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September 2019 Writers Challenge

  • 22 Sep 2019 4:40 PM
    Reply # 7893386 on 7874207

    THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING GUN

    The flashing blue lights cast a surreal quality over the night scene. Clusters of the curious talked together in hushed tones behind the yellow crime tape, and ambulances had already left with the two shooting victims. Uniformed officers stood guard outside the compact ranch house while crime scene technicians worked inside, and homicide detectives interviewed neighbors in the yard.

    The city police had jurisdiction over the crime scene, but sheriff deputies had shown up to help direct traffic. A newly arrived deputy approached one of the detectives who had been interviewing witnesses.

    “Lieutenant,” the deputy said.

    “Yes,” Homicide Detective Susan Riddick replied.

    “I was here yesterday evening,” the deputy said. “I was trying to serve papers on the male homeowner at this address.”

    “What were the papers?” Susan asked.

    “Separation papers,” the deputy said. “The wife was home, and said she didn’t know where he was staying.”

    “That’s odd,” Susan said. “He was one of the victims, and he was dressed in pajamas like he was sleeping here.”

    “The wife said they were separated,” the deputy said, “and I didn’t see any sign of him. That pickup wasn’t here either.”

    “Thanks,” Susan said. “I’ll ask the family about the status of their marriage.”

    By the wee hours of the morning, the spectators had gone home, and the family members had gone to the hospital when they received news that the female victim had survived but was in critical condition. Unfortunately, the male victim was DOA from blood loss.

    Most of the police cars were gone with just a cruiser and an unmarked car parked in front of the house. One uniformed officer stood on the front porch, and the two homicide detectives were inside trying to make some sense out of the scene.

    “Nothing adds up,” Susan said. “If they were separated, why was the male wearing pajamas? And after hearing about marital problems, I would have bet you money that the husband was the shooter, but he was shot too.”

    “Maybe the wife was the shooter,” Daniel said. “She could have shot him when he unexpectedly showed up.”

    “Then why was he dressed for bed?” Susan asked. “And she was shot too, so it doesn’t make sense that she was the shooter. And if one of them was the shooter, where’s the gun?”

    “The window in the back door is broken from the outside,” Daniel pointed out. “That indicates an intruder. Maybe they were both shot by a burglar, who took the gun with them.”

    “We’ll have to wait for the medical examiner’s report for definitive answers,” Susan said, “but the EMTs said there was powder tattooing on the skin around the male's bullet wound in his thigh, so he was shot at very close range.”

    “She was found in the living room, and he was on the floor close to her,” Daniel said. “But there was a blood trail leading from the male victim’s body to the front door, and that doesn’t make sense either.”

    “Maybe he was shot at the front door, and crawled to the female,” Susan said. “There was a spent bullet casing near the front door.”

    “In the morning, crime scene technicians will thoroughly go over the house,” Daniel said. “Both wounds were through-and-through, so when they find the bullet holes in the walls, that will tell us where the victims and the shooter were standing when the shots were fired.”

    Just then, they got a call from the hospital that the female victim was conscious. They left the uniformed officer outside to keep people out of the house while they drove to the hospital. The victim was in the recovery room after surgery, and they had to wait until the family members had seen the woman.

    “She was very lucky,” the surgeon told them. “The bullet nicked her intestines but missed major organs. Internal bleeding was the major issue. You can go in now but keep it short, and remember that the patient is still recovering from anesthesia.”

    The woman lay on a narrow hospital bed with an IV in one arm, and a blood pressure cuff on her other arm that periodically inflated. Compression boots over her calves inflated in ripples to push the blood up her legs, and her heart monitor bleeped with each heartbeat. A nurse protectively watched over her charge from the side of the room as the detectives stood over the woman.

    “Mrs. Sinclair?” Susan said. “Can you hear me?”

    The woman slowly opened her eyes. “Who are you?” she asked in a weak voice.

    “I’m Lieutenant Riddick,” Susan said. “And this is my partner, Sergeant Gannon. We want to ask you a couple of questions if you are up to it.”

    “Bubba shot me,” the woman whispered.

    Bubba?” Susan asked. “Who is Bubba?”

    “That's what we call my husband,” she said.

    “The window on the back door was broken,” Susan said, “so we thought it was an intruder.”

    Bubba broke the window to get in,” the woman said. “I had the locks changed two days ago.”

    “Then where is the gun?” Daniel asked.

    “Look under the shelf,” she said.

    Then she closed her eyes, and the nurse shooed them out.

    Puzzled by the interview, the detectives drove back to the scene of the crime. There were several bookcases in the house, and they opened all the books looking for a fake one. Then Susan noticed a shelf holding knick-knacks by the front door. She found a latch underneath the shelf, and when she pulled it, a pistol fell to floor at her feet.

    Last modified: 11 Nov 2019 7:11 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 11 Sep 2019 8:45 AM
    Reply # 7875824 on 7874207
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    I'd like to add my congratulations to Kimberly's. Mr. Oliver and Mr. Michael, you are both very talented writers and I am so glad you are a part of the Pamlico Writers' family. To those who were not chosen this time, know that we appreciate you sharing your talents. It is not an easy decision to chose just one. I hope you all will continue to submit your stories to our challenges. Best of luck! 

  • 10 Sep 2019 5:42 PM
    Message # 7874207
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)

    Is this a crime scene, or is it an accident on a rainy night near a small town? Be creative and tell us your story.

    Share your story or poem in one-thousand or less words by uploading it here as a reply. All genres and levels of writing welcome!


    Winner of June: W. Oliver Barkley

    Winner of July: Michael Worthington

    Both pieces were beautifully written. If you missed them, please go back and read them. You will certainly be glad you did. Thank you both for participating!


    Congratulations!!


    Last modified: 10 Sep 2019 6:14 PM | Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)
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