a natural green thumb,” Charlie blubbered.
He tended to blabber about unimportant topics when he was about to get caught in an act. Alice walked into the kitchen cradling a cream orange feline in her arms. “You do realize those BS tactics are meant for kindergarteners. That’s beside the point, you locked Pumpkin in a room with nothing! You could have at least set that plastic bowl in there with food and water. I understand that the party probably wasn’t the best for Pumpkin, and for this, I am grateful. Just next time, please plan ahead and at least give him some water...and a litter box...and maybe a toy or two?” Pumpkin hissed before leaping out of Alice’s arms and slinked to the nearest water source.
Ignoring the ferocity of the tabby, Alice knelt to the ground to pick up glass and beer cans. After throwing them lazily into the plastic recycling bin, a light buzz came from the table. She picked it up and quickly read the screen before saying, “This ought to be good. Julie texted. I wonder what she lost this time.”
She always left something behind somewhere. A jacket, a purse, an earring. They were constantly finding different knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes hidden in the nooks and crannies of the house. An umbrella lodged between a wall and bookshelf. Purse in the shower, and sandals in the fireplace. They once had to drive two hours back to the lake, to get the set of binoculars that Julie had left behind. She insisted on having them back in her possession because they were encrusted with gold trimmings, which they found out to be fake. She giggled at the thought and read the text aloud, “If you find a shoe in your bathroom, it’s mine.”
Alice walked towards the bathroom, steaming a cup of coffee in hand. Charlie said, “Make sure to clean any vomit or piss puddles while you’re at it. Oh and any cigarette remnants left behind from the wastoid that snuck his way in,” Charlie joked from the living room.
“Very funny, wise guy, very fu-”
There was a loud piercing scream that echoed throughout the house.
The scream was so shrill it could have shattered the windows and sent glass sprawling. “Hon, what’s wro-,” was stifled as Charlie saw the body crumpled in the corner between the wall and the toilet.
Charlie quickly lifted a hand to his face to fend off the putrid, gagging aromas filtering through the air in the bathroom.
“Blood, blood everywhere. What are we going to do?” Alice wailed.
“Jesus, it’s Tony,” said Charlie, ignoring Alice altogether.
Red liquid dripped from the corner of the sink, looking smeared rather than impacted. The hot bathroom stirred the stench of cigarette smoke, urine, and a decaying body. Flipping the toilet lid open, Charlie heaved and multi-colored vomit sloshed into the bowl, all the remnants of a night of drinking down the drain.
Alice looked into the open eyes of the recently deceased, the glassy nondescript eyes staring back at her. Lifeless, soulless eyes that once harbored lust and drunkenness. Pupils void of emotion snuffed out like the last of a sunset.
Alice began to study the wounds on the decrepit corpse. Right near the temple were several indents about the size of a hammerhead, blood rivulets ran down from the gashes.
Tony’s head was deformed, his facial features smooshed together on the right side of his face. A pinkish substance oozed from one of the wounds, which Alice noted could have been his brain, but she couldn’t be sure. This seemed to be the one spot the assailant favored the most.
Upon further notice, Alice could see bone fragments scattered on the floor, in some kind of sadistic pattern. Moving her eyes to the stomach, she found the hammer dangling from where his waist should have been, skin keeping it from clattering to the floor. The stomach was gouged and stripped of internal organs.
The slaughtered soul, Alice now realized, didn't have any clothes other than his underwear, not like this really matters at the moment, Alice thought.
Taking a few steps closer Alice plucked the hammer from the body, holding it with only her thumb, index, and middle finger.
God the smell. He looks like a declotted and mutilated pig. Alice thought.
Throwing the hammer under the sink, she proceeded to throw open the shower curtains to investigate. Seeing what was in the shower reminded her of the jumbled mess of dirt and roots from the earlier repotting session. Bones and bowels on the tiled floor. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
Finally looking up from the toilet bowl, Charlie wiped the back of his hand on his mouth to rid the vomit dripping from the corner of his mouth. Sweat beads fell from the sides of his head coating the edges of the toilet bowl in liquid.
“We need to call the cops,” he simply stated.
“We need air fresheners in here,” Alice joked, giving a disturbing hearty chuckle to try and lighten the mood.
