Dec 022015
 

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.

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imageThe 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 was’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?”

“Yes.”

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.

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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!

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Copyright © Wendy Hewlett – December 2015

Sep 012015
 

Here’s a short, short story that I wrote for my creative writing course. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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1798200166_a4f70df418_oShe loved her job, but getting called when you were so nicely cocooned in a warm, comfy duvet really sucked. She dressed quickly, pulling on as many layers as she could without losing mobility. On the way out the door she double checked her equipment – weapons, cuffs, flashlight, notebook, and a pencil because pens were useless in subzero temps.

The drive to the crime scene only took fifteen minutes and five of those were spent going through the Timmies drive thru. Still, the scene was in the middle of nowhere – a little-used dirt road surrounded by farmer’s fields.

Raven parked on the shoulder behind two OPP squad cars with their lights flashing, like anyone was going to see them out here. With her coffee in hand, she bravely exited her vehicle. The wind sliced in from the north, cutting deep into every inch of exposed skin. Ducking her head against it, Raven made her way to the closest squad. Bastard! He rolled down the window instead of getting out to speak with her.

“Evening, Detective Bowen,” he said. “Nice bed head.”

“Closer to morning,Tate” she growled back, absently running a hand through her short black hair. Probably should have looked in the mirror before running out the door. “Want to show me where the body is?”

He pointed toward the ditch on the other side of the road. “Snowmobilers found her. Guy stopped to take a piss and nearly shit his pants instead.” Constable Tate’s head rolled back with laughter.

Constable Warren, who sat in the passenger seat, no doubt enjoying the heat blasting out of the vents, leaned over Tate. “Sorry to hear about your mom, Detective Bowen.”

“Yeah, thanks.” Raven didn’t know how to respond to that. She wasn’t close to her mom. Losing her, making the funeral arrangements, and surviving the horrid day of the funeral hadn’t bothered her nearly as much as what her mother had said to her from her death bed. And how she said it because Raven hadn’t been anywhere near her death bed.

Raven’s mom was Wiccan, which is how Raven ended up with the embarrassing name Raven Sage Bowen. She was also psychic. A psychic Wiccan. It was bad enough having to live her life as Raven Sage never mind the whole town knowing what her mother claimed to be. Raven had been rebelling against all of that hokey crap since she was in her early teens. And now she couldn’t get her mother’s last words to her out of her head. You have the gift, Rave. You’ve only to open yourself to it.

“Yeah, right,” she said to herself as she crouched down at the edge of the ditch, her flashlight pointed at the form below. No footprints around or near the body, which was half buried in snow. This girl had been here for some time, preserved by the icy temperatures. She was face down, left arm extended up over her head. Long, red hair fanned out around her, tangled and knotted.

At the sound of crunching snow behind her, Raven glanced over her shoulder, surprised to see Warren approaching. She was relatively new with less than a year on the force. Probably her first murder scene. She crouched next to Raven.

“No outstanding missing persons reported in Huntsville or the surrounding area in the past six months.”

Raven smiled ever so slightly then sipped her coffee. It was the first thing she would have checked. “Tell me what you see here,” she asked, intrigued by the rookie now.

“Appears to be naked and frozen solid.”

A low rumble of laughter quickly blew away in the arctic wind. “That’s it?”

“Ligature marks on the left wrist.”

“You’re only telling me what you see with your eyes.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Raven thought again of her mother’s words. Was the old bitch right? Had she been using her gift all along?

“She’s been there for a long time. Is that what you mean?” Constable Warren looked to Raven for confirmation and then continued. “This was just the dump site. She wasn’t murdered here. But, we need to see what’s beneath her, what’s buried in the snow.”

Raven looked over her shoulder again as a set of headlights approached. Here came their forensic unit which consisted solely of Constable Mark Mainguy. “It’s time to find out just what is under there,” she said as she rose to her full height. “Are you up for some digging or are you going to keep your ass warm in your squad like Tate over there?”

Warren was grinning from ear to ear as she stood. Raven wondered how she wasn’t giving herself one of those ice cream headaches. “I’m up for it, Detective. I’m no pussy, like Tate over there.”

For the second time in the span of a few minutes, Raven laughed a deep, throaty laugh. Damn, she kind of liked this kid.

* * *

After hours spent under a makeshift tent, delicately extricating the body of the young woman from her frozen grave and collecting what little evidence had been secured under the snow and the body, Raven had felt an unexplainable need to go to her mom’s house. She hadn’t been inside the house for years, yet it was just like it had been the last time she’d been there. Dried flowers, plants, and herbs hung above windows and down from the ceiling all over the kitchen giving it a spicy aroma. The way the morning light speared into the room brought back a flood of before school memories. Breakfasts gobbled down at the huge kitchen island that was now covered in books, pestles, bottles, and pots as if her mom was in the middle of cooking a meal. Except it wasn’t meals her mom cooked here. It was spells and potions and God knew what.

What was she going to do with this place? To get it ready to put up for sale was going to take a lot of work. And time, which she didn’t have a lot of.

It’s yours now, Rave. Please, don’t sell it.

Raven looked around the room, expecting to see her mother. Was her mother talking to her from beyond the grave now? That was just too creepy. She turned towards the door, fully intending to leave, but her curiosity got the best of her. She just had to find out what her mother had done with her room. She headed up the creaking wooden steps that had made it impossible for her to sneak in late back in the day.

The door was open when she thought her mother would have at least closed it off, sealing the bad memories away. She got a shock when she peeked around the door jamb and found her room exactly as she’d left it some twelve years ago.

Oh, sweet babe! I’ve always loved you.

“Will you stop doing that?” Raven yelled, spinning around, looking up, down. She waited in the hall for a few minutes and when she didn’t hear any more, she convinced herself she’d imagined it. People didn’t talk to you after they died. She stepped into her childhood room with its pink walls and white canopy bed. It was like walking into a fairy tale. Raven had hated it. She wasn’t the pink, princess type. Sports were her thing back then, not tea parties and pretty dresses. She still hated dresses.

Dragging a finger across her dresser, she was surprised to find there wasn’t a speck of dust on it. Why would her mother still be cleaning this room?

Because I always hoped you’d come back.

“Stop that!” Raven covered her ears like a spoiled brat.

You asked.

“I also asked you to stop that!” She’d gone stark raving mad. She was talking to a ghost! She quick stepped to the stairs and fled down them. Before she could get out the door, she heard her mother’s voice one more time.

Check Orillia for missing persons. That’s where you’ll find your frozen girl.

* * *

Raven sat down at her desk to wait for her computer to boot up. Sleep. That was the problem. She’d put a few hours in at the office and then try to get a couple of hours of shut eye. She was just about to lean back in her chair and pop her boots up on her desk when Constable Warren’s head appeared in the doorway. “Got a minute?”

“Didn’t your shift end hours ago?”

“I wouldn’t have been able to sleep, so I figured I’d just keep checking missing persons.” She held up a file folder. “Seventeen year old Emily Kathryn McMurtrie. Reported missing last November. Out of Orillia.”

Told ya!

Oh, sweet Jesus! Her mother wasn’t going to wait for her to open herself to the gift.

 

Copyright © Wendy Hewlett – September 2015

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