Little Pricks in the Night


“Address of target?”
“33 Cherry Tree Drive, Marehamby, Lincolnshire,” said Ronald Digby, adjusting thick-lensed spectacles. “What’s, er, what’s the cost?”
On the other side of a burnished desk, a grey-suited young man (“Just call me Steven”) fingered his blond ponytail. “We’re speaking the same language, yes?”
“Well, assassinations are twenty thousand for domestics, fifty to five hundred for politicals and by negotiation for HOS.”
“Heads of State,” Steven replied drily. “Relationship?”
“Wife, er, Sandra.”
“Then we’d need a deposit of five thousand.”
Digby opened a briefcase, taking out bundles of notes. He hesitated. “I’m a bit worried that Vanessa, er, my mother-in-law, might suspect. How does it work?”
Steven smiled. “Obviously I can’t tell you everything but we use tiny little drones that look like insects. They use facial recognition technology. They inject various poisons, all are undetectable – death looks natural. You’d just leave a window open.”
Cautiously, Digby pushed the bundles across.
Digby gone, Steven had a sudden thought, ‘Marehamby, Marehamby!’ He recalled the picturesque little town. Hmm. The ‘drop drone’ could carry several ‘killer drones.’
He dialled a number. “Darling, it’s me, I was wondering if you fancied a weekend in the Lincolnshire Wolds?”

Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories

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3 thoughts on “Little Pricks in the Night

  1. This was really interesting! I feel like I might have missed something, because I just don’t get the context of the last few lines… Unless maybe he’s going to try and get his mother-in-law at the same time? Or he thinks that somewhere there are more liable to be mosquitoes is a better option? Other than that, this was great! 🙂

    1. Hello Anastasia, thanks very much for your comment and I’m happy to answer your points!
      The idea was that Steven also wants to ‘bump off’ his wife and realizes that his organization will be able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, so to speak, if both women are in the same town at the same time (as yet to be arranged), as it will not require much of a detour and therefore presumably hopes he can get it done ‘for free’ if he can ‘swing it’ with a colleague or two. There is a very picturesque part of Lincolnshire, England called the Lincolnshire Wolds (where I am lucky enough to live!) and people often come here for holidays. Fortunately we don’t have mosquitoes here, not as far as I know anyway!
      That was my thinking anyway, sometimes hard to explain everything in detail in 200 words!
      Also, it is actually based on a true story of an assassination attempt carried out by Israel. However, they were compelled by International Law (I think) to issue an antidote in time. I did hint at that in the original draft. In my story, the husband would be able to dispose of the drone if it was damaged and unable to fly away. But if it was seen it would likely be considered a large ‘rogue’ insect. I hope that all makes sense!

      1. Hi Simon, thanks for your reply! I re-read it and completely get it now: must have just been having a really ditzy day. Oops. It’s awesome to hear that it was based off an actual attempt, and fascinating the way you’ve dealt with it here 🙂 Great work! I look forward to reading more of your pieces 🙂

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