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News & Features » November 2014 » “Revenant” by Gerri Brightwell

“Revenant” by Gerri Brightwell

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, Gerri Brightwell has a haunting encounter in London. Next week, Randolph Splitter deals with an existential crisis on a New York City subway.

Gerri BrightwellRevenant
by Gerri Brightwell
Lambeth, London, United Kingdom

The stink of Thames mud woke me and I knew he was back. He was crouched by the fireplace, a hunched shadow against embers glowing faint as dying stars.

This time I called out, “What the hell do you want?” and he hinged his head toward me, his face buckled with fury. I whispered, “For God’s sake, why are you here?”

Behind him the fire hissed and flared. Against its light he was darkness struggling up, lurching toward me in a heavy coat, dripping, his sodden hair clinging to his skull.

I scrambled into the corner, cupped my hands over my head, and cried out, “We’d have buried you, but how could we? You were washed away!”

I shut my eyes as his stench swamped me. I held my breath and waited for the cold touch of his hands, my heart almost bursting as it measured out what life I had left. I held my breath until my chest burned and I could bear the stillness no more.

When I looked through my fingers the room was empty: the fire a hot glow, the shadows nothing but shadows. I got out of bed intending to open the window. Instead I shivered and stared down the hill though there was nothing new to see—only the knotted underbellies of upturned cars, the broken-tooth ruins of Lambeth and, glistening under the full moon, the Thames between its banks winding past like a tame thing.


GERRI BRIGHTWELL is a British writer who teaches in the MFA program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She has two published novels: Cold Country (Duckworth, 2003) and The Dark Lantern (Crown, 2008). Her writing has also recently appeared in such venues as BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, the Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast, BLIP, Redivider, Gargoyle, and Memorious.


Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Nov 17, 2014

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,