Here’s another writing assignment that I wanted to share with you. It could be the beginnings of a new novel or even a new series. Enjoy.
The CN Tower stood tall and proud, a sentry watching over the city, its spire lost in the grip of dark, ominous clouds. The alternating colours of its decorative lights reflected off clouds, sleek skyscrapers, and the dome of the Rogers Centre at its base. Far below the Tower’s Observation Deck, traffic whizzed over wet roads as an ear-piercing siren echoed off buildings like the metal ball in a pinball machine.
No matter how majestic, the Tower didn’t protect against the evil lurking in its midst. That was a fact that Detective Frankie Gallagher knew all too well as she crouched in the dim side street, red and blue squad car lights dousing the white tarp covering the victim’s abused body. Rain pitter pattered on the protective tent above Frankie which did little to keep out the cold.
With gloved hands, Frankie peeled back the white tarp and shuddered as the scent of death merged with the damp air. She recognized the work – the young, innocent face with its eyes sewn shut, the road rash from being dumped here out of a moving vehicle, long blonde hair that was now wet and matted. This young woman made victim number three in a matter of weeks.
Frankie replaced the tarp, flicked her long chestnut ponytail over her shoulder and closed her eyes for a moment. Just a moment, to tamp down the woman and bring back the cynical, dark eyes of the cop. She released the former on a long, slow breath that turned to steam the moment it met the cold night air. Wet leather and spice drifted over death’s fetor and Frankie opened her eyes to find Jaysen Bennett – all biker bad boy with his five o’clock shadow, faded blue jeans and beaten up leather jacket – staring at her over the body. She hadn’t seen those deep blue eyes, that silky black hair, that sculpted face, hadn’t felt the rasp of that shadow against her skin for five long years. She’d thought he was about to propose as he took her hand over a candle-lit table. Instead he’d explained that he was too young for a committed relationship. He wanted to travel, experience life. And then he’d literally disappeared from her life.
“Sixteen year old Kaylee Dunn,” he said. “Parents reported her missing three days ago.”
Frankie gave him a scowl in greeting. No hello, no how are you? No apology for mashing her heart into a pulp? If he hadn’t left her all alone … She couldn’t let herself think about it. Not now. Not here. She swallowed the lump clawing its way up her throat. “What are you doing at my crime scene, Bennett?”
Jaysen pulled out his ID and held his badge up for her to examine. “Detective Bennett. It’s my crime scene, too.”
She pushed to her feet, turned and walked away, approaching the closest uniform. “Who was first on scene?”
Jaysen inserted himself between Frankie and the constable, flipping through his notebook. He wasn’t afraid of her, despite being warned of her reputation as the department’s fire-breathing dragon. He knew Frankie Gallagher too well. She was no dragon. “Already talked to her. Witnesses report –” He stopped talking when Frankie stomped off again. His jaw dropped open. “Hey,” he yelled and stormed after her. He stepped in front of her so that if she took another step she’d end up in his arms. She stopped abruptly.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” He watched her eyebrows rise, her eyes widen and damn if that didn’t draw him into those deep brown eyes. He wasn’t sure if she’d grown even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her or if he’d just forgotten how beautiful she was. That had him wondering if her long, lean body and ample bosom were as he remembered. Powerless to stop himself, his eyes travelled down the long length of her and then slithered back up to linger at her chest. The loud smack and burning sting on his left cheek caught him off guard. It was then, with the street light shining down on her at just the right angle, that he noticed the faint white scar slashing through her brow, over her eye, right down to her sharp cheek bone.
“If you want to talk to me, you can damn well look me in the eye.” She darted around him, searching for a familiar face. She made it about two steps before he gripped her arm and flung her around.
“You need to get over your issues with me so we can get on with doing the job.”
Frankie’s nostrils flared, her chest tightened around her pounding heart. She yanked her arm out of his grasp, freeing herself, and pushed her face up to his. “Have you even worked a homicide before?” Her fists clenched tightly at her sides, every muscle in her body taut.
“I know what I’m doing, Detective.”
“Do you have a problem answering questions, Detective?”
“Yes, I’ve worked homicides. I didn’t realize I needed your approval before working a case.”
Pointing back to the road, she growled, “Do you see the body of that poor girl lying in the street? That’s on me. Because the last time this bastard dumped a body, I didn’t find him. So back the hell off and let me do my job without having to babysit.”
Jaysen let her go. This wasn’t the same Frankie that he remembered. She used to be such a bright, shining presence. Her smile could light up the entire city. Her laugh, deep and throaty, surrounded you like a blanket, like a warm hug. What had happened to Frankie that had snuffed out her light?
Frankie approached a uniformed officer with sandy blonde hair tucked up under her cap, its mirrored patten leather bill decorated with dewey drops. “You were first on scene, Constable Sloan?”
“Detective Gallagher.” Sloan rolled her eyes with an exaggerated sigh.
“Give me your report, Constable.”
“I just gave it to your partner over there.” Sloan nodded her head behind Frankie. “Detective Hottie over there. Don’t you guys communicate?”
Frankie glanced over her shoulder to see Jaysen standing where she’d left him with his arms crossed over his chest, glaring at her. She frowned and turned her attention back to Sloan. “No. Your report?”
Sloane huffed and pulled her notebook out of a pocket in her vest, but she didn’t open it. “911 call came in at twenty-three eleven. We were on scene at twenty-three thirteen. My partner and I secured the scene and then located two witnesses. We separated the witnesses. The first, Sheila O’Hare, was the 911 caller. All she saw was the body lying in the street.
“Second witness is your golden boy. Eli Kramer was walking his dog just after twenty-three hundred. He stated he noticed the car because the door opened and the car didn’t even attempt to slow down. Kramer was on the opposite side of the car, so he didn’t see the body right away. He described the vehicle as a high end black sedan with dark tinted windows. A Mercedes or BMW perhaps. Just as the body came into view, the sedan sped off.”
“Why is he my golden boy?”
Sloane grinned. “He memorized the license plate number.”
Frankie couldn’t stop the edge of her mouth from curling up. “Where’s Eli? I’d like to speak with him.”
“Yeah, thought you might.”
Sloane released Eli Kramer and his fluffy little white dog from the back of her squad car. Kramer straightened and gently placed the dog at his feet. Frankie would run Eli Kramer through the system, but he looked like a reliable sort. Short white hair peaked out from under a black knit toque that looked like his wife had made it for him. The deep lines mapping his face gave him character, as did the rubber slip ons that covered his black dress shoes to make them waterproof. “Mr. Kramer, I’m Detective Gallagher.”
“When can I go home? Am I being detained for some reason?” Frankie had to bend in closer to Kramer to hear him over the traffic on the cross street cutting through wet pavement.
“No sir, you can leave in a few minutes. I would appreciate it if you could give me your story again.”
Kramer was flamboyant in the manner he used his hands when he spoke, but he looked Frankie in the eye and spoke confidently in a nasal tone. He was so specific with the details that Frankie could only think of a couple of questions to ask him.
“Which door opened, Mr. Kramer?”
“Oh, it was the driver’s door.”
“The front driver’s door?”
Frankie tried to play it out in her mind. The best she could come up with was driving with the vic bent over in his lap, her butt to the door. Open the door and the weight distribution of her body might have her sliding out on her own.
“Did you get a look at the driver?”
“No, I’m sorry. The windows were tinted black and it was dark.”
Frankie gave Kramer her card. The back of her neck prickled with heat, goosebumps trailed down her back. Getting the licence plate number could be the break Frankie had been searching for. The car or the plates could be stolen, but Frankie didn’t think so. Not with the buzz she was getting.
What do you think? Is this the beginning of a new novel or series? Do you want to read the rest of Frankie and Jaysen’s story? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Copyright © Wendy Hewlett – December 2015