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The Accidental Murder

NOTES: Murat is a conservative working class Turkish man. He’s married to a woman who refuses to have sex after a serious case of cervical cancer. He is frustrated. He hadn’t planned to kill, but when a young girl approaches his car for reasons he doesn’t understand, he views it as an opportunity. I hardly ever write in first person, but on this occasion wanted to. This exercise was to look at character.

I lit my fifth cigarette of the hour and opened the window to let in some air, not that it did much good. The radio said it was the hottest day of the year and I’d have bet my weekly pay-cheque on that being right. I undid the top button of my shirt, but it didn’t help. The cotton was stuck to my skin because of the humidity infiltrating my car, since the air filters were blocked and the AC no longer worked. There was about an hour before my wife would expect me home and Perhaps I should find a cool café to sit in, but even that felt like too much effort. I could barely breathe in this oppressive heat, but it was better than the atmosphere at home.
This part of Istanbul is dull compared to our neighbourhood with its kids playing on the tarmac and vendors hustling to make ends meet. The buildings there are shiny, unlike our crumbling apartment block with its brightly coloured laundry strung from the windows on old TV cables. I bet they don’t wake up to howling street dogs, fighting couples or gunshots around here. I bet they get a proper night’s sleep.

I pulled hard on the cigarette and the smoke gushed down my throat and out through my nostrils. I shut my eyes and leaned my head against the headrest I’d just fitted that week. The car was my territory and it was where I was happiest. My prayer beads felt smooth passing them between my fingers, a habit that was calming. Work had been demanding and my wife was being difficult since she’d had the operation. I watched the foreman across the way lock up and let my mind remain idle.

I didn’t see the girl approaching and to be honest it was a bit of a surprise when she stopped by the open window.

‘Are you the flower man?’

I looked up at my nicotine stained air-freshener, the shape of a rose, hanging from the rear view mirror, then back at her. ‘Yes,’ I said, because she was young and pretty.

She walked around the car and climbed into the passenger seat. What was I supposed to do? She just hopped into my car with her legs dangling from her summer shorts and smiled back at me. She wore a hoody that didn’t fit with the heat we were both sweltering in. She smelt of lemons. She was shiny and smooth. Her legs were as long as the horizon stretching out before us. Before I knew what I was doing, I’d started the engine and we were pulling out of the car park. I offered her a cigarette, but she said she didn’t smoke although she took the packet from me anyway and looked inside. I got on with driving because I didn’t know what else to do.

‘Would you like some tea?’ I suggested for lack of anything interesting to say.

‘Maybe next time.’

‘Would you like something to eat?’

‘No. I need to get home. Got stuff to do for tomorrow.’

‘Okay. But I need to get some petrol.’ I needed a destination while deciding what to do. I turned on the lights and attempted to shut out the call to prayer by closing the window. ‘Where are you from?’

‘Germany, but my dad’s Turkish.’

‘Yeah? Your Turkish is good.’

‘Thanks. I’m working on it, you know.’

I was keen to show her I knew cool people in the area so I slowed down and honked my horn at the porters outside the nightclub. They waved back. She didn’t look impressed.

‘The petrol station is just ahead.’

‘Okay. Then you give me the flowers, yeah?’

‘Sure.’ We drove in silence for a few minutes until we reached the station. Thankfully, it wasn’t busy. The attendant put the desired amount in the tank, not much, twenty liras worth, just enough to get me somewhere else. She looked at the dial as if assessing the small amount of petrol the attendant had put in the tank.

‘Are you scared?’ I asked as I started the car. I don’t know why I asked her that.

‘No, should I be?’

‘I’m not going to rob you if that’s what you think. Look, I have plenty of money.’ I showed her the stack of notes I’d just got from my boss that day. ‘See?’ I pulled out of the petrol station and turned north.

‘This isn’t the way home.’ She said, her voice sounded different.

‘We’re going in the right direction. Don’t you worry.’

‘Doesn’t look like the right direction.’

I’m not sure when I decided to do what I did to her. I hadn’t planned it. But there comes a time in every man’s life when one must decide to take control. Anyway, she was the one that had gotten in my car. It wasn’t my doing.

‘Look, haven’t you got the pot?’ She asked.


‘Pot. You know. Smokey smokey.’ She made a hand gesture as if she were smoking a joint.
Me carry drugs. Was she kidding?

‘Look we’re going in the wrong direction.’ She was clutching the bottle of water I’d bought her at the station.

Stupidly I’d asked for the most expensive one and it was made of glass. What was I supposed to do? She might have used it against me.

I took the turn onto the interstate, she kept asking me to stop and buy some flowers as we passed some gypsy flower sellers on the side of the road. I agreed and suggested red, yellow or perhaps pink. I had no intention to buy flowers. The colours became a blur as we passed them by.

‘You need to take me home. This isn’t the way.’ She pointed at the signs, but she was bluffing. She didn’t really know where she was.

‘Look at the lights.’

We passed a bridge and I took the slip road east away from the interstate. She became quite annoyed and told me to stop the car but I kept driving. It was too late for that.

As we turned the bend, she opened the passenger door. ‘Stop the damn car. I’ll jump.’ She was serious. Her feet were now hanging out of the car.

I leant over and pulled her hoody with my right hand. She was struggling and tried to hit me with the bottle so

I grabbed her hair and next thing you know she’d hit her head against the dashboard. Her body went limp. We were out of the city now. I drove for a few hundred metres with the door flapping, holding onto her hair with my right hand. The road was deserted, so I slowed down.

