This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge at TERRIBLEMINDS is a 1000 word crime fiction that features guns. Crime fiction isn’t normally my thing, but I’ve given it a go. I’d love to hear what you think.
Six Inches Under
Caleb stared into a sea of uniforms and guns. He looked down at the beautiful thing in his hands: eleven inches of perfection. A smile broke across his face and he raised it to eye level.
Seventeen rounds hit home.
The revolver flew from his unresisting hand. It land among the trees and he smiled his last smile. She was safe.
“In other news, it’s been almost two weeks since the body of local PTA president Sharon Hutchins was found outside Davidson Elementary, and police still have no leads. Her husband made an emotional appeal earlier today.”
Detective Kramer swore under his breath, switched the TV off, and went back to reading his notes. They’d interviewed everyone with a link to the deceased —Sharon, he reminded himself — and they still had nothing. No one had a motive, but everyone had an alibi.
“Boss? I think I have something.”
Kramer looked up expectantly.
Detective Black frowned and said, “I just got a call about the Hutchins case. Ballistics got a hit on the bullet.”
“Great,” Kramer said. “What have we got?”
“The markings show it was fired from a gun that’s been used in…” he paused to refer to a note in his hand. “…twelve homicides in the last five years.”
Kramer frowned. “A serial killer?”
“No,” Black said slowly. “All the cases are closed. But I did some digging, and found something weird. In all twelve cases, the perp confessed, and then ended up dead in a shoot-out with police.”
He consulted his notes. “The last case was about four months ago. Caleb Smith killed his secretary then holed up in a cabin upstate. He confessed to the murder and looked like he was going to surrender, but then started shooting.”
“If we got the perp, why is the gun get back out there?” Kramer hated a police fuck-up almost as much as the media loved it.
Black frowned. “That’s the weird part. The gun wasn’t recovered. Twenty officers saw it fly into the woods, but none of them could find it. Same thing happened in the other cases. It’s been thrown in a river, tossed off a cliff, all sorts of things. But no one ever finds it.” He paused and then added, “I’ve got a description.”
“Great,” Kramer said.
Black ignored the sarcasm. “It’s a six-inch Colt King Cobra with a walnut grip. Custom job.”
Kramer sighed. He hated complications. “Come on. Let’s go talk to the family again.”
“It’s the funeral this morning,” Black said.
“Good. All the suspects will be in one place.”
Black grinned. “I always knew you had a bit of Perry Mason in you, Boss.”
They stood under a tree and watched the funeral from twenty yards away. “So, who was it?” Black asked. “The husband?”
Kramer shook his head. “He was playing basketball across town with plenty of witnesses, and there’s nothing in his financials that looks like he hired someone.”
Black nodded. “Kids?”
In the old days, Kramer would have discounted an eight and ten-year-old out of hand, but times had changed. He checked his notes. “No motive,” he said after a moment. “And they were with the sister, which counts her out as well. They were all at an ice creamery at time of death.”
“The only other people here are the principal and a couple of family friends. Didn’t they all alibi out?”
“Then what are we doing here?” Black asked.
Kramer held up a hand. “Waiting,” he said. “Something will come up.”
They watched in silence for a bit longer. Then Kramer nodded toward a latecomer heading for the funeral. “Who’s that?”
“Thomas Chandler,” Black answered. “He’s a teacher at the school. I interviewed him last week.” He pulled out his notebook and flicked through it.
“That’s a big wreath of flowers. How much do you think it cost?”
“More than what you’d pay for someone you barely knew,” Black said, finding the right page. “He’s worked at the school for three months and said he only met the deceased twice.”
They looked over at the man with the exceptionally large bunch of flowers. “There must be more to it than that,” Black said. “Do you think they were having an affair?”
“Let’s go ask him.”
Thomas saw them coming and only one thought went through his mind. They know. He put the wreath onSharon’s casket. Then he turned to leave. When he heard the cops following him, and broke into a run.
“Thomas! We just want to talk!”
He ran faster. Then a police cruiser appeared at the gate and he stopped. There was nowhere to go.
“Turn around slowly.”
Thomas did. Both cops had their weapons drawn.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it,” Thomas said. “She just kept parking in my spot. I mean, that’s not right. So I wrote a nasty letter to put it on her windscreen. And then I saw…”
He trailed off, and the cops exchanged looks. The young one prompted, “Saw what?”
Thomas smiled and put his hand under his coat. “She was just lying there on the ground. So beautiful. I couldn’t resist.”
“Who? Sharon?” the cop asked.
Thomas drew his hand out from his coat and looked lovingly at the silver revolver. “She’s perfect. And she wanted to make all my problems disappear.”
The cops started yelling, but he didn’t understand them. He needed to protect her. That was all that mattered. He lifted her up to let the sunlight caress her body. Then he held her out so the other men could see.
Pain blossomed in his chest. She fell from his hand, but he was sure he saw her wink when she landed in the grass. And then he saw no more.
Derek scowled and kicked at the dirt. Why was he was always the one his mother sent to the store? “Stupid old woman,” he muttered. He kicked at a clump of grass and something glittered like silver.