In Fiction on December 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm



“Sit, Mr. Brennan. Your wound is weeping.”

When I turned, Philippe Bonté was sitting at the white marble counter, delicately stirring a coffee.

“How’d you do that?” I asked, slow to comprehend. “You weren’t there before.”

“I wasn’t?” he asked innocently. “Well, if you’re sure… You really are a magnificent detective, Mr. Brennan. Voudriez-vous un café?”

I crossed the room in three long strides and put my pistol beneath his chin.

Non, merci,” I said, readying the hammer with a click, but Bonté didn’t so much as flinch. He wiped his mouth and waved the napkin in the air like a little white flag.

“I surrender,” he said, arching a brow, then his gaze dropped to my chest and he offered me the napkin. “But I wasn’t lying; you’re truly undone.”

Reluctantly, I looked down and saw that he was right. The tape had peeled back from the bullet holes, and slow gobs of sludge were slipping down my skin, reddening my shirt. I took his napkin and slid it casually inside.

“Do you know why I’m here?” I asked. I pulled back the gun but left it cocked. Bonté smiled.

“Of course. You were sent by Madelaine Meilleur, who tells you I have the Crucible of Death. She tells you the Crucible will bring you back to life if you can get it. She also tells you she loves you. She is lying.”

“About which?”

“Only the last.” Bonté unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a glass phial on a thin silver chain, just like Madelaine’s.

“Give it to me,” I growled, and I sunk the muzzle of my pistol deep into Bonté’s fleshy throat. Bonté only sighed.

“I intend to, Mr. Brennan,” he said. “Put down the gun and I will tell you why.”

My anger began to melt—not entirely, but to an icy slush muddy with confusion and doubt. I lowered my aim.

“Best talk fast, then,” I said, “or I’ll give you some holes to match my own.”

This is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word of the week was melt.

This is also a continuation of my undead detective series. I hope it stands pretty well on its own, but if you find yourself swimming in a slushy confusion, I encourage you to read the rest of my Queen of Hearts series here. As with so many of my stories, it’s rife with intrigue, violence and nudity—in other words, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

  1. Great dialogue and interaction. You’ve got me curious about Miss Madelaine and her motives 🙂

  2. It does stand on its own, and I want to read the rest.

  3. Fantastic scene, Brian – I am completely pulled into the intrigue! Your writing is so complex and yet so easy to read. Simply excellent.

    • Thanks Jo-Anne! I’m fighting against the inevitable convolution that happens when you write something episodically, haha, so I’m glad to hear it hasn’t gotten too confusing yet. I went back and read the whole thing this morning, and it definitely does hold together better taken in all at once. Thanks again for your reading and support!

  4. Really good dialogue and details. One of the best reads this week. Great work!

  5. Masterfully written. It flows so easily despite the details given….my favorite kind of writing!

  6. Damn – this is FANTASTIC. I loved every word. Philippe is a fascinating character, and you’ve done his voice so well. (I totally understand the challenge of writing episodically, by the way. And the longer it goes, the harder it gets!)

    • You’re too nice, Christine – thanks! This series has been fun to write, but the voice has definitely changed a bit since the beginning. Thanks for hanging in there and reading!

  7. Love the end.. the way you used melt is perfect

  8. Every time I read a piece of your writing, I’m so inspired to be better. This was excellent, Brian! Your dialog is so natural that I feel like I’m right there, in the scene. Ducking behind the counter, of course, just in case bullets do start flying;)

    • Thank you Valerie! This series has been a different kind of writing for me, so I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it as much as the other things I’ve written. Have a great weekend!

  9. Wow, great work! I loved this description after your use of the prompt word “icy slush muddy with confusion and doubt”.

  10. I’m going to echo the words of the commenters that have gone before – killer dialogue, excellent pacing, nice flow. Well done.

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