Posted in Mystery Month, Writing, Writing Prompts

Time to Write: Mystery Prompt 2

Last week’s prompt was Mystery 1: Set the Scene.

Nicci Hargie responded with an interesting twist:

Never again will I drink! I eased myself painfully out of bed. Early morning light penetrated my threadbare curtains. My mouth felt dry and I tried to swallow. Need water, my brain instructed me. Slowly slowly I moved my legs, my head now was pounding, a wave of heat caused me to perspire suddenly and I feared I would pass out. I opened my bedroom door and stepped tentatively in through my small lounge. The curtains where thicker and let in little light and the room felt cooler. In my kitchen I ran my tap and waited for the chalk to clear before filling a glass. Without stopping for breath the glass of water slipped down my acrid throat. Eyes barely open I went back to my lounge. I stopped and stared into the room, through the dim light I could make out a curious shape. Someone was sleeping in my lounge! A man ? Was I that drunk last night? In fact why was I drunk? I barely touched alcohol and last night was no different to any other. I moved closer in, his face wasn’t familiar at all . He looked odd, pasty. On further inspection I noticed a pool of vomit down his chin, I drew back sharply repulsed. I no longer felt fear and I coughed loudly. Nothing. I shook his shoulder which caused his head to tilt awkwardly. Barely able to breath I leant over him. His lips were blue, he wasn’t breathing, he was dead. Last night flooded back with such force I fell backwards and hit my head on my small table. Shaking I knelt and crawled towards the body. It was supposed to be me laying there I now know. Visions of last night became clear, this man was a blind date I met last night. Totally charmed by him I dropped my guard and invited him back for a night cap. I remember making snacks to compliment the wine he’d opened. I’d popped my head round the door in time to see him empty white powder in my drink. I should have told him to go, but I was frightened of a confrontation. Instead I smiled as I carried a tray of food through. A quick distraction later and I’d switched our glasses. If I hadn’t I knew that would have been me laying there lifeless. Bile rose in my throat, I came so close. I thought back at how he had watched me drain the rest of the wine, I wasn’t going to risk him taking charge of another glass. In hindsight I don’t seem to remember much more after that but I do recall thinking that I might have made a mistake? After all should my companion start to feel, poisoned by now? Six weeks later the autopsy report came through. According to the findings this man had a heart condition. he had died of a massive heart attack . His mother spoke out at the hearing, explaining he was very strict with his medication , which was administered in a powder form due to his inability to swallow tablets. His mother wept as she spoke, she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t taken his meds that night as the coroner had found no trace of this in his system. I felt the colour drain from my face, the room swayed as I scrambled for my bag and stumbled out of the court hearing.

Now onto this week’s prompt…

So someone has walked in on a dead body or a crime of some sort. Now what happens?

Who do they call to help? The police? A private detective? Do they try to solve it themselves? If so, do they recruit a friend to help?

How does the investigation process begin? How does it go?

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. If you respond by Thursday, June 16, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

