The first in the series of short fiction pieces I wrote for the 15-minute free writing exercise. Each prompt consisted of a single word and a picture. Most of them came out a bit unpleasant, particularly this one. But I really have always found butterflies a bit sinister.
“I don’t know”, she said. “I just find them a bit sinister, that’s all.”
She walked a little further into the damp-smelling warmth, shuddering slightly at the contact of wings on her face.
“I think I read a creepy story about butterflies once as a kid. In a Misty comic or something. You know the kind of thing…”
She rolled her eyes at her companion sheepishly.
“You know, two girls on a hike or something come across a house inhabited only by a mysterious old lady, and she takes them on a tour of the house, and they have tea, and then they end up in a huge greenhouse like this.”
She gestured with one arm, and a ripple of colour launched itself into the air as her passengers were startled into movement.
“Like this, full of butterflies, and they sit down because it’s so warm and the fluttering of the wings is so relaxing, and they’re drowsy, leaning against each other, half asleep on an ornamental bench in the heart of this enormous, butterfly-ridden space…”
She suited her actions to her words, lowering herself rather gracelessly to the white bench beside the ornamental pool.
“…And then just as they’re sinking completely into unconsciousness, this sweet old lady says something that makes them realise that the tea was poisoned and she’s going to feed them to the bloody butterflies. So no, I’m not all that fond of them really.”
“I’m sure you can’t really feel like that”, said her companion with a smile. “I mean, they’re so pretty! Look at that red one there.”
A bright red butterfly was indeed perched nearby, crawling on the iron table on which the dirty tea things were scattered. The butterfly waved its feelers aimlessly, then flew away across the pool, leaving a splash of red behind it on the white china.
“No”, she said wearily. “I hate them.” And she turned to face her companion, staring deep into the beautiful blue eyes. “I hate them, because they make me do this”, she said, pulling the wickedly sharp knife from inside her jacket and slashing the teenage girl’s throat. The blue eyes were first horrified, then terrified, and finally just dully accepting.
The lifeless body slumped back onto the bench, and from all over the huge enclosed jungle of the greenhouse came the almost inaudible sound of fluttering wings.
She stepped carefully over the spreading pool and walked away towards the house.
“Bloody butterflies”, she said, looking back as she reached the door. “Bloody, bloody butterflies.”