Overall Winner – 2009 Biscuit Publishing Flash Fiction Compettiton
Prize of £1000, plus publication
Lucy was a bad girl. I knew she was bad because she visited with Monsieur Mechant and she never came back.
When I was a little girl I nearly met Monsieur Mechant many times, but I would hide all night in my daddy’s arms so he couldn’t take me to church. You had to be bad for Monsieur to take you to church, and if you didn’t come back, you had to have been very bad.
The first time he tried to take me, I had only been a little bit bad. I knew a little girl who had long hair the colour of blackberries. My daddy liked to brush her hair and then his arms weren’t free to hide me. And so I cut off her hair and hung her with her own plaits. And then she died. But Monsieur Mechant couldn’t get me because my daddy’s arms were free to hold me safe.
The second time he tried to take me, I had been badder than the first time. I knew a girl with eyes the colour of blue grass. She liked to look at my daddy, and he liked to look at her, which meant his eyes weren’t free to look at me. And so I scratched out her eyes and fed them to her cat. My mother said Monsieur Mechant would come for me, but he couldn’t get me because my daddy’s eyes were free to watch me all night long.
The third time he tried to take me I had been badder than ever. I knew a girl with lips the colour of honeysuckle. My daddy wanted to pluck the honeysuckle and put it on my pillow, but she was selfish and wouldn’t let him. And so I kissed her like a serpent and she didn’t breathe again. Monsieur Mechant came through my window, but he could not get me because my daddy was placing honeysuckle on my pillow.
The last time, I was badder than any girl. I knew a girl with icy skin. My daddy touched her skin and began to freeze, and then he was too cold to hold me. And so I told Monsieur Mechant what she had done and he took her to church. When Monsieur touched her she was no longer cold, so he cut the sin from her and put her in the confession box until all her badness had drained away. That is how I know Lucy was very bad, because she got caught.
Still, he never could catch me. My mother told me that this time I had been the baddest of all. I was afraid at night.
I shivered in my doll bed and the window was open. I had never been able to remember where Monsieur lived. Sometimes I thought he was under the stairs, under the bed, or in the closet. My mother told me he saw everything and you could not escape. But I knew the secret. I knew where I was safe.
And when I felt he was near, and I was afraid, I ran to my daddy and I knew now his arms would be warm to hold me.
But my daddy’s arms were cold. I looked on my pillow, but the honeysuckle was gone. I looked at my daddy’s eyes, but they were looking elsewhere. I tried to touch my daddy’s hands but they were clenched together and I couldn’t get in.
I was very afraid.
‘It is time,’ said my father, ‘for us to go to church.’