Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this week is to ‘show us a taste’ of that novel you’ve been working on during this month for NaNo. I’m up for the challenge. However, I must warn you it’s an unedited first draft. Descriptions are sketchy, characters aren’t flushed out, and plot lines are still a bit fluid. If you still want to read after all that, be my guest.
A serial killer has come to the small town of Regal Reef, California. With little evidence to go on and no viable suspects, Chief Lottie Stark is beyond frustrated. Especially since the killer’s MO is strangely similar to a serial killer known as The Keeper, who she and profiler Jack Brady caught three years earlier when they were in the FBI.
Dissatisfied with her progress, the City Council and the micro-managing town mayor have gone over Lottie’s head and brought Brady in to consult on the case. Which not only complicates her life but opens old wounds. And her backstabbing lead detective has gotten the California Board of Investigation interested in the case hoping to discredit her by proving she didn’t catch the real Keeper. While Lottie struggles to maintain control of her case and her town, the killer is still out there, free to kill again. And daring her to catch him.
Every Dog Has His Day – Book 2
Delmont followed Barrington into my office and I watched through the open door as they set up their command post. Ben sidled up next to me and quietly said, “So, you just gonna let them take over?”
I turned to my father and sighed. “Doesn’t look like I have much choice, right now.” I kept my eyes on the BI team and Delmont and Barrington were pretty chummy. Then I turned to Ben and said, “I’ve got a little errand, I’ll be back in an hour.”
Jack started to follow me and I turned back and held up my hand. “Nope, this is something I need to do alone.” I frowned at my office. “You and Ben get my desk out of there, with everything in it and set me up in the squad room. Okay?”
Jack furrowed his brow but nodded. “Okay.”
Merrilou gave me a questioning look. I shrugged. “Just show them what you’ve got. We’ll huddle later, okay?”
She nodded then turned toward the new command center and frowned.
As I passed Minnie’s desk, who was speechless and gaping at the circus my office had become, I said, “I’m 10/7 for an hour.”
As I crossed the lobby, I ran in to Marty who looked puzzled. “Afternoon, Chief.”
I went to the door and pulled it open. “Afternoon.”
He jerked his head toward the station. “Looks like a lot of excitement going on here.”
I grunted and walked through the door. As I walked, I pulled out my cell and called Jack. When he answered I said, “Just listen, okay?”
“You and Ben go over that order from the attorney general with a fine tooth comb, then meet me at the Sunshine in an hour with it.”
“Okay. Anything else?”
“Bring Merrilou with you if you can.”
“All right see you then.”
I ended the call before he could ask for explanations and quickened my pace. As I turned the corner, and the Regal Reef Tribune building came into view, I could see Mendoza at her desk, hunched over her computer. It was as though she hadn’t moved from that spot since the last time I saw her.
I slid my eyes up and down the street, checking for the busybody patrol and then hurried into the building. Mendoza looked up with curiosity in her eyes. “Chief?”
I went to her desk and pulled up a chair. “Look, I don’t have a lot of time, so I need you to listen.” Mendoza nodded and I looked toward the street through the window. As far as Regal Reef was concerned it was just another Monday. I looked back to her. “So first off, our deal is going to change a little.” She started to protest but I held up a hand. “I’m going to give you the story now.”
She smiled and tapped a few keys on her computer, bringing up a blank document to take notes, then also opened the record function on her phone. “Okay, shoot.”
“We have three dead girls. Two are still unidentified, although one has a tentative I.D. The third girl has been identified as Ashley Martindale, the daughter of State Senator Tom Martindale. A few days ago, Agent Blaine Barrington of the California B.I. showed up with a subpeona and took possession of the Ashley’s body and the related evidence. At the senator’s insistence the B.I. was taking over the investigation of her murder.”
Mendoza raised her brows. “Her father has that kind of pull?”
I nodded. “Yes.” I shrugged. “I didn’t like it but since she was the daughter of a prominent politician and he clearly used his clout to get the B.I. involved, I wasn’t going to fight about. Next point. You heard about Delmont’s accident?”
She nodded. “Yeah, so?”
“It’s my belief that he caused it himself.”
Mendoza gasped. “Oh come on. Why would he do that?”
“I found evidence, hidden, not far from the accident site that seems to infer he did.”
Mendoza leaned in with a skeptical look. “But why?”
I explained about Delmont’s association with B.I. and his mission to get fast lab results and then the disappearance of those lab results.
Mendoza frowned. “Maybe the report got thrown from the car and just ended up in the tree.”
I laughed. “And the box of nails flew up there to join it? And they both jumped into a plastic grocery sack?”
Mendoza nodded. “Okay, but again what motivation would he have to do that? To make you look bad?”
I nodded. “Sure, that’s what I thought at first. But a half hour ago, the B.I. led by Agent Barrington, showed up with an order from the state attorney general declaring a joint task force was to be formed on the case.” I smirked. “They even came up with a name for the killer.” Mendoza raised her brows in question. “The dead dog killer.”
Mendoza wrinkled her nose. “Catchy.”
I chuckled. “Ain’t it though?” I jerked my thumb in the direction of the station house. “Barrington is in my office setting up a command post as we speak.”
“And you think Delmont set the wheels in motion?”
I sighed because I was reluctant to give her the whole story but I’d already stepped in it and I couldn’t dance around mud puddles anymore. “Delmont has believed from the beginning that our guy is the Keeper.”
Mendoza’s big eyes widened. “What? Didn’t you and Jack Brady catch…” Then the lights went on in her head and she nodded. “Oh. So that’s why Brady is here?”
“The short answer is yes.”
“What’s the long answer?”
“I don’t have time to explain that right now.” She scowled and I held up a hand. “Later. I’ll tell you later. But the point is this, I believe that Delmont and Barrington have an end game in mind.”
Mendoza nodded so I’d go on.
“I think they want to make enough noise to get the FBI’s attention.”
“Because they believe our guy is the Keeper. Which means that me and Jack got it wrong. And if they can prove that then…”
“You’re both discredited.”
I nodded. “And then they get to swoop in and save the day.”
Mendoza chuckled. “So they get the notoriety then? That’s what they think?”
I nodded. “I do believe it is what they think.”
Mendoza shook her head in disbelief. “They think the FBI will thank them for disproving their case and one upping them?”
….and so it goes, sorry had a 1,000 word limit.
How about you? Are you NaNo-iing this year? Is your first draft as ugly as mine? Care to tell us about it? Feel free to speak all things NaNo in the comments.