The Meadow – short story

A writer’s mind can be a strange thing, it can see things in everyday scenes and situations that an average person might not, and it can twist those casual observations into strange realities.

An example of this is the short story below (I say short story but it could be the opening of something more, who knows). So there I was, walking the dog along the side of a small stretch of water (a brook I assume) and the grassy area between path and water was covered with hundreds of little daisies and buttercups, they seemed to glow in the beautiful sunshine (where has that gone by the way) and my mind began to wander… until it created this…(this is a rough, unedited throw together but the words wanted out of my head!)

The Meadow

The sun was at its height. Full and golden, blazing in a clear spring sky.

White and yellow faces of the small daisies and buttercups reached up to bask in the sun’s warmth. Their petals reflected back the sunlight making the tiny flowers appear to glow amidst the soft carpet of green.

The grass was thick and lush, begging for bare feet to sink into it and toes curl in delight at the sensation of its soft blades wriggling between them.

Far enough from any main roads the meadow held an air of peace, the delicate birdsong enhanced rather than detracted from the quiet. All was calm. A haven in a world that all too often lacked such solitude or tranquillity.

In the centre of the meadow something else shone in the midday sun, something completely removed from the scattering of delicate flowers and as out of place as it were possible to be.

Red and viscous it glistened in reminiscence of fresh paint, asking for a fingertip to touch at its edges, curiously checking if it was still wet. But no fingertips touched at it. Touching was not permitted.

The peace of the meadow was shattered at the sight of what lay at its heart.

The police tape cordoned off the pool of blood and the figure of a man whose body had once housed it.

He was young, early thirties at the most. A trim physique and short cropped dark brown hair complimented handsome features which held an expression of pure serenity. If it were not for the blood he might well have just been dozing in the springtime sun.

His short sleeved shirt was open, unbuttoned rather than torn, and his exposed torso covered with countless small lacerations, each one with a small trickle of blood which had spilled from it, adding to the pool around his body.

The pathologist shuddered as he looked at the body. He had been to more murder scenes than he cared to remember and yet this one still gave him a chill.

It wasn’t the blood that caused the pathologist’s discomfort, nor the carefully placed cuts over the flesh, even the sight of the chest torn open was not the first such sight he had witnessed. And the removed heart was, if not common place, still not unheard of.

What really made the pathologist’s blood run cold was the placement, within the empty chest cavity, of a carefully made daisy chain. The small circle of linked flowers, such as young girls would make on a summer’s day to wear as a crown or necklace, lay where the man’s heart had once been. The flowers half sunk in blood and yet still visible.

The pathologist report would confirm that the heart had been removed post mortem and the numerous incisions had led to a slow death, yet somehow a peaceful one judging by the lack of any defensive wounds and the serenity on the victim’s face.

Had the killer brought the floral tribute to the murder scene or, a more chillingly likely scenario, had the flowers been weaved together while the victim lay slowly bleeding to death?

Was the killer so confident in their actions, so lacking fear of discovery that they happily sat on the carpet of soft grass, linking one small flower to the next waiting for the moment when the young man’s heart would beat it’s last and his breath would cease.

What kind of twisted mind would do such a thing, and why?

And where was the man’s heart now?

 

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