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July 2020 - Writing Challenge

  • 11 Aug 2020 10:36 AM
    Reply # 9158008 on 9108923
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Fantastic story Michael, I always love reading where your mind has taken you. It's funny how we can each see the same picture and come up with a story completely unique to us.  

  • 07 Aug 2020 1:25 PM
    Reply # 9150887 on 9108923

    The Romantic Picnic

    The black lab wrapped his leash around the middle-aged woman's legs as Sargent Daniel Gannon interviewed her. They had been walking along the Chowan River when the dog had become agitated.

    The woman adjusted her face mask: "With the virus and all, I came out here to walk Othello because there aren't many people around during the week. It was weird that the picnic was all laid out with nobody around, but I thought they had gone for a walk or something. Then Othello went nuts and dragged me toward the blanket. I thought he was just smelling the food, but then he started sniffing the wet grass, so I called 911."

    "Thanks ma'am," Daniel said. "We'll get back to you if we need any more information."

    Lieutenant Susan Riddick watched as the technicians took pictures and collected samples. It appeared to be a romantic picnic with a wine bottle nestled in the ice inside a cooler. But the blood on the grass made it a crime scene, and there was enough blood that she feared the worst. Daniel walked over with his notebook in hand.

    "The witness didn't have anything to add," Daniel reported. "She found the scene just like it is now."

    "There's nothing more we can do here," Susan said. "The blood trail leads to the river, so the dive team is on the way to look for bodies. There's a car in the parking lot that presumably belongs to the victims, and it's registered to a local address in Windsor. They'll have a search warrant by the time we get there."

    Uniformed officers had canvassed the neighborhood, and in the process they had found a neighbor with a key to the house. Susan and Daniel quickly looked around the house while not disturbing things any more than necessary.

    "Hey!" Daniel said. "Here's a notice of a lawsuit. It's addressed to the woman who lives here. Apparently, she owns a business, and a former employee is suing for wrongful discharge. It says that she had let him go because of sexual harassment complaints from other employees."

    "Who filed the lawsuit?" Susan asked.

    "Somebody named 'Todd C. Harris', and it's dated yesterday."

    "Let's go see if he'll talk to us," Susan said.

    On the way to see Harris, they learned that the technicians had discovered a GPS device under a fender of the car, but they had hit a dead end when they tried to trace it to the buyer. The divers had found two bodies, which were on the way to the coroner's office, and they appeared to have been stabbed to death.

    Harris answered the knock on his door. Susan immediately noticed the bloody gauze bandage wrapped around his right hand.

    "I'm Lieutenant Riddick," Susan said, "and this is Sargent Gannon. We're investigating the deaths of Steve and Sarah Bannon. May we come in and talk to you?"

    Harris's face turned white: "No! I don't know anything about what happened to that bitch! She ruined my life! Nobody will hire me, and people that I've known for decades turn their backs to me!"

    "How did you get that cut on your hand" Susan asked.

    Harris quickly put his hand behind his back: "It's none of your business, but I cut it sharpening the lawnmower blade."

    "I'm afraid that you're going to have to come with us," Susan said. "Please put your hands behind your back."

    Sullenly he complied, and Daniel put on the cuffs. Susan was a little surprised that he didn't object or ask why he was being detained. Instead he clinched his jaws and said absolutely nothing during the ride to the station. Then the only thing he said was to demand an attorney.

    Watching Harris through a window from outside the interrogation room, Susan told Daniel to cut him loose once his attorney arrived, and then she went to her desk to write a report. She was irritated because Harris wouldn't talk, and that they had to let him go – for now.

    There was little they could do but wait for the evidence to be processed. Harris had a motive to kill the couple, and he had an opportunity if he had been the one to place the GPS device. Actually, the victims could have placed the device in their own car in case it was stolen. But it wasn't absolutely necessary to connect Harris to the device because he could have followed them to the river. And knifes are commonplace, so he had the means as well. The cut on his hand was the most damning evidence, but he could have accidentally cut himself just as he claimed.

    Susan and Daniel worked other cases as a couple of days passed, but the scene of the romantic picnic was always a nagging thought at the back of her mind. Then she got a call from the lab.

    "According to the medical examiner, the victims were dead before their bodies were dumped in the river. Both had been stabbed multiple times and had suffered substantial damage to vital organs. We matched the DNA in the blood splatter to the victims, but the most interesting thing that we discovered was a third person's DNA mixed with their blood."

    Susan suddenly had an idea because she remembered smelling cigarette smoke in their car when they had brought in Harris for questioning. She used this new evidence to secure a search warrant for Harris's house and car.

    They drove to Harris's house with the search warrant. Once he was served, she opened the car door and looked around inside. Triumphantly she spotted a cigarette butt on the floorboard, and used tweezers to carefully pick it up and place it in an evidence bag. Later that day, the lab confirmed that the DNA was a match.

    Susan turned to her partner and said, "Book'em Daniel."

    Last modified: 09 Aug 2020 8:29 AM | Michael Worthington
  • 17 Jul 2020 3:23 PM
    Message # 9108923
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)

    Is it romance in the air, or just a set-up to get someone alone for all the wrong reasons?  Let us feel the emotions, smell the food, and hear the sounds around us.

    Here are a few things you may want to include:

    • Where are you?
    • Who you're with, or who are you waiting for?
    • Why you're there?
    • What is the weather like?
    • What's on the menu?
    • When - What time frame ?

    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!

    Last modified: 17 Jul 2020 4:03 PM | Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)
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