Spin The Wheel (Flash Fiction)

For terribleminds.com – Chuck Wendig’s awesome blog. Roll a D10 and get your plot triggers. Write 1000(ish) words. Post. Here goes:

10 – Locked room mystery

6 – Heist gone wrong!

4 – A bottle of rare whiskey

“The man had a yellow handkerchief around his face and a hat on. I remember thick dark rimmed glasses too because I thought he looked a little silly, what with the green suit and fez. I don’t remember much of what he said. It was just shouting. I’m afraid I was quite frightened. I hid behind the table in the hallway. But I could see that he had a gun, strangely, it was covered by a red cloth. He must have pointed it at the safe door and it was Mr Perkins, the butler, that went to open the door but by the time he did the man had scarpered. Then Roger, one of the staff, noticed that the secret door was open, it’s an old house, and that the painting was missing. I don’t know where he went to after, that door leads to the rooms in the celler.” The secretarial looking young lady explained before she began to weep again, she was still in shock. She was aided by a policewoman with thick red, curly hair and a comforting smile whilst another weedy looking policeman was furiously writing down every word ahe said in his little black notebook.

Noone noticed the looming figure of a man step out of the shadows at the back of the room. “Yes, ingenius,” the figure said, “hiding in full view. Everyone remembers the strangely dressed man arriving but no one will see the normal Clark Kent leaving through the back door. Thank you, Miss Rogers, you may go now. PC Meadows here will see that you get a cup of tea whilst PC Rodney here will continue to write in his notebook. You do not need to write what I say in there, you know.”

“No, Sir, sorry. But did he leave through the back door, Sir?”

“No, Rodney. He did not because the back door is still locked. Please write that in your book.”

“Yes, Mr Randall”

“Inspector Randall, Rodney. I think you better write that down too.”

Another imposing figure appeared at the front door. “What’s going on in my house?” Lord Downing demanded “we were out on a walk of the grounds. My wife and daughter are still in the summer house.”

“Sir,” the Inspector explained, “I’m afraid there appears to have been a robbery.”

“My God, what did he take?”

“The Picasso, Sir.”

“Really? How did he open the safe?”

“Mr Perkins was threatened at gun point to do it. He is still very shaken.”

“Oh,” Lord Downing looked a little annoyed, “well, I don’t blame the man. I would have done the same thing.”

“Sir, will you tell me how the perpetrator would have left the building through the secret door?”

“What? There’s no way. It leads to the cellars. There’s no back way out.”

“From what you’re saying, Sir, he should still be on the premises?”

“Yes…”

“He’s been there hours. Rodney, with me. PC Meadows fetch PC Stock and follow us down. Sir, I suggest that…”

“I’m not missing this for the world. I’m coming with you.”

Lord Downing barged passed the Inspector through the lounge and down the passageway. The Inspector and Rodney followed quickly behind leaving Roger and Mr Perkins, both a little bewildered, in the lounge.

They arrived at the cellar door. There was ample room for the three of them, it was not a small cellar. The Inspector bent to look at the scuff marks round the bottom of the door. He touched the mark with a gloved hand and rubbed some dust between finger and thumb. Then he tried the handle gently. It was locked. The Inspector stooped to look through the keyhole but it was blocked. The burgler had locked the door from the inside.

“Stand aside,” he said to Lord Downing, “Rodney, break down the door!”

“I beg your pardon, Sir?”

“Oh,” the Inspector sighed and then shouted, “PC Stock?” A large, muscular policeman entered the corridor. “Would you mind awfully breaking down the door?”

“No, sir.”

“Stand back!” the Inspector said, in a dramatic tone. PC Stock broke the door down on the fourth attempt, he was a large man and the door was very old.

Inside the cellar the onlookers were greated by the sight of a young man wearing a green suit, his head was rested on a fez and the yellow handkerchief was lose about his face and moving slightly as he snored loudly. Next to him lay an empty bottle of whiskey, a red cloth and a banana, and Lilian’s painting.

“Don’t worry, Sir.” said Rodney, “It doesn’t look like he is going anywhere fast.”

Roger and Lillian, Lord Downing’s daughter, appeared behind the crowd. “I said she could come down but only if I came with her and at the first sign of danger she was to get behind me. You know how stubborn she is.” said Roger.

Lilian said, “He took a painting from the lounge, didn’t he Daddy, but he didn’t take an expensive one. It was my painting of Mummy. Which I think is worse to take but Mr Perkins said it isn’t. It was my birthday party the other day so we moved the silly Picasso into the safe and put my painting up for the party. I didn’t like the old frame much so that is OK. Is that him?”

Lord Downing addressed the Inspector “I thought you said Perkins opened the safe?”

“Mr Perkins did open the safe, Sir, but this man had left before he finished. Didn’t he Rodney, check your notebook. If he had only waited until the safe had been opened… Well, Rodney,” said the Inspector, “There’s your gun. A banana covered by a cloth.”

“Just like that, eh, Inspector.”

