Matinee of Torment at the Theater of Lamech

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 3-27. The mandatory setting was a theater, along with the public domain photo shown.

“We lit up Tinseltown onscreen and off.” Humphrey hefted the body over the bridge railing. A blood-covered hand wiped a tear from bloodshot eyes. “Alas, you were the better acting talent. I never suspected.” His wife’s paramour, that B-movie ham, made his final splash in Hollywood moments later.

As Humphrey drove back to town, the theater marquee caught his eye: a matinee of their final movie together. One ticket. One popcorn. One soda. As the lights dimmed, Humphrey’s pupils widened. His murdered Delilah loomed larger than life on the silver screen. He knew the words by heart — his and hers — but something was amiss. This soundtrack was too ominous for a romance.

Humphrey gripped his armrest and watched in horror as his character crept down a hallway. “This wasn’t in the script,” Humphrey muttered. A woman in the audience shot him an icy glare. His heartbeat raced like the soundtrack. The bedroom door creaked open. Within, telltale giggles turned to shrieks. In extreme close-up, Delilah’s face closed in around Humphrey, pleading for her life.

“Don’t do it, Humphrey!” Popcorn flew at the screen. A brutal murder scene flashed in his eyes. “No!” Delilah’s anguished screams resounded throughout the theater — but why did the audience stare at him?


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