Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: From Sentence To Story

Yep you guessed it, another Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge.

This week, we were tasked with choosing a sentence, from a previous challenge, and using it as the opening for a story.

The sentence that inspired me was by Elisa M:

For Oscar Baron, life had been complicated long before his butler’s corpse fell out of the chimney.

And this is where it took me.


An Unfortunate Agreement

For Oscar Baron, life had been complicated long before his butler’s corpse fell out of the chimney.

‘So, you’re saying that you have no idea how he got there?’

Tired, sullen, and irritated; Oscar responded ‘yes Detective, that’s exactly what I’m saying’

The Detective nodded, though it was nothing more than a response, a movement of neck muscles to signal acknowledgement. ‘So you didn’t find it strange that your butler had’ the Detective made air quotes ‘“Disappeared?”’

Oscar frowned, he had never felt more offended by a hand gesture, and being a Capitalist in a recession; he’d seen some pretty offense hand gestures.

‘No Detective, I did not find it strange. When the IRS wants’ Oscar made some air quotes of his own ‘“their” money, they take “their” money, and when there’s no more money, they start to take things of value’ Oscar widened his arms, gesturing to the room.

The Detective looked around the empty room, making a hum of recognition as though its emptiness had only just become apparent. ‘So, you thought the IRS had taken your butler?’

Oscar sighed, his frustration coming out in a rasp; ‘no, but since they’ve taken all my money, I could not afford to pay the staff; the maid left, the chef, the gardener, I just assumed that was where Haslam went’

‘Uh-huh, and this Haslam, who was he?’

Oscar stared blankly at the Detective for a moment before realising his question was serious. ‘The butler’ he said in somewhat disbelief

The Detective jotted something down in his notepad ‘and how do you think he got in the chimney?’ asked the Detective

‘Isn’t it your job to tell me Detective’ replied Oscar, a slight bitterness in his tone

‘Uh-huh’ replied the Detective, jotting down something else ‘well, we intend to find that out Mr Baron, don’t you worry about that’ he said with a smile.

Oscar couldn’t tell if he was trying to insinuate or ingratiate, but found he thought of this Detective as a hapless fool, and so neither effort concerned him.

‘I’ll show myself out’ said the Detective, leaving the room; he turned to face Oscar before he reached the doorway, and said ‘be seeing you soon Mr Baron’

Oscar sighed to the empty room. The room seemed to sigh back.

The Detective got into his car; where his partner had been patiently waiting.

‘Well?’ he asked

‘Did you know he’s being indicted?’

‘Yeah, it’s been in the papers for weeks’

‘Huh, I don’t read the papers’

His partner wore a look of tired disbelief, but deciding not to press the point, he said

‘He do it?

‘The butler?’


‘Not sure, but I feel like he knows something’

His partner shifted the car into drive, and they set off.


Oscar watched as the Detectives drove down the quarter-mile driveway toward the main gate. He returned to his wingback chair in the centre of the room; this and the mahogany side-table next to it were the only pieces of furniture remaining in the room. He poured himself a drink from the near full crystal decanter sat atop the side-table. He took the deep honey coloured liquid down in one go and sat in silence.

The moonlight peered in through the window. Oscar heard the creaking of the floorboards behind him. He drained the glass and settled it back on the side-table next to the now empty decanter. He took a deep breath.

‘Hello, Oscar’

The voice sent a shiver through him like a fork in a plug socket. He felt the voice creeping closer under the groaning of the floorboards.


The voice whispered; he felt the warm breath on his neck, the scent of candy floss filled his nostrils; he gripped the arms of his chair.

‘Are you ready now Oscar?’ it asked as it rounded in front of him; the silhouette illuminated by the encroaching moonlight.

Oscar gazed at the hourglass shadow before him. It felt like an hour, but it was less than a minute before he spoke

‘No’ he said it firm, but she heard it quaver.

‘Oh, Oscar’ she said, walking slowly toward him. Leaning in, her face emerging from the shroud, illuminated at the fringes by the silver moonlight.

‘I told you if you didn’t agree, he’d take it all away from you’ she gestured to the room, its emptiness evident even in the darkness ‘and he did’ she said

Oscar sighed heavily, focusing on the deep red of her lips; they glistened like plump pools of fresh blood.

‘He can make things worse Oscar, loss is not everything’

‘You said I had to come of my own free will’

‘Yes, the honour is in the offering, without that, there is no deal’

Oscar smiled wryly, the alcohol coursing through his veins, making him feel in control and confident, he said ‘then if I never go, there’s nothing he can do’

‘Tut, tut, tut’ she said standing up, indefinable by the darkness ‘right now he is being reasonable, but do not test his patience’

‘I don’t see why I should have to uphold a deal I never made’ he said

‘Because you’ve prospered from it, so therefore you’re liable’

Oscar sat silently in the darkness; piecing together the events of the past few weeks, and how they had dissolved his life into an unrecognisable mess. This harbinger, he knew, meant every sweet word she uttered.

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2 Responses to Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: From Sentence To Story

  1. tedra says:

    Even I was scared. And I don’t scare easily. All that was missing was blood and gore and I bet if we read more, it would come. 😃 Good job.

    • joeturner87 says:

      Maybe. I never seem to “finish” a short piece. It’s always left open (completely unintentionally – I just hit the word count). Glad you liked it, and thanks for the kind words 🙂

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