Laura James’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Father’s Footsteps
The last time she had seen her father he had told her about his work and how she was ready to continue in his absence. She didn't believe him at first but now, sitting with the box open in front of her, the maps scattered on the kitchen table she knew he had spoke the truth.
Twirling the key in her hand she studied the maps.
'Follow your heart'
'In dreams we live'
'Let's run away together'
‘Beauty is only ever skin deep’
'Good guys finish second'
'The phone never rings'
The maps themselves were meaningless, it was the message that was important. Her father's daughter, she was ready to complete his work. Her journey would be a long one but the destination was in her sights. Picking up her duffle bag and the maps she left her home for the last time.
Carla had always loved driving at sunset, the way the light dimmed and sparkled on the world around her made her feel alive. Up ahead a lone man was walking along the side of the road, his arm out, thumb up, head low oblivious to all the cars rushing past him. Without hesitation she pulled into the side of the road and lent across the passenger seat opening the door. The stranger was smiling as he sat down “Thanks, I really appreciate you stopping. Feel like I’ve been walking for weeks.”
Carla studied the man sitting in her car, “No problem.” Pulling back into traffic she adjusted the radio making it clear she wanted company not conversation.
The miles flew by in companionable silence until Carla felt her eye lids drooping. She would have to stop soon or there was a chance she would fall asleep at the wheel. “Do you mind if we pull over for a bit?”
Gentle snoring from the stranger by her side answered her question and so she took the next turn off pulling behind a service station away from the glare of the lights. Turning the engine off she waited to see if her driving buddy would wake, but he slept on oblivious to the stationary vehicle.
In other circumstances she might have allowed him to pick her up in a bar, he really was quite beautiful. She reached out and ran her hand lightly down the side of his jaw. Stirring he opened his eyes, “I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist. You’re so beautiful.” She withdrew her hand sharply and bit her lip. He smiled at her embarrassment, his brown eyes piercing her soul to her heart.
Knowing she had made the right choice she swiftly she took a screwdriver from the glove compartment and stabbed him through the throat.
Leaving the car she moved round to the other side and opened the door, her passenger fell out, hands clasped to his throat trying to stop the bleeding. She allowed him to crawl a few feet away from the car as she gathered what she would need from the boot. A map, a knife, some wipes and a plastic bag.
By the time she made it back to where he lay, his life had almost left him. “You truly are beautiful you know. I wasn’t lying.” Crouching next to him she stroked his face once more, “You’ll be famous. My first.”
She took the knife and sliced around his face following the hairline, by the time she had reached the end his life had long gone. Undeterred she continued, gently pulling back the skin until she held his face in her hands. Lovingly she placed it on his chest and opened the map next to him, the words ‘Beauty is only ever skin deep’ visible in the car headlights.
Heading back to the car Carla cleaned her hands tucking the dirty wipes into the plastic bag. She was following in her father’s footsteps and she knew he was looking down from the heavens proud of her at last.
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez