Vacuuming #flashfiction

October 15, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about chores. It doesn’t have to be a western ranch chore; it can be any routine task. Go where the prompt leads!


Vacuuming – by Hugh W. Roberts

Having murdered his chore-loving wife, Herbert did the unthinkable and scattered her ashes throughout the house.

“That’ll teach you,’ Herbert chuckled. “Lived-in. Not a showhouse.”

On getting home from work the following day, the house was spotless. Unbeknown to Herbert, his wife had employed a domestic help to come in once a week.

That night, the sound of hoovering woke Herbert. Yet downstairs, the hoover was unplugged and stored under the stairs.

Questions: Had Herbert’s wife come back to haunt him? Was it time to buy a new vacuum cleaner? Or should he empty the cylinder of his wife?


Gold Dust

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

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38 thoughts

  1. I love organizing things and storing everything in its designated spot (especially in our tiny camper), but I don’t like cleaning. Do you think I should ask Mark whether he has any plans murdering me? No vacuum in this house on wheels, though… I think Herbert’s house is now occupied with a ghost.

    1. No, rather than ask that question, ask Mark if he’d like a handheld vacuum cleaner. His response could lead you down the route to answering that question without asking him it, Liesbet.

  2. Oh yeah. Herbert’s hoover’s gonna vacuum up every moment of peace and quiet in his house. As far I know, priests aren’t allowed to do exorcisms on vacuum cleaners.

  3. My guess is that Herbert is an old-fashioned guy, and his wife had, besides hiring a cleaner, bought one of those automatic robot vacuum cleaners without him knowing. No cable, no user needed and it’s programmed to clean at that hour. Did it stop too fast? Well, it needs a battery charge.

    1. That’s a good answer. I never thought about a robotic vacuum cleaner doing the job. In any case, having scattered his wife’s ashes over the house, should Herbert now empty it?

  4. Your so good at these stories Hugh . The truth of the mystery is Herbert’s wife had also purchased an old cassette recorder just for these circumstances. Suspecting her days were numbered, she employed the home help for during the day for after the event of her death. The cassette she had on a timer and hidden in a cupboard Herbert never looked in. All she had to do was turn it off every night, after her death she knew the nightly phantom hoover noises that stop just before his alarm went off would drive him mad! 💜💜💜💜💜🕸️🕷️🕸️🕷️

  5. All those chunk pieces of ashes scattered around feel like a Mission Impossible laser locking system where she will forever be able to alert Him from Beyond when dust bunnies roll across.

    Excellent story. Love the displacement of his issue rather than thought-through resolution.

    1. Thanks, Jordan. I don’t think Herbert will ever be able to forget the wife he killed. And I wonder if he’ll ever get a peaceful night’s sleep again? Even if he replaced the vacuum cleaner, bits of his wife would forever remain while he lives.

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