When The Tide Turned #flashfiction

Sergeant Reynolds paid the fare.

‘No cozzie, guv’nor?’ The cheeky youngster eyed the policeman. ‘Not swimming? Just ‘ere for the Belles?’

He’d strangle the oik, if he hadn’t a job to do. On board the steamer Princess Edith he sat and watched Frank Johnson play cards. He knew Johnson was the killer and he’d strike today. He’d not resist the Bathing Belles. Then they’d have to believe him.

Johnson breathed evenly. That bloody policeman. He’d slip him and find a filly, once on the beach.

Later, with Reynolds having stuck close, Johnson felt fit to explode. That stupid, sweating moron. He needed a release, and soon.

As the ship passed Rainham on the return, it began to pitch and Johnson slide outside. He caught his breath; the stench was awful, but he smiled. As the new sewage system disgorged thousands of gallons into the river to catch the retreating waters, no one would leave the saloon; apart from the young girl disgorging her lunch over the side. Johnson crept forward, watched through a porthole by Reynolds; all Reynolds needed was Johnson grabbing the woman and he’d arrest him.

When Johnson reached the woman, the ship pitched wildly and she lost her balance. As if in slow motion the woman slipped over the rails, caught in the paddle wheel and jammed the mechanism, gruesomely crushed and causing the already unbalanced ship to tip completely.

The boat went under in twenty minutes. Many drowned, but many more suffocated in the methane sitting above the water, Johnson’s last thought was how Reynolds had won and that made him furious.

Reynold was one of ten to survive; the images never left him but one recurred repeatedly – the sight of Johnson sinking under the waves and with him Reynolds’ last hope of promotion.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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9 Responses to When The Tide Turned #flashfiction

  1. willowdot21 says:

    What a stinker!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ritu says:

    Oh the way things end up eh!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. floridaborne says:

    Oh dear…death by giant toilet, and a crushing experience to boot. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Charli Mills says:

    In this case, lucky were those who drowned before succumbing to gasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!! You just plummeted to new (and smelly) depths!

    Liked by 2 people

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