Black-hearted Beauty – Flash Fiction Challenge. Let Fate Choose your Title

Over on Chuck Wendig’s blog – Terrible Minds – he hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge, which I decided to take part in this week.

The challenge was to use a random number generator to pick two numbers and then use these numbers to choose two words – one from each of two lists – to generate a story title.  From this you had to create a story of no more than 1500 words.  My title was black-hearted beauty and the resulting story is below.

I hope you enjoy it and please leave comments if you do 🙂


Black-hearted Beauty

Black car. Black night. White satin-gloved hands hold her pocket mirror up to the moonlight.  She checks her face, admiring the high cheekbones, porcelain skin and un-hooded eyebrows. The product of many painful surgeries.  She fixes a few stray, platinum blonde hairs back into place and pats down her chignon.  She is perfect but she will never be right.  Brown eyes. Not Green. Something that surgery cannot fix.

With one click she closes the mirror. With another puts it back in her purse.  One final clunk and she’s out of the car, clip clopping on heels towards the stables.  Inside, her perfume – a musky classic scent – mingles with the smell of horse shit and plywood. Inside, the stallions slumber.  She quickly compares the value of these pampered race horses to own.  Prizes minus betting slips divided by beauty minus surgery.  Don’t forget to to carry the other one. She’s an expert in the mathematics of love.

Husband. Lover. Partner. Bank. No matter now. She had seen them together before.  Her man – can she still say that? – and his brand new paramour. Golden blonde mane. Thick furs and gold earrings to match. Short skirt underneath. Stepping out under the Casino lights.  Flashy and gaudy. She had seen them together before but no matter. He was still a good man and looked after her well. Now he says he is bored. The 60’s give way to the 70’s. The old must make way for the young. Another calculation and she knows what must be done.

She walks towards the back of the stable. The dim light leaking in from the florescent bulbs outside is enough. Stall number seven. The black stallion stirs. Husband’s favourite. Always a shock at how large the beast is. Through white satin gloves she strokes his mane. He nudges against her and she leans in, gently pressing her cheek to a glistening black neck. Through taut muscle she hears his blood rush inside thick tree-trunk veins.  A perfect specimen. Built for purpose. Pinching at her fingers she removes her glove to better feel the beauty’s coat. It is coarser and hotter than it looks. She strokes. He nudges. They like each other. No matter now.

She steps back and opens her purse. Searching in the weak light she removes a large syringe filled with the product of last week’s heist.  Botox in the beauty parlour.  How much? Not sure. Better take a lot then. She runs a manicured finger back along the stallion’s neck.  There it is. Throbbing. Pumping life.  This is tricky to do with a handbag on her arm but the ground is dirty. She strokes. He nudges. She lifts the tip of the needle to his neck.  Ready to plunge and…

  “No. I want to see them.”

Giggling. Sucking smooches. Two pairs of legs clip clopping inside. Florescent lights buzz in to life, stinging the eyes of both horse and wife.

“Come on.”

“Come here.”

A deep voice. Vamos mi corazón. Te quiero mucho.” 

Not Husband then.

“There’s no one here.  It’s fine.”

She listens to a stall door opening.  Another. Then another. Closer. Closer.  Inside her heart races.  She doesn’t move but grips the syringe tightly, ready to charge if it comes to it.  She tries to keep her breath in and listens.  The doors have stopped. The sound of slurping kisses again. Moaning. Skin on skin.

“Te quiero.”

Sighing. “O-kay.

A fur coat drops to the floor.  The sound of bodies collapsing on top of it. Writhing on the straw. Stallions’s eyes fixed upon them. No class this one.

She leans into the stall door trying to see. Looking for a chance to escape. The horse nudges. Not now. The horse nudges. Get away. The horse nudges. She stumbles sideways and drops her purse onto a metal bucket. Clang! Moaning stops.  Three sharp intakes of breath.

“Who’s there. Go and see.”

Stalls doors opening again. Closer and closer.  She grips the syringe and braces for impact. One. Creak. Slam. Heart races. Two. Creak. Slam. Hand grips tighter. Three. Creak. There you are. For a second she takes in the beauty of this strange man. Smooth dark skin and shining black hair.  In another life she’d like to touch. No matter now. Syringe in her fist she charges towards him.  Pushing him back and he’s startled.  Needle plunges deep into his pulsing dark neck. Yelling. Screaming. She runs for the front door. Too slow. Short skirt and heels grabs her legs, holds her down.  She’s tiny this one, but strong enough. A beautiful face, unrefined, natural, but just so.

The man towers over her and pulls the syringe from his neck, dropping it to the floor.  He opens his mouth to speak but only a gurgle comes out. Hand to his mouth he tries again. Breath getting short. He starts to panic.

“What’s wrong, baby?”

Coughing. He stumbles and falls to the floor. Spasming. Choking. Short skirt lets her go and runs over to him.  She follows. They stare. What to do? Not sure. We could save him. Yes we could. Call someone. Yes, call someone.  Coughing. Spluttering. What would we say? What can we say? You could lie. I would lie. Don’t trust you. Don’t trust me. She still wants her revenge.

Wheezing. Hacking. Panic in his eyes. Horses know. Something is wrong. They panic too. Whinnying. Snorting. Short skirt stands over him.  High heels either side of his body.  Syringe in her fist, she bends down. Moves in close. One final spasm and he’s gone.  Get your bag.  Get your fur.  Lots still to do before the morning.

She goes back to the stall and retrieves her purse.  Horse nudges. She strokes. Lucky thing.  Beautiful thing.


2 Comment

  1. Ger says: Reply

    Well done to you. Good story, tension increases and is matched with fast, staccato sentences. Clever ending with self preservation to the fore, enjoyed the read.

    1. thenovelprojectchronicle says: Reply

      Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it. I read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing recently and was curious to play around with style and form. 🙂

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