26 February 2010

"The Body" #Fridayflash

This was a pleasure to write, even though it has numerous interpretations. What do you think happened? - CC




Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com


Silhouettes skittered over the pale mound that lay splayed open, shaded by a massive boulder from the intense mid-day sun. Bottle-green flies the size of nickels droned lazily in the lifeless Memphis air, reluctant to leave their prize.

“Did you say who found her?” The doctor crouched, falling on one knee to poke at the mess.

“One of the local kids,” The detective beside him said. "He said he heard commotion outside his house last night but was too scared to investigate until this morning." His phone rang on its clip on his belt and he stepped back from the scene, obviously relieved to have an excuse to escape for a moment.

“Wendy,” the doctor said, waving at a blanched intern in pigtails with a brand new Nikon, “Bring the camera over here.”

“My God,” Wendy said as she raised a convexed lens to record the actual damage. “Coyotes?” She asked, hopeful.

“Could be. There's definitely signs of a struggle. Minute amount of what appears to be charring.” He raised a specimen bag for a closer look. The body wasn't what could be called 'good' or even 'recognizable' condition. This female (identified by the exposed bones) had no entrails to speak of. The corpse was fresh, but nearly completely eaten. Her face was a mangled mess of features. No heart, just a gaping, glistening cavity.

“It wasn't a pack of animals,” the doctor said, pointing out a wicked set of bite marks in what was left of the woman's outer thighs. “Unless they all have the same crooked jawline. See these bites? Asymmetrical.”

“Maybe it was a bear,” the intern mumbled, brushing black fringe bangs out of her face. She was just a kid practically. The doctor glanced up at her and frowned. Her skirt was shorter than need be. It was distracting.

“Okay if we move the body?” A team stood by behind them; three men in pale green overalls, latex gloves and surgical masks. They had a gurney ready with an open and unused body bag on it.

The doctor examined the woman's teeth for further clues. Her incisors were filed to points. Her skin was steaming apparently from the heat. He frowned, and rose to his feet, slipping off his examination gloves. A detective nearby spoke to a witness. He shook his head. There wasn't much more that could be done. They couldn't identify the body.

“Yeah, go ahead and take the Jane.”

The sun was settling in the middle of the sky as the team worked the body into the black rubber bag. They lifted the thing onto the gurney and wheeled it out into direct sunlight.

The bag burst into flame.

38 comments:

Tony Noland said...

Good lord, talk about leaving the reader hanging! This is a terrific opening for a much longer piece. Supernatural, sci-fi or in-between, this has the makings of a great thriller.

M said...

A pleasure to read as well! I love the bottle green flies especially. So, um, vampire, right? You're the greatest, Carrie.

Kristy Baxter said...

Yes. Reader left hanging would be right. Carrie, I can almost picture the evil grin on your face as you wrote the last line.

This piece is stellar, and I want more, dammit.

Laura Eno said...

Suspenseful! As Tony said a terrific opening for a longer piece. I'm assuming she burst into flames because she's a vampire in sunlight, but what ate her?

elizabethditty said...

Ooo, fun! I like it! Seems like there's a much bigger world behind this snapshot, and I'd love to see more of it!

shannon said...

Smokin'! :-) I think she got in a fight with a werewolf, maybe some kind of werewolf vs. vampire turf war. I know one thing...I'd be moving!!! Fun stuff!

Dan said...

Know who'd get to the bottom of things? Zeke Solomon.

Just sayin'.

Awesome.

Chance said...

This sounds like it could be a case for Mulder and Scully.

Good stuff

Marisa Birns said...

Sharpened incisors, bag bursting upon exposure to sun?

Must be vampire. *nods firmly*

Still pondering what did her in. Stake through heart?

Charred remains could mean holy water was sprinkled.

This was a pleasure to read...and think about. :)

Jim_Wisneski said...

I LOVE it! Keep this one going Carrie!

Jim

Carrie said...

" shannon said...

Smokin'! :-) I think she got in a fight with a werewolf, maybe some kind of werewolf vs. vampire turf war. I know one thing...I'd be moving!!! Fun stuff!"

YES, you win! Obviously, the vamp lost hmm...

Sulci Collective said...

Great opening paragraph, with the lazy greenbottles - evocative stuff.

Also assume it was a vampire exposed to daylight.

marc nash

I have to ask, you're not related to the novelist Craig Clevenger are you? I think he spells his name with 2 'G's'

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Ooooh, turf war! Excellent - I think I'd side with the werewolf as well (I love dogs :-D)

I agree that this could (and should) be the start of a longer piece. I certainly want to read more.

So get to work!

Anton Gully said...

That was just great.

Loving the new logo!

G.P. Ching said...

