Today’s prompt might be the hardest one so far. I don’t do well at that suspense thing, so I just went for more of an occult-detective story.
“A killer is on the loose, having broken into the home of a wealthy woman and left her for dead. He absconded with a few items, then left the initials, ‘M.A.’”
To mix things up a bit, create a sleuth who is not such a good guy/gal, and a villain who has some amiable traits. Maybe your detective is a womanizer or is mean to her Mother, and your criminal stoops down to pet puppies.
An Unfortunate Accident
“Ouch!” The tea splashed over the rim of the cup as Crystal Eddings sat it down on the coaster. She needed to be more careful, she noted as she dabbed her sun dress with the napkin. Her tongue was scorched, but she managed a sighed. It was useless, the dress was stained. She would have to put something on it. “Maggie, can you get me an ice cube for my tea? It’s still too hot.”
“Right away madame,” her red-haired maid replied, heading for the kitchen, leaving Crystal all alone in her formal living room. She faced the window, watching the gray clouds swirl above, dumping rain on the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Or maybe it’s snowing up there. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, she knew very well that Washington had suffered one of the driest and warmest years on record. She was glad when the rain had returned last week, thunderstorms brewing and 70 mph winds knocking down power poles. Ever since, it had been gray and desolate outside, and that was how she preferred it.
Fall had arrived early, she decided, remembering the cold gust that lifted her dress on the front porch just an hour earlier as she watered the potted yellow and orange flowers that swung in their baskets. The yellow matched the color of her mansion, painted that way as to bring sunshine to the rainy state. Oh how I got it all wrong. She liked the rain better.
“Maggie dear, I asked for ice,” Crystal said, turning her head toward the archway that led further into the dark house. It’s not even midday and its dark as hell. She waited, expecting Maggie to come around the corner with ice at any moment. Instead, it was silence that arrived. “Maggie?”
Thumps echoed through the house as the rain picked up outside, battering on the roof in song. The wind crashed against the house as it always did, making a familiar swoosh and howl. All of the sun’s light had disappeared, leaving the house with an eerie gray haze. Crystal stood up from the sofa, stepping onto the hard wood floor to peak through the archway.
“My tea is cool enough now, Maggie,” she hollered, continuing her walk towards the kitchen. She could hear only her footsteps on the wood and the rain outside. This isn’t right. She had dealt with these kinds of situations before. Whenever something seemed off, it probably was.
She turned into the small doorway to her right, the long way to the kitchen, when she heard the scrapping on the walls, like claws. She slowed to a crawl, focused on the path ahead, but always keeping watch behind as well. She was nearing the kitchen, the lights illuminating the next doorway. Blood was splattered on the orange walls, and a pool was growing just below the archway. Crystal gasped and turned the other way. She had to get out!
“Going somewhere?” A voice asked. Crystal stood still, fear overtaking her. “You have to pay for what you did to me, what you did to all of us!” The sound of a knife being sharpened rang out like a bell, and Crystal gulped. “I don’t want to do this, but you’ll keep on torturing others if I don’t.” The man’s footsteps drew closer, and Crystal prayed that death would come quick.
When David Coleman pulled up alongside the curb, flashing lights already illuminated the front of the mansion. He stepped out of the Camaro, his dress shoes slipping on the soggy pavement. His trench-coat billowed like a flag in the wind as he made his way over to the detectives that were gathered at the scene.
“Excuse me, Sir,” one of them said as he crossed the police line. “This is a restricted area.”
David pulled out his badge and flashed it. “FBI. This is a federal investigation, and I don’t want you interfering with my work.” He stepped into the house, immediately taking in the damage. The coffee table in the formal living room was smashed, the decorative white pillars scratched as though the murdered had claws. He proceeded to the kitchen, where two bodies were surrounded by pools of blood, flowing toward the dining room. Ah, so the house has a bit of a tilt in the foundation. Another detective was crouched over the bodies, examining the gruesome murders of the two young women.
“Pretty,” David commented as he approached. “Don’t suppose you’ve found the murder weapon?”
“What’s the FBI doing here?” The detective asked. “This is my investigation.”
“Not anymore, Mr?”
“Griffin Stone,” the man replied, standing up and removing his blue nitrile gloves. “Why would the FBI be interesting in the murder of Crystal Eddings and Maggie Brooks?”
“That’s classified, but I will tell you Ms. Eddings is very resourceful, and has brushed the law more than a few times. Has anything been taken from the house, that you can tell?” David asked, grooming his black hair.
“The file cabinets in the office look as though they were pried open and emptied. I’ll let you do your work, for now.” The detective withdrew from the home, leaving David to work alone.
The idiots always fall for it. David Coleman was not employed by the FBI, but he had gotten away with it for years. His badge and ID were genuine, as far as anyone could tell, and his contacts in the FBI would just confirm his employment if it came down to it. After all, the government relied on him to make sure that anyone with special abilities was rounded up and kept in confinement in either Seattle or New York.
He looked at the bodies with disgust. Their throats were slit, almost like something had nibbled on their esophagus. It wasn’t a pretty sight, the blood, brain matter, and whatever else was smeared around the floor and the cabinets. On the island counter top a small blood painting left the initials M.A. David wondered if the police had seen it, or if they had simply missed it because of the state of the bodies before them. All he knew was that they had couldn’t run the DNA. He hoped Marshall was smart enough to wear gloves. Yes, this was done by Marshall, wasn’t it? Figures…the claw marks, the nibbled throats.
David proceeded to the office, finding cabinets on the floor and papers scattered everywhere. He fingered through the folders and the drawers, trying to locate the box. It wasn’t there. Shit. He was afraid of what might happen when Marshall read those files, when he discovered the Verabrar Corporation records on him and his kind. Our kind.
He returned to the kitchen. There was still enough evidence to link Crystal to Verabrar, and David couldn’t have that. His company’s intentions had to remain a secret at all costs. He smiled. No one would like to hear about our state of the art prison, nor our imprisonment and experimentation on them. He had to destroy the evidence before the detectives came back.
He placed his palms flat against the wood cabinets, allowing his powers to ignite. The kitchen burned, furious as it devoured entire walls. The structure would collapse in seconds when his safety barrier fell, and he had to make sure he was gone by then. He fled out the front door, warning everyone to move back. “There’s a bomb!”
The house exploded behind him, windows shattering and wood splintering, flying in all directions. David fell to the ground, doing his best to fake an expression of terror and disgust. Another job well done. They think M.A. is a terrorist, and Verabar is safe. Next stop: Portland, Oregon.