“So you have no idea when you last saw him alive?” the police officer asked. Charlie and Alice were seated at their whitewashed wooden kitchen table, the lot of them staring at the beer spills and the single black rose potted in a vase in the center of the table. The bright sunlight bouncing off the cheerful yellow walls contrasted with the somber mood in the room.
The blue-uniformed coroners had just carried the black zip bag out their front door moments earlier. The monstrosity out of sight. The problem is covered. Alice would never again be able to enter her bathroom without smelling the distinct scent of a putrefying body. “Ahem, so, he was last seen alive when?” the police officer repeated.
Charlie winced. Alice cringed. “You know we just found a friend in our bathroom, right?” Alice said. “We just had a party. We just talked and laughed and ate pizza together…” Her voice trailed off as she picked at her cuticles. Charlie wrapped one arm around his wife and held her hands with the other.
“Listen, we had people over. We ordered food, drank a bit, listened to music, joked, and hung out. Around one o’clock people started leaving, and by two o’clock, everyone was gone and we had turned off the music, locked the door, and shut off the lights. I know it was two because Alice made a joke about how the last time we stayed up past midnight, it was when we went Black Friday shopping and bought our big screen TV. Remember hon? We got that really fabulous deal on the TV so we couldn’t pass up the lines; so we ventured out on Black Friday! And then, last night - well, this morning, really, we said, didn’t we say, Alice, that we haven’t been up this late since we went Black Friday shopping.” he rambled.
“Yes, darling. We did do all those things, you’re rambling again. My apologies officer, my husband rambles a lot when he is in stressful situations. I would say this has taken a toll on my husband and me.”
Alice slowly pulled her hands out from under his and turned to stare at his baby blues. He was babbling. He was dismissing, distracting, defusing - or was it something else? He turned his eyes from the police officer and locked them onto hers instead. The blue orbs looked crazed and wild. Or was he simply hungover, or was it adrenaline? What was he even thinking? Would he just shut up already? What is he keeping from her? As far as they know, they sent Tony home in an uber. How did he get back inside anyway? Did he even leave the house at all? Yes, he had to. He had to leave the house. That’s what we will say, the last time we saw him was when he got into the Uber. Should she say something now? Oh, God. Now no one is talking. The police officer is just sitting there watching with inquisitive eyes.
“So neither of you actually saw Tony? That seems really odd considering he died in your house. We will be taking you two down to the station,” the officer said platonically.
The next thing the couple knew, they were handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. After walking into the blue-lined building labeled with the department name and town, time passed with excruciating slowness as cops drilled question after question into the couple. They wouldn’t stop until they got the information out of them. The truth is what the officers were so desperately searching for. I’m so goddamn tired of seeing blue. Blue buildings, blue uniforms, just blue everything.
“I don’t fucking know what happened to Tony! I just found myself with blood on my hands and a body in my bathroom,” Alice raved from all the pressure. After making that statement she slammed her hands, and a gavel began to bang on hardwood nearby.
A loud commotion sounded in front of her, and she looked forward confused. How did she make it to the witness stand? She was just inside the police station. Did she have another blackout? Finding the eyes of her husband, he was shaking his head, blue eyes watering with tears.
“Your Honor, the jury finds Alice Goodall guilty of first-degree murder,” was the final verdict that ended Alice’s freedom.
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This is so well written!
Thank you so much!
Okay, for some reason, the line about "Totally hot Tonya" killed me, and I have no idea why. I really like that final twist, but I do have one small thing; it felt like you should have just ended it with the quote, instead of adding words afterward that felt a little bit off, like they were sort of slapped on and unneeded. Other than that, this was set up beautifully!
By doing this I just added confirmation that it was Alice who did the murdering, but I totally agree. I just didn't know how to end the story correctly, so this was my alternative. But thank you for the criticism as always! (That sounds like I mean it in a rude way, but I definitely don't lol)
Woah woah woah. What! That took a turn! Super cool story! I was not expecting that ending at all... This was a collaboration? It reads smooth and effortless! :)
Yeah this was a collab, I think we both did very well with this! I'm very proud about how it turned out! And thank you for the kind comments!