ff Feb 15Rebekah Postupak hosts Flash! Friday! on her blog. This week we had the image prompt of a weapon choice and a location choice to write a 400 word murder mystery. My initial story ended up being 700 words. I was able to edit it to 380. Which do you like better? 

Irenya had climbed to the summit of 139 Cathedrals all over Europe.  She hadn’t planned to climb that day, but the isolated town of Moffat surprised her by having a rather impressive dome-capped basilica, and she couldn’t resist.

The climb started like most of the others. A perfectly normal staircase, then across a balcony or mezzanine, plenty of photo ops of the interior as well as the occasional peek out a small window.

The stauary impressed her the most. The angels were all idealized humans with wings, warrior-like beauties each holding a spear and shield.

The next set of stairs were spiral, the kind that were encased in a tower leaving the climber disoriented as to direction and duration. She entered it bravely. There were no longer any exterior windows, which was odd, but every turn or so there was another statue. She paused to examine each one, noticing subtle differences in each. There seemed to be two kinds, though she had no words to describe the actual difference. She simply had the impression that some represented good, and some evil.

Just like having one on each shoulder.

After the tenth angel and finding no mezzanine, no outlet, and no respite, Irenya began to wonder. Cathedrals were always bigger than they looked, but this was ridiculous.

The next turn, the alcove did not hold an angel at all. She took advantage of the spot to rest a minute, her legs feeling the burn of the climb.

There was a clattering sound above her. Curious, she continued climbing.

A spear slid down, coming to a halt mere inches from her feet. “Hello?” she called, hoping she’d find a monk or perhaps another tourist. She picked up the spear, then noticed it had something gooey on the end.

Red and gooey.

Irena’s scream stuck in her throat. Was this a joke? Was someone amused by teasing the random lone tourist? Or was someone actually hurt…perhaps some teenager who’d thought it would be funny to take a spear from a statue and play war with his friends.

“Who’s there?” she called as she climbed higher. The next angel was covering its face, weeping. “Are you all right?”

With every step she could see a few more inches ahead. It was never ending torture, wondering when she’d finally come to an end.

A hand dangled down the steps, limp. Attached to the hand was the body of a man, face down, a gaping hole between his wings.

Wings?

Irenya took a step back, frozen with indecision. Carefully, she reached out to feel for a pulse at the angel’s neck.

There was a pulse, and at her touch, the wings beat weakly. His eyes fluttered open, and he struggled to turn his head to see her. He gasped in a breath of air, then let it out with a shout.

“RUN!”

Irena stumbled backwards, the spear still in her hand knocking awkwardly against the narrow walls.

Slow and heavy footsteps sounded above her. A figure loomed in the dim light above her.

A man with wings.

He pointed at the spear. “Mine.” He stated.

Irenya no longer cared whether it was an elaborate hoax. Spear in hand, she stumbled and leapt down the stairs as fast as she could. Every statue she passed had its face pointed up, as if to see what was coming down towards her.

She stumbled once and fell, the spear clattering down ahead of her. She glanced back, expecting the murderer to appear at any moment. Instead, the angel just above her thrust its arm and spear into the stairwell, blocking it. The stone creature turned its face to her, then opened its mouth.

“RUN!”

Irenya did, managing to pick up the spear again as she fled. Countless turns later, she finally found herself on the mezzanine. The basilica was deserted. She saw that the stairwell had a door, propped open by a chair, and she quickly closed it. The chair didn’t do much to hold it in place, but she put it in front anyway.

Several sets of stairs took her to the main floor, and the last thing she heard before escaping to the hot afternoon air was an otherworldly roar from the mezzanine above.

#

Oops… now to edit it down to fewer than 400 words. This is 700.

#

Irenya had climbed to the summit of 139 Cathedrals all over Europe.  She hadn’t planned to climb that day, but the isolated town of Moffat surprised her by having a rather impressive dome-capped basilica, and she couldn’t resist.

The stauary impressed her the most. The angels were all idealized humans with wings, warrior-like beauties each holding a spear and shield.

She began with the standard straight stairs, then a balcony. The next set of stairs were spiral, the kind that were encased in a tower leaving the climber disoriented as to direction and duration. She entered it bravely. She paused to examine each angel, noticing subtle details in each. There seemed to be two kinds, though she had no words to describe the actual difference. She simply had the impression that some represented good, and some evil.

Just like having one on each shoulder.

The next turn, the alcove did not hold an angel at all. She took advantage of the spot to rest a minute, her legs feeling the burn of the climb.

There was a clattering sound above her. Curious, she continued climbing.

A spear slid down, coming to a halt mere inches from her feet. “Hello?” she called, hoping she’d find a monk or perhaps another tourist. She picked up the spear, then noticed it had something gooey on the end.

Red and gooey.

Irena’s scream stuck in her throat. Was this a joke? Was someone amused by teasing the random lone tourist? Or was someone actually hurt…perhaps some teenager who’d thought it would be funny to take a spear from a statue and play war with his friends?

“Who’s there?” she called as she climbed higher. The next angel was covering its face, weeping. “Are you all right?”

A hand dangled down the steps, limp. Attached to the hand was the body of a man, face down, a gaping hole between his wings.

Wings?

Irenya took a step back, frozen with indecision. Carefully, she reached out to feel for a pulse at the angel’s neck.

There was a pulse, and at her touch, the wings beat weakly. His eyes fluttered open, and he struggled to turn his head to see her. He gasped in a breath of air, then let it out with a shout.

“RUN!”

#

Freaking yikes I barely got this one in under the 9pm deadline lol!

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