Fiction in a minute: Haunted

The man in the Edgar Allen Poe tshirt wasn’t acting. He was actually bleeding to death on the grounds of Minta Deek’s Haunted Playground. But the drunken revelers ignored the moans and gurgles escaping from his slit throat. One even stepped over him and then called his performance “inauthentic.” 

Everyone’s a critic, Richard thought, wiping the knife handle on his shirt then tossing it in the thorns of an ugly shrub. Though, he had to admit, he had witnessed some pretty lackluster performances from the zombie crew by the swimming pool. Minta didn’t pay enough to attract top talent. It was one of the things they fought about as early business partners, before she forced him out of the company.

Hands and arms trembling, the dying man’s eyes started to close. One last cough shook his body and then he was still. Richard faded into the background and pretended to look at his phone. He hoped that Minta herself would appear on the scene so he could watch her reaction up close. 

One of the rent-a-cops stooped over the man and shook him by the shoulder, then backed away as fast as a little girl from a snake.

“We’ve got a situation,” he said into his radio. “Someone’s been murdered.” Pause. “No, I’m not f–king kidding, Albert, you idiot. Some guy got his throat slit.”

Richard thought about the bouquet of flowers he had sent to Minta today, after signing the separation papers. “Good luck with your business,” he wrote on the card. He hoped she would get the sarcasm as he intended, once she realized that her haunted playground was a crime scene and soon would be shut down. What he really wanted to say was “good luck with your lawsuits and insurance and bad publicity” but sometimes subtlety was best.

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