“Pardon?”

“Nevermind, I’ll write that in my book.”

“See that you do. Looks like he’s had a whole bottle of whiskey too.”

“My 18 year old Talisker! I’ve been robbed.” Lord Downing exclaimed and fainted clean away.

The noise of Lord Downing’s body hitting the floor  woke the colourful burgler, “Hic!” he said just before vomiting all over the painting of Lady Downing.

“Ewwwww,” said Lilian.

193300

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Flash fiction entry. Words: Cape, Senator, Gloves, Motel

The door closed on Senator Morgan’s final meeting of the day. He sat back in his chair, loosened his tie and sighed as he pressed the intercom.

“Margaret, can you come in here for a moment, please?”

He was always polite to his mousey, prim little personal assistant. She was a good organiser with an OCD for desk tidying and made excellent coffee, black with two sugars, just the way he liked it. Margaret entered the room, notepad ready in hand.

“Take the rest of the day off, honey,” he said, “go home and enjoy yourself.” She smiled at him, welcoming the slight flirtation, but her eyes didn’t portray any relief.

“But Senator Morgan, your conference, do you not want to go through your speech one last time?”

“No. I know it inside out. Just need to get myself to the airport now. I’ll see you next week.”

She nodded, “Good evening then, Senator Morgan.”

“G’night, Margaret.”

She walked back out of the door, stopping only to delicately place her notepad back on her desk at the correct 45 degree angle and to pick up her bag before she left. 

Morgan rose from his chair and walked to the window to watch her exit the building. He sighed again.

It was going to be a long night. He removed his tie completely, tucked it into his shirt pocket and picked up his two suitcases. Then he put them back down as he caught a brief glimpse of the gloves laid neatly on the side table. A treasured present from his ex-wife on completion of drama college, dark red leather gloves, worn with use over a great many number of years. He slipped them on before leaving.   

The car journey to the airport was slow and frustrating. It seemed to Morgan that every stop sign was against him. Eventually, way after dark, he reached the place that would be his shelter for the night. A space to prepare himself before a plane journey to perhaps the biggest speech of his career. He parked up, grabbed his bags and checked in to the motel. If the security guard recognised him he was too tired or too bored to mention it. Morgan found his room just as a young couple found theirs. They waved a bottle of whiskey and giggled as they fumbled with their lock. He smiled back and raised a gloved hand in greeting.

The accommodation was basic but fine for the one night. He put his luggage down and jumped with surprise as he saw his reflection in the table mirror over the other side of the room. He wished he too had a whiskey but he needed a clear head tonight. A plane flew overhead which made Morgan look up to the cracked, white ceiling. It didn’t matter, he wouldn’t sleep much tonight anyway.

After removing his gloves and putting them safely on the table, he picked up the larger of the two suitcases and changed into some dark jeans and a shirt, neatly folding away his suit. He didn’t bother to empty any other items of clothing. Then he turned to the smaller suitcase. He laid this on the bed and tapped in the code for the combination lock. Beneath a folder containing the speech he had prepared for the conference, was a dark grey cape and black hat. He removed both items of clothing to reveal a red box. Morgan took out the box and placed it on the table. He sat on the stool next to the dressing table, looked in the mirror again, then opened the box. Inside were two layers of stage make up, a false beard and a wig. He wished that the lighting were better but, even so, his training as an actor meant he knew exactly how to change his face so that no one would recognise him unless they were up close and personal. He wasn’t intending to get close enough for any living soul to recognise him that evening. He finished by placing the hat on his head and tying the cape round his neck.  He slipped his gloves back on and headed out into the early hours of the morning. As hoped, there was no one else around.

What followed was another frustrating journey which took longer than necessary. Morgan slipped on mud, tripped over stones and branches and almost had to crawl up the bank to his intended destination. Finally, he reached the top of the hill and the wooded area which would hide him from sight. He dropped down to the ground, sat and watched as another plane flew overhead. He gathered his breath then removed the cape and took the cord out from inside the top. He pulled it tight with his gloved hands and felt it flex between his fingers. Slowly, he moved to the edge of the copse.

What he saw was a green sports car. The occupants were a woman and man, illuminated by the in-car lights. He kept his distance and listened to the laughter and noises which finally turned into relaxed conversation. Eventually, the man left Morgan’s ex-wife in the car and headed towards the trees for relief. Morgan was counting on this…

Bad news travels quickly. The newspapers printed pictures of a body covered by a cape. The strangled man was not only Senator Morgan’s rival in love but also in career. Twice the betrayal. Double the feelings of hate. Now that there was no other major candidate, Morgan was first to perform his career boosting speech.

“Good luck, Senator Morgan. Knock ’em dead. As they say.”

“Thank you Margaret.” Morgan winked at her as he strode onto the stage. He entered the crowded room to a huge round of applause. His face was blemish-less under the lighting. He put down his notes on the podium and adjusted his dark red gloves. Then he looked up, smiled to the crowd and began the act of a lifetime.

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Created for THIS.