Trifecta 90 – A Man’s Best Friend

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It was a small town; everybody knew Peter Wingdale. He had a reputation for being a cold, heartless soul. Any grasp of right and wrong had been lost somewhere along the way for Peter. He wouldn’t think twice about picking on helpless old folks or kids;  animals too – more than one neighbourhood cat had been found hanging, gutted in his tool shed. He was crazy if truth be told. However, that summer he seemed to change. He looked so proud. Her blond curls twinkled in the spring sunshine. Long walks in the woods, afternoons in the park, paddling in the lake – they became inseparable.

She was clearly wary of him. Never a sound when he was close. People began to think it was strange – she almost look scared of him. One time old Mrs Haggerty says she saw Peter giving her a fearful smack outside the off licence. As she began to cry Peter grabbed her by the throat; screamed for her to be quiet. He threw her in the car. They weren’t seen again for a week. She now limped but still stayed firmly by his side. Loyal as ever.

For a while things appeared back to normal. Peter and his girl walking about town. He never did say what her name was. Then one day they disappeared again. No more sightings. No more public admonishments from Peter. Late Monday last week the police were called out to the Wingdale place: gun shots had been heard. Peter was in his mother’s room – well most of him was. His brains were sprayed all over the landing wall. He must have been facing his mother’s bed when he pulled the trigger.

Down in the basement they heard whimpering. They found her curled up on a blanket at the back of a cage, trembling but alive – just. Turned out Jennifer was her name. Peter may have treated her like a dog but she had somehow survived  both him and his cruelty.

trifecta

These 333 words, based on the word ‘grasp’, form my entry into the Trifecta 90 writing challenge. If you would like to vote for me in the community voting then you can do so on Thursday night or Friday morning. 

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31 thoughts on “Trifecta 90 – A Man’s Best Friend

  1. Jennifer Dillon

    So, so much about this that was disturbing. Not the least of which was that I actually didn’t feel relief that he was dead, I felt curiosity as to why he would suddenly off himself and irritation that the whole town let his behavior go unchecked.

    Nicely done.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed response. Love it! Yeh, I think I was perhaps hinting at some sort of mother’s death hang over thang. Sort of a walking time bomb. Was actually going to write a story about a man and a dog (from the POV of the dog) but it morphed into this instead. Think I’m glad it did. Cheers again for posting a comment.

      Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks for commenting. To be fair I think your critique is a valid one. Perhaps his suicide was a bit of a shock. In the first draft I had a couple of sentences which pointed to him losing it after his mother’s death. Taking this out perhaps weakens his own end. However, I did place him in his mother’s room at the end, an admittedly subtle reference to mummy issues.

      Bottom line is sometimes these sort of people just reach a natural end. Guilt, grief etc overwhelms them and bang. Once again thanks for the comment and critique. Much appreciated and something I will definitely bear in mind for future stories.

      Reply
  2. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver)

    Horrifying. Made all the darker because of the bystanders watching and not intervening. This went to a very dark place, Paul. I’m glad the character survived though one wonders if she really did or if she merely outlived him. Impactful stuff here, sir.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Jo-Anne. Trifectans do seem to be up for dark and disturbing so I thought I’d give that genre a go. Your comments are appreciated as always.

      Reply
  3. summerstommy2

    I agree with others Paul about the darkness in this piece. Disturbing as it is I took the ‘her’ as his dog. You give so many references to his companion as his pet that he mistreated so badly. Then again maybe he was so far gone in the head he could only relate in animalistic ways.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Stormy. Glad you thought Jennifer was a dog. She isn’t of course, but that is what I wanted the reader to believe until the last sentence. The vibe being that Peter’s relationship with his girlfriend was like one people may have with their dog. Appreciate the comment.

      Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Just like to keep it fresh – comedy one week, disturbed psychopaths the next. All part of the learning process 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  4. jannatwrites

    I didn’t take the girl for a dog at all. I think it was the reference to blonde curls. At any rate, yes, this story was disturbing- mostly because we’ve caught glimpses of people much like this when watching the news, so this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I’m glad she survived and he didn’t. (Now I have to wonder about my own mental state since I see a suicide as a happy ending!)

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks for the comment Janna. The “blond curls” was a more direct hint at a girl, but still surrounded by enough doggie references to attempt to continue the deception (i.e. a poodle has curls 🙂 ). However, some will twig at that point, as you did. As long as a few didn’t then I’ll settle for that. Cheers for stopping by.

      Reply
  5. trifectawriting

    I think we’re going to have to make room in our Trifecta budget for group counseling. 🙂 You guys are getting seriously dark on us. I hate to say that we love it. This was gripping. Thanks for linking up. Don’t forget to come back and vote.

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks ‘Team Trifecta’. Really enjoying writing stories for your prompts. Irrespective of whether they place or not I revel in the challenges; the feedback to date has encouraged me greatly. Think my writing has come on in leaps since I joined up about three months ago. Appreciate you giving me the platform to practice the increasingly addictive hobby of creative fiction!

      Reply
  6. Glynis

    I don’t usually like this kind of story, I hear too much of it in the news to feel anything but disgust at people in generaly, but mostly men doing these kinds of things to women, chidren and animals. I was happy however that he off himself. I wished that she had done it instead. To have her enpowered and take back her life would have made me cheer.
    In just 333 words, you have brought out deep emotions. Well done!

    Reply
    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Glynis. Jennifer taking Peter out would have been an interesting option. However, I wanted the story to end with Jennifer in the cage. Horrible image but all part of the story.

      Reply

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