Frisky Friday Flash Fiction
Happy Friday! How are you today? I’m doing pretty good (thanks for asking).
It’s been a crazy week. I’m finishing up the final revisions on Fighting for the Best: the TKO Love Series, Book 3 while my alter ego started drafting a new manuscript too. Talk about splitting focus!
Speaking of my alter ego…
She has a new book coming next week. Get it before the price increase after launch!
She also has a creepy short story in an anthology coming next month.
Her story is titled, The Aria of Oak Moon Bay.
An eerie tale about an evil existence haunting a family of witches.
Centuries ago, a desperate witch made a pact with the Aria. The heinous hellion of chaos and vengeance agreed to strengthen the woman’s magic as long as she formed a bond with the entity. Through the years, as the Munroe witches died, the Aria moved from host to host.
Liza Munroe, a witch who embraces analytics and logic over magic, has just buried her mother. Rational thought, however, won’t protect the young woman from the malevolent spectre who has plagued the Munroe women for generations. After spending her childhood watching the creature ravage her mother and randomly kill the innocent, Liza refuses to become a vessel for evil.
Shortly after the funeral, the Aria comes to collect. When Liza fails to yield to the monster, it delivers a warning: as long as she resists, the Aria will harm Liza’s loved ones.
The young woman, left with no choice, makes a deadly decision to save her fiancé and father.
But will Liza’s choice protect her future?
I have another thrilling story for you. This time I write the tale of Apryl Atkins. She’s a woman on a mission…
I had a brief word with the first officer on the scene before entering the victim’s house—a sprawling property off Mulholland Drive. The fallen guy was a noted director of reality shows, but the crime didn’t appear to be one of opportunity. The immaculate living room and kitchen had been untouched. I walked down a hall and into an oversized bedroom—the site of the murder.
Again, the area was amazingly clean and so was the body. The victim looked like someone who died in his sleep. Minus the slash across his carotid. Or his blue gaze fixed on the ceiling. Fear lay in his eyes. In his last minutes, he must have known he was dying and that no one would come to his aid.
I asked one of the crime scene investigators, “Has anyone touched the body?”
Odd. If no one had touched the victim, then why was the fatal wound cleaned?
Stranger still was the heavy metallic stench, but no sign of blood. No puddles. No stains. I sniffed and caught a slight hint of bleach. Whoever killed the man was a fanatic about cleanliness.
“Be sure to check for evidence of blood,” I said. “I suspect someone scrubbed the area. Time of death?”
A young redhead stepped out of the en suite bathroom. “Given lack of rigor mortis and core body temp, I’d say the victim died two hours ago.”
Not an opportune time for questioning neighbors.
She continued, “The person who committed this crime was good. We’ve found very little evidence.”
Perhaps he knew his killer?
“But I found this.” The investigator held up an evidence bag with a lone black hair.
“Maybe he had a girlfriend,” I said.
Another investigator interjected, “He had girlfriends. The victim is Morley Wright.”
“The Morley Wright?”
“Yes,” the guy said. “He was notorious for dating blondes and redheads. The hair in question is—”
“Black.” I shook my head. There had to be more evidence. “Keep looking. Let me know what you find.”
I stormed out of the room, ready to head outside, when a uniformed officer shouted, “Detective Reeves, a word please?”
The man stood at the end of the hall. My eyes drifted from his swarthy face to the tag on his chest. “Gonzalez, what is it?”
“Check this out.” He pressed a hand against the wall, and it popped open.
A hidden room?
He quirked his finger and walked into the space. “See for yourself.”
We hit the motherlode. Monitors filled one side of the room. The other held instruments and a computer. Thankfully, I knew my way around technology. I pulled on a pair of gloves and then tapped a key on the keyboard. The system fired up, tempting me to do my own investigating, but that wasn’t the protocol.
“Gonzalez, get someone from the tech lab.”
He nodded. As he rushed from the room, my phone rang.
“Tell me you have some news.” It was the chief. By sunrise, all of Hollywood would know about Wright’s death. Chief Scarlatti wanted to circumvent the media circus that would undoubtedly happen.
“No. After the tech lab—”
“Wrong answer, Reeves. We need information. The mayor is already up my ass about it.”
How the hell did the mayor find out about the crime?
“Forgive me for asking, but why is the mayor involved?”
“Morley Wright was the mayor’s godson.”
“I’ll keep looking for evidence,” I said as I returned to the bedroom.
“See that you do.”
Ending the call, I slipped the phone into the pocket of my leather jacket. To no one in particular, I asked, “Anyone find a cell phone for the vic?”
The redhead poked her head out of the bathroom. “I did, but it won’t help much.”
“The SIM card is missing. Like I said, the perpetrator is good.”
“Any fingerprints other than Mr. Wright’s?”
“Nope. Someone wiped the case clean.”
“Fuck,” I muttered. “Get the device to the tech lab. Someone’s on their way over. If you find anything worthwhile, let me know.”
I’d been on the scene for an hour and desperately needed coffee. Going outside, I walked down the driveway and through the gate. Looking right and then left, I realized none of Wright’s neighbors—the few that he had—wouldn’t have seen a thing. Each house was behind high fencing or shrubs.
A small dog yapped, snagging my attention. An older woman, wearing a pair of gray sweats and a bonnet on her head, stood, hunched over, across the street.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure thing, officer.”
I ran over to her, and the chihuahua reared up on its tiny legs. She yanked on the lead. “Quiet, Scruffy.” The animal grumbled.
Up close, the woman didn’t appear as old as she seemed. It was her eyes that gave her away. The green pupils were too bright, almost as if they were artificial. A tendril of dark hair, no gray visible, had escaped the head covering too.
“Name’s Detective Cal Reeves. Do you live in one of these houses?”
“Oh, no. I live down around the bend,” she said in an accent. My guess was the woman was from Wisconsin. But much like her eyes, the sound came across as ingenuous.
“Did you know the man who lived in the house across the street?”
“Only in passing. He partied a lot. Is that why you’re here?”
I smiled but didn’t answer her question. Instead, I reached into my pocket and removed a business card. “My name and number. If you think of anything or saw anything, call me.”
She took the card and stared at it. “All I can tell you is that the man loved to entertain. You should talk to those around here. Like I said, I live much farther down the street.”
“I’m near the Overlook.”
“Like you said, you don’t really live around here.”
“Well, good luck with whatever you’re doing.” She turned and dragged the dog in the opposite direction.
The woman struck me as odd. If she lived near the Overlook, that was a good thirty-minute walk. When my brother was a teen, he worked as an assistant for a veterinarian. One of his duties included walking dogs. He used to joke that the best thing about a little dog was that it couldn’t hike for long. Ten minutes to them was equivalent to a long trek for a big animal.
I palmed my car keys. The coffee could wait. I had another mystery to investigate.
Until next week…