He was drunk. He had to admit it. Not slightly inebriated or a bit tipsy, but flat out drunk.

There would be trouble when he got home. In his mind he rehearsed the route he would take from the front door to the bedroom – probably via the bathroom – and the movements he would make to get undressed and into bed without waking Dolores. He could manage it, he confidently lied to himself.

Where was he now? He hadn’t been paying attention. How had he stumbled into these woods? Must’ve taken a wrong turn at the end of the high street. He didn’t recognise the old bridge crossing a pond. Funny how you could live in one place your whole life and not notice a part of it like this.

He swayed up the steps and onto the wooden boards. He felt a lurch in his stomach and stopped, taking deep breaths and trying to hold down the liquid contents of his afternoon and evening in the pub.

It was no good, he leaned over the side. Then stopped. He caught the sick in his mouth. She stood on the water. How could she do that? His mind was playing tricks on him. She was staring at him. He wiped his eyes and swallowed the rancid bile. He was sweating.

She beckoned him with an exotic finger. She was covered in decorations of some kind, make-up or paint, florid colours that seemed to wrap around her body.

Her body. What he wouldn’t give to be with a woman with a body like that. And under the paint it appeared that she was naked. She flashed her brilliant eyes at him. He leaned forward. How could he resist?

In the silence of the night there was the noise of a single splash. The disturbed waters of the pond obnubilated their prey and settled into stillness once more. The painted lady vanished without trace.

Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt: Painted curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

My new novel, ‘State Of War’, the final part of The State Trilogy, officially launches THIS MONDAY, 25th MAY on eBook and Paperback.

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29 responses to “THE PAINTED LADY”

  1. Superbly written, Iain.
    And a good illustration of why that ‘last one’ is probably not a good idea 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, when will they learn!


      1. Maybe when they’ve chased enough nymphs 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The killer waters! I like what you did with the prompt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sadje, much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A pleasure Iain.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Robbie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. oooh well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Super story! (And I learned a new word: obnubilated.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (New to me as well, but once I found it, it had to go in 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I was going to comment on that, but you beat me to it. What a wonderful word! And a great take on the photo, well done!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Extremely creative, I love where it went!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve seen a few odd things after having one too many but nothing quite like that! nice one Iain

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Perhaps you will get lucky one day Keith 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ohh I love what you did with this prompt. And thanks to you, I know what obnubilated means. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too, great new word 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A cautionary tale, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great Story Iain, really enjoyed it.💜

    Liked by 1 person

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