Chapter 1: A Deadly Imperfection

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 401
Comments: 2



Tariq Ahmed opened his front door to see an elderly woman stood on his steps.  She neither spoke nor smiled, but lunged forward at him clutching a sheet of paper.

“I’m sorry to disturb you,” she said, her voice quivering with emotion.  “I’ve lost my cat - I’m going to all the houses on the road,” she explained, showing him the sheet with a printed photo of the animal on it.  “He’s been gone almost a week and I think someone must have taken him in.”

She was small, slightly red faced with a long thin nose on which she had perched a pair of old fashioned spectacles.  Doctor Tariq Ahmed shook his head in annoyance.  It had been a long hard day and all he wanted was some well earned peace and quiet.  What he didn’t want was to be disturbed, and particularly not when he thought the disturbance unnecessary. 

“Sorry – I can’t help,” he said, giving the image a cursory glance while waving her away dismissively.  “And don’t drop that on my drive on your way out,” he told her attempting to shut the door.

But the old woman let out a loud sob and grabbed hold of his arm as she teetered on her feet.  “Please, I have to find him – he’s all I’ve got and he’ll pine.”

“Use your stick, lean on that, it’s what it’s for,” he told her sharply while trying to prise her fingers from his arm.  “You should go home.  It’s dark and cold, even your cat will have better sense than to wander the streets on a night like this.”

Something about the way she looked wasn’t quite right.  Her hair was odd and her clothes were too big, but he was too irritated to work out why that might be.

He made to close the door again but this time she flopped forward.  “I feel woozy,” she gasped, breathlessly.  “I know I shouldn’t be out.  I’ve got a bad chest, but I have to find him.  Could I have a glass of water, please, take one of my tablets – then I’ll go?”

Tariq Ahmed narrowed his eyes, staring at the woman.  She looked old, frail; he was a doctor, and despite his annoyance at being disturbed he felt compelled to help.  With an impatient sigh, he turned and went back down his hallway to the kitchen, leaving her at the door.

Harriet Finch smiled – this was easier than she’d imagined.  A few steps more and she was in, pushing the door shut behind her.  Taking care to follow him quietly, within seconds she was at his back.  The stupid fool had no idea what was coming – he was completely taken in.

She pressed the catch on her walking stick, which in turn released a wicked looking blade hidden in its core.  It was a nifty little gadget inherited from her grandfather, and had languished unused for years in her hall cupboard.  When she’d remembered it was there she’d given it an overhaul.  Now it was a fine weapon, and one she could put to good use.

  Taking aim she lifted the stick high, and before the doctor had the opportunity to either realise what was happening, or to defend himself, she plunged the blade into the centre of his back. 

It slid in, at first almost like a knife into butter, but then it stuck.  There was something hard in the way – vertebrae?  Harriet wondered.  She let out a loud grunt of annoyance, her arm twisting and pushing against the obstruction.  Finally she was rewarded with a satisfying little crunch as the blade slid the last few inches deep into his body.

He didn’t even turn - he simply uttered a feeble little groan, clutched his side then with one last wail, he pitched forward, headlong onto the floor.Harriet’s aim was true - he was done for.  Another flick of her thumb and the blade retracted – perfect.  All she had to do now was the last bit, the bit that would ensure that the police got things right.  Harriet wanted them to link the murders and they wouldn’t all be the same.  She didn’t want them running around, chasing their tails looking for multiple killers when there was just the one – her. 

She took a single, six inch nail and a hammer from her bag then fished in her pocket for the card.  Taking care not to get blood on her clothes she rolled Dr. Ahmed onto his back.  She placed the card against his closed right eye and positioned the nail.  With one powerful stroke of the hammer she forced the metal deep into his skull via the eye socket, fixing the card in place.  She would leave a Tarot card on each of the bodies – that would be her signature.

Harriet didn't want to tarry – but she was curious.  This was the man who’d started it all, a man she’d come to hate and she wanted to know what made him tick.  She wandered idly from room to room eyeing the casual elegance of the furnishings.  He obviously enjoyed having nice things around him, of course with his job, he could afford them.  His walls were covered in paintings – some by local artists and some she didn’t recognise. 

His sitting room was dim, there was only one small lamp burning on a table but something glinted, catching her eye.  It was a gold envelope addressed to Doctor T. Ahmed.  Harriet picked it up and looked inside.  The envelope contained two invitations to an art exhibition to be held later that month at the Leesworth museum.  She hadn't bought her friend Nesta’s birthday present yet, and she liked art.  The invites said there’d be food and wine.  Nesta would like that too.  Harriet put the envelope in her pocket and went back into the kitchen.

There was a large pool of blood forming around the body.  She smiled to herself – this was good, very good and so much better than sitting at home moping around.  And it was only fitting that he should be the first – after all it had been him that had given her the grim news.  Served him right – heartless bastard. 

She leaned forward to check that the image on the tarot card could be clearly seen.‘The Tower’ otherwise known as ‘The Bolt from the Blue’ – how very apt.  Doctor Tariq Ahmed certainly hadn’t seen that coming.

Submitted: December 21, 2014

© Copyright 2020 helend. All rights reserved.


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Add Your Comments:



Oh, you sure know how to spin a tale of suspense!

Sun, December 21st, 2014 9:05pm

Sultry Alice

Excellent writing Helend, I look forward to reading your story.

Mon, December 22nd, 2014 3:14pm

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