Tag Archives: murder

The Last Laugh


I got a soggy dog-lick-kiss, breakfast on a tray
with the dreaded birthday sentence: Fifty years today.
Gifts enshrined in angry bills, ring box on a tin can,
and on the bed beside me, my oh, so funny man.

I wouldn’t touch my breakfast; the tea was weak and cold,
the bread was stale, the marmalade thickly furred with mould.
I unwrapped all the presents; fake poo and inked perfume,
I threw aside a birthday card, then marched out of the room.

He chased me to the kitchen; he knelt on knobbly knees
to offer me the ring box, said: Please don’t be a tease.
He looked so hurt and serious I thought he was sincere.
I’m glad I chose to take it, or he would still be here.

I carefully prised it open, expecting glittery bling,
but in that stupid jewellery box there was no diamond ring;
no long-denied proposal, no promise from my champ –
curled amidst the velvet was a grubby postage stamp.

I glared at him in fury, but he waved my rage away,
and laughing shrilly, said to me: It’s for a holiday.
Climb into this box, I’ll add the stamp and the address
of any destination, North, South, East or West.

It might be midlife crisis, but I’m weary of his humour;
I wished a heart attack on him, or a most aggressive tumour,
so feeling thus disgruntled, I shot him through the head.
He’s curled up in an outsize box, not joking now he’s dead.

I’m posting him to Timbuctoo, with no return address,
So I will never get him back, and I’ll suffer no redress.
It’s funny what you think of, when you scrub a bloody floor,
kitchen units and two windows, one kitten and a door:

We met on Friday the thirteenth, an unlucky day for me,
but the thirteenth has returned; how unlucky now is he!
I don’t regret the past, and there’s something I will miss;
I’d like to give him one last breath and see him laugh at this.

©Jane Paterson Basil


Written for Three Things Challenge: thirteen, midlife crisis, past

©Jane Paterson Basil

Blood on the Streets


Like a tough flint
honed by a hungry stone-age hunter
two million years ago –
faithfully chipping off slivers
that winked dully in the midday sun –
you sharpen your rage, poke at
your gangsta habit of revenge,
cold to the sabre-tooth-marks in the one
who you hate and blame, not stopping to think
that though chance has led you to be foes,
your histories are the same.

Compassion is banned;
you stick the killer and you slink away,
the new abuser; in one foul move ceasing to be accuser,
taking your place as the accused –
just a slim link in the striped chain of retribution,
the latest player in a city game, unhindered
by guilt or shame.

The opposing team is obligated to whip up
its hate, to ignore the history of pain that emaciated
your better nature.
They paint your sticky crimson fate
across a careworn street where angels whisper benedictions
and a lone mother listens.

As your blood rusts in the gutter,
happenstance brothers take their deadly place
in the self-defeating spiral
of vengeance.

The sane man proselytizes from a sagging soapbox.
Raising his hands in supplication, he claims
that all which flows from our veins is red,
all of it smells the same,
all death leaves a similar bitter taste,
and we are all related.

Declaring he’s crazy, friends and foes
unite to chase him away.
Nothing changes;
loading their guns,
they shoot another brother.


©Jane Paterson Basil

The Man who Wanted to Save the World


A seething gang of teens surrounds him,
mocking, calling him names,
Stealing his concentration,
but he will not be defeated; he’s here
to save the world.

Catcalls, insults and derision
almost overwhelm the voices in his head.
He will not listen; they are sent
to deflect him from his divine duty
to save the world.

He strains to hear the angel’s voice,
but the rudeness intrudes,
diluting essential information –
instructions which he is convinced
will save the world.

A Sainsburys receipt floats past his feet,
its jumbled numbers will reveal
a secret code for him alone,
he who was selected by the highest deity
to save the world.

As the youths close in, he strikes out,
screaming, spittle flying from his mouth,
splattering an angry face. Someone cries out
“He’s just a crazy crank, a tramp. Nobody will care.
Let’s have him, lads.”

A slip of paper escapes from a slack hand
to land in a spreading pool of blood. Absorbing the gore,
its empty message blurs as tears forget to fall
for the man who failed
to save the world.

Image supplied by Pixabay.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Still silent



Sally, staring,
~ sitting still, silent ~
seeming shyly serene.
Silken skin sweetly shimmers,
sheen suggesting summertime sweat.
Slowly she slides ~ so slowly ~ slipping
~ speeding ~ sinking southwards ~ slumping, senseless~
seated still. Someone sees; screams seer sky.
Small scarlet splashes seep, swelling,
staining Sally’s shorts, shirt, skin,
swamping sweat, soaking seat.
Somewhere, sirens sound ~
speeding, shrieking.
Still, silent,


A double etheree this time (100% alliterated) – still playing wordgames…

©Jane Paterson Basil

The ferris wheel



They say that some nights, if you stand downwind, you can hear the screams of those children who never went home from the fair.

It happened way back in the ‘forties. The first time, it seemed like a tragic mishap; the second, a terrible coincidence.

