The following story was my entry for last week's Flash Frenzy at the Angry Hourglass. It was written in response to the photo prompt (courtesy Sean Igo) prompt below.
The Swing of the Pendulum
The grey-washed dawn rises early and my murder is almost upon me. My old friend Poe couldn’t have set the scene any better: the gloomy solitude, the shadows shifting at the edges of vision, the birds gathered above me in the ghost of trees. Those damned birds. Every single beady eye fixed on me, waiting. At least I know I can only die once, I am no Prometheus. My liver, in this instance, is safe although my doctor has long disagreed with me, warning me of the dangers of my over-indulgence. He has set the clock ticking, bequeathed me a time-frame and I have filled every minute, every hour, every day knowing that each sunrise would bring me to this moment—my last day.
I want no witnesses.
It tickles me to think that I, the one everyone declares to be easily led, a simpleton and – in muttered asides – a cuckold, will leave a mystery behind. One for you, eh Edgar?
My bones ache from the damp, a bodily discomfort I will not have to suffer much longer, so I tolerate it and my jaundiced eye remains fixed on the path ahead.
I listen and Nature listens with me. My feathered friends, those harbingers of doom, cock their heads attentively. A hundred tiny heartbeats and my own telltale heart pounding to the beat of time.
Something has disturbed the silence and I strain my hearing further. The snap of a twig. The crunch of dead leaves. The swish of a skirt. Soft guilty breath eddying towards me.
The swing of the pendulum is getting shorter.
I watch, as I have watched her so often before – although in happier times. Still the birds remain, bearing silent witness until that instance when she sees me … and the blade in my hand. Her screams disturb the watchers and the air vibrates with the thrum of their wings, their own shrieks drowning out her cries for help. And when she falls silent, I lay her down in our new marriage bed taking my rightful place beside her, closing my eyes, allowing the wind that rises to hide us beneath a coverlet of leaves.
A writer - I think that says it all.