Scratchings 4

Stories on this page :

Best Served ColdPutridDouble BounceTo The Woods


As featured on Writers’ News Talback forum – The One Word Challenge

Here is my entry for December’s One Word Challenge – ‘scarlet’:

Best Served Cold

When Maisie was ten she loved her new scarlet dress. The satin shone in the sun as she skipped across the field, the matching ribbons in her hair danced along with her as she ran. Until the boy from the farm dragged her into the barn. Her dress was ruined. It was ripped and covered in bits of straw. And there was the dark stain, where the blood soaked in.

He was eighteen, old enough to get a long prison sentence. It wasn’t his first time, he’d done the same thing to Ellie a few months earlier, but she never told; well only to Maisie, after he’d been caught. Maisie promised, it was their secret.

That was seven years ago, and Maisie had never worn red since that day. Until today. Today she wears a red satin dress, just like the one she wore that sunny day, so long ago. But today she stands, waiting outside the prison gate. It has been along time. She will recognise him by the scars she left on his face when she fought him in the barn. But this time he will bleed.

She will ensure his rehabilitation is complete.

(c) 2011, K Patrick Moody


My efforts for this year’s Nanowrimo petered out before the end of the first week, but as consollation I entered the Writers’ News OWC. The word for November’s One Word Challenge, in Talkback, was ‘putrid’. Here is my submission:


Josh had been out of work ever since the corner shop closed; another victim of the onslaught of the superstore. But this could be the opportunity he was hoping for.

The receptionist smiled and pointed him along the corridor. After some time walking the labyrinthine tunnels he arrived at a pair of double doors marked, ‘No unauthorised admittance’.

Inside there was the usual office furniture, a few grey lockers, stacks of lever arch files, and another set of double doors with frosted glass windows.

He pushed the abandoned gurney aside, and knocked, a confident sounding knock, or so he thought.

“Come!” It was the voice from the phone call inviting him to drop by, pick up an application form, and chat about the vacancy.

He pushed the swing door open and stepped in. His stride froze. Three naked cadavers lay on stainless steel benches, each in a different state of disembowelment. He gasped. The inbound air was full of the smells of putrefying flesh and stale urine; they grabbed his throat. Between the benches Dr Smithers sat reading The Telegraph, and munching his sandwich.

He smiled. “Come on in, take a seat. So, you want to be a mortician’s assistant.”

(c) 2011, K Patrick Moody


September’s offering for the Talkback forum’s One Word Challenge, bounce, is below.

Double Bounce

Two suits sheltered in the hotel entrance. On the sidewalk, segregated by crime-scene tape, Johnny del Sarto lay face down, the pooling blood washed down the storm drain by yet more rain. It didn’t stop the ghouls from trying to get a good look.

“Some poor, rich guy takes a dive from the fifth floor, and they gotta check it out.”

“He didn’t bounce much.”

“They never do.”


“Not high enough; they like to make a statement.”

The short suit waved his arm at the uniform crouched over the body. As he rolled it over, the knife sticking out of Johnny’s chest was a clincher.

“Don’t look like a fall, neither.”

The pair turned and went in to the hotel. The bell-hop ushered them into the elevator and pressed five. Draped across the sofa in 523 was Delightful Delores. Her white satin negligee splattered with red.

“Hi Delores. Fancy seeing you in a classy hotel. What happened?”

“Well, if it ain’t detective Riley! I thought you was still on vice!”

“It’s homicide now – can’t seem to lose you though. Tell me what ya did.”

“I came back for cash – the bastard’s check bounced!”

(c) 2011, K Patrick Moody


This is my entry to the Writers Online, One Word Challenge for August 2011. The word is ‘shadow’. Not so dark as my recent flash fiction. Quite fun, I thought …

To the woods

Her smile dropped away, replaced by a shadow as dark as thunder. She bent forward until their noses nearly touched.

“And what brings a dear, sweet little girl like you to these parts?” Her yellowy teeth loomed large behind wafer thin lips. Mollie could think of no reply.

“Speak up!” she spat.

“Please miss …” Mollie edged backwards hoping to put some space between them. “ … I was looking for mushrooms for grandpa’s dinner.”

“Oh, is grandpa too old and frail to fetch his own, then?”

“No, he’s …”

“… too lazy to get up off his fat old butt, to come picking my mushrooms?

“No, he’s …”

“… hoping you’ll get kidnapped by the wizened old witch?”

“No he’s …”

“… going to miss you when you don’t go home,” The old hag cackled, a cackle like fingernails on a blackboard. She tossed her head back and her pointy black hat nearly fell off. She was pleased with herself, and thought she was very funny.

Mollie wasn’t amused, and she frowned her most serious frown.

“No he’s been shooting rabbits – and he’s right behind you with his gun.”

(c) 2011, K. Patrick Moody


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