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The Sinners

by Jorgi 

Posted: 08 December 2014
Word Count: 1211
Summary: An innocent midnight swim, or something more sinister taking place in the lake on a warm July night. Justice dished out to sinners!

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It was just after one in the early hours of the morning, outside the small town of  Cooksville in Texas. Gregg scanned the lake to make sure there were no fishermen or late night swimmers.  He nervously made his way towards the water, constantly looking around to make sure he was not being watched, and wishing now he could turn back the clock. What a dumbass fool he’d been; stupid not even thinking about the consequences of his actions at the time.  An owl hooted loudly, making him jump!  His life would never be the same again,  he would always be looking over his shoulder. Would someone find out, did anyone know already? All these thoughts going through his head, driving him insane!

Gregg, had taken great care to mark the spot he needed to swim out to by tying a green scarf on the branch of a tree.  He removed it and put it into the bag along with his clothes. He would have to burn it with everything else when he‘d finished this gruesome business.

A full moon lit up the sky.   The July night was warm around his naked flesh as he removed his clothes. He took a deep breath, then stepped into the cool water, wading towards the middle of the lake. He turned himself over and swam towards the bottom. As he swan near to his destination, panic set in!  Where had she gone!? He’d put bricks in the bottom of the sack to keep her from rising to the top of the water.   He swam around in a circle his heart pounding. The night before was flashing through his mind. Their argument about her latest love affair, Nancy, laughing at him.  His hands going around her throat, her eyes almost popping out, finally her last breath!   She just hadn't been able to stop herself from chasing men, and he’d been a laughing stock for years, yet he’d loved her. But, with every new affair he’d been driven closer to murderous thoughts, until finally he’d cracked. Gregg recalled his last words to Nancy.

“You're  going to die for your wanton ways, and I will die beside you.” 

It had been his intention to kill her, and then himself, but he just didn’t have the courage to carry out his own suicide. He nervously made his way back to the grassy bank, his heart beating now on overdrive!  He never envisaged being alive to face a murder charge!

Gregg, had panicked after killing Nancy, not knowing what to do with her body, then the lake came to mind. He’d decided this would be a good hiding place for a few days until he was thinking straight, and he could come up with some kind of plan to get rid of her body permanently. He would need to explain her sudden departure to family, friends and their nosey neighbour’s!

His thoughts were racing from one explanation to the next as he stood shivering with fear. He wrapped a towel tightly around his dripping, cold body.  Maybe he’d misjudged the spot, but couldn’t see how!  His second attempt to find Nancy’s body was a failure.   Perhaps somehow the bricks had come away from the sack!   There were lots of maybe’s going around in his mind!  Gregg just wanted to get to the safety of his home, and try to think this out.

He was almost dressed when suddenly a voice said,“Looking for something?”
Gregg, nervously turned around to see a white haired man standing just a few feet away. The full moon was enough light to see he was probably in his late sixties.  As he grew nearer, Gregg looked into a haggard face,  and eyes that looked questioningly into his.  Gregg,  looked away, and turned his face upwards towards the sky.

“Nope, just having a late night swim," Gregg struggled to keep the fear out of his voice.
“Look a bit cold mister,” the man remarked, “kinda funny time of the night to be swimming ain’t it?” The man looked out across to the middle of the lake, his statement hanging in the air like freezing fog.
“Well, I guess so, but I sort of like it that way,” Gregg said, feeling his stomach churn over, “best be getting off home.”
Gregg turned and started to slowly walk away,  every inch of his body shaking inside.

“You forgot something, mister!” The man shouted after him.
Gregg, thought he was going to throw up. He turned around to see the man holding his bag.
“Oh boy, thanks,” Gregg, took the bag, threw it over his shoulder and headed towards the wood again, believing his knees were going to buckle  in at any moment!

“I was here the other night when you came with the dead woman. Saw everything. I followed you home see, then came back, fished her out and buried her. I knew you’d come back when you tied the scarf to the tree."  
Gregg stopped in his tracks. He put the bag down and turned around.
“Cheating wife.” Was all he could choke out.  He stood frozen in time, unable to react or think clearly.

“Thing is mister, you committed a sin, the worse sin of all in my eyes. You know what I mean? Did she really deserve to die? “ The man started to walk towards Gregg.  “Sorry mister, but I can’t let you get away with it, so I’m going to have to do the Lord's work and bring you to justice.”

Gregg, never saw the knife that tore into his heart, and death came quickly!
The white haired man bent down and put a note in Gregg’s pocket.
“That’ll tell them where your wife is,” he shook his head sorrowfully. “time to go now, so much work to do."

The residents in the small town of Cooksville, Texas, were shocked when the story appeared in the newspapers. Bars, beauty saloons, hairdressers and gyms were full of gossip about the whole sorry affair.
“Who killed Gregg Peterson, that‘s what I want to know?” Amy Hopkins declared, nodding her head full of rollers to know one in particular.

“Sounds very familiar!” Pamela Bridges, said loudly, now holding everyone’s attention in the hairdressers.

