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
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
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.”