All Stories, Short Fiction

A Killer Mistake by Amber Aspinall

I was walking past his car when he decided to kill me.

I was supposed to be setting up the shop front display, he was supposed to be picking his son up from school. My friend covered for me, so I could have a cigarette – it had been seven hours, for god’s sake. As the impact hit my left side, I almost felt the need to scrabble to pick the fag back up.

When they found my body, my ribs had been shattered, puncturing my already abused lungs. My spine had snapped right in the middle, and my head had been slammed against the wall with such force that the right side of my face resembled a melted candle. It was a shitter of a way to go, and I know now that for all that I went through, he didn’t even plan it. Fucking arsehole.

Once a day had passed and I had begun to get used to my new form, I set my sights on finding him. I stayed near my workplace, hoping he would turn up again. He did.

He was trying too hard to be casual. Strolling past the side road where he had crushed me to death, his eyes flitted to the scene, trying to determine if the police had anything on him, I assume. I saw his frustration at not being able to tell.

I followed him as he picked up food at the supermarket, taking the time to choose between blueberry muffins and chocolate chip. He chose chocolate chip. He packed his food into his car, the very car that had had my blood all over it 24 hours ago–now spotless–and drove back to his home. It surprised me that he had a wife and kid. They were happy to see him. Clueless. Completely clueless. His son was particularly happy to see the muffins.

It was 4pm then, a Saturday.

“I’m going to head off to see mum at half five,” he told his wife, “I’ll only be there about an hour. I’ll be back in time for taking Tom.”


It was apparent that his mother had been unwell for some time. Over the next couple of months, I watched him as he watched her decline; the sum of her ribs becoming more than her, hair turning to ashes as she burned away. He struggled to look at her, and he never looked at her when he smiled. Sometimes he cried in the bathroom when he got home. I got the idea that this prick did actually have feelings after all.

He wasn’t there when she died. The home called him in the evening, rush hour time, and he didn’t make it. He had started to turn his car around when he did finally get there, but he went inside anyway. The manager asked him if he wanted to see her. He said he did, because it would help him to see that her pain had ended. He received the most sickeningly sympathetic looks from every carer that he passed on his way in and out, and I wanted to tell them that feeling sorry for him was not worth the trouble.

Almost knowing him now, it was pretty clear to me why he had gone alone. He was messed up, obviously – I mean he goddamn murdered me – and had some serious issues with expressing his emotions.

He didn’t cry at all that night, or that week. He cried once, the week after, after shouting at his son. You can’t even tie your laces properly for yourself! I’m sick of you being fucking useless!

Apologising, that was the only time he acknowledged that he had lost it.

Work colleagues complained about his increasingly obnoxious attitude. Any suggestions of family days out or date nights by his wife were met with apathy. Countless plates were dropped, the house nearly set alight to, and I heard the sounds he made in his nightmares.

Four weeks after his mother’s death, he walked to where she was buried. I had an inkling about why he didn’t take the car. He located her gravestone. Stared at it, unblinking. He returned again a few days later.



I wondered what it must be like to have a murderer for a son. Not that she knew. I doubt she would have even taken it in had he told her. Then he did. He did tell her.

Mum… I love you, mum. Tears started to choke him, but he coughed them away. I want you to know that. I did what I could for you, but it wasn’t enough. I killed a girl; I wanted her to suffer and not you. I thought that if I took a life away it would give you back yours. I failed. I couldn’t do it for you. I’m sorry –

He was crying so violently that it was hard for him to catch breaths.

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. He killed me, as some kind of sacrifice to the fucking Grim Reaper? All that was left was for me to laugh (though I could no longer do that externally) and be pissed off at him for being more concerned with not being able to conjure up the elixir of life, than say, killing me.

Once he’d got the hang of breathing again, he ran home. He struggled to hold his hand steady as he penned the note. The bridge over the M5 was what Google told him to be the nearest.

He looked even more messed up than I did, after the ground and the van were done with him.

I didn’t feel satisfied having witnessed it. Actually, I felt a little sad. Of course, the laws of the place that I live in now meant that he was bound to join me, to answer for what he had done.

The one thing that felt good was catching the recognition in his eyes.

“Nice to meet you, you bastard.”


Amber Aspinall

Banner Image:


7 thoughts on “A Killer Mistake by Amber Aspinall”

  1. I liked the concept. I felt the real story was the man’s obsession and love for his mother and may have had more impact if told from his view point. The dead victim’s ghost stalking the man was an interesting approach providing me with an observational report, but kept me as the reader at an arms distance.
    i would have been more involved if I was inside the man’s head, if he had a name and his torment was clear from the beginning. To sacrifice a live to save another, in this case a delusional attempt, is a high stake conflict. What if it worked?
    The ending was a perfect twist.


  2. I found myself feeling for the man at times, but then I’d remember that the narrator is someone he killed. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

    It’s like the saying: is it evil to steal bread for your starving family.

    But it’s more: is it evil to steal bread if you believe your family’s issues will be solved with a loaf of bread.

    I dunno, but it’s thought provoking for sure


  3. Hi Amber,
    This is very thought provoking. We start out with no sympathy for the man but as the story is revealed, we see another side. It may not be logical but he has reasoning and this may very briefly make us consider.
    This is a very skilled and clever piece of story telling.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.