I entered myself into the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. This is a pretty neat way to flex your writing muscles. They put you into groups and give each group a genre, subject, and location, and the story must be no more than 1,000 words. I was put into group 34: Suspense, dentist’s office, and a blank check.
My story is posted below. Unfortunately, after I submitted this, I noticed one minor discrepancy. I won’t say what it is. I want to see if you pick up on it. 😉 Hope you enjoy!
He Wasn’t Going to Leave
Dr. Thomason sat alone in the employee lounge. He peered briefly inside his shirt pocked at a neatly folded blank check. Satisfied it was still there, he closed his eyes and propped his feet on the table hoping to catch a quick nap before the last patient arrived. His head nodded softly as he listened to the ridiculous clock on the wall; each dying second seemed longer and louder than the last.
“Hey, Patrick!” his hygienist, Amy called from the doorway. His legs flailed at the sound of her voice causing powdered creamer and a cup of stale coffee to spill onto the table. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she rushed in pulling paper towels from a nearby shelf. Dr. Thomason reached out for a few to help with the mess.
“I’ve got it, Amy, thanks,” Dr. Thomason brushed the mess into a sticky pile with the paper towels. He looked for a trashcan and Amy followed his gaze next to a vending machine. “Grab that for me would you?”
The young woman pushed it across the floor and rested it against the table. “Gives coffee table a whole new meaning,” she joked. Dr. Thomason smiled as he wiped up the last bit of coffee and creamer sludge into the trash, but Amy could see right through it. “Everything okay?”
Dr. Thomason looked up. He never noticed how gentle her eyes were. She had a subtle way about her; it was a kindness he hadn’t felt in some time. “Yeah, I’m good. Just not looking forward to this last patient.” He glanced back at the clock; the damn thing finally stopped. “Do you happen to know what time it is? I left my phone in the car.” Amy reached into her coat pocket and looked at her phone.
“Quarter to five. Who’s the patient?” she asked as she slid the phone back into her purse.
“David Harmon. Always the last patient and always the most difficult.” Dr. Thomason shook his head.
“I remember him. Comes in a lot doesn’t he? He gives the girls at the front desk the creeps. They say he just stares at them until he gets called back. I think he’s harmless though, just awkward. What’s he coming in for today?”
“I’m not sure. Some sort of emergency visit. Surprisingly whenever he comes in here everything checks out fine. No signs of gum disease or tooth decay. I can’t quite figure out why he comes back so often,” but he did know why David Harmon always came back to see him. Patrick owed him something that he wasn’t ready to give, and he was going to keep coming back until his debt was paid.
Amy patted his shoulder, “Well let me know if you need any help. I always keep my cell on.”
“Drive safe, Amy. It gets dark so early now, and those roads have been pretty bad this winter.” He watched her leave and as she did, his secretary stepped in to see him. “Hi, Carol.”
“Hi, Dr. Thomason,” the tremble in her voice said it all.
“Yes, sir. He brought something,” she answered.
“What is it?”
“A large suitcase.” Patrick shook his head and walked out of the lounge. Carol followed close behind as they made their way down the quiet hall and into the lobby. David sat patiently with a black suitcase in front of him.
“Carol you can go home. I’ll lock up when I’m done.” She hesitated and looked back at David, but she didn’t ask questions. It didn’t take her long to grab her things and leave. Now Patrick was alone with David Harmon and his suitcase.
“Dr. Thomason,” David greeted.
“Mr. Harmon, come on back.” He held the door open for David and watched the suitcase squeal past him.” David picked the exam room. It was always the last one at the end of the hall.
David took his seat in the exam chair and it creaked beneath his weight. He kept the suitcase close. “We were getting tired of waiting,” he said resting a heavy hand on it. A lump formed in Patrick’s throat. He swallowed hard.
“You had to bring her back here, Mr. Harmon? I would have given you the check today.” David laughed hoarsely.
“You say that, Doctor, but I always leave here without it. So I brought my pretty girl. I knew she’d change your mind.”
“What happened to her was an accident, and you said you’d take care of her.” Patrick looked at the tray sitting next to David. There was a syringe filled with lidocaine. He thought to reach for it but David noticed and pulled it from the tray. He uncapped the needle and held it delicately between his fingers.
“You killed my daughter, Dr. Thomason. She died because you gave her more anesthesia than her poor little heart could take. The deal was you’d bring me a blank check. We negotiate. We agree. Then I take care of her, and you never see me again. You took her from me. I could have killed you or exposed you, but this deal is so much better, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I guess you’re right.” Patrick pulled the check from his shirt pocket and reached for a pen lying on the counter.
David stood next to him; he set the needle down, “Make that for five hundred thousand.” Dr. Thomason wrote it out just as he requested and handed it to him. “Once this clears, we’re good.”
Dr. Thomason knew better. When the money was gone, he’d come back. He snuck the needle from the counter when David started for the door with his suitcase in tow, and as they turned onto the hall Patrick stabbed him in his neck repeatedly until David fell hard.
“Morning, Dr. Thomason,” Carol called from behind. She stood in the doorway of his exam room. “Mr. Harmon’s back for more work, huh?”
Patrick looked down at David’s lifeless face, “Cancel my afternoon, Carol.”