Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge - "Miss Billet Investigates"

Post New Year and I'm trying to get back into a writing schedule. To get the engine running I've taken part in another of the dastardly Flash Fiction Challenges concocted in the deep recesses of Chuck Wendig's mind. This week's challenge was to write a 1000 word story mashing up any of the two following genres;

Dystopian Sci-Fi!
Cozy Mysteries!
Slasher or Serial Killer!
Lost World!
Spy Fiction!
Bodice Ripper!

I won't say which ones I chose (hopefully it will be obvious) but have to say I enjoyed writing this. My entry is no where near as good as some of the others and I highly recommend checking them out via Mr. Wendig's blog. So here is my humble offering;

Miss Billet Investigates

A loud bang upstairs made Miss Billet spill a bit of her precious tea on her lap.

“Oh, that just won’t do,” she said, as she wiped the wet patch with her hanky. Her sister, Mrs H (for she had refused to change her name since the divorce, but insisted on not having to hear it ever again) threw the parlor door open.

“Did you hear that terrible noise? You don’t suppose one of them got in do you?”

“No, my dearest, I doubt it. We have triple bolts on all windows and doors, a double row of grating, as well as the best laser defence this side of London. I rather imagine it was the cat, making a nuisance of himself as usual.” Miss Billet rose to her feet and went upstairs, her sister close behind her. They passed their lodger’s locked door, before finally reaching the third floor.

The rejuvenation room’s door was open. There was no sign of any damage to the windows, so being kidnapped by the Shadows didn’t seem to be an imminent problem. The floor had scuff marks on it, with a scattering of the cat’s fur, but other wise all seemed normal.

“I can’t see anything wrong, can you sister” Mrs H asked.

“No... and yet something must have caused that noise dearest. I wonder--”

Mrs Billet stifled a cry. It was most unlike her to express emotions of any sort, but what she had just seen, or rather not seen, was enough to make a stone scream. The de-aging machine was gone. Everything else was present; the anti-wrinkle rejuvenator, the bone marrow renewer, even the long unused breast augmenter. But the one thing they needed the most, the one machine that would allow them to live forever, was gone.

Though she hadn’t said a word her sister soon noticed the missing object, and she did in deed scream. So loud in fact that the next thing they heard was their lodger running up the stairs.

“Dear god, they haven’t got in have they?!”

“No, Mr Jag, no one has got in. But something has very much gone missing.”

After explaining what had happened, the young man (having had his latest de-aging treatment a few weeks ago) slumped into one of the oversized bean bags that littered the floor.

“Where could it have gone, Miss Billet? How could it simply disappear?” As he spoke Mrs H took a seat next to him, her head shaking back and forth.

“Mr Jag, you know perfectly well it couldn’t have disappeared. Someone took it,” replied Miss Billet.
Both of her audience gasped, and looked everywhere except at each other as they both said simultaneously, “well, it wasn’t me.”

Miss Billet smiled. She considered torturing them a little longer with their suspicions, but thought better of it.

“I am well aware it could not have been either of you. After all, you were together in Mr Jag’s room when the loud noise was heard.”

They both paled, Mrs H’s lower lip shaking in an attempt to form the letter “b”. Mr Jag got there first.
“But... but how could you know that?”

“With all due respects Mr Jag, I’m not senile yet. And you must recall I was the Met’s best detective before the Shadows descended. I admire your efforts to keep your affair secret, but I have known of it these past thirty years.”

Her sister jumped to her feet, “Then why didn’t you say anything!?”

“I felt if you wanted to keep it secret you had every right to do so, dear sister.”

At that Mrs H sank back into her chair, looking the way she normally did with one of Miss. Billets perfectly logical replies. She replied, “But then who took the de-ager? You couldn’t have, for I ran downstairs the moment I heard the noise.”

“No dear sister, I didn’t take it.”

“Then who? There’s no one else in the house... unless... one of them is in here.”

The two lovers looked about as though they may be able to see one of the Shadows standing next to them if they only looked with the sides of their eyes.

“You’re not looking in the right places. Are they my little friend?” Mrs Billet said into the air.

The cat jumped up on the ornate table to Miss Billet’s right and curled its tail delicately around its feet. He looked at Miss Billet with huge, green eyes.

“None of that. Your game was up a while ago with me. Now explain yourself.”

For a second longer the cat continued to look at her in blissful ignorance. Then, when it clearly wasn’t working, the gaze relaxed and the cat swung his head down to stare at the table top.

“I’m sorry.”

Mrs H and Mr Jag let out a cry as the small voice sounded from the cat.

“That’s not really good enough,” Miss Billet replied, “What did you do with the de-ager?”

“I... I just needed to borrow it. I dropped it. I... I hid it.”

“But... but... but...” Mr Jag muttered.

“It’s quite alright Mr. Jag. We do indeed have one of them residing with us. But he is not, exactly, one of them.”

“Oh no,” exclaimed the cat, meeting their gazes without hesitation, “I hate my kind. We’re so mean. In here... well I can relax. I can live a good life. I just needed the de-ager for a bit, to hold off my own years. I’ve used it before and no one noticed, but this time... I panicked. I’m sorry. I’ll bring it back.”

No sooner had the last word been uttered than the de-ager reappeared in its correct place, undamaged by its inter-dimensional travel.

“I suppose you’ll want me to leave now,” asked the cat.

“Not at all. In fact I want you to stay. It will give me someone to talk to while these two canoodle upstairs,” replied Miss Billet.


  1. Nice story! Very original, and you've captured the cosy mystery language beautifully.

  2. That was bizarre and entertaining. The characters are vivid - love the concept!

  3. Thank you both! I think I've been watching too much Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes...