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Published by Kelley Townley
This very short, short story was a prize winner in the Bath Literature Festival Short Story Competition 2001.

It's heavy on lyrical prose and light on seriousness!
This very short, short story was a prize winner in the Bath Literature Festival Short Story Competition 2001.

It's heavy on lyrical prose and light on seriousness!

More info:

Published by: Kelley Townley on Jul 17, 2009
Copyright:Attribution No Derivatives


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© Kelley Townley www.kelleytownley.com
The densely smoke filled room would make even the strongest eyes water but hedared not blink. Blinking was a sign of weakness. The atmosphere was so solid everylungful felt like swallowing a brick. The pressure had produced beads of sweat on them all,bar one. He stared at her calm demeanour. She sat, crossed legged with a goblet of redwine, the throbbing vein in her throat the only sign of the intense heat; together with her tight scarlet dress, shinning through the blue grey smoke like a beacon on a stormy coast,she was a lethal mixture. It was getting harder and harder to keep his mind focused.Time was ticking by. How many more hours till one of them folded? He wouldn’t bethe first, would he? His bets were on baldy, he’d begun dabbing his forehead five minutesin and now his handkerchief was so sodden he had stopped bothering, he was evendeveloping a sickly green colour about him. To his right, the ‘Professor’, if that was what hereally was, coughed and raised his glass to his thin lying lips.
, he thought,
cunning. I was nearly on to something but the thought had gone now, lost to oblivion..
.He eyed the surrounding faces slowly, each one seemly engaged elsewhere but allsecretly wishing him to make a fatal error. He would rather die than give them thesatisfaction. He knew something they didn’t. He needed just one more piece of informationand he’d have it. He’d have everything.The lady uncrossed her legs, then crossed them again. She was fidgeting, nervousperhaps? Was she worried he was getting too close to the truth? She should be. He wasso close he could smell its foul stench. He was probably the only truly moral personaround the table. They all looked guilty, maybe not for this crime but certainly they all hadthat haunted ‘I’ve been bad’ look about them. Even the thin guy who kept bringing themdrinks, but he wouldn’t play ball. Everyone had insisted at first but this guy had the power to push buttons and no one was gonna mess with him.
The ‘Professor’ spoke. He didn’t listen. The old man, flushed purple with drink, hadspouted nothing but questions since his arrival. It was really annoying how he would makea suggestion, converse in secrecy with another, and then nod knowingly at the answer likeit made perfect sense. Thinking about it, they’d all made suggestions at one point or another, and seemed satisfied with their answers. Where was he going wrong?No, wait, he wasn’t going wrong, they were just bluffing.It might not be obvious to most, hell, even he had almost missed it.But not now.Now
knew what was going on.A fresh drink appeared at his elbow, courtesy of the thin guy. The ice glistenedmerrily in the swirling brown liquid. Come to think of it, maybe the thin guy was in on it!Yes, that was it! They were all in on it together.
been placed immediately in front of him to direct his gaze away from the table top. Baldy was there to reduce his workingspace with his various sodden hankies. The ‘Professor’ was there to ask those infernalquestions to distract his highly-tuned mind from the task at hand. And the thin guy, yes, theguy who hovered about constantly, topping up his drink as soon as he took a sip, wasplying him with something. It was all clear now, if only he had seen it earlier, he wouldn’thave drunken so much. But it was so damned hot, his throat burned constantly for moisture.He must focus. Ignore the pheromones the human lighthouse gave off, the lack of space Baldy gave him and the ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ level questions the‘Professor’ asked. Ignore them and concentrate. Concentrate. He could do it. Just got toblock it all out. See only the things that were important, the clues he had painstakinglygathered, the rational deductions he had made and knot them together in a logical net thatwould catch the killer.Wait a minute!There it was, the answer staring him right in the face.He had them now, he had them all!
It was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick 
,” he roared with triumph.
Oh, for God's sake, Brian,” sighed Denise. “You’ve got Colonel Mustard right infront of you.” 

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