The Red Pen


Another submission for Short Story Day Africa 🙂

He said it would be OK. He said we shouldn’t worry. He had done this thing before. He was a veteran. I, on the other hand, had never even conceived of the idea. I was a novice. I was going to learn but what if I didn’t want to learn. What if this lesson was something I only wanted to be taught later in life. But he said it would be our little secret and no one needed to know.
It never really sat well with me but I let him. I allowed him access to my vulnerability. He ripped me to shreds. He didn’t even leave anything behind. If only I had known. I would have kept it hidden, secured tightly in a box. Not exposed. Never to be read. If only I had known he was a brutal editor with no shame with a red pen.

Nicola Tapson © 2015

The Red Pen

Trying my hand at a thriller

This story was entered into a short story competition for Short Story Day Africa. Enjoy.

The red blue flashes numbed my brain. I stood and saw the blood on my hands.

I had been enticed by his honeycomb lips. He gave me my heart’s desire except he took my freedom. He tracked me like a bloodhound on the hunt. I had wondered about his profession and he told me he dealt in bodies and beauty.

Then one day things changed. I was wandering around the house bored with the mundane routine I had developed when I came across a locked door. I felt the top of the jamb and found the key. I opened the door and saw an opulent room. There were velvet curtains. A table laid for a romantic dinner for two. In the corner was a four-poster bed and petals were strewn everywhere. So this was the secret project he was working on. I gently moved my hand across the curtain when I hit something hard. I moved the curtain. I was shocked. There were 12 doors which looked remarkably like those found on a CSI mortuary scene. I slowly examined the labels on the doors. Then I paused. My heart stopped. He planned to make me the next victim.

Nicola Tapson © 2015

Trying my hand at a thriller