All the same, word got around, and kids were too frightened to ride on that ferris wheel. The proprietor swore that all the bolts were tightened, but people were still scared. Teenagers woud dare each other to try it, and the bravest of them paid their money and climbed on board, alighting safely at the end of the ride.

After a while confidence picked up, and a couple of ten-year olds went on it. The car broke away and crashed to the ground, like the other times. One boy was killed instantly; the other died later from his injuries, bringing the number of fatalities to eight.

A journalist had been following the story, digging up dirt. Turned out the ferris wheel guy had lost a son. This lad had foolishly climbed the big wheel, to the top. He lost his footing and fell, breaking his neck.

The journalist reckoned the father was reeking his vengence on innocent children. He alerted the police. An enquiry began. The day the police went to the fair to arrest the man, he scaled the wheel, and leapt to his death.

They say that some nights, if you creep closer to the sound of screaming children, and look up at that rusting car, right at the top, you may see a misty man sitting in it, hugging a wispy young boy close, expressions of love and joy written across both of their faces.

Written for Michelle’s Photo fiction #59

©Jane Paterson Basil


The very day they moved in together, Suzie suspected it may have been a terrible mistake.

She rationalised: perhaps Steve’s rage was no more than a reaction to the stresses of the day, and later, while he offered no apology, no residue of his anger remained.

However, by the end of the week Suzie had seen that all the claims Steve had made about his political leanings were lies, and he despised her compassion, her ethics and her honest ways. He had played on her trust simply in order to win her affection.

Within the month his jealous acusations and inexplicable tantrums made her twitch when she was in his proximity, and in narrow spaces she backed out of his reach, but he didn’t notice.

Before the year was out, she was pregnant, and Steve stepped up the pace, inventing ever more games to belittle and shame her, carefully aiming his slights, always out of the sight of family and friends who continued to think well of him, so no-one believed her complaints.

By the time the baby was born, two phrases had become commonplace: “It was a misunderstanding” and “You’re over-reacting,” but they both knew that it wasn’t and she wasn’t.

Steve had erased all of Suzie’s faith in herself and replaced it with a cringing terror of change, and a belief that she was a pathetic thing, incapable of anything useful, ugly and unappealing.

She remembered the start of their romance – it had felt so real, had been so all-absorbing, and she could not empty out the vessel that had contained such passion. Gradually, as the warmth dripped out, it was replaced with something akin to hatred, but hatred felt wrong, following on from what preceded it. Suzie denied the emotion, telling herself she still loved him.

And from that chemical mix of misunderstanding, obsession was born. She needed to make Steve love her again – she had to – everything depended on it.

She changed the style of her hair, wore make-up for the first time since they had met. She could special meals and showed more affection. He said she looked like a doll, like a whore, told her to stop pawing him, to cease trying to poison him.

At his request, she redecorated the house, built shelves, custom-fitted a new kitchen, then turned to the garden, digging and planting, all to no avail. after doing nothing to help, he said she demasculated him. At this point she realised he was sick in some indefinable way. He didn’t love her but he required her presence as a verbal punch bag.

The more she tried, the better his games became, and she shrank until her edges dried and crinkled, and she could feel herself receding, leaving nothing but that need, that hateful need to make him love her, and she always failed.

Suzie knew she should leave, but she felt too weak. She believed Steve when he said she couldn’t bring up their child without him.

Enter the singer, with her grasping need to steal men to make her feel successful. There was history here: many years before, Suzie had possessed something of which the Singer was not worthy, and the singer detested her for it. Steve, too, had known singer for many years, and they played out a cruel game of mutual adoration whenever Suzie was present.

Suzie knew it was merely a form of attack on her, but she could take no more, and suddenly she came face to face with her true feelings for Steve.

She knew she would not rest until she had his heart on a string. It was what he deserved, and this time she would win the game. She knew just what to do.

The next morning, when the police broke in, having been alerted by concerned neighbours, they found Suzie and Steve’s one-year old daughter standing in her cot, screaming at the top of her lungs.

Music was blaring from the master bedroom. The police entered cautiously, to find Suzie sitting on the bed, gently smiling as she sang along to Galagher and Lyle’s “I wear my heart on my sleeve.” Her left arm was raised, and a bloody pendulum hung from a stained string, tied at her scarlet wrist. With her right hand she rythmically pushed it, and watched it swing. On the floor were several bloody tools, including a carving knife and three saws of different sizes. Beside her on the bed lay the fresh remains of a man, staring vacantly at nothing, with a gaping hole hacked into his chest.

Suzie stopped singing. Her eyes roamed the walls, the floor, the windows, as if for the first time taking in the sight of blood everywhere, but she was not perturbed.

She leaned towards the closest of four policemen who stood just inside the door, momentarily shocked into stillness, and in a confidential tone she whispered “I usually make an effort to look nice for Steve, but there’s no need any more, because I’ve finally captured his heart.”

Between the smears of dried blood which clung to her face, she blushed prettily.

Written in response to The Daily Post Prompt #Obsessed

©Jane Paterson Basil