Cleanliness is a Virtue

A surge of heat burst in as she opened the front door, stealing Audra’s breath away. Two police officers stood there, their badges flickering in the sunlight like a firefly’s mating call. Their eyes soaked in the gloves on her hands and the metal bucket overflowing with suds and the scrub brush dropped over a red stain in the light carpet. More red could be seen splattered throughout the room, faint traces still visible on the freshly scrubbed walls. The smell of bleach and pine filled the air, a nauseating concoction that only the most zealous housekeeper could tolerate.

“Mrs. Kempler, could you step outside, please?” one of the officers said.

A navy blue arm reached out to keep the door open as Audra stepped outside.

“Yes, what is it?” She asked.

“You are being placed under arrest for the murder of your husband, Rhys Kempler. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”

A smile widened as she blocked out their voices. She waited as they removed her gloves revealing the frostbitten fingers hidden within them. She waited as they searched her house, pride bubbling up from her belly as they praised the meticulous order she kept it in. She waited during the silent ride to the police station. She tuned out their hushed conversation and waited for the one question no one bothered to ask her as they removed her handcuffs.

“Mrs. Kempler, tell me. Why did you kill your husband?” the detective sitting across from her said.

Her laughter echoed through the small interrogation room.

“Have you ever tried cleaning blood out of a carpet? Off the walls, the floors?  I do it every day. Every single day and it never goes away. “

“So what made that day any different?”

“He left his dinner plate on the table and that’s when I saw it. He’d mixed his corn with his mashed potatoes.”

The atmosphere in the room shifted as the officer sat in stunned silence. His hands jostled through lined paper and a pen tapped incessantly against the table.

“How did you do it?” He knew the answer but he needed her confession.

More laughter filled the room before she answered.

“There’s plenty of tools in a butcher shop. All I had to do was hide in the meat locker until he came in, cleaver at the ready.”

Another officer entered the room. Heads bowed as words were whispered into listening ears. Eyes stared at her openly, not hiding the disgust as they settled on the tips of her blackened fingers.

“You know, Mrs. Kempler, you really should get that looked at. You could lose a finger or two there.”


For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, Kelly Garriott Waite challenged me with “Frostbitten fingers in ninety degree heat.” and I challenged Amanda with “Her head tilted forward and her blue eyes glistening in the light, Sienna…Finish the sentence and complete the story.”

As always, I love comments and critique. Feel free to share your thoughts on the story.

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Stephanie Ayers

Executive Creative Director at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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14 thoughts on “Cleanliness is a Virtue”

  1. Carrie says:

    Ooohh, creepy MC. I love how you slid in the frostbite. Works so well with a huge freezer for keeping meat.

    Diabolically insane.

    1. SAM says:

      Haha. Who is diabolically insane? Me or the MC? Let me guess….we both are. 😉

  2. alycianeighbours says:

    You know how I feel about this. It’s perfect in its use of so many senses! I love where you took this one.

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you so so so much for brainstorming with me and then offering your feedback. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Marian says:


    1. SAM says:

      Thankyou! haha.

  4. Lance says:

    Yeah, this is just inventive and fun in a dark way.

    I like it a lot.

    1. SAM says:

      Thanks, Lance. And thanks again for brainstorming with me. I hope I can return the favor some day.

  5. Angelia Sims says:

    Omgah! Yah, that is one crazy broad. I’m thinking she doesn’t mind the frost-bitten fingers. Totally worth it. HA.

    1. SAM says:


  6. justlyd says:

    This is so good and so twisted! I love it. 🙂

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you, lyd!

  7. kelly garriott waite says:

    Yipe. Scary. Nice take on the prompt.

    1. SAM says:

      I’m glad you liked it.

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