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August 24, 2014

This one is not for the squeamish, let that be said straight away.  Brief as it is, a mere 150 words, ‘Nasturtiums’ is one of my darkest flash fiction stories ever, one that even gives me the creeps…

A crime story… well, a crime/horror story really, the real horror being the warped psychology of the characters, Elliot’s quite as much as The Skull’s or Petra’s…

I adopted a somewhat unusual form in order to pack as much story into as small a space as possible.  But, as with any “flash”, there are gaps for the reader’s imagination to fill…

I read ‘Nasturtiums’ at a Northwich LitFest event at Hartford Hall, Hartford, on a calm, warm evening, with late sunlight filtering through the trees, in June 2013.  I was up first, so didn’t have time to get nervous, which was perhaps just as well…



Paul Beech


Transcript 1 – 3rd May, Elliot:


Over the moor I come to free you from The Skull.  Petra, my darling…

Gone now, the cruise.  Still I delight in memory, pashmina slipping your creamy skin.  You didn’t know how to dance, how to love, stunted by The Skull.

A romance under wraps, it was, your terror incomprehensible until Civitavecchia, when tearfully you told me the secret.

A child, you chanced upon the kill.  Daddy prone, mired in orange petals, choking.  Mummy a skull, grinning in revenge for his infidelity.

You were dumbstruck a month.  The Skull got away with it.

Ah, The Plover.  Here at last.


Transcript 2 – 4th May, Petra:


You liked the nasturtiums, didn’t you?  Orange petals, peppery taste.  They took you to the morgue this morning, led away The Skull in cuffs.  They’ll nail her for sure this time.

Grin ghastly in the mirror, I’m freeeee!  Thank you, sweetheart.




Copyright © Paul Beech 2014

(Originally published on Linkedin.)


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