© Fenchurch

Brute Neighbours

100-word microfiction

Headlights shine through my kitchen window and silence betrays our synchronised awareness of the glimmer of a knife.

The room descends into darkness. “Not my style,” she says. “What did Thoreau say? ‘Thaw’s gentle persuasion is stronger than Thor with his hammer’.”

My wrists press against their ties. “I’m neither melting nor breaking.”

“Swear it.” Quiet. Kind, almost.

“I promise.” My words conceal the slide and thunk of ropes and I lunge —

She gets to it first. A sickening warmth spreads down my neck but her soft hands try to stop it as the room falls away. “You promised.”

An edited version of a 100-word microfiction I wrote for NYC Midnight’s May 2021 contest. I was given the word ‘hammer’ to use in the with the action of breaking a promise, and it had to be written in the thriller/suspense genre.

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