Prompt Short Story: Vicky

Vicky

(WIP, Untitled murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

Egerton walked out of interview room 2, resisting the urge to slam the door behind her. She shook her head at her partner, Danson, and stalked off to the coffee machine, punching buttons and grabbing her cup so hard she almost crushed it.

“Easy, Egs,” Danson slouched over, hands in his pockets, his blotchy red skin looking sickly in the flourescent light.

“Easy?” Egerton turned on him, the hand not holding the coffee reaching up to run through the long side of her bleached undercut. “Right. Easy,” she sighed and took a gulp from the steaming cup, “Ow! Fuck!” She snatched it away from her mouth, spilling some over onto her light brown hand.

Danson hid a smirk, “Want me to try her?”

Egerton shook her head, grabbing some paper napkins from the holder by the machine, “I’ll give it another go. I think she’s intimidated by me, never mind you.”

Danson looked down at himself. He was large in every way. Height, stomach, even his voice – and he wasn’t against utilising this against a suspect but this was a witness, and one already shaking with terror at that. “Fair.”

“Alright. One more go. I’m sure she knows something but…hell I’m not convinced she even remembers what she knows never mind being able to tell me,” Egerton shook her head, punched the machine for a hot chocolate to take with her, and headed back into the interview room.

The woman was leaning forward on the table, head on her arms. She looked up, coppery hair pulled back from her face, muddy green eyes bleary with lack of sleep, when the hot chocolate was placed in front of her.

Egerton glanced up at the camera, confirming the red light was on, capturing all video and speech, before sitting down and opening the light red folder on the desk, spreading out a series of crime scene photos.

All of them showed a light-skinned body, lying facedown in a patch of muddy grass, the back of their head crushed. Some zoomed in on other features – crushed fingers on the left hand, left knee bent awkwardly out of shape, clothing torn around the waist and neck from a struggle. The victim had quickly been identified – being one of the bar staff made tht easy enough, but Egerton was delibertely holding back most of the information she already had, seeking to pry out any knowledge Vicky might have, without leading her.

The witness herself was a study in just-about-functional drug addiction. She held down a job – barely – as a dispatcher for a local taxi company. She paid rent, bought just enough food to remain alive, and spent the rest on a daily cocktail of uppers and downers, somhow dragging herself up and out regularly enough to work for more money to continue the cycle.

“Vicky, hey, wake up a little longer for me, ok?” Egerton nudged her gently. “Take me through this one last time and I’ll get someone to drive you home.”

Vicky shoved herself upright enough to pull the hot chocolate closer. Inhaling the scent seemed to energise her a little and she nodded.

“Tell me again, then,” Egerton leaned back in her chair.

“Went out to a couple places, got my stuff from the dealers and went to the Cross n Rose to mellow a bit, didn’t wanna go clubbing, so…” Vicky trailed off and blew on her drink before taking a sip, her gaunt features reflecting the grey of the stark room. She smoothed back her ponytail and continued. “So there’s that girl, and I see her before, she’s a’right, like most the ones in the Cross, she don’t bother me an’ she knows I come in on stuff but I never do it in the place so she’s cool. An’ she says hey, an’ gives me my drink, an’ she’s off. An’ that’s all I know til I come out later and goes for a walk, cos it gets hot an’ I like the air. So I’m walkin’ over the grass an’ I almost falls over her. I didn’t know who she were at first but I called you lot in an’ waited, an’ I been here all night since,” she looked up at the window, set high in the wall, a solid mesh allowing no more than a trickle of sluggish sunlight through.

“You have to have seen something else,” Egerton pushed. “Someone she spoke to – her name’s Alison, by the way, which you know because I told you. What do you not want me to know?”

“Nuthin,” Vicky grumped into her drink.

“Did you see her talk to, maybe leave with, someone? Did you see someone with her while you were outside? Did you maybe help – we found her blood on you, Vicky.”

“Cos I kneeled to see if she were alive! Got some blood from that! Didn’t do anythin’ an’I don’ remember anythin’!” Vicky’s face was set, stubborn, her jaw locked forwards and her eyes glaring about the room, never settling.

Egerton sighed in frustration. Something was there, she knew it, but what? Her drug-addled sibling prior to his death, often wore the same stubborn expression the morning after doing something he didn’t want to remember. She leaned forwards and caught the other woman’s eye, hardening her gaze, “Do you ever wish, Vicky, that you had a different life? One that didn’t mean pretending not to remember things you saw when all done up on your shit? Did you have a life before this? Was it better? Did you have friends, family, a loved one? Tell me Vicky, do you ever regret choosing your junk over everything else?”

Vicky folded her arms and looked away, “I likes my life. Regret nothin’.”

Egerton sighed softly and stood, “Only because you don’t remember what you’re supposed to regret. I guess we’re done for now, I’ll get someone to take you home but don’t leave the county, we’ll need to speak to you again.”

Outside, she shook her head at Danson, “Get a uniform to drop her home.”

“Will do. What about that Drew person?”

She shrugged, “Not sure yet. Keep them for now, best lead we have and closest to an actual suspect so far.”

“I’ll start getting a team on the rest of the questioning list,” Danson pulled out his phone and began making notes, “You get some sleep and come back rested.”

Egerton nodded, suddenly feeling every minute of the long night. “Alright. See you later on, then, call if anything major breaks.”

Writing Prompt used:

23

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Prompt Short Story: Drew

Note before we begin this story, if you’re unfamiliar with the use of the singular ‘they’ as a pronoun replacement for he/she, please check out these links:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they
https://nonbinary.wiki/wiki/Singular_they

Drew

(WIP, Untitled murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

Drew lifted their head to look around, fighting nausea. Lifting a hand, feeling the rasp of carpet on their bare shoulder as they shifted, they rubbed hard at their eyes until their surroundings coalesced into something other than a blur.

They were lying on the floor which was unusual, to be sure, but at least they were in their own bedroom. As Drew’s brain slowly woke up, the sounds of housemates moving around inside and cars flying past outside infiltrated. A normal day was happening elsewhere. In here? Well, in here Drew was less sure what was going on.

They levered themselves up onto one elbow, swallowing the acidic liquid that tried to swim up their throat. The bed was almost within arm’s reach. Continue reading

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Guest Story: Conscience vs Loyalty

Over the past few weeks you’ll have seen my writing prompt stories. These are coming from a small group of friends, of varying levels of experience, who I’ve gathered together to help each other improve.

Of the group, Matthew is the least confident and least experenced in his writing, so I’m proud to see him improving and very pleased to be asked to post his most recent story. With his permission, I’ve done some basic proofreading over it to ensure smoothness of reading, but it’s all his. Please enjoy.

 

Conscience vs Loyalty

by Matthew Carr

She gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her hands. She arched her back, leaned forward and lifted her head up looking into mirror trying to see her reflection through the cracks. “Not again,” Katt said. Continue reading

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