Prompt: Everybody loves the pool.
She locked the door as soon as Detective Brands left; re-checking it ten times before she felt satisfied it was securely locked.
Yeah, a little obsessive. But she’d rather be positive it was locked before she walked away. Not that her measly lock would keep someone out if they really wanted inside.
It didn’t in the past.
Brushing that brutal memory out of her mind, she all but ran to the living room and grabbed a blank canvas from the stack on the floor near the couch.
She always had plenty of supplies on hand. Painting always cleansed her soul. Something she needed with a passion. Especially now with Detective Brands conjuring bad memories, and potentially new ones to form.
Setting a new canvas on the easel she owned since she was a little girl, she sat down on the stool. Swiveling slightly to the coffee table behind her, she grabbed her palette and started to fill it with colors. Blue. Green. Red. Black. Orange. Yellow. All the colors she would need to paint the scene bubbling in her mind.
Less than an hour ago, she was feeling lighthearted and carefree. A feeling she didn’t have very often. One visit from that annoying detective had filled her essence with darkness. Now she had to release all the pain in the only way she knew how.
Her hand went crazy as the brush flung across the canvas. Color after color. Stroke after stroke. Blending, swirling, and creating a vision so dark and morbid, nobody would believe she ever produced it.
Time disappeared. The sounds of traffic outside her apartment faded away. The cold air pumping out of the vents barely registered. Nothing mattered but putting paint to canvas.
An ache in her arm, radiating from her elbow to her collarbone, was the first thing to puncture her senses. Which meant she had been sitting for more than three hours.
The second thing was the pounding on her door.
Gently setting her palette and brush to the coffee table, she slowly got up and made her way to the agitated thumps. Her steps were steady. The only reason she even contemplated walking to the door, and her nerves weren’t ringing with terror, was because she knew who stood on the other side. It wasn’t too hard to figure out with his shouts mingling with each hit to the door.
Detective Brands was back.
And he sounded very upset.
Strangely, his obvious anger didn’t frighten her. The only thing that did worry her somewhat was her potential reaction if he said he wanted to kiss her again. Because the idea wasn’t too unappealing. Even the first time he said it, although she pushed him away, a very normal automatic reaction for her, the temptation washed over her for the briefest of seconds to find out what a kiss of his would taste like.
No wanton thoughts!
No letting a man in!
Pep talk firmly done, she checked the peephole for extra measure that she wasn’t just imagining his voice, hoping it was him, when in reality it was something far more evil.
Stumbling back a bit, she could safely confirm it was indeed Detective Brands standing there. What she couldn’t decipher was the panic in his eyes.
Disengaging the lock, she opened the door.
Without waiting for an invitation, Detective Brands lightly pushed her aside as he stepped inside her apartment and shut the door. A little too stunned by his actions and hers as well for not protesting, she could only stare dumbfounded at him. He acted as if he had the right to come in. Like they were friends or something. She wouldn’t even say they were friendly to each other, let alone friends.
Her mouth opened to object to his highhanded behavior, but the deep frown mixed with worry in his eyes had her hesitating.
“Why weren’t you answering?”
Arching a brow, her gaze swung to the door, then back at him. “I think I just did.”
He leaned closer, his hot breath enticing her to inch towards him. “I was pounding on your damn door for a good five minutes. What took you so long to answer?”
She couldn’t stop the downward gaze to her hands that were covered in specks of paint. When she was in the zone, everything else faded away. Would he understand that? Ha! What did it matter if he understood? She didn’t answer to him. She answered to no man, only herself.
Brushing past him to wash her hands in the kitchen, she turned slightly, with what she hoped was a haughty stare, toward him. “What can I do for you, Detective? I thought we were finished for today.”
“I ran the plates of the car that was following you. It was reported stolen a week ago. No suspects at this time.”
“I suppose you want to blame that on me as well, somehow.” She threw him a smile, hoping to rankle him. Which it did, by evidence of his tightly clenched jaw.
“Of course not. I know you didn’t steal the car.”
“Yet, you think I murdered a woman…” She let that statement hang in the air as she turned the faucet off and wiped her hands on a towel lying near the sink. Not all the paint had come off, but it never bothered her too much. The way he glanced at her hands, she figured it unsettled him for some reason. It was just paint.
“Were you painting?”
“Wow, I can see how you earned your badge. Great work, Detective.”
“Can you knock it off with the attitude?”
Slapping a hand to her hip, she curled her lip into a sneer. At least, as best as she could. She wasn’t used to talking back to someone like this, let alone a man. “Gee golly wiz. How rude of me. You barge into my apartment and have the nerve to tell me I have an attitude.”
He shook his head as if she annoyed him even more. His gaze suddenly fixed on something in the living room.
Before she could stop him, his long strides made it to the canvas. She could see the tremors that touched his body. For someone who probably saw dead bodies all the time, he looked way more affected than he should be.
A young woman lay spread out on a pool deck, her naked body sprawled at an angle, her head hanging off the side of the pool. Bright red marks touched her neck, the imprint of hands that had strangled her. A few spots of blood were sprinkled near her feet.
“Did you just paint this?”
Her entire body froze in terror.
His eyes whipped to hers. “Did you?”
“Is there another…dead…woman?”
“No.” He jabbed his finger at the painting. “Tell me. Did you just paint this?”
She could feel herself crumbling inside. Her bravado from moments before was melting away. All she could do was nod.
“You name your paintings.” His eyes no longer had a look of panic in the depths. Now only disgust lingered. “Why?”
She didn’t even realize she named the painting. That normally didn’t happen right away. She couldn’t recall the title either. Glancing away from him, unable to stand the look in his eyes, she peeked at the bottom corner of the painting where she always wrote the title along with her signature.
Written in bold black letters—Everybody loves the pool.
Well, everybody but the dead woman. She couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped.
“You seriously think this is funny?”
Uh, oh. His anger was back.
Eek! I hope you enjoyed this weeks flash! Onto some exciting news…some of my books are on sale today! Woo hoo!
One Taste of You – FREE (6/30 – 7/2)
One Taste of Love – $.99 (6/30 – 7/5)
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Sunrise Awakening – FREE (6/30 – 7/4)
Sunset Darkening – $.99 (6/30 – 7/5)
And two big events start tomorrow!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with awesome reads!