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November 2019 - Writers Challenge

  • 21 Dec 2019 12:59 PM
    Reply # 8347950 on 8098542
    Gloria A. Gould-Loftin

    A Hiaku

    In the moonlight an ancient pond

    Wind blows the scent

    A Thousand years of nature

    Float across time

  • 17 Nov 2019 9:12 AM
    Reply # 8125794 on 8098542
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Awesome Michael, as always! You have a marvelous way of telling so much in so few words! 

    I look forward to reading your stories. 


  • 16 Nov 2019 7:48 AM
    Reply # 8121739 on 8098542

    Boardwalk Mystery

    George walked along the boardwalk that spanned the swampy land along the banks of the Cashie River near Windsor, N.C. He had a fishing rod in one hand and a tackle box in his other as he walked to a short pier that jutted out into the river. It was a perfect place to wet a line, and George looked forward to a long, peaceful afternoon. He settled down on a folding stool and started casting his line toward a likely looking spot.

    His hook tangled in something floating in the reeds near the roots of a cypress tree. The item appeared to be covered with fabric so he assumed it was just trash. The fishing rod bent at nearly a ninety-degree angle as George strained to pull the object to the pier. Then he got down on his belly and reached down to free his rig, but recoiled in horror when he realized it was a child's body floating face down in the murky water.

    Lieutenant Susan Riddick watched technicians from the coroner’s office as they waded in the water to secure the child’s body to a litter, while Sargent Daniel Gannon interviewed the fisherman who was unable to shed any light on the mystery of the child’s identity. The victim was male and appeared to be about ten years old. The body had been in the river long enough to have become bloated, and the water had probably washed away any clues it may had offered.

    Back at the office, the detectives went over missing persons reports looking for a boy whose description matched their victim, but they didn’t find a match. The next day it officially became a murder case when the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide based on broken bones and a skull fracture.

    Another week passed before Daniel stuck his head in Susan’s office with new information. “We got a hit on the DNA search. The father of the child was in the FBI’s DNA Database.”

    “What’s his name?” Susan asked.

    “Thomas L. Jones,” Daniel read off the report in his hand. “He has a long rap sheet including assault and armed robbery.”

    “Who’s the mother?” Susan asked.

    “Don’t know,” Daniel replied. “But his parole officer said he had a live-in girlfriend with a son about the age of our victim, but he didn’t know if it was actually Thomas’s biological child. He’s living in a rented mobile home outside of Woodville.”

    “Let’s carry this to a judge and get a search warrant,” Susan said. “I know we could just have the parole officer toss the place, but a warrant would look better at trial.”

    While technicians searched his residence, Thomas sat in the interrogation room back at the station waiting for his attorney. They had seized his cellphone and he readily provided his password, but it didn’t help because he had deleted most of his activity.

    While crime scene technicians processed the residence, the detectives canvassed the neighborhood. Susan spoke to an elderly woman who lived next door.

    “When was the last time you saw the child?” Susan asked.

    “Well, he didn’t play outside much,” the neighbor said. “And the last time I saw him get off the school bus was over a month ago. I haven’t seen his mother for a while either, so I thought she had wised up and moved out. It’s been quiet lately, but sometimes the shouting over there used to get so bad that I would have to turn up the TV to drown it out.”

    “Thanks,” Susan said while handing her a card. “Call me if you think of anything else.”

    The search had turned up no useful evidence. The residence had been thoroughly cleaned, and it held absolutely no sign of a woman or child. Susan began to wonder if the mother’s body was also in the river waiting to be discovered.

    Based on the address, school records revealed that the child’s name was Jerod Jones, which was confirmation of a sort that the boy was Thomas Jones’s son. The records also stated that the mother’s name was Linda F. Warren. Jerod had been enrolled in the fifth-grade until seven weeks ago when Thomas had informed the school that the boy had moved away with his mother, but there had been no request for his records by another school.

    His teacher said, “He missed a lot of days, and often he had bumps and bruises that he said came from accidents. He even broke his arm one time; he told us he had fallen off his bike.”

    The next day they went back with a search warrant for Thomas’s pickup. As the rollback backed up to the vehicle, Thomas walked out with a cellphone in his hand. Susan handed him a copy of the search warrant and seized the phone based on the original warrant.

    She had a hunch that Jones had just swapped out the SIM card, so she subpoenaed his telecom carrier and hit pay dirt; it had originally been Linda’s cellphone. Then a forensic electronic tech discovered an app on the phone linked to a Gmail account, but none of Linda’s emails were useful. Then they accessed her Google Drive and discovered a journal that Linda had used to document the physical abuse she and the boy had endured, but the last entry was about two months old.

    “Book him, Daniel,” Susan said. “I think he killed the boy in a fit of rage, and then murdered the woman to cover it up, or maybe vice versa. We’ll charge him with the boy’s death for now, and add on charges when we have more evidence linking him to the mother’s death.”

    Last modified: 21 Mar 2020 4:19 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 08 Nov 2019 4:55 PM
    Message # 8098542
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)

    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!

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