All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

One of the Good Ones by Tom Matthews

Joe replayed kissing Katy in his mind as he exited the train station. From the soft, tentative touch as their lips met for the first time, to the breathless parting as they released themselves from their fervent embrace. The smell of her perfume lingered on him. His heart pounded. Although only a second date, he felt certain he was on to something special. The long stroll home was what he needed to end the perfect evening.

Despite the occasional gust of chilly wind, it was a relatively mild November night. The reflected light from the first quarter moon was partially blocked by clouds. The main road was busy with cars and pedestrians. The occasional sirens of emergency service vehicles could be heard as they sped past.

To avoid the hubbub, Joe took a short cut down an alley by an industrial estate. It was poorly lit, with empty commercial units on both sides. Pockets of litter were strewn along the path, with wet streaks and puddles in parts, despite no rainfall in recent days. It was quiet as there was no access for cars and it was a good distance from the main road.

A few metres ahead of him in the shadows, someone was walking at a slow, steady pace. As he got closer, he realised it was a woman. When he approached her, she turned around suddenly and looked at him with wide eyes. In the dim moonlight, he could see she was wearing a black quilted jacket, had straight, dark shoulder length hair with a fringe resting just above her eyes. Noticing her anxiety, Joe raised his palms to placate her and smiled.

“Sorry. I’ll just quickly walk past you and be on my way,” he said.

She held her bag closer to her side, her eyes fixed on him. Joe overtook her with pace, to increase the distance between them.

Joe’s stomach rumbled. He started thinking about what he could eat when he got home. Food was his passion. He was keen to impress Katy with his culinary skills by inviting her over for dinner for their third date. He would dazzle her with his signature dish of spicy Indonesian sambal chicken with coconut rice.

A sudden twinge in his back slowed him down, then a sharp pain in his kidney. He cried out. Joe lost his balance and fell to the ground. Instinctively, he tried to get up and raised himself to stand. His foot slid on something slippery and he fell backwards. He winced, feeling a warm dampness underneath, while starting to shiver. He blinked rapidly.

The woman stood over him. She held tightly in her hand a smeared, long, serrated bladed knife. Her eyes narrowed as she squatted down beside him, close to his face. Joe noticed bruising around her eyes and a small scar on her cheek. She was breathing rapidly. She tilted her head to one side slightly.

“You look like a nice guy. Maybe you’re one of the good ones.”

Joe tried to speak but no words came out. The warm, viscous puddle beneath him spread, making him weaker.

“Experience tells me you can never be too sure. You’re all good at the beginning.”

She wiped the long blade on his jacket and put the knife in her bag. As his vision began to fade, she scurried away, her trainers barely making a sound on the path.  

Tom Matthews


12 thoughts on “One of the Good Ones by Tom Matthews”

  1. Hi Tom,
    I may be a mile out but I think that him passing her is the whole point and catalyst.
    I think this is a bit of an off-shoot of the drive with your lights off and if anyone flashes you you kill them sort of Urban Myth.
    Him simply walking past her was what caused her to react. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time near the wrong person.
    I like that this is recognisable but there is definitely your own own unique slant on it.
    …That is impressive as that is very difficult to do.
    Dark, menacing and and good fun!
    All the very best my fine friend.


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