She was still breathing at this point but her head was bleeding all over the seat. There was a forest up ahead, which was a stroke of luck. I kept driving. She should never have gotten into my car, foolish girl. I mean, who does that? A girl who buys drugs, that’s who. Far be it from me to let that go unpunished.


Published 17.09.14

This is a piece that was written to demonstrate pacing. I hope it worked!

Human Traffic

At a rundown guesthouse on the outskirts of town, a young Kurdish girl buried her face in the scraggy pink pillows as a man twice her age repeatedly penetrated her. She knew better than to complain; an act of emotion that would not go unpunished.

The man withdrew and lay on his back revelling in the sexual release. She was a good girl this one, and he’d come back to indulge himself as often as possible.

Leyla smiled obediently. ‘Do you have a cigarette mister?’

‘In my jacket, help yourself. You’re a fine thing, you know that?’ He didn’t move.

Leyla reached inside his pocket and pulled out the pack. Rummaging for his lighter she found a second object, a penknife. She took it.

She left the man lying on his back and wandered up the corridor in a lace nightgown bought by her boss, puffing on the cigarette lightly like a Hollywood actress from a bygone era. She was the prettiest of all the girls and she knew he wouldn’t resist. She tapped on the door three times.

‘Come in,’ the deep-throated voice replied.

She pushed the door open and puffed away, stretching her teenage body to show off its beauty. She knew the distraction would eventually prove too much and become the undoing of his careful planning. If there was one thing she’d learned from her customers; a man in love was a man easy to control.

Leyla closed the door and dragged her hands along the desk, puffing and pulling on the cigarette. As she reached his side of the cheap metal office furniture, he was already unbuttoning his jeans.

Moving towards the target, Leyla questioned, for a split second, if she’d have the guts to go through with it. The client had given her a choice. The time had come. The opportunity was this moment.

Her lips curled around the target and he relaxed. He groaned with the sweetest pleasure. And in that rhythmic groaning, Leyla took the knife she had minutes earlier slipped into her g-string, and very slowly moved it under her chin. She was on her knees and only the seat of the chair stood in her way.


Florence traced the outline of the pebbles with her bare toes. It was colder here than anywhere she’d ever been. The open wounds of freshly formed blisters were stinging from the damp. She picked up a pebble and dragged it across her lips. It was salty. Was she on a beach?

Her world had been dark since the day of the kidnapping when she was blindfolded at gunpoint. They hadn’t bound her hands or feet. They didn’t need to. Resistance was met with an invasive hand somewhere intimate.

Sitting on the chilly ground, her clothes soaked with fog, she yearned for the warmth of home and family; thoughts that were interrupted by large footsteps moving closer at a pace that meant trouble. Florence’s body tightened and prepared for the punishment of a groping hand, but the footsteps passed her by and kept going. She was shivering.

The t-shirt and sweatpants she’d been made to wear were oversized, flimsy and smelled of body odour that wasn’t hers. The few voices she heard spoke with funny accents.

Right get them into the van, we’re moving,’ a male voice instructed.

It was warmer in the van. Traveling in the dark at high speed, exhaustion set in. Whispering snores had replaced the restless breathing of the travellers and it was a real bind to stay awake. She didn’t.


Leyla was going in for the kill. She raised the knife. For a split second the groaning became louder. He tapped his feet in time. She knew it was now or never. Thinking about the countless men, she plunged forward with the knife and bit down hard.

‘What the… ‘ His voice trailed off. Before she knew it, he was on his feet and holding her by the neck. ‘You little bitch. You’ll pay for this. You…’

He was damaged. There was blood flowing from the vein she’d hit, but it wasn’t enough.

Leyla raised the knife with the air being squeezed out of her and made the fatal gash. The hole in his neck spat blood on her face and his grip began to loosen. He fell back on his chair. He was dead.

She found the gun in the desk, locked the door behind her and tiptoed back down the corridor. She had gone over this a thousand times, but now the moment was here she wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.

She reached her room. All was quiet. The man had gone. She was covered in blood, but got dressed and headed downstairs. Her hands were shaking and she couldn’t make them stop.

Florence woke up when the van stopped. The doors slid open. A set of strong hands locked on her wrist, pulling her forwards. The surface was hard and cold on her feet. It was a paved road. They were in a city.

‘Hurry up girl. Come on,’ a woman’s voice commandeered.

The floor was warm and soft. The woman removed the blindfold. Florence rubbed her eyes, urging them to focus. When they did, she saw at least ten girls.

‘Not bad this lot. Good looking girls,’ said the woman. ‘She’ll clean up well. Might even be my star girl. Very exotic.’ Chunky fingers with chipped nail polish and nicotine stains lifted Florence’s chin to inspect her face.

‘So you got the money?’

‘Hold your horses. I haven’t inspected all the merchandise yet,’ the woman, hissed. ‘Clothes off,’ she commanded. Florence was still shivering.

Leyla’s timing wasn’t ideal. Ten new recruits were arriving and there were more gun wielding assholes in the house than usual. She had managed to get downstairs before the new girls were unpacked. The only way out was through the reception area. It would only be a matter of time before they discovered the body.

From between the doorframe she had a partial view of the reception room. Leyla recognised one of the men immediately. He had been kind to her when they’d brought her in. He looked nervous. Standing next to a very tall barefoot girl, he kept fidgeting from one foot to the other. Someone left the room and took to the stairs.

‘Just going to get the boss. Don’t go anywhere,’ the woman shouted.

Leyla’s hands were still shaking. She had no idea how to use the gun.