Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Art or Murder? By Olivia Todd

Barbed wire sprung back, creating a new entranceway. Gerry leaned the bolt cutters against the fence. If only Gerry had inherited an estate, then his activities would have taken place in a more legal manner. But it couldn’t be helped. He stepped through and hoisted the rifle strap up his shoulder (legally licensed, of course). Gerry knew he needed to take risks, like any artist would to reap the rewards, but if he could remain on the correct side of the law, he would, for her.



At night, he was a mourner. Candle in hand, he would appraise his latest addition with hollow eyes. The stuffed carcass’ silhouette barely visible in the gloom. Glass glinted as he continued round the living room. Her hand on his back made him yelp, like a fox with a crushed leg in the metal jaws of a trap…

By daylight, he was swinging his black cane and wearing his top hat, adorned with the feathers of birds from a plethora of nationalities; Indian peacock nestled next to an Asian pheasant, underneath the humble British blackbird – a flock of colours waved to mystified onlookers. He strolled down the pavements as if they were contracts. The demand for his work had been soaring, museum curators were stretching their limited budgets, just so they could reserve one of his masterpieces. The amount of pride he experienced, when an exhibit stored one of his own animals, never faded. But he refused to have his name accredited on the plaque. Only he and the unfortunate animal knew the event; the how, the where and when…



As he picked his way through undergrowth, twigs snapped under his boots; the safety being clicked off his rifle. This was the spot – he crouched. The rumours of her started to fester as brutally as a bullet penetrates a living organism. Some people said she had become so accustomed to the stench of offal that she eloped with the butcher, whilst others thought she could no longer love a man whose soul was split… But Gerry refused to listen to their prattle. She was at home as always.

Antlers emerged, followed by a noble head and a stocky body. His adversary defenceless. One bullet to the heart - easy. He gritted his teeth aimed the rifle. The force sent him backwards and a blur of brown bolted. Defeated, Gerry brushed himself down and headed home.



Night returned once more. Visions ripped through his mind, like how his scalpel skinned corpses. Gerry’s creative process was conflicted. One side loved mounting an animal to make it everlasting and the other loved the desecration that taxidermy commanded. Gerry sat at his workbench and opened the box to survey the glass eyes. They knew. They knew the brutality of creation. But eyes cannot speak, nor can they forgive. He wept and waited for her hand to rest on his aching spine, but there was only Gerry. Gerry and his display cases of stolen lives…


see more submissions for the Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction click here