The Body is the 500 word flash fiction I submitted for the Noirwich writing competition. As mentioned previously, it made it to the last ten… but not into the top three. The only requirement for the story apart from wordcount was to relate it to Norwich or Norfolk. I can’t see myself submitting it anywhere else, unless I try the local paper… If you’re keen, you could refer to a map of the Broads, like this one.
The splash as the sailcloth-wrapped body hit the water sounded as loud as a double-bore shotgun.
Sarah stepped away from the edge at Somerton Staithe and stared at the houses in the village. No lights came on. No curtains twitched. The pub stayed silent, although it had been nearly two before the barman had finally left.
What was it with the countryside? Why was it so busy when you wanted some quiet?
She’d chosen this spot weeks earlier. Easy to get to, convenient car park, enough use for a single person to attract no attention. A long way from her—and his—usual haunts.
The big deal had been getting hold of the sailcloth. Thankfully there had been a sale at the chandlers in Wroxham. Nobody would remember her picking up a second-hand jib. It had only just been big enough. Maybe she should have gone for the mainsail, but she didn’t want to sound too ignorant, and she was sure the one for the front of the boat would do. When the salesman asked what size yacht it was for, she’d nearly panicked. Good thing there’d been some for sale outside, and she’d just pointed at one.
She reversed out of the gravel carpark, congratulating herself on finding a surface where they’d never be able to trace tyre marks.
Now, as long as she’d understood the tide tables correctly, she was sure the body would float away downstream until it caught in the reeds miles from anywhere. Or perhaps it would sink in the mud and never be seen again.
How could anyone commit murder and dispose of the body ‘on the spot’? This took careful planning. But she’d been doing that for months; this was the end.
For the next two weeks Sarah tuned in to every local radio or television news, checked the Evening News and the EDP daily, and online. She called in at the Martham Co-op weekly, and chatted to the women there, in case they found a body in the Broad. She checked with her friend whose son worked at Herbie Woods boatyard; he’d hear if it washed up at Potter Heigham bridge.
All was quiet.
It seemed she’d found the perfect way to dispose of the body.
Three months later Sarah met up with her cousin Louise.
“So, what’s the new job, and how’s it going?” Sarah asked.
“Oh, well, I didn’t want to tell you earlier, what with your line of work. But you’ll probably be interested in the case I’ve been working on. We’re just about ready to make an arrest.”
“Yes, this thing resembling a body washed up, and we identified the sail it was wrapped in, traced it back to Wroxham, and the chap there remembered who’d bought it. So, I’m afraid, Sarah, I’m going to have to charge you with wasting police time with your wretched crime writing.”
The body found—but to experience being charged! Sarah was ecstatic.
© J M Pett 2018