Hmmm, my interpretation is vampire caught in werewolf fight. This seems like it would be fun to write. The descriptions are novel worthy and, in fact, I could see this as a scene in a longer work. Nice job.

John Wiswell said...

Asymmetrical bites? Maybe it’s a werewolf with a stroke?

One of the better corpse scenes I've read lately, which leaves me to ask... why have I been reading so many corpse scenes, and shouldn't I go outside?

theothersideofdeanna said...

Bottle-green flies the size of nickels...your descriptions are outstanding Carrie! I only hope I can one day become as great a writer as you are.
Super stuff!
P.S. I guessed right. :)

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Oooo, very creepy. Such wonderful details with the charred skin, the empty cavity. I was thinking alien attack to begin with.

I want to hear more too, please!

ERIN COLE said...

This reads right out of a published novel-could be, should be; you've always got just the right amount of detail and plot.

Draco Torre said...

Yep, werewolves hate vampires. Like the description of the body and character reactions.

Eric J. Krause said...

Excellent description. You leave no doubt it's a vampire without needing to say the word. Very cool story.

Linda said...

Great stuff, Carrie. Had a very CSI vibe on the front end. You got a winner with that opening para.

I must bone up on the characteristics of vamps, werewolves, zombies, and the like -- never would've figured it out. Sigh.

Peace, Linda

Cathy Olliffe said...

Icky, Carrie, icky and yicky and good. I think all these guys are off base, though. I think Wendy did it. Wendy the pig-tailed heroin addict, chewed Jane up into itty bitty bits because Jane used to work for CSI and Wendy wanted her job.
Am I close?

Pamila Payne said...

I loved how straight forward, police procedural this piece started out as, and then just skittered away into X Files land rapidly at the end. Sigh. I miss X Files. Great flash.

Heather Lloyd said...

Great fun read! Have just been watching True Blood (big guilty pleasure!) and can't get enough of vampires - the gothic, dark kind rather than the sappy Twilight version. Definitely think you could develop this further - in my opinion the world is crying out for a new x-files style journey into the paranormal....

Pavitra .... said...

Wow....brilliant..!!
You have a real knack of making the reader hang on to your every word..! Loved it! Please do write more!

Cascade Lily said...

I loved the doctor being distracted by the too-short skirt - a strong dose of reality in a spiffy specfic/horror romp!

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

This is really well done, went smooth from start to finish. I like the little details such as the too-short skirt being inappropriate. I'm guessing a werewolf ate a vampire. I don't really care though! I just enjoyed it as is.

brookelyn said...

definitely well written. i think the werewolves were framed... it was really a mutated bottle-green fly. i agree that this one leaves you wanting more! good job.

thebokchoy said...

This would be great as something longer. I love it's surreal, fantastical nature.

thebokchoy said...

This would be great as something longer. I love it's surreal, fantastical nature.

Absolutely*Kate said...

Geeez oh man, all these good writer guessers and no one's really got a clue as to the right light of the ending ~ It was Professor Plum in the Ballroom with the Candlestick.

Whew, I had to come all the way over here Ms Carrie, and read you killin' someone off again just to tack this announcement up on your Hot*Bulletins*Board:

***********************
HEY! DID YOU CLEVENGER-HANGERS'ON ALL HEAR? SCARY CARRIE AND MINDSPEAK HAVE BEEN AWARDED THE OUTRAGEOUS LIAR CREATIVE WRITER BLOG AWARD!
************************

IT'S TRUE! They're shouting it from the popcorn galleries she sometimes haunts now ~ over AT THE BIJOU. http://at-the-bijou.blogspot.com/ (You can't make good stuff like this up.)

~ Absolutely*Kate, humble promoter, believing in believers . . . (and the outrageous to be so) ... now get me away from more of this gore -- Yeeeecccch!

~Tim said...

Next week: the story of the werewolf with heartburn. [Sorry]

Madam Z said...

Um...this is fiction, right? Just in case it's not (how could you possibly just make up these vivid details?), I think I'll avoid Memphis.

I will not, however, avoid your blog, now that I've discovered it! (Thank you, Kate!)

Madam Z said...

Oops! I forgot to weigh in on the speculation about who was responsible for this grisly crime. I'm ruling out vampires and werewolves. I'm thinking it was a very hungry chimpanzee.

ganymeder said...

Great job. And I love how the policeman was more disapproving of the intern's short skirt than the grisly scene in front of him.

Scott King said...

Your riddle-like pieces are fun but I enjoyed this week's flash fiction much more.

The best aspect of it is that there is a sense of suspense that's well balanced and really hits you with that last sentence.

Dana said...

My take would be a novelty exploding corpse that medical examiners use to play jokes on each other.

But that's just my take :P

Good job, Carrie!