“Why?” asked, the hair stylist.
“Well, some twenty five odd years ago a similar incident happened just like this one. A note was found in the deceased’s pocket telling the police where a body could be found. Eventually they caught the culprit. He was declared insane and sectioned for life in the local mental institution. Yes, sir!  He'd been dishing out all kinds of punishments to sinners, some really brutal I can tell you. Turned out to be some kind of religious freak, but definitely out of his tiny little mind!”
“Is he still there?” asked Amy Hopkins.
“Don’t know, never heard any more about him after the court case.”

The elderly white haired man who casually walked past the hairdresser’s muttered to himself, “Gossip mongers shall be punished without mercy. That tongue which speaks for the devil shall be cut out, this I promise you lord!

Pamela Bridges went on to tell more, unaware her days of talking would soon be coming to an end!

The End

Janice Horner
December 2014


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Comments by other Members

TassieDevil at 16:35 on 08 December 2014  Report this post
Hi Janice,
Welcome to Write Words and the group.
I quite enjoyed this story. Always great when the villian has his comeupance.The revelation towards the end was strong and fitted in well with the overall plot.
There ware a couple of things:

It was just after one in the early hours of the morning, just outside the small town of  Cooksville in Texas

Need to modify this annoying repetition. Helps to read it aloud and this little bits show themselves.

He swam around in a circle his heart pounding. The night before flashing through his mind.

I'd correct this. 'He swam around in a circle, his heart pounding. The night before was flashing through his mind.'. 
Anyway good luck with this and I look forward to seeing more of you on the site.

BILLINGTON at 18:05 on 08 December 2014  Report this post
Nice one.

Is 'It was imperative that no one would see him' neccessary?

 Show, don't tell and all that .

'What  bloody fool he'd been'

A Texan would, I think, rather  use something like 'What a goddam retard/moron/dumbass son of a bitch' ???

'Bloody fool' is maybe a tad British.

'Seriously coming to  very gruesome end'.

A bit too much egg on the sandwich here. Maybe 'seriously' (also, I don't quite see the application here of the word), and 'gruesome' could be ditched.

Again, show don't tell.

Good one otherwise, worthy of Hitchcock.

Jorgi at 10:55 on 09 December 2014  Report this post
Hi Billington, nice to meet you!

I have just found your feedback in the words part of the site!  Many thanks for your comments, they are helpful and I will adjust the story.  It's really strange, I proof read all the time, yet still miss something!  I think it's better for new pairs of eyes to read our stuff!  I did wonder about the 'bloody fool' it is typically British!

Look forward to reading some of your writing.

Have a great day!



Fredja at 17:02 on 09 December 2014  Report this post
Nice little tale - kept me wondering what was going to happen next and I was glad his comeuppance was through a real person rather than, say, a ghost.  Short stories give you very little time to build character but I wondered whether Gregg was a stangler. He seemed nore the type to have suddenly struck out and accidently killed rather than decided he'd had enough and murdered his wife.
Shows what a nice story it was that it gets the reader thinking. Well done.


BILLINGTON at 17:07 on 09 December 2014  Report this post
Hi Jorgi,

Yeah, I try to churn another one out about every two weeks.

'Bloody fool'........................

I suppose Gregg COULD have been a British expatriate. It doesn't say and so we assume he's a good'ol boy (Texan).

Good luck with it,


Jorgi at 05:17 on 10 December 2014  Report this post
Thanks Billington, but you were right a Texan would not have used it!

Thanks for guidance much appreciated.


Jorgi at 15:01 on 10 December 2014  Report this post
Thank you Fredja for comment.


rws59 at 14:41 on 24 March 2015  Report this post
You wrote this a while ago, but I have just joined the group and your theme caught my eye. Hope these comments are not too late to be useful.
A very well written short story. A powerful theme which held my attention to the end. You write excellent prose and you depict Gregg’s mental state and voice authentically.
Question in my mind is whether you wanted the story to be so short. Reason I ask is because you could dramatize it more by showing the reader more action and dialogue about Gregg and Nancy’s relationship. You tell us very well about his jealousy and give a brief glimpse of how he murdered Nancy. However, the story could be made more vivid if we could see and hear the discord and interaction between them.
The narrator is omnipotent, telling everything. But up to Gregg being killed by the stranger, it is from Gregg’s point of view. Then the narrator becomes more removed and objective reporting on the town’s reaction and the stranger lurking outside the shop.
So there are two crises:  Gregg’s murder of Nancy and the stranger’s murder of Gregg. Might the story be stronger if we had a larger scene leading up to Gregg’s killing Nancy, and more dialogue between the stranger and Gregg showing us something more about this stranger and his motives for hunting sinners? You report his mental illness history, but can you flesh him out more?
Again, in the spirit of a question, could you make us care more about Gregg—and make the story more of a tragedy?
Well written, good prose, and deserves to be developed.

Jorgi at 15:00 on 24 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Roger,

Many thanks for the comments, which are very helpful.

Sometimes a story comes to mind out of the blue and I tap it out!  I get totally lost in the words and feel I am watching from a distance as the story goes on.  I see what you mean about developing the story further.  

I have a kind of comedy type ghost story which I wrote around 18 months ago and I think I will give this an airing on writewords.  

Thanks Roger, I hope you enjoy your time with the group, must admit I have not been on writewords for sometime because of the pressure of my job, which is really stressful at the moment.



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