Our task this month is to write a story based on an opening prompt. It's supposed to reveal something about our writing voice and style. After reading my tale, I'd like to hear what you learned about me.
It was a dark and stormy Halloween night. Clouds obscured the full moon. Shadows danced. The four story house, a hulking black ink blot, waited. A lone light flickered behind a window.
“That’s our signal,” whispered one of the four figures huddled behind a huge spreading cedar.
“You sure the coast be clear?”
“He said he’d leave a lone candle burning,” another of the figures said then shivered. “It’s blooming cold out here. Let’s get inside.”
“Seems too easy,” the fourth said as the other three moved forward. They looked back in disbelief.
“Don’t you start that again, Paul,” snarled the first.
“Pete’s right,” seconded one of the other two. He jabbed his companion in the ribs.
In response, Pip squeaked, “Right-o--what Pete said.”
Paul still hung back.
Pat stomped back to him and grabbed his arm. “It’s easy pickin’s,” he cajoled.
“Too easy,” Paul insisted. “Why’s the old man givin’ us the lay?”
“Cause he thinks we’ll share,” snorted Pip.
Pete added with a chuckle, “Bird brain if there ever was one.”
Digging in his heels as they reached the back door, Paul said, “He knows us by name. If’n we don’t share he’ll copper on us. And why All Hallows Eve? Smells rotten as a month old Jack-o-lantern.”
“He’ll be happy ‘nug with the insurance money,” Pat assured them.
“Scardy cat? ‘Fraid there’s a ghost waitin’?” taunted Pip.
Paul jerked free of Pat’s hold. “That’s right. I’m a fraidy cat. So will you be if you know what’s best.” With that he turned and ran away.
“Don’t fret,” Pat told the other two. “There’ll just be more fer us. Com’on.” He put a hand on the knob. It rattled but didn’t turn.
Pip poked him in the ribs. “Member he said ta kick in the door like, so the coppers wouldn’t get suspicious when he reported the robbery.”
After tossing a glare at Pip, the other kicked in the door which creaked loudly. He motioned for the other two to follow him inside.
“It’s black as pitch in here,” whispered Pip.
“Don’t have ta be careful o’ the furnishin’s. If things are topsy turny it’s look more like a robbery,” Paul told them.
The three made their way through the kitchen with a crashing of chairs and splintering of crockery.
“This way,” Paul said, “up the stairs and to the right. The hoard is in thet bedchamber where the candle be burning.” He led the way up with tromping steps.
Pete paused at the bottom of the stairs. “Somethin’ ain’t right,” he began. The hand on his shoulder stiffened him. Before he could speak a blade pierced his back and entered his heart.
“You comin?” Pip called from the landing. When he heard the tread of steps he put a foot on the next tread. “Don’t be so slow,” he groused and waited for Pete. There was a momentary shock as something collided with the back of his head. Then all was forever black as he tumbled down the steps and landed atop Pete.
“Whater’ you ijits doin’?” demanded Paul at the top of the stairs. “Needn’t come any further. I got it. Wait til you see what’s all here!” When he got to the landing he paused. “Pip? Pete?”
“They’re waiting for you,” said a hollow, wavery voice.
Paul turned to the corner of the landing. “What--?”
A pistol shot rang through the dark house. Paul tumbled head over heels down the stairs amidst a spray of pearls, paste gems, and brass baubles.
When all was quiet, candlelight appeared at the top of the stairs. “Is it done, Samuel?”
“Just like we planned, Ruth. Come down.”
The old man took his wife’s hand and they walked down the remaining stairs. They sidestepped around the bodies and then gazed down at them.
“I thought there were to be four,” Ruth murmured.
“One at least used his noggin,” Samuel said with a shrug of one shoulder. “The reward on these three will see us nicely through the winter.”
“And we have our own Halloween display,” chuckled Ruth. She smiled at Samuel’s frown. “Don’t you know--three P’s in a pod.”