New prompter! Also, this story involves murder. (Attn new Prompter: you can either ask for a continuation of this story or give me another prompt, as you wish)
“Shit.” She was trying to get calm, get mellow, to enjoy the sun on the lake and the breeze in her hair. Her mind kept coming back to the body in the swamp, just a couple hundred feet away.
She hadn’t meant to kill the man. Well, man-thing. She hadn’t meant to be killing anything today, it was a fishing day.
Fishing days were sacred. She got up before dawn, headed out to the lake, and stayed until past dusk.
If she happened to catch something? Bonus.
She didn’t drink, unless someone else came to fish and offered her a beer, then she’d offer them some of her snacks in return and they’d return to mostly-companionable silence.
She’d been doing that for months here, and had been planning on continuing doing so for months more. Maybe years, if she was lucky.
Now it looked like she’d have to move on.
Worse, she knew the spot she’d dumped the body wasn’t all that good. It was sloppy work, but it was fishing day.
Monsters were not supposed to bother her on fishing day.
If she was being honest with herself – and as there was no-one else she could be honest with, she might as well be – if it hadn’t been fishing day, she might’ve given the thing a warning.
She’d just pulled off the side of the road, where most fishers parked when they were going to hit the good post, and there it was, gnawing on an arm.
She’d made eye contact – that was usually enough to scare most of these things away – and it had Seen her and just growled. “My food.”
“My fishing spot. Besides, that’s human. You know the rules.”
The way it had snarled, there was a decent chance it’d gone rabid. “My food.”
“My fishing spot,” she’d snarled back. When it had pounced on her, she’d put a silver blade through its heart.
Then, of course, she’d had to clean the blade and put on gloves and she’d had to drag the body into the swampy part of the park before anyone saw her, and then she’d had to pack up the bloody shirt and the gloves – police were looking for a serial killer, the news had said, and it was no use telling them three-quarters of the kills they’d found had been the monsters’ victims and not hers. The police did not, as a rule, believe in monsters.
She should’ve gone on the run immediately, of course, but fishing day. She’d burned the shirt and gloves in a campfire grill and then put on some aromatic wood and some really smelly sausages – there was a reason she brought stuff like that – changed her shirt, cleaned up in the park bathroom, and gone fishing.
She heard a scream off in the distance, near where her car was. It wasn’t a help scream, it was a shocked scream.
Someone had found the body.
She looked at the line in the water, the bobber bouncing idly.
She looked at her gear.
She hated when things interrupted fishing day.
With a huff, she turned back to the water. She couldn’t stay that much longer; she ought to be gone before the police got here.
Something tugged on her line.
Well, maybe it was better to leave after the police came through?
Want more? See here first!
… not just ghouls, but rabid ghouls.
…”it was no use telling them three-quarters of the kills they’d found had been the monsters’ victims and not hers”…
So much nope. Nope nope nope.
In my defense, the prompt started out dark 😀 😀
yeah, this one is… a lot of noping.
That it did, indeed.
The protagonist seems quite competent but not very sympathetic. Maybe if she’s a monster hunter in a world with monsters most people can’t see, but even so, her concern for others seems rather limited.
Well the chances that she’s responsible for the other 25% of the deaths are basically 100%, by the rules of narrative.
That was certainly my impression. My question is whether the beings she killed were more like innocent people, or more like rabid ghouls. There’s more space in the latter case for a protagonist one can be somewhat sympathetic toward, IMO.
Hey I hadn’t even thought it could be suggested she’d killed innocents, thanks, I should work on that if I continue this one.
Yes, I was thinking she leaned more towards ghouls.
But also, yeah, her concerns are rather selfish. “I want to finish my fishing trip, damnit.”
It certainly doesn’t say she *doesn’t* kill innocents (or randoms), and does refer to her victims (“three-quarters of the kills they’d found had been the monsters’ victims and not hers”). There’s no telling the police the ghoul pounced on her; she kills it and covers up the evidence on autopilot, a thing she’s casually equipped to do on her day off. Even if she thinks of herself as a monster hunter, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’d murder any witnesses as a less annoying path than dealing with the police.
Meanwhile, capitalizing Seen — “it had Seen her” — vaguely suggests second sight and that their may be more to See/know than her mundane appearance. Is she even human? (That’s more of a stretch, but where my brain went on seeing that word.)
The police are looking for a serial killer. Ghouls are responsible for 75% of the kills. Leaving her to be responsible for the remaining 25%. And given they believe there’s a serial killer about, it suggests that the kills all have a similar pattern.
Maybe she’s also a ghoul? Particularly with the police not believing in monsters, her offing ghouls and (other?) ghouls offing non-ghouls may look quite similar. Or she could just be a serial killer whose MO looks a lot like a ghoul kill. Or she could be an unreliable narrator who is responsible for all of the kills, and blames some of them on nonexistent ghouls. She certainly doesn’t seem to think terribly clearly when it comes to fishing day.
That last one is interesting, but it hits one of my big squicks. I’m not sure I would ever write an entire story where the narrator was completely out of it, because that makes me curl up in a ball and cry.
(I just watched the Buffy episode where she is institutionalized but only in her head probably and ugggghg).
I am thinking the police are assuming that 12+ deaths are enough to see a pattern, but perhaps are confused by a difference in methodology. Or maybe they are confused because all of the killer’s kills have eaten flesh near them.
Or maybe she’s really off the deep end and killing ghouls is just PART of the problem.
Sounded like she -did- give the thing a warning.
Joke’s on the fisher-hunter though, dumping monster bodies in the swamp that feeds into your fishing spot results in the fish turning into monster fish… after all, that really was *quite* sloppy work…
That is a good point! As I wrote it, I felt like.. I felt like doing Fishing Day was a bit out of her control, and it seems to be so.
@kelkyag – you have good points on phrasing. Victims.
Seen was on purpose, but I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and there was a definite feeling of “She is Known as a Slayer of Ghouls.”