Witness (Flash Fiction Story) by Chantel DaCosta



Witness by Chantel DaCosta

16.9.16 @7:41 am

“He smelled her.” Devon said, his voice laced with shock, disgust and wonderment.

“What?” I hadn’t been paying attention, not to anything outside of us.

“Look. Him, guy in the vest, he leaned forward and smelled that girl.” Devon pointed.

I looked. A man in green shirt with a yellow-orange work vest stood close to a petite girl/woman in dark skin tight denims and a floral purple and yellow top. I watched. The Friday morning traffic was at a standstill and I knew I would be late for work. Again. This would be the fourth day in a row of being late for work. I’d made it in just at the stroke of 8 on Monday morning and then the rest of the week had been shit.

“Oh my god. He is smelling her.”

I was still in state of disbelief. So I conjured up my own rational explanation.

“Well maybe they are friends. They must know each other. Right? I mean look at them, they are standing a part from everyone else at the bus stop. I think they are friends.”

Devon conceded. “Yes you are probably right.”

But as we sat there, waiting in traffic and as Devon moved on chattering about Christmas vacation, planning a holiday dinner for friends at our house and which of our families to visit first, I watched the pair. They stood apart from the cluster of people waiting for the bus. And as we eased down a metre or two then a little further down the line, I saw neither movement nor acknowledgement of the man’s presence from the girl. But the man, he kept watch of her. His eyes never left her back. They did not talk to each other, their bodies were angled away. A lovers’ spat, still close but separate.

Eventually we moved along. Traffic slothed along and I was late.

22.9.16 @1:17 pm

 I swallowed the last bite of curried chicken, wiping my mouth with a crumpled bit of paper towel, I sensed movement close to me but I kept my eyes down. I tossed the napkin in the box. As I closed the lid on another unsatisfactory lunch, the guy from accounting, I think he was the administrative assistant slid into the seat next to me.

I wasn’t in the mood for chatting. And I was positive that my teeth were yellowed by the curry and that bits of chicken, carrots and green from the mush of steamed vegetables must be stuck in my teeth. Please don’t talk to me.

“Did you hear about the missing girl?” he announced himself.


“Yeah. Look. She was last seen on Friday. Never made it to work. Lives up close to your side just off at the bottom of the hills.”

I took the phone he offered and read the description of the missing woman, she was reported missing by her sister with whom she lived and her employers on Monday. I skimmed the rest and towards the end of the article that’s when I saw her picture. Pulled from an IG profile. It was her, the girl, a selfie, she was in clad in the same clothes from Friday, smiling, #OFTD #HappyFriday, #TGIF. The second picture, was a professional picture, a graduation portrait, her face retouched smooth and clear and lineless, her teeth big, bright white.

A shiver went through my body.

22.9.16 @7:41 pm

“Dev, do you remember that girl that that guy in the work vest was sniffing?”

“No.” He answered in that absentminded far off way, his eyes trained on the laptop, he was working again. Coding.

I sat down and waited for his attention. Then I explained, reminded him, thrusted my phone in his hand to share the news article proof.

“What if it was him, the creepy guy that was smelling her. We should call in and make a report.”

“Whoa, slow down. Hold up. We didn’t see anything worth reporting. Its not the same girl.”

“Yes it is. I saw her, look at the pictures. It is her.”

“No. The girl I saw at the bus stop was darker and she was wearing a pink top.”

I hissed. Devon didn’t even know colours.

At 8pm, I clicked on to the news. We didn’t really watch the nightly news but I wanted to know. They may have made a break in case, or had some updates and perhaps the visual aid on TV would proof to Dev that I was right.

She was the first in the headline briefing as the newscaster announced: “Body of missing Bayside Terrace woman found partially nude in Andrew’s Pen gully.”




Reading and Writing (Very Slowly): NaNoWriMo 2016 Update

Happy Birthday to my lovely life partner!

And Happy Wednesday (to everyone else)!

November has been so much fun for me this year, I have been celebrating life milestones.


Temp cover designed by me. I need to work on a beautiful professional cover design for 2017.

These celebrations, which I love so much, also meant that I have not been writing every day. And as such, my novel writing month has been stalled for a few days. The last time I did a full session of writing was last week Thursday, November 10. This post is a quick update on my writing progress.

In a short sentence, my writing and novel progress has been very, very  slow.

To date, I have 10,432 words  when I really should have at least 26,000 words. By this time, I should be more than halfway through the 50K words needed to win NaNoWriMo.

So here is the absolute truth, I know I will not win NaNoWriMo 2016. But, I also know that I will continue to write and work on The Sixth Culling. According to the NaNo stats and progress tracker, at my rate of writing, I won’t be finished until January 16, 2017. Yes, that long.

And that is perfectly fine to me. In fact, I am certain that this writing project may take way longer.  I will also pause my writing to celebrate Christmas. By my estimation, my writing may take me well into February 2017.

So why I am moving this slow when the point to push ahead and keep going, keep writing?

Well… this is new to me. It is overwhelming. I am used to writing flash fiction and short stories.  And I have never really embarked fully on writing a novel. I have partly written book manuscripts and unfinished stories but this detailed planning and plotting is all still very new.

Last week, I paused writing after I completed part one of my story. Then I reconsidered my characters and their motivations. I found that my planning was far too little, I was underwriting.  This assessment was prompted after I completed reading Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I loved that book. I enjoyed the magic, the new take on vampires and the world building, as well as, the structure of the story.

And, this then informed me about what was lacking in my own writing.  I need more for long form fiction.  The story and interactions that I plotted in my overview were just not enough. So last week, I went back to planning, plotting and character development, I even added new characters. So going forward, this weekend, I will do more planning and refining of part one and I will continue writing. I have decided that due to my life choices, work schedule and this blog which I am committed to developing, I cannot churn out 1,667 words each day. It was so hard to do so for those two weeks.  I am committed to writing each week, and developing my story.

I will continue to give updates as I move along. I will also share some previews of what I have already written in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading and connecting. Talk again on Friday, yes I am continuing with Happy Fridays. I like doing those shorter, lighter posts and also I hope to develop a new Friday flash fiction series.

Therefore, going forward I will be posting three days per week. There will be the original Sunday afternoon reflections and commentary about life in Jamaica,  our Wednesday book talks and then light recaps, first tries and favs on a Friday morning.

Take care. Have a great Wednesday!

Particpating NaNoWriMo 2016

Well I have news to share, I am attempting NaNoWriMo next month. Well I am attempting NaNoWriMo in a few days, November 1 is next week Tuesday.  I am going to write the Sixth Culling.

I am nervous and excited about attempting this, and honestly very unprepared and intimidated.


The last few days I have been watching YouTube videos about NaNoWriMo preparation, novel outlining, character development and writing tips.

Here are few suggestions and advice resources that I have found helpful:

The NaNoWriMo blog (obviously): 

The Write Practice NaNoWriMo Workshop 


Search NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo 2016 and a lot videos will pop one. This one was one of the first ones I watched.

So I am excited, I am still preparing, I am not quite there yet but I have six days to go to get there. By there, I am fully prepared and ready to tackle writing a full length novel.

Is anyone else participating? Any first timers? What about the NaNoWriMo veterans, any tips or advice to share?