The Thrill of Death (Flash Fiction)

This flash fiction has a 1920’s feeling to it probably because I’ve been watching a lot of Peaky Blinders recently. (If you notice, the man’s name is Tom… oops!)

I smooth my fingers across the suit. It’s a beautiful navy color with the thinnest white pinstripes. It’ll look so handsome on Tom – if he doesn’t immediately destroy it. The door to the small bedroom opens behind me and I hear Tom’s footsteps as he enters.

“Marlene? What are you doing?”

“Waiting on you, Tom.” I gesture to the suit without turning around. “The suit that I ordered finally came in. I bet it’ll look handsome on you.”

He grunts in reply. I finally turn around to look at him. Tom Murphy is the sort of man all women are drawn to. He’s tall and lean, with dark, short-cropped hair. There’s a small scar on the right side of his jaw, a reminder of his service in the Great War and of the things he did in France. I’ve always loved that scar.

Tom is classically handsome, the kind of man who would look darling in a navy suit with white pinstripes; but I can tell from his expression that he doesn’t fancy the suit.

“What? What’s wrong with it?” I jut my chin out at him. I spent three weeks convincing the tailor to make a suit for Tom Murphy. No one ever wants to get involved with the Murphys – there’s too much of a risk for getting killed.

“I’m not going, Marlene.”

“Not going! Tom, it’s your nephew’s christening!”

He glares at me. “I said, I’m not going.”

I open my mouth to argue with him, and before I can react, his hand is on my throat. But it’s not fear that grips me, it’s anticipation.

My mother once told me that the love I have for Tom is unhealthy, but she would never understand the exhilaration of being in his world. The possibility of dying at any turn is thrilling to me.

The sound of glass breaking behind him makes him spin away from me. The window has shattered. Broken shards lay on the carpet I’d just had cleaned, sparkling against the maroon fibers.

Tom scans the room and spots the culprit. I gasp in anger when I see that the bullet has hit his new suit, tearing through the breast pocket only inches from where we now stand. Tom picks up the bullet and turns it in deft fingers. On the side, scratched into the bullet, is his name.

Tom throws the bullet up into the air and catches it. “That’s why I can’t go.” He turns a wolfish grin onto me. “You said you wanted to be a part of this life; are you scared yet?”

Looking him dead in the eyes I grab the decanter of whiskey on the sideboard. The ridges in the glass bottle make it easier to hide the tremble in my hand as I pour myself a glass. Taking a long sip, I look into his eyes and say, “You wish Tom Murphey.”

He throws back his head and laughs. “Alright, Marlene Walsh! Get your revolver. We’ve got business.”

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