rachel poli sign off

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

13 thoughts on “Time to Write: Mystery Prompt 2

  1. Outside the courthouse I tried to compose myself by drinking in the air in gulps of despair. A faint aroma of old perfume told me that someone was standing close behind me. I turned to find my self face to face with his mother. Unexpectedly she reached out a pulled me into an embrace. I was powerless and the huge sob I had been suppressing escaped. Finally she untangled herself from me and looked at me intensely. “He really liked you, he was so excited about meeting you, please, don’t take on so my flower it was nothing you had done, in fact, the messages you exchanged, well, I’ve never seen him so happy”. With that she turned and walked away leaving me grief and guilt stricken. If only she knew. I fussed around in my handbag to find a clean tissue, when I finally looked up she had disappeared into the ambling crowds of shoppers.
    A pub caught my attention, the demon of drink was luring me back into the folds of murky nothingness. Soon I found an empty booth and sat with a martini cocktail, I needed it to hit me fast and hard.
    Ever since that morning my mind had been churning what ifs and whys at an alarming rate.
    I started to think about Karma, what goes around, comes around and all that. The day of my date I had been absorbed in replying to a saucy message that had just been sent to me. Hypnotised by his words, I crossed the road whilst grinning like a lunatic. Not for one second did I see the blue transit that had to stop so abruptly that the driver seemed to propel towards me with massive force only to be stopped by his seat belt. I stood transfixed on how his head suddenly jolted back leaving him in a grotesque position.
    I should have done something. I didn’t. I ran. Was this payback? I lose the man that I was destined to share my future with, because, because I was selfish and a coward.
    The slurp of my straw caused me to look at my drink. What drink? My glass was empty, how?
    I stared out of the window at people passing by, all on journeys. How many of these people have they unwittingly killed like myself? When will karma creep up ?
    I needed the ladies. With the cubicle door closed I began to realise that the martini I had swallowed in one was causing my head to see saw slightly, I needed food. Outside the door of the lavatories, I listened as a woman walked in speaking urgently on her Mobile. “I don’t care, I’ve done my bit, now it’s down to you, no loose ends you hear me?”
    I knew that voice, it was the mother. What was she talking about? A memorial perhaps? I waited a while after she had left as I couldn’t face seeing her again.
    That evening I stared absently at the tv. Thoughts of the conversation I’d overhead earlier whirring around my head. I will send her flowers I decided. I idly flicked through the channels and froze at the local news channel. A 47 year old father of three had lost his battle after a accident involving his van had left him in a coma for six weeks, I couldn’t take in anymore. I knew who this was, the police were appealing for witnesses to come forward. It didn’t take long for me to realise I had killed two men. The whole room spun, I start to perspire heavily. What to do?
    My only friend I know was my anti depressants.
    A week had passed and Alec Down slipped into the main doors of a small apartment block climbing the steps to the third floor he finally reached his destination. Taking a card from his pocket as well as keeping a look out he silently worked on freeing the locking device. A quiet click awarded his perseverance. Slowly he pushed open the door. As expected for this time of night the place was in darkness. This would be the last favour for that bloody woman. This had become such a complex situation he just wanted out. What kind of woman would kill her son by switching his drugs with harmless sherbet? He thought. And how was they to know he wouldn’t be at home when he administered himself with the worthless powder? Why she wanted the girl dead was beyond him, but as she had stated she didn’t like loose ends. How had this come about? The husband had been bumped off thanks to a little alteration to his seatbelt, it was luck though when he’d had to break hard for some random stranger that had stepped in front of his van. Now to secure the entire inheritance to go to his ‘lady boss’ he needed to secure the death of her son. Simple really anyone could have done it. Now the final nail in the coffin would be the only possible witness that could if required offer indepth answers if needed.
    He stepped in through the darkness of the small lounge. The smell alone told him his services were no longer required. Minutes passed and the man silently slipped into the street and disappeared into the night.

  2. DS Ray Short watched as the forensic team finished up. Laura Down, 25, apparent suicide pending autopsy results. Should be an open and shut case but, there was something not quite right. Seven weeks earlier a 27 yr old male, Peter Banks died in this very room, heart failure. Ray didn’t feel comfortable about this. The forensic team left and with Ray alone in the small lounge he tried to imagine the girls last thoughts, was this a case of Romeo and Julliet in a modern time scenario?

    Back at the station he sat at his computer and tapped in Peter Banks. After a few minutes of reading he sat back in his chair and whistled. He reached for his phone.
    “Mike its Ray, have you got a minute?” Within minutes his number one sat opposite him listening intently.
    “that’s either very unlucky or ?”
    “Exactly ” Ray agreed “Or … Think we need to call the team in, give me an hour to compose the timeline board.

    Ray stood back and studied his ideas and questions pinned to a large notice board. He turned as the first of his team arrived, soon eight eager faces gave Ray their full attention.
    “At eight thirty three this morning Margaret Fothergill, landlady to number 33 Downsway Avenue notified the police at her concerns over a young woman who rented the flat above hers. Apparently her small dog had been behaving strangely, pawing at the door and barking at the ceiling . She decided to see if her neighbor was ok. After getting no reply she decided that her neighbor had gone away for a few days, she was about to turn away when she discovered the lock on the door had been tampered with, that’s when she contacted us. Laura Down a 25 year old female was discovered and the initial Verdict for now is suicide. So, why are we here? I’ll run it by you.

