Flash Fiction: Water Rat

River Stour at Flatford Mill, Dedham Vale, Essex, England Oct 2012 (c) Sherri Matthews

River Stour at Flatford Mill, Dedham, Essex, England Oct 2012
(c) Sherri Matthews

The small, wooden boats lined the riverbank in a neat row exactly as Ken remembered, waiting for hire by visitors suddenly overcome with the urge to take to the water.

Idiots.

Ken ambled along the path, keeping one eye on the river. Then he saw it and stopped short: the very spot where he and Muriel had picnicked before she had asked him to take her boating.

Of course darling he had said, knowing she couldnโ€™t swim. Faking an accident on the river would be easy.

Ken jolted awake, his hopes dashed as Muriel snored peacefully by his side.

This post is in response to Charli’s ‘river’ prompt for her weekly Flash Fiction challenge, 99 words, no more, no less.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in Englandโ€™s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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89 Responses to Flash Fiction: Water Rat

  1. restlessjo says:

    Close shave for Muriel ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  2. Sherri, I’m wishing there was a “love it” button for this flash … still can’t stop laughing … brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A little flash fiction from Sherri at A View from my summer house

    Like

  4. Hilarious and scary at the same time!

    Like

  5. Lucky Muriel. The hair at the back of my neck won’t lay down. Bad Ken. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  6. Oh, THAT is funny, Sherri! Very funny! I had no idea where it was going and I loved how you ended it. Thanks for the chuckles. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  7. TanGental says:

    Cracking Sherri and nicely twisted at the end with the garnish of humour. Grand effort!

    Like

  8. Sunni Morris says:

    Sherri,
    I really liked this one. It would make a good book. Great hook!

    Like

  9. reocochran says:

    This was a good one and he is a scheming ‘water rat!’

    Like

  10. Oh my gosh! This is so, “A Place in the Sun!” I just watched it the other night, Sherri. If you’ve never seen it, you have to check it out. Great job. I love the title! xo

    Like

  11. Heyjude says:

    Neat twist Sherri! Love it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  12. Love it my friend and the beautiful photo! Poor Muriel hasn’t a clue. Very ominous me thinks! ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha..shows how my dark mind works! Thanks my friend, so glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ This photo is of a place I visited a lot when I lived in Suffolk – and yes, went boating down that very river in one of those same little boats, including with my G.I. once upon a time ๐Ÿ˜‰ Had no idea where the story was going at first…and then Muriel snoring by his side as he dreamt popped into my mind. Poor thing, she is totally oblivious…but not for long methinks, ha ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€ xoxox

      Like

  13. My goodness! All future boat trips will make the hairs on my neck stand up until I am safely upon shore. Your very short stories are so catching.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh dear, sorry about that!! But I’m glad you enjoyed the story, thank you!! This photo is actually from a place I visited a lot when I lived in Suffolk. Went down that very river in one of those very boats quite a few times…maybe now I’ll rethink doing it again myself, haha ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hahaha……Muriel lived to snore another day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great little story, Sherri. xx

    Like

  15. Charli Mills says:

    When you said “dark” you meant dark humor! ๐Ÿ˜€ A river rat indeed — dreaming of drowning his peacefully snoring wife. Maybe it’s the snoring he can no longer take! Great flash!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, nice to have a little twist here and there! See what you’ve unleashed Charli ๐Ÿ˜€ As I said over at the Ranch, I really struggled with this at first. I knew the very photo I wanted to use, one from a camping trip right by the river in Big Sur. The noise kept us awake all night! But I didn’t have time to find it, so then thought, I’ll go closer to home and see what inspires. I love taking photos of rivers – and even thought of using the one on the sidebar here, but then, when I came across this one, it came to me. I spent many a happy day visiting Flatford Mill when I lived in Suffolk and went down that very river in one of those same boats several times, including a trip with my American G.I.!! Always calm, happy times. But then, we don’t really know what lurks beneath those still waters do we? Glad you enjoyed it, thanks Charli ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

  16. Pingback: A River Runs Through It « Carrot Ranch Communications

  17. jenniferkmarsh says:

    What an incredibly dark undertone, Sherri!
    You are so great at flash fiction ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t even write a comment under 99 words for goodness sake! aha. I would be terrible at it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I can’t help myself Jenny Jen Jen ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have very happy memories of boating down the river at Flatford Mill…yet, look what comes to my mind. Hmmmm…
      Ahh…thank you, you are very kind!! Honestly, I never thought in a million years I could write Flash Fiction – you know me, more rabbit than Sainsburys and that translates into my writing – but I’ve found it a fantastic writing exercise. It used to be that I would bash out 300 words and have to cut it down to 99 after several tries. Now I start off with about 120 or so. I never know what I’m going to write and I actually struggled with this one at first. Funny old thing writing isn’t it? You just never know…but you should give it a try ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Hope your hand is feeling better my friend and you are having a better week ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

      Like

  18. Looks like there is murder afoot Sherri, I am worried for Muriel, unless its just a harmless day dream? I love your stories.

