For a while now, I’ve been looking for an excuse to start posting more writing on here. I saw the Flash Fiction Challenge over on Chuck Wendig’s blog the other day and decided to give it a shot. This week’s challenge was to take one of ten random titles and write a story around that. I went with “A Year of Bodies.”
This is my first attempt at flash fiction, but I had fun writing it, so it may become a regular thing! Also, fair warning, it’s a little on the fucked up side. I hope you enjoy!
“A Year of Bodies”
By Brian Work
“A little to the left. Just raise the—Like that, but… Yes, perfect!”
Roland stepped back and admired his handiwork. It was nice, but something was… lacking. The servants kept looking from Roland to his latest piece. They didn’t understand his genius, but that wasn’t what he paid them for.
Nobody appreciated good art these days. It was Roland’s least favorite part of the twenty-first century. Everyone was so damned politically correct nowadays. No calling women broads. No making fun of fat people. No peeling the skin off trespassers and carefully wrapping it around a mannequin.
Oh well. His house, his rules.
The servants—Jose and… Esta-something-or-other—had lasted much longer than the last pair. They were quiet. Roland liked that about them. The last two hadn’t been quiet, and he’d had to add them to the collection. If there was one thing an artist hated, it was being rushed in his work. A masterpiece takes time. Not that Roland considered any of his current works masterpieces. If anything, these were derivative of his Victorian collection. He wanted to blame it on his materials, that today’s subjects just weren’t as attractive as they were back in the day. But Roland knew that was just an excuse. He was the problem.
He slipped each of the men an envelope and let them go. They wouldn’t say anything, Roland was sure of it. They were quiet. Roland liked quiet.
As he walked the length of his gallery, Roland knew he was due for an expansion soon. It had been a busy year. He hadn’t dabbled with statues for decades, not since the pathetic excuse for art that was his Woodstock collection. But the girl at the opera had been so lovely… and so insistent.
He’d tried to be satisfied with the sex, he really had. But after living as long as he had, a woman needed to be truly spectacular to leave an impression. He would have left it at that, but she so badly wanted breakfast the next morning, and well… he was hungry.
Roland ran his fingers through her hair. Such lovely black hair… He smiled. This is what she would have wanted. She died as she lived: Enjoying the finer things in life.
And she would never have to suffer the injustice of losing her beauty. She could remain young forever. It was the best gift he could have given her.
Well, second best, but this century wasn’t well-suited to siring. The logistics were such a nightmare. Easier to just kill them and be done with it.
So he had. But then the next week there was the girl at the theatre. Then the woman at the bar. Then the bartender. Then the detective…
Art was addictive. As soon as you thought you were done, it pulled you back in.
She was a fine piece of work, though. She’d preserved nicely. That was a stroke of good luck. Even if you used the best techniques and materials, you couldn’t always account for genetics. Some bodies just preserved better than others. It had been a hard lesson to learn when he was younger, but it was a valuable one. Sometimes, the blame just didn’t lie with you, and you had to accept that some people just made terrible subjects.
But this girl… Roland almost regretted not turning her. She had the looks, the attitude, the hunger… Unfortunately for her, he just wasn’t in the mood for a commitment.
Roland paced down the gallery, each step a little heavier than the last. He let out a long sigh. That girl really was his finest piece here… It was almost depressing. Usually his collections gradually progressed in quality, but that wasn’t the case here. Twenty-seven works of art, and none could match her in beauty, form, or pure fun of the kill.
He stopped. His head snapped back to look at her.
That was it! He wasn’t losing his touch as an artist. He was losing his touch as a killer! All the others had been kills of necessity or some sort of… obligation to create. A true artist couldn’t force art to happen on just any canvas that walked by. He had to be discerning. Seek out the best canvas possible. Only then could real art happen!
Roland laughed. He rushed back to his muse, his Calliope, and kissed her cold lips. This beautiful, wonderful girl. He’d been so blind, and now she’d opened his eyes.
He brushed his thumb over her cheek. The rest of them could burn. She was the only piece worth saving. He would take his lessons from her and use them for next year’s collection.
Next year, he would reintroduce himself to the world.