    Six weeks ago, February 22nd at 0745 a young woman rang us hysterical, it appeared a man she had met the following evening had died in her flat, she claimed to have no idea why as she had passed out due to too much alcohol. After the inquest it was reported that he had died of heart failure due to a condition he had been born with. So, this is where this situation takes a little twist.
    The morning Before, a man named Barry Banks was involved in an RTA. It seemed a young woman had walked out in the road in front of his van, according to eyewitnesses this woman was distracted by her phone and she had been texting when the van almost hit her.
    Barry Banks braked sharply and due to an unfortunate fault of the seat belt, he was somehow decapitated. Now eye witnesses have all described this woman individually , the results are quite outstanding, due to a definitive description this lady had a large birthmark on her left cheek. Laura Down fits every aspect of those descriptions.” Ray paused to allow these revelations to digest. Marine white, a rookie CID officer raised her hand.
    “But every death has been confirmed as either accidentally, suicide and suicide ?”
    “Well Marine, we’ve still got to have the suicide confirmed, right guys a little task for you today, we will meet back here at 4 pm, we need records of texts and calls from Laura’s and Petes mobiles, I will go and chat with Barry’s wife/Peter’s mother, Mike I want you to organise a dusting for fingerprints concentrating on the lock, Marine, your with me. Also can someone go and speak with the family lawyer and lastly I want a full report on how the seatbelt managed to take a man’s head clean off . See you all later.

    Justine Banks sat on her suitcase and forced the latch to close. Alec was due anytime soon, she hadn’t heard from him since he had gone to that young girl’s flat but she was confident there hadn’t been any hitches as she knew he would have found a way to contact her, he loved her as she loved him.
    That morning she had finally signed the documents she had fought hard to get , now she was free as a bird. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and delighted in how her eyes sparkled for the first time in decades. Alec was a tad younger but it suited them both. Time ticked by and Justine started to fret. Finally the doorbell sounded and she jumped up to answer.
    “What’s wrong with the key I gave you Alec?” She threw open the door and Ray stepped forward.
    “Mrs Banks? My names DS Banks,this is my colleague DC White, might we come in and have a word?”

    Three streets away Mrs Down was called in from the garden by her daughter Lisa.
    “Mum it’s the police, I’ve showed them in through the lounge.”
    “What’s Alec done now?” She hissed, the situation with her son had always been difficult, the child of hers had always caused trouble. Her daughter Laura had left home because of him and now contact was difficult as Laura swore her mum to secrecy so Alec couldn’t show up on her doorstep.

    Ray looked around Mrs Banks tidy lounge and noticed two suitcases by the patio door.
    “Are you going away? Mrs Banks?” Looking directly at this policemen, Justine replied with just one word.
    “Yes” Ray nodded and smiled .
    “The young lady who owned the flat where your son passed away, well there’s no easy way of saying this, particularly considering your recent losses but she was found dead in her flat this morning ” Ray saw Marine take particular note on the response.
    “Did you, catch anyone ?”
    “That’s an unusual question Mrs Banks”. He watched as the colour drained from her face. “We’d like you to accompany us to the station please.”

    DS Mike banner dusted the last sq inch of the door, he also dusted the main entrance door inside and out . All bagged up he proceeded to leave.
    The door opened beside him and small elderly lady looked over at him with interest.
    “I found her you know” Mike looked at the wide eyed gaze and smiled.
    “Have you given a statement? Mrs .”
    “Mrs Fothergill” she announced proudly. “And if you mean answering a few questions then yes”
    “Where they written down ?”
    ” I presume so but I never signed for nuffing “. Mike frowned, this needed a written statement , he couldn’t understand why nothing had been done as this would never stand up in court.
    “Would you do a statement back of the station?”

    Mike made the old dear a cup of tea and excused himself, he needed to get these prints to the lab and with any luck, well here’s hoping. He asked a young female constable to take a statement and rushed out of his office. Taking the stairs two at a time he spotted Ray.
    “I’ve brought the wife in”
    “Oh ok, I’ve erm brought the landlady in”
    “Why?”
    “No statement ”
    Damn thought Ray as they parted company , how did that get missed?

    4pm, meeting room was buzzing by the time Ray got there, he noticed the board which seemed to be crammed with new information. What a day. Everyone hushed as he addressed the room .
    “Right puzzle time, who’s first?” Mike stood up and cleared his throat.
    “It seems the fingerprints have come up trumps, they belong to a we’ll known criminal named Alec Down”
    “Lauras brother?” Ray gasped. The men locked puzzled eyes.
    “So there’s a valid reason why his fingerprints would be there” Mike couldn’t hide his disappointment. Jean sloop a volunteer stood up, she felt adrenaline rush to her face causing her to blush.
    “Erm actually, I was accompanying Constable Bruce Feelen earlier on, we had to go and tell Laura Downs mother the bad news. She assumed we where there regarding her son Alec. It’s all written here, she actually told us that her daughter and son had fallen out years earlier and he didn’t know where his sister lived. ”
    “So why were his fingerprints there?” Ray asked Mike.
    “His in the interview room Ray, shall we go and have a chat?”
    “Has anyone got anything else?” Charlie Adams stood up.
    “I have the full report on the seatbelt, he took some enlarged photos out of a folder. ” he placed the first picture on the projector, the image Covered the back wall. “See here” He pointed to part of the belt, it had been cut cleanly weakening the point of the belt that remained, the remaining fibre so strong it acted like cheese wire, hence the decapitation. The room became silent as people reflected on how this case was beginning to pann out. Ray absently stroked his neck .
    Marlon Bean, a cocksure over enthusiastic constable announced himself by clearing his throat , when he was sure he had the entire rooms attention he spoke,
    “I popped into the solicitors that had been dealing with the Banks affairs. Six months ago Mr Gerald Banks died suddenly due to a diabetic complication. In his will he had left his entire estate to his grandson, Peter Banks, Peters mother tried her hardest to contest this will claiming he wasn’t of sound mind but this proved unsuccessful . Her husband Barry at this point in their marriage found out his wife had been having an affair with a young offender she had been councilling.” Marlon was interrupted by a chorus of “Alec Down”. The room once silent immediately erupted with questions and sounds of utter disbelief. Ray took charge and simmered the people down.
    “We have a lot of work to do now and everything needs to be documented clearly , this will be going to crown court and this will not be blown out of the water by clever defence.

    Philip Morris Crime reporter for the Daily Globe, looked over his notes, where could he start? It seems this story had no beginning, just constant reams of karma. Fact, Gerald Banks had an affair with a young woman, Justine Wise. After cruelly ending their relationship she demanded a lump sum to keep quiet. With this money she took herself off for a long trip to paradise. Of course Gerald was only too pleased to be rid of her but soon his son Barry happened upon an illicit note Gerard had received but carelessly mislaid. Money of course the answer to everything he payed for his son to take a six month sabbatical , too follow his dreams .

    To Gerard’s horror his son came home after six months with a wife, Justine Wise. After years of misery made by this harlot, his wife passed peacefully away. Gerald had nothing more to lose and fought back. He revealed to his son Barry that Justine was the creator of the sordid note Barry had found years earlier. Barry also had suspicions about a certain thug he believed was closer to Justine than what was appropriate. Justine knew her days were numbered but wasn’t aware she had never been written in Gerald’s will.

    Philip leaned back in his chair, now this is where it got messy . Justine appeared to make her peace with Gerald and cared for him during his weaker days. Now a diabetic, he depended on insulin, Justine of course had control of this and administered it daily noting his blood sugar levels with each injection. She was a clever girl though, she planned ahead. Twice a day Gerald required 30 units of insulin. Clever girl Justine, she held back 2 units at a time, not a noticeable amount which wouldn’t be noticed by the pharmacy . Well after a few years , she was patient, Justine had enough to stick an entire pen full of insulin in the old mans leg in two hits. This was never picked up of course, and extremely hard to prove.

    By now she really believed she had earned her inheritance so, imagine her rage when the will had nothing to offer her. Now this is where Alec came into play, she had been promising him the world of wealth and she was determined to keep her promises to him, two people stood in her way, her husband and son, the sole beneficiaries of the multiple million! Her husband wasn’t supposed to die that day but due to the carelessness of a young woman, and the fact that each night before bed she would snip a tiny amount at a time at this seatbelt it wasn’t strong enough to secure the weight of her husband safely. Two down one to go.

    The evening her son passed she had already replaced his medication with sherbert. As he left for a date he had been excited about, Justine prayed that this would all go to plan. It did. Not happy with leaving this girl out there though she roped Alec in to go and finish the girl off. That was the last time she had spoken to him. The police had played them both perfectly, but here’s the bit that clinched their prosecution. Alec admitted that Justine had switched her sons drug with a harmful substance , Justine denied this, so further proof was needed.
    So let’s go back to Laura Down, now Laura was also a diabetic, she took this seriously, another one that noted sugar levels, diets and of course insulin needed. Now forensics had done a thorough sweep of her flat, amongst the dust and fluff a white substance was found. Of course due to the nature of this powder it was tested, the result sherbert.

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