    Like

  19. Norah says:

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Poor Muriel. She needs to get out of there – and I don’t mean in a boat! I like the way you built the suspense. Well done! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  20. Oh gosh. Just hope our husbands aren’t having similar dreams to Muriel’s Ken. Made me laugh as you built the suspense up well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  21. Evil Ken, indeed. I’m glad Muriel made it safely to her bed that day, Sherrie. I wonder what else he might have in store for her?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, evil Ken indeed Hugh! Muriel is oblivious for now…but how long will she snore soundly while Ken plots away? Will Ken succeed in his devious plotting, or will Muriel ‘wake up’ to the truth in time? You’ve got me thinking now, haha ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

  22. Ah! That kind of Rat with the capital R. I didn’t see that coming. Great story. Bet there is more to it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      You’ve got the measure of this Water Rat with a capital R Marlene! Glad you enjoyed it, thank you, and yes…who knows what happens next ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

  23. lbeth1950 says:

    Love to know about Muriel.

    Like

  24. Poor Muriel. It sounds as if Ken wants rid of her. At least he won’t suffocate her with the pillow as that would hardly be the way to fake an accident. She’d better watch her back though, or get in there first!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes Sarah, Muriel definitely needs to watch her back. And keep away from the river. But as you say, she might just ‘wake up’ to Ken’s wicked plans and have a surprise or two of her own up her sleeve ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Haha! Poor Muriel might want to watch her back. Nothing like a sinister little story with a twist at the end!

    Like

  26. As soon as I saw the title, I thought of Chocolat, so I was hooked right away. Good job!

    Like

  27. Luanne says:

    LOL. Oh, I love your dark mind ;). So funny!!! You made my afternoon here at work in a clients office.

    Like

  28. Yea! for Muriel’s defeat of Ken’s plan. Can you write another 99 words and have her snoring push him over the edge–to his defeat? (Sorry; I couldn’t resist.) Well done, Sherri! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks Marylin, that sounds like a wonderful little sequel! Then Muriel could snore away to her heart’s content with not a care in the world ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  29. simplyilka says:

    Oh dear! The story is finished but I want more … please…

    Like

  30. Sherri says:

    Ahh…thanks so much Ilka, I had no idea it would grab people so much. At this stage, I can only hope that Muriel ‘wakes up’ to Ken’s evil imaginings ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

  31. Mahesh Nair says:

    “Ken jolted awake” did the transition from dream to real so well. “Jolt” did it from boat to bed.

    So much action here, and may possibly be reflective of how the real world is. But most husbands and wives (having lived years and decades together) may not think of “killing” each other. It’s far fetched. Killing by accident is possible, but again, isn’t that a devilish thought. It’s better to kill than kill-by-accident. Oh these thoughts pound my heart hard. Why Kill (Bill)? Look what your fiction has done to me. I’m Tarantino.

    How effective, and convincing your FF is, Sherri ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes…I’ve ‘jolted awake’ a few times myself ๐Ÿ˜‰ Haha…Kill Bill? Well now, I did write a flash about Bill didn’t I? Maybe I should have Bill meet Ken so he can put him right…but perhaps not, as Bill would make mincemeat of Ken. As for Muriel, there is more to than meets the eye…and she might even try to get Bill to bump Ken off first. What do you think my friend? Maybe we should get in touch with the real Tarantino ๐Ÿ˜€ (and for the record, I love the Kill Bill movies ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mahesh Nair says:

        See you already have plot points for more links. If you have 20 FF pieces, linking one another, you have a short story. After all each scene/chapter must be a story on its own. Go for it, my friend, go for it ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Yes, I can see that…maybe by doing it this way, I can get past my mental block about writing a short story or, *drum roll*, a novel, ha ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the punchiness of flash fiction, and worry I would lose that…but if I don’t think about it and let loose, then the ideas flow. Once I start overthinking, I’m in big trouble. Thanks so much friend, you’ve given me a great boost of ideas….let’s see what happens ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Marie Keates says:

    If that isn’t the beginnings of a book I don’t know what is

    Like

  33. Pingback: Symptoms Of Unrest: Flash Fiction 99 Words | A View From My Summerhouse

  34. Oh, ho, ho! Now I see the connection. I’m rooting for Muriel. I hope she turns the table on her jerk of a husband, now that she suspects him. Good job, Sherri!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: Suspicious Minds: 99 Word Flash Fiction | A View From